How do you handle difficult people?

Meet Max, our 6-month-old ‘adolescent” puppy. He’s a good boy, but only if he knows that he has boundaries. Leave him alone in the room, and he will take apart the laundry hamper, jump onto the couch, and wreak general havoc. Did I mention he’s teething as well? He loves to chew!

You see, he’s not quite mature enough to make consistently good choices and needs a solid boundary while he grows up. Enter a well-trained dog owner- and a crate. Max feels terrible when he breaks his boundary, and the crate is actually his friend while he develops decision-making skills and self-control. He is safe within the boundary of his crate and rests well there.

You may wonder how Max relates to the idea of difficult people in our lives. Consider advice from the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. A dog seeks a pack leader above all else. If you are not the leader, he will be. He wants order.

Difficult people can be very much like my puppy. They want to be good, but they need a clear pack leader, love, boundaries, and a safe place to get away from it all. (Crates are generally not socially acceptable)

Remember the story of Little Red Riding Hood? That big, bad wolf in the woods that impersonated sweet, frail grandma? Lindsay Gibson, PhD uses this story to illustrate the difficult people that she calls “Relationship Wolves.” Who is the hero of the story? That’s right! The woodsman! Why was he the hero? Well, besides saving Red and her grandma, our woodsman had 3 important characteristics we can utilize with the people that might get a little wolfy with us. The woodsman was alert to other people’s needs and ran forward to help. He is interested and protective and can spot a wolf at 100 yards. He thinks of others and shows up when needed. He is educated and attentive and owns his personal power.

Do you have an inner woodsman? My courageous, confident, centered self helps me here. Wielding her trusty ax, she is well educated in the ways of relationship wolves and sets a clear boundary with them. She is kind but firm in training others about her personal boundaries and her needs- and won’t hesitate to use a crate or a firm hand on an undisciplined puppy-like acquaintance. She knows she is the creator of her life experience, and she is lovingly, firmly in charge.

How about you? How are you at serving and helping others know what works best for you in relationships? Do you have unruly puppies or, worse yet, wolves in your relationship life? Step into the role of ‘inner woodsman.’ Be strong and of good courage. You have tools to work with- light and truth, all the power needed to grow and progress. 

When your boundaries feel a little impinged upon, speak kindly and firmly, and let the unruly puppy or wolf know you are the alpha of your life.

Remember, puppies and people thrive on love.

You’ve got this, friend!

All my love,


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