Sooooo Annoying

You’ve found that lately, your friend has become sooo annoying. This is the friend you’ve known and loved for years, someone you’ve always trusted.

As one client said to me, she couldn’t tell whether her friend was just generally pent up and being passive-aggressive, or whether this had something to do with herself.

Have you had a great friend who all of a sudden starts to get on your nerves?We all come across this at some point in friendships because your friend is like you – human.

When this happens you will often find that they have not been trying to upset you. Why would they? If they’ve been your good friend for a long time, they wouldn’t do this on purpose would they. But why does this happen?

Openness in relationships

You’ll often find that friend’s cut off point in a relationship is when they feel they are not being honest with each other. And if you try to ignore these feelings and get on with the friendship, things can become increasingly upsetting and uncomfortable.

So what on earth is going on?

Three Possibilities for the behaviour

There are 3 possibilities:

  1. They are getting annoyed with you about something you aren’t aware of and so are becoming placed in opposition to you. They then pick up on the things that they know push your buttons to ‘get their own back.’

  2. They start to reflect your feelings of discomfort, suspicion or irritability, and you do the same to them. And so you amplify each other.

  1. They don’t know what is going on at all. They don’t understand why you are upset with them, or withdrawing from the relationship. They don’t understand why the friendship suddenly feels difficult or uncomfortable for you.

Number 1 simply needs grievances aired and forgiveness to move on.

Number 2 is a common occurrence and requires a look at our own behaviour to see if we have the same attitude that they are expressing.

We can often have a blind spot about our own shortcomings and when we do, we project them more strongly onto others around us.

Number 3 can be baffling. This is because as we get more trusting of someone the more we open ourselves up. Old programs can start to surface to be presented for healing. But often we aren’t aware of this. And this complex is a topic for another day.

When old buttons get pushed

Others won’t realise when they are pushing old or deep buttons inside of you when they say or do (whatever). But when this is happening it can feel like they are doing things to you on purpose.

Putting your friendship cards on the table.

You can blame your friend or you can put your cards on the table and tell them how you feel without judging them.

When you do this, you have more opportunity to become clear about what is going on.

This will usually feel uncomfortable to do. But when you realise that this friend is not trying to upset you in any way, then there is a puzzle to be solved.

You can then enquire into what makes you receive their energy and translate it the way you do.

And that is where it gets interesting. It can either be your old patterns that are being poked i.e. some fear or old memory is being tweaked…..and/or you may be projecting onto the other.

Projecting your suppressed ‘stuff’ onto the other

You can sometimes tell if you are projecting your own stuff onto another when you become very judgemental about the other. You think that the other person isn’t who they think they are. 

This is founded in judgment and is usually due to us projecting our own suppressed feelings about ourselves onto the other.

Suppressed ‘unacceptable’ feelings

When there is a part of us that we find completely unacceptable, we are simply not aware of it. It is this unawareness that makes us vulnerable to projecting our feelings of disgust and shame onto others.

Typical projection in families

We often see this in families where one member of a family tells us another member is soooo ‘such and such’. “Thank God I’m not like my father/mother/brother/sister.”

But from outside of the family we can see that they both share these traits and that the person doing the judging actually behaves in this way too. But they can’t see it in themselves at all!

The Mystery of the Shadow

This is the mystery of the shadow. When we look at others and they really annoy us, or we feel that they are not good enough, or that they are getting on our nerves, there is a very good chance that they are reminding us of a part of ourselves which we don’t accept at all. By not accepting at all, I mean being completely unaware that we are like this.

If you are not projecting you will find yourself being more understanding and less judgemental about another’s behaviour.

Being human

You will realise that you also can be like that sometimes. And this does not make you a bad person, and neither does it make the other person ‘bad’. It simply means you are both human.

 All humans share traits to a greater or lesser degree

The truth is that humans share all traits. Some in larger and some in smaller amounts. And they can slide up and down on the scale at any time depending on how positive and present we are or how stressed we are.

And yes we can be predisposed to defaulting to a particularly  unhelpful trait. But as humans we have all of the human traits available to us, and over the years everyone will exhibit all of them to some extent.

When the shadow surfaces

Our shadow tends to surface when we are stressed and thereby not very aware of ourselves. It is then that others see this part of ourselves expressed which we believe doesn’t exist.

When we understand that this part of us does actually exist we stop being so critical when others display the same trait.

These traits may be things like being greedy, critical or selfish. Or being wasteful, lazy or cruel. So each time you find somebody who really annoys you, ask yourself: “Have I ever done or said something that exhibited this trait.” e.g If you think the other person is dishonest ask yourself “Have I ever been dishonest?” and then be prepared to get real….

Because there is not one single person on this planet that has not been dishonest at some time in their life. It may be in very small things like saying yes you love that haircut when you hate it. Or by lying to yourself about something to continue a relationship ‘for your childrens sake’.

And you may think you’ve never been cruel. But if you have ever laughed at someone elses misfortune e.g. a politician tripping up or having a pie in their face, you have exhibited cruelty. Cruelty means we take pleasure in someone else’s suffering. And as we said before, you might only be a tiny bit cruel and not very often, but you still have that trait and in certain circumstances it will come out.

It’s very easy to be blind to our own faults

It’s so easy to get focused on other people’s faults and in doing so we ignore our own. If we continually find fault in others and it’s making us miserable, it best to look at ourselves.

You are not projecting when……

You can know that you are not projecting when you feel compassion for the other person. You are not projecting when you seek to understand their behaviour. Even when it is not pleasant or helpful behaviour.

And you aren’t projecting when you recognise that their behaviour is mainly unconscious. By this we mean if they were fully aware and fully conscious they would probably not be acting in this way.

But none of us is fully aware and fully conscious at all times, and we are especially vulnerable to letting our suppressed side out when we are under extreme stress.

So get clear that when you are not projecting you will be filled with a kind of perception which does not have to judge the other but just gently notices. And you will recognise that you too share the same things you are accusing them of to a greater or lesser extent.

When you can accept this, it’s much harder to be upset by others. And even people who project their shadow onto you can be understood and you don’t have to take it on board.

If you want peace in your relationships

If we want a more peaceful world, we have to start with ourselves. And when we do, we will find plenty to keep us occupied. In doing this we don’t spend so much time focusing on other’s behaviour or words if they are not particularly loving or helpful.

Instead we seek our inner ‘to do’ list and work on accepting our selves – warts and all. In doing so, we find it much easier to be patient, kind and compassionate to our friends and family. Because we accept that we are also capable of operating at a lower level of consciousness at times.

For each of us there are circumstances that take us to that place of non-awareness. And each of us is capable of extreme loving kindness and compassion when we place ourselves in the other person’s shoes for a while.