One of the reasons why personality clashes occur in rehab is because those who fall into addiction can come from any background. The stereotypical image of addicts that is portrayed in the media is not representative of the real situation. In fact the majority of these people would be classed as high functioning addicts – some of them may even be considered high achievers and well adjusted. Substance abusers can rich or poor, they can come from any race, they can be male or female, they can feel deeply religious or they may be nonbelievers, and they may vote democrat or republican. Considering that addicts are such a mixed bunch of people it is hardly surprising that they will sometimes struggle to get along. Going to rehab may mean having to deal with difficult people
To say that somebody is difficult is a subjective description. A person that one person might fight difficult to deal with might be a wonderful companion to somebody else. There are certain personality traits that can mean that a person is more likely to described this way such as:
* An aggressive or hostile individual.
* Somebody who is always negative about things.
* People who seem to love arguments and will go out of their way to start one.
* The arrogant individual who believes they know it all.
* Closed minded people.
* Those individuals who are overly secretive or quite
* The constant critic
* Gossips who love to spread bad news
* People who would be classified as demand resistant. This means that they automatically rebel against anyone they think is trying to tell them what to do.
* The person who regularly tells lies or exaggerates.
* Those who would be considered two faced. This is deceitful and manipulative behavior where the individual may be nice to people’s faces but then say bad things behind their back about them.
* People who always seem to be complaining about something – they are never satisfied.
* Fanatical people who are determined to make other people believe the same things as they do.
Although addicts have their own unique personalities and backgrounds they will usually share certain characteristics. These traits are often referred to as being part of the addictive personality. This should not be taken to mean that all addicts will share these traits, but they will usually have at least some of them. The characteristics of the addictive personality includes:
* A tendency to do things on impulse.
* They will often have a high tolerance for deviant behavior. In order words they do not see anything wrong with breaking the rules if it suits their purpose.
* The addict will usually believe that they are dealing with an excessive amount of stress in their life.
* They value nonconformity – their heroes will tend to be rebels.
* They behave in ways that could be considered antisocial.
* Many substance abusers will suffer from symptoms of depression.
* They tend to feel insecure in their relationships – they become jealous easily.
* Their self esteem will usually be low.
* They may feel alienated from other people.
* They struggle when it comes to delaying gratification.
* They may be prone to attention seeking behavior.
The fact that these personality traits will be shared by many of those in rehab increases the likelihood of interpersonal conflicts.
Those individuals who decide to attend rehab are more than likely going to bump into one or two people who they consider to be difficult to get along with. This is normal. The most likely reasons for why these people will be considered difficult can include:
* They talk too much in group. The individual seems to monopolize these sessions and doesn’t give other people a chance to share.
* They are constantly negative about everything and seem to want to infect everyone else with their negativity.
* The individual may be cynical about recovery and ridicule other people for taking their treatment seriously.
* There may be people who spend most of their time complaining.
* Some individuals may appear to be too much of a goody two shoes – this goes against the tendency of addicts to admire rebellious behavior.
* Some individuals may seem to have no respect for other people’s privacy.
* There may be some people who isolate from the rest of the group. They act secretively and refuse to let other people get close to them.
* They act in ways that may appear sneaky. For example, there may be a suspicion that they report things to the therapists behind the rest of the group’s backs.
There are different reasons for why people may appear difficult in rehab such as:
* Personality clashes.
* Some people feel coerced into rehab and are there to please family, friends, or bosses. The fact that they do not really want to be there means they rebel.
* The addictive personality means that people are more likely to fall into confrontation.
* The discomfort of withdrawal symptoms means that people are even more sensitive than usual.
* Fear about the future means that people may feel moody.
* People in rehab are often not used to spending all their time with other people. Sometimes it can all feel a bit much and they may use this as a justification to lash out.
* Many addicts have low self esteem, and they may try to compensate for this by behaving arrogantly.
* Some people in rehab may have a dual diagnosis that they are unaware of – for example depression. It could be the symptoms caused by this other condition that are making them hard to deal with.
* Those individuals who are naturally introverted may just not want to associate much with other people. Their actions may be misinterpreted to mean that they are standoffish.
* Some people will be ambivalent about their recovery, and this means that they are not fully committed to rehab. They may be just looking for an excuse to leave, and this is why they spend so much time complaining.
* Often the reason why another person appears difficult has nothing to do with them. It can be that the individual is projecting or misunderstanding the other person’s behavior.
* There may be bossy individuals who try to treat the rest of the clients like their servants.
* Clients who act as if they are therapists.
It may sound like an odd claim but the fact that there are difficult people in rehab can actually be considered a good thing. This is because the whole point of this facility is to act as a training environment so that people will be able to cope when they return to the real world. It is far easier to deal with such challenges in this type of facility because the individual will be in a protected and supportive environment. Unless people plan to go live in a cave after rehab there is no getting away from difficult people, and if they cannot deal with such individuals in while in treatment they will also struggle with this issue when they get home. Interpersonal relationships can be a real stumbling block for people in recovery so learning to deal with these problems during rehab gives the individual a real advantage for when they go home.
Managing difficult people in rehab is a challenge, but it is also a fantastic learning opportunity. In order to deal well with this the individual can.
* Realize that it is not necessary to get along with everyone in rehab, but there should be respect and common courtesy always.
* The best attitude to have when dealing with these conflicts is to see them as a chance to grow. Learning to deal with difficult people is a useful skill.
* Sometimes the best approach to difficult people is just to smile politely but get out of the conversation at the first opportunity.
* The individual needs to examine themselves closely to see why they are getting annoyed. It may be that this other person has triggered something inside them – in order words the problem is coming from their side and not from the other person.
* If people are causing problems or behaving inappropriately the therapists should be informed. If the behavior is deemed too disruptive that person will be asked to leave.
* It is best to avoid conversations in rehab that involve controversial topics such as religion or politics. Such discussions can bring out the worst in people and often end in arguments and bad feelings.
* There may be people in rehab who are acting manipulatively and seem to be trying to stir trouble – they can do this in such a way that it is difficult to accuse them of anything. It is best to just keep out of these people’s way.
* The individual needs to keep in mind that it is not their job to fix the other people in rehab.
* It is a bad idea to feed the cynic. Such negativity can be contagious and it can sap people’s motivations to stay sober.
* Any aggressive behavior will not be tolerated in rehab. Those who become violent will usually be removed from the facility right away.
* It is important to remember that the reason why people end up in rehab is that they have problems in life.
* Practices such as loving kindness meditation can make it easier to deal with difficult people.