Young children, and certain people of all ages, can be infuriating beyond reason. The whining, the attitude-laden "no" to a simple request, the snide, unexpected taunting, the illogical behavior, excuses, lack of willingness to go along and get along, refusal to consider other points of view, irrationality, and defiance: these are some of the delightful attributes of self-centered individuals, no matter their age. In dealing with such people, there is a sense of disbelief. Seriously? we wonder. Are they kidding?
And when we discover that they are not kidding, that they really are that small-minded or unbending or contrary, we have a choice. We can get furious and fired up and defiant ourselves. We can get pissed off and try to bend them. But they don't bend. Or, we can calmly and reasonably negotiate, but there is a blankness that meets our efforts, crossed arms and a pouty face that tells us, "I don't care."
We can beg, plead, jump up and down, raise our voices, whisper, stare, stomp our feet; but the more out-of-control and frustrated we become, the more they seem to smile at us, a small, evil smile, like they have got us now, and indeed, they have.
There's nothing for such a battle of wills but to stop battling, to retreat and regroup, or to simply walk away. In reasoning with the unreasonable trying to bring it around, we lose every time. If we remove ourselves from engagement to reconsider our approach, we keep our serenity and nobility intact.
I don't know why certain people and children are so frustrating to deal with, and so unreasonable, but they are, and I must accept that if I want to be happy. I can't change the behavior of others to make myself feel better. But I don't have to become unreasonable with them. I can cease the struggle. I can let them be. And without me to push against, they lose all the wind in their sails, and it's a lonely ride. They'll try to bring me back again and again. And I can walk away as many times as I need to. I can hold my boundaries for interaction with such insanity firm.
I recognize unreasonable people and situations and choose not to engage. I let them be, and keep my peace and serenity intact.