Skip to content
Home » News » How to Deal with Demanding People

How to Deal with Demanding People

Do you ever wonder why demanding doesn’t work?

There are reasons your demands are being met with resistance. When people get demanding, it may be because they are alarmed and are thinking of something as an emergency or survival situation. The demander doesn’t know what to do and thinks the demandee does. It is like a child screaming to its mother. When this happens, the demandee has to say no. They have to say no in order to preserve their status as a separate person with free will. They are afraid if they don’t say no, they will be regarded as a dehumanized “resource”.

Think of it this way: If you were to travel to a foreign country, and the minute you got off the tour bus, 25 screaming merchants charged you and demanded that you buy a necklace, what would you say? You have to say no, just to preserve your boundaries, even if you like the necklace, and even if you came there just to buy a necklace! You have to say no to protect yourself.

So, back to the poor demander. They feel alone and perhaps very threatened by something they don’t feel capable of dealing with. They cry out to his/her most loved person in the world, and then they get rejected! But please understand if you are the demander that the demandee has to say no to protect themselves from the overwhelming tide of something they can’t fix or deal with either. The demander can’t deal with it. And neither can the demandee. Please understand if your demands are not being met that you are not being personally rejected, even if it feels that way.

There is something else that sometimes happens in this situation. The demander says in effect to the demandee: “I am holding you hostage until you meet my needs. You can’t live your own life. You can’t be happy while I am miserable. You must stop what you are doing and see about me. When I decide that you have done enough, then you can be allowed to have your life back.”

The demander feels rejected and alone. They have been told that when something is very important you should communicate that clearly to their beloved, and that’s what they did, and now they have been left alone and unloved. The demandee feels abused. They were presented with an impossible task, and then blamed because they could not fulfill it. They were not allowed to show love their way. Think about this! Their way was rejected as not good enough or simply not enough. Now his/her most important relationship is suffering because they failed.

Many needs go unmet, not because you are unloved, but because they simply can’t be met by another person. Your spouse cannot meet all your needs, and sometimes cannot meet very deep needs. The next time you feel overwhelmed, resist the urge to demand and sit mindfully with yourself and your difficult feelings. Love yourself, listen to yourself, and respect yourself. You are not wrong to feel this way. Be kind to yourself. That will help the healing process. Make room for these uncomfortable feelings. There may be a gift hidden in there somewhere.