The Art of Change Skills for Life

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Difficult People Week – The Lady Acts Like A Grenade

December 8, 2008 Dealing with Difficult People Persuasion 2

Our focus this week is Difficult People here at Dr. K’s Blog!  Today, Wednesday and Friday, I will post some of my email correspondence on the subject of dealing with people behaving badly.  Enjoy!

Dear Dr. K,

I know this may seem a little unorthodox, but I have read your book “Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How To Bring Out The Best In People At Their Worst,” and I was wondering if you could help me with a problem I’ve been having concerning a lady friend who acts like a grenade. She tends to do everything on

the spur of the moment which would seem like a pretty cool thing except she has problems where the spur of the moment has her exploding at anyone who even tries to make her feel better. . .

Sincerely,

S

———–

Dear S

Regarding your lady friend who acts like a grenade…

Let’s break it down like this.

1.  You have four choices.  Suffer (unacceptable) Leave (unacceptable) Change your attitude (possibly your best option) Change your behavior (tried all that)  If all else fails, love her as she is and let her have her lesson the hard way.  Sometimes, there are limits on our ability to help people we care about.  It’s a hard lesson, but often true.

2.  People lose it when they don’t feel appreciated.  If she’s becoming increasingly sensitive about her own value to the people around her, I’d look for where she might be getting such a message, and what else it could mean.  She could be getting that message in one situation, and acting it out in the other.

3.  Have you tried pygmalion power?   You can hear me tell a story about using it with a grenade named Tom in a free audio program you can listen to by signing up at http://learntopersuade.com Do it exactly that way and be consistent about it, and you may be surprised at the result.

I would appreciate you letting me know how this turns out.

best,

Dr. K

————–

Dear Dr. K

I took some of the ideas you gave, from both this e-mail, and from the audio program, and i have to say, I think its starting to work. I was quickly finding out what the main issue for the way she was bursting out in anger all the time, although i think it digs a little deeper than just one or 2 problems. . . but it’s going a lot better, her boyfriend is thanking me about it because he was getting extremely worried. I think that  pygmalion power thing was also against her, not just from her home-life, but i think she was saying it to herself as well. So me and her other friends are working together to help her attack the problem at its source and turn the pygmalian power into something better. It’s going to be a long and difficult road ahead but I don’t think I would have it any other way. thank you so much for the ideas, they have become a life-saver in more ways than one!

with grateful wishes

S

 

2 Responses

  1. J.D. Meier says:

    Sweet! Great focus and I like the prescriptive guidance.

    I don’t follow how you made the connection from blowing up to feeling under appreciated. Is it more about the cause or is it more about the fact that if you show somebody appreciation, it’s hard for them to blow up at you?

    • @J.D. Meier, Thanks for the question!

      People lose it when they don’t feel appreciated. That’s why managers lose it with employees (nobody says, “Great managing!”) employees lose it with managers (if the only time they see managers is when something is messed up!) and parents lose it with kids (kids are born with the attitude of “This was your idea, so you owe ME!”)
      So finding out where she’s getting the message that she’s not appreciated would allow for an ounce of prevention. And giving her this attention tells her that she is valued and appreciated, making it less likely she will blow up at him.

      best,
      Rick

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