Coping With Difficult People by Robert M. Bramson, Phd

If you’re looking for a book to help you understand different types of difficult people, how they act, and why they act that way this is the book for you.  What I loved most about it was the focus on understanding the behavior and  the information on how to cope with people in your life who act this way.  This book does not focus on how to change other people’s behavior because that’s not possible.  The only thing we can change is our own actions and how we feel about a certain situation.  In this book, Bramson proposes we can accomplish this by learning coping behaviors. The main focus is on dealing with people in a work setting, but the methods are easily adaptable to personal life as well.

The book addresses 8 “types” of difficult people: Hostile-Aggressives, Complainers, Silent and Unresponsive people, Super-Agreeables, Negativists, Know-it-Alls, and Indecisive Stallers.  For each category of difficult person, Bramson discusses what the behavior looks like, why people do it (I love how he includes scientific information like reinforcement and not just emotional reasons)  and then explains step-by-step methods for coping using real life examples from his consulting career. The idea behind the coping methods is that they “interfere with the “successful” functioning of the difficult behavior.”

After going through the different “types” individually the author includes chapters that give a basic formula for developing an action plan that you can use when preparing to deal with a difficult person, information on different thinking styles and how they affect the behaviors of difficult people and the person trying to cope, and ways to manage the defensive behavior that will ultimately arise both in the difficult person and the person applying these coping methods.

What I found most valuable was the focus on coping.  The author stresses that a lot of times you are not going to end up with an ideal situation, but you will end up with one that alleviates a lot of the stress and mental anguish that goes along with not dealing with difficult people. He demonstrates through examples and explanations that since you can’t change a difficult person, you have the options of suffering or coping, and coping is just better for everyone involved.  I knew Bramson was hitting home and giving me applicable information when I started to see how my own actions in past situations actually fed into the difficult behavior and made it worse.  I was then able to think about what the outcome would have been if I had instead applied the coping methods detailed in this book.  I can say that I have confidence that with some practice my future interactions with difficult people will be much more successful and less stressful.



52 Weeks of Thankfulness #2

I am so fortunate to have met the most wonderful and supportive people in my life.  No matter what I’m going through and no matter how alone I feel at the time, when I come out at the other end I realize exactly how many people were right there caring, worrying, loving and supporting me.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to do the same for them.

Join the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness prompt at Haddon Musings.

This is Your Song

For all those like me, who often times want to say “No” but feel the need to justify our boundaries because we fear hurting others feelings, This is your song:

Let’s go ahead and dispose of the context right away so I can clearly state what I’m trying to say.

  • It’s perfectly fine to “hit on” someone at a party or a bar or a club or wherever.
  • It’s perfectly not fine to be mean to someone for doing so.
  • I don’t believe most women find it problematic or irritating when someone finds them attractive, even when they don’t feel the same way about the other person.  Personally, I think that would be a mean reaction.

What I do like about this song is how it addresses boundaries.  In Western culture (I say Western culture because it’s the culture I live in and have the most experience with) many people expect you to justify your response of “No.”  When a person says “no”, they are drawing a boundary.  The reason for drawing a boundary could be as simple as “I don’t want to,” or as complicated as a response to a deep and private emotion.  Whatever the reason for your boundary, nobody has the right to demand you explain it.  This is a form of boundary testing, the purpose of which is to get you to change your mind and do what they want you to, or to see how easy it is to sway you from your decision making.  Insisting on a reason, or persisting in asking after someone has  already said “no” is disrespectful.

Oftentimes we will want to explain our reasons because we care about the person we are interacting with.  We care about their feelings and about how they perceive us.  This is natural and I believe it is ok to do it if you want to. Something I strive to remember in my daily life is that “No” is a complete answer and a completely acceptable answer.

This post is a response to This Is Your Song at the Daily Prompt.

52 Weeks of Thankfulness #1

I was so pleased to be invited by Watching The Daisies to join a prompt at Haddonmusings called 52 Weeks of Thankfulness.  What a wonderful way not just to remind ourselves of the high points in life, but to spread that positivity across the internet and inspire others to realize the wonderful aspect of their own lives!

That said, here is my first post of thankfulness:

Up until the past few years of my life I had adopted a defeatist attitude.  Whatever happened in my life I just assumed there was nothing that could be done to change it.  I got stuck in a bad relationship, a bad job, and was unhappy with my life as a result. Two years ago I reconnected with someone from my past, who ended up being the love of my life.  From day 1 he encouraged me and told me I was strong and I could change the things in my life I didn’t like, and I could create a life that I love.  He was right.  And every day, every new decision I make affirms the truth of what he has shown me.  I have moved to a different state, gotten a new job, got the dog I’ve waited my whole life for, and am in a loving relationship full of joy and support.  And I know I  can’t control circumstances to bring about exactly what I want for my life, but I can certainly adjust my “sails” to bring me closer to my goals.