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.

Love Me Don’t Leave Me by Michelle Skeen, PsyD

51JqLOofH8L._AC_US240_FMwebp_QL65_If you’ve ever struggled with building strong and healthy relationships despite fears, anxieties and road blocks from your past, you must read Love Me Don’t Leave Me. The main focus of this book is for people with fear of abandonment, but it also goes in depth with other common anxieties that hinder relationships. I couldn’t turn the pages of this book fast enough. Author Michelle Skeen, PsyD writes in a voice that at once makes you feel comfortable and understood . She introduces the reader to her content in a way that is never boring or judgmental. In this book Skeen explores the idea of core beliefs: how and when they are formed, emotions and reactions they cause, and the affects they have on relationships. She then guides the reader through ways to recognize when you are reacting to a core belief, how to cope with the emotions and thoughts that result from your core beliefs, the consequences of unhelpful reactions based on core beliefs, and then introduces practical and attainable strategies for changing those actions.  What I love about this book is the depth of understanding I walked away with, and the knowledge that everyone can experience relief from the anxieties and fears and that relationships don’t have to be sabotaged because of them. Those of you who have read this book, what did you think?