Handling Hardy People

In: Social Issues

Submitted By hyoae
Words 3109
Pages 13
The High Art of Handling Problem People
Dealing with difficult people is a special skill—and an increasingly necessary one.
By Hara Estroff Marano, published on May 01, 2012 - last reviewed on July 02, 2012

The walk-in medical clinic was about to close for the day when Susan Biali got a call from one of her longtime patients. Could the doctor please hang in a bit longer? The caller was feeling very ill and needed to see her immediately. An exhausted Biali extended her already burdensome day and waited for the patient to arrive. Some time later, the woman sauntered in; she was perfectly fine. She just needed a prescription refill.
"She totally lied to me," the Vancouver doctor recalls. "Afterwards, I was so upset that the degree of my reaction troubled me. I'm a general physician with some training in psychiatry. Yet I couldn't put my finger on exactly why I was so bothered. I thought it was a flaw in myself."
Eventually, she identified what set her off: "You think you're in an innocuous situation—a typical doctor-patient encounter. But the woman took complete advantage of my compassion. Then, not only wouldn't she acknowledge the lie, but she looked at me blankly and demanded, 'Can't you just move on and give me my prescription?' She made me feel that I was the problem."

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Ever wonder how an encounter goes so quickly awry? Doubt your own perceptions? Feel thrown totally off balance by another person? Find yourself acting crazy when you're really a very nice person? Manipulation comes in many forms: There are whiners. There are bullies. There are the short-fused. Not to forget the highly judgmental. Or the out-and-outsociopath. But they often have one thing in common: Their MO is to provoke, then make you feel you have no reason to react—and it's all your fault to begin with! Feeling deeply discounted, even totally powerless, while having to…...

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