Talking to Crazy

How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life

 Talking to Crazy

Author: Mark Goulston
Pub Date: October 2015
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814436363
Page Count: 272
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814436370

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How to Spot an Irrational Person’s M.O.—and Turn It to Your Advantage

Every irrational person has a modus operandi—a preferred way of operating. An M.O. is a weapon irrational people use to get others to do what they want and stay in control. However, as bestselling author Mark Goulston points out in his new book, TALKING TO CRAZY (AMACOM 2015), it’s also a weakness. “An M.O. makes the person predictable, so you’ll know what to expect—whether it’s tears, screaming, silence, or bullying,” notes Goulston. “And when you’re prepared, it’ll be easier for you to keep your own emotions reined in and keep thinking straight.”

For help with spotting a person’s distinct brand of crazy and not letting it unravel you, here are snapshots of the nine most common M.O.s of irrational people:

Emotional people believe they need to vent or they’ll explode. Therefore, they cry, scream, and slam doors. They tend to overpower you because they’re willing to escalate a situation to a point that’s unbearable for a sane person.

Logical/Practical people think they’re in control only when they stick to the facts. As a result, they become terse, cold, and condescending. You may start feeling and acting more emotional—and angry—in response to their icy logic. They also have a way of causing you to feel ashamed for simply having feelings.

Manipulative/Needy people whine, wheedle, and make excuses to get something from others that they can’t (or won’t) supply themselves. If you don’t give them what they want, often they try to control you by making you feel guilty. When these people are unrelenting, you may start to feel annoyed and put-upon.

Fearful people feel like they’re constantly surrounded by threats. Prone to lashing out wildly when something triggers their fear, they appear to be comfortable perched between fear and panic. They evoke a nearly constant need to reassure them, which eventually gets exhausting.

Hopeless/Withdrawn people feel like the world will only hurt them, so they hide from it. No matter how hard you try to convince them that they can be happy in the future, they’ll insist that you’re wrong. Their negativity can leave you feeling frustrated, sad, and a bit hopeless yourself.

Martyrs make a point of refusing to ask for help, even when they desperately need it. They initially make you feel guilty for not helping, despite not giving you a chance. Over time, however, their martyr act can make you feel exasperated.

Bullies believe they’re in control only if they’re making you feel intimidated and weak. That’s why they attack, threaten, or belittle you. The more powerless you feel, the more powerful they feel. Bullying people may make you submissive—as well as angry. You may be provoked to strike back.

Know-It-Alls like being the only expert on a topic, even if they’ve never “been there” or “done that.” They will find cracks in any idea you offer. They know that if they can make you feel stupid, you’ll lose confidence. These people may make you feel insignificant and sometimes ashamed—as well as resentful.

Sociopathic people (technically sane but irrational in a unique way) are hiding secrets. Their M.O. is to terrify you so you won’t find out what those secrets are—or worse, expose them to the rest of the world. These people will make you feel afraid and even “creeped out.” Beware!

Adapted from TALKING TO CRAZY: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life by Mark Goulston (AMACOM 2015).

The Butter-Up

Getting a Know-It-All to Behave Less Arrogantly

Snide, self-touting experts on every subject who rub their supposed superiority in your face… few people annoy us more than know-it-alls. Are these people’s actions crazy? Yes—because know-it-alls not only offend others; they constantly sabotage themselves. Most people react to a know-it-all’s attack by becoming defensive or sullen. But that just reinforces what know-it-alls know—people are stupid—causing them to feel even more contemptuous and act even nastier.

In his new breakthrough book, TALKING TO CRAZY (AMACOM 2015), renowned psychiatrist and communicator Mark Goulston offers a counterintuitive alternative. “No matter how crazy it sounds,” Goulston contends, “your best strategy is to lean fully into these people’s reality—which is that as geniuses, they’re entitled to more respect than they get.” Here’s how to apply Goulston’s tactic for getting know-it-alls to behave better, The Butter-Up:

1. Agree that the know-it-all is, in fact, incredibly smart. Identify the areas in which the person truly shines.

2. Flatter the know-it-all for being so brilliant, insightful, or wise. Make specific observations, using statements like: “Your latest presentation was fascinating.” “You have an outstanding eye for color.” “You always come up with innovative ideas.” “You’re the best designer we have on staff.”

3. Deliver your message. Describe how the know-it-all’s actions are self-defeating, but do it in a way that reinforces your flattery. For example, say, “Our younger designers have so much to learn from you. Unfortunately, when you cut them down, they tune out—and that means they’re not getting the benefit of your expertise. Perhaps, you could find a way to approach them as a mentor rather than a critic.”

“The more you butter up the egos of know-it-alls,” Mark Goulston assures, “the less likely they are to talk down to you.”

Adapted from TALKING TO CRAZY: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life by Mark Goulston (AMACOM 2015).

Praise for Mark Goulston's Just Listen

Praise for Mark Goulston’s JUST LISTEN: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

"It's a measure of how contentious work relationships can get that the author, a psychiatrist, draws on hostage-negotiation techniques to instruct readers on how to deal with 'defiant executives, angry employees or self-destructing management teams'.... Mission accomplished." --Time

“Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, business consultant, and FBI hostage-negotiation trainer, Goulston provides brilliant yet doable techniques for getting through to others... This book transcends the self-help category by promoting real communication.” --Library Journal (starred review)

“…an impressive bag of tricks… a guide that is as entertaining as it is useful” --Publishers Weekly

"The most useful (five-star) book on communicating... Everyone can be a better communicator with the right knowledge, and this book makes learning interesting and easy." --Lindsey Novak, nationally syndicated "At Work" columnist

"Useful and applicable techniques and strategies for everything from getting teams to work together, to handling narcissistic clients (or is that a redundancy?), and getting your message across to even the most impenetrable people." --Accounting Today

"Just Listen is a banquet of approaches and ideas that's easy to devour the first time around, and a flavorful feast whenever you use portions as a reference book. It's certainly one of the best how-to books of the year." --Inland Empire Business Journal

"A primer on dealing with hard-to-reach people in virtually every scenario -- defiant executives, angry employees, families in turmoil, warring couples -- through use of well-honed psychological techniques. Illustrative snippets from counseling session reveal martial-arts like techniques: potent on their own, but even more powerful when you combine them. Chapter summaries feature action steps preparing readers to encounter similar scenarios, yielding a guide that is as entertaining as it is useful."

"Just Listen is not only helpful for any kind of business, it teaches a skill that will aid you outside of the office too." --Niche Magazine

"Just Listen is an excellent guide for learning how to break down barriers." --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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