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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Talking to Crazy

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

As a psychiatrist and crisis counselor, Mark Goulston expects to deal with crazy—including the seriously delusional and chilling kind—routinely. Yet, as he’s come to realize, dealing with crazy is a problem everyone faces. Maybe it’s a bullying boss or a manipulative coworker. Maybe it’s a hostile teen or a whiny elderly parent. Maybe it’s a tearful lover or a raging stranger on the road. We all deal with what Goulston calls “everyday crazy”—people who lose sight of reality, act in ways that defy sense, or refuse to listen to reason—nearly every day. Still, most of us aren’t prepared for dealing with crazy and, as a result, often wind up making matters even crazier.

In TALKING TO CRAZY: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life (AMACOM 2015), Mark Goulston reveals the keys to handling others’ craziness, while keeping your own crazy impulses at bay. Instead of ignoring or arguing with everyday crazy, he advocates leaning into it. By using Goulston’s six-step “Sanity Cycle,” readers will come to see and understand when a person isn’t able to think rationally, not take it personally, offer empathy, and gradually guide him or her back to a saner way of thinking. This approach to crazy doesn’t come instinctively, Goulston admits, and takes some courage to implement. But it works.

“No matter what kind of everyday crazy you’re dealing with, leaning into that crazy can empower you to break free from communication strategies that fail every time and break through to the people you need to reach,” Goulston assures. “As a result, you’ll be able to walk into just about any emotional situation—anywhere—and feel confident, in control, and unafraid.”

Written in a captivating conversational style and packed with familiar real-life cases of everyday craziness at home and in the workplace, TALKING TO CRAZY reveals:

• Why people act in unreasonable and infuriating ways, with insights into the brain’s natural defense mechanisms and the lasting impact of past experiences—particularly being harshly criticized, coddled, or ignored as a child.

• How to recognize an irrational person’s “M.O.”—needy and manipulative, explosively emotionally, icily logical, martyred, and bullying among the most common—and prepare an effective, calm and rational response.

• How to use a range of proven techniques for getting through to everyday crazy—Belly Roll (a form of assertive submission to defuse a tense situation), Fishbowl (to engage an irrational person’s empathy neurons), Eye of the Hurricane (finding the sane inside the crazy), Frenemies (especially for handling a toxic deflector at work), and ten more.

• Eight powerful strategies for curing the irritating, frustrating, energy-draining crazy behavior of loved ones—from getting a “strong-and-silent” partner to talk to healing a broken relationship with an adult child to convincing a fragile yet proud and stubborn aging parent to accept help.

• When it makes sense to try to talk to a crazy-acting person, when it’s saner and safer to simply walk away, and when it’s essential to seek out a professional.

“All of us, at some points in time, are crazy,” notes Goulston. Practical and reassuring, TALKING TO CRAZY makes the everyday fact of craziness a lot less aggravating.

About the Author

MARK GOULSTON, M.D., is a nationally acclaimed psychiatrist, crisis counselor, and business consultant. The author of Just Listen, Get Out of Your Own Way, and other popular books, he blogs for Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Psychology Today; cohosts a weekly radio show; and is featured frequently in major media, including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, CNN, Fox News, and the TODAY show. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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