do his/her thing but you can use the gloomy predictions in a
constructive, problem-solving way). Also ask, "What will happen if we
do nothing?" Finally, welcome everyone's help but be willing to do it
alone because the pessimist won't volunteer.
Every organization has a "staller," a person who puts off decisions
for fear someone will be unhappy. Unlike the super-agreeable, the
staller is truly interested in being helpful. So, make it easier for
him/her to discuss and make decisions. Try to find out what the
staller's real concerns are (he/she won't easily reveal negative
opinions of you). Don't make demands for quick action. Instead, help
the staller examine the facts and make compromises or develop
alternative plans (and decide which ones take priority). Give the staller
reassurance about his/her decision and support the effective carrying
out of the decision.
Several other books offer help with critical, nasty or impossible
people (Glass, 1995; Ellis & Lange, 1994; NiCarthy, Gottlieb &
Coffman, 1993; Bernstein & Rozen, 1989; Carter, 1990; Solomon,
1990; Brinkman & Kirschner, 1994). Also see the bibliography at the
end of this chapter. There is hope.
Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.
Driving each other crazy
Sometimes our friend or lover does things that "drive us crazy."
We probably don't know how he/she does it, we just know we feel very
uncomfortable--angry, put off, used, etc. Bach and Duetsch (1979)
suggest these feelings arise because this person sends us a mixed
message. On the surface, the person seems to be saying "everything
is OK, please don't change" but underneath there is a subtle request
for a change. It's upsetting because one can't stay the same and
change too. Why are the requests for changes hidden and denied?
Because it is scary to be critical, maybe even aggressive, and to
bluntly ask a friend or partner to change. We are afraid of anger and
rejection. Yet, we all have a right to clear information, to our feelings,
to some space, and to some power to influence things. In their book,
Bach and Duetsch give hundreds of examples of "crazymaking"
"Your-wish-is-my-wish" is when we accommodate every whim of
the other person, not out of love but out of fear of having a conflict.
Eventually, anyone would want to change this one-sided situation but