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Chapter 1. Don't Just Sit and Suffer > Leaping Before You Look - Pg. 9

Don't Just Sit and Suffer 9 Difficult people thrive when others tolerate their difficult behavior. That's because somehow or other, the difficult person feels rewarded in some odd ways; in fact, that's one reason why they are difficult. They haven't caught on that it's more rewarding to behave nicely than to be difficult. And they aren't going to catch on unless they get some help. This Won't Work! Most of us wait too long to deal with a difficult person. It's normal, but delaying allows a conflict situation to escalate, sometimes beyond the point of repair. Doing nothing isn't going to change anything. In fact, one of the major issues with difficult people is that doing nothing makes them more difficult over time. The more you do nothing, the worse they get. The worse they get, the bigger the problem and the more likely you will try to avoid facing the problem. There are those circles again! Where does all this lead? If you do nothing long enough, you can enter the chronic "Kick Me, I'm Easy" Club. If that doesn't suit you, you can join the "Hello, I'm a Perpetual Victim" Fraternal Asso- ciation. While you are attending meetings of those organizations, the difficult person is wreaking havoc, not only with your life, but the lives of everyone around them. Inaction isn't the solution. Just taking action isn't enough, either. It has to be the right action. Leaping Before You Look Inaction isn't the only fast track to victimhood. There is another risk. Most of us, when faced with a difficult person, get frustrated at their antics, even angry. After all, who likes to feel manipulated, bullied, pushed, and pulled? Nobody. I certainly understand if your first reaction or desire with respect to difficult people is to put them in their place or to do anything just to beat them. Again, that's normal. But while it may be normal, it can put you in a worse position in terms of dealing with that difficult person. In fact, it may actually invite the difficult person to become more difficult. Let's say you're at a meeting having a heated discussion with Marianne, who is being completely unreasonable and rude in her remarks. She comments in a sneaky way about "how some people at the meeting behave like hypocrites." That's nasty. You leap in with your own tirade to let her know that you won't stand for such comments, and that she should have the guts to be specific if she is going to make accusations. What do you think will happen? Do you think Marianne will tender a public apology and behave more appropriately? Or is it more likely she will turn up the heat on the burner, with you firmly placed in the center? If you chose the latter, you are correct. Few difficult people react well to this form of outright confrontation. As a result of your immediate leap into the fray, you are almost guaranteed to receive more abuse.