Elliston is a highly successful workshop leader and trainer, who offers wisdom learned the hard way—by experience – as well as through rigorous study and certification in many areas of professional training that aid her in her work -- Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Reality Therapy. She is a faculty member of the William Glasser Institute. Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and developer of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy that teaches people they have a choice in how they choose to behave.
The methods Elliston offers in her book end the trauma and the drama, and minimize the possibility of confrontation. She gives YOU, the reader, the ability to take a strong, positive, confident—yet compassionate--stance with the “difficult person”—whether that is a relative, coworker, friend, one of your children or anyone else for that matter.
Elliston demonstrates how to:
• Identify the ways to talk to a “difficult” person
• Incorporate true incentives to help people change
• Make real the consequences of the “difficult” person’s action
• Increase success through acceptance and belonging
• Avoid being triggered by the “difficult” person allowing you to neutralize those hot buttons and communicate without judgment
Elliston lays out a proven script for peacefully transforming the difficult person’s behavior and the environment. She gives you the tools for successfully initiating and engaging in a conversation with a difficult person that would lead to change.
Guest post from the Author:
The Agony of Boundaries
I recently enjoyed a meal with my friend Don, who came to me with a story of difficulty with his girlfriend Angie. They have been together ten years.They are close, intimate, and share most weekends together.They participate in events together with each other’s families,on holidays, and at social events.Both have been married and don’t want to be again but have made a commitment to each other.
Angie has an ex-husband who slides in and out of her life.Don watches her agonize over her ex-husband’s ailments and inability to manage his life.Don is supportive when she takes him meals and when she supports him financially.Don cares enough about Angieand the strength of their relationship that he works at not requiring her to change.In Loving What Is, Byron Katie calls this “staying out of her business.”It is having clear boundaries. It is an important part of learning to deal with a difficult person in my book, Lessons from a Difficult Person; How to Deal With People Like us.
Recently, as they discussed another changed plan due to the ex, Angie said, “Don, this man is going to be in my life until he dies. I still love him.He saved my life when I was a kid.I will take care of him and spend time with him as long as he needs me.I love you too and my time with him has nothing to do with us. I don’t think there is a conflict here.You need to deal with it.”
Don frets over dealing with it.He finds himself in a relationship with a woman who is still in love with someone else, while saying she loves him too.It feels awkward anduncomfortable.He wants to respect her past experiences and honor what she honors but at the same time he fears that she is not really committed to him.When they talk about a shared future and plans for retirement, he isn’t interested in including the ex-husband.He says, “An ex is an ex for a reason.That marriage is over.”
And what can I say?I listen and listen.When he asks for my opinion I say something oblique about needing to know our own boundaries.We talk about his concern that Angie will end her relationship with him if he says she has to end her involvement with her ex.We ask,“What is fair, anyway?”We consider if the relationship with her is really what he wants.
We arrive at a few questions:
1. What does he really want in a partner?
2. What else is going on in his life that he is worrying about this now, after ten years with Angie?
3. Is it possible to find apartner who doesn’t have a past that may intrude?
Don is wondering about his personal boundaries in his relationship with Angie.
I am wondering about my own boundariesin my friendship with Don.If I respect boundaries, I will not voice opinions about what he should do (it’s his life, not mine), and I won’t askhim for details the next time we are together (it’s his issue, not mine).
Friendship has boundaries too.
Sarah (Sam) Elliston is an expert in the art of Dealing with Difficult People. She is a top workshop leader and a member of the faculty of the William Glasser Institute, which espouses “Reality Therapy” to foster behavioral change.
But her instructional career began long before she even became aware that she was herself a “difficult person,” traits that began in Lincoln MA, where she grew up. For more than 30 years she has been teaching and training, first as a high school teacher in Ohio and Cincinnati—and then as an administrator in the not-for-profit sector.
Prize: One winner will receive a copy of Lessons from a Difficult Person and a $10 Amazon gift card (open to USA & Canada)
Until next time,