reply to post by Onet Wosix
First some questions . . .
1. What's your relative ranks in the organization?
2. What's his/her relationship like with the boss above both of you?
3. Is there ANYTHING AT ALL that he/she likes consistently ENOUGH that could be used as a reinforcer in a slow behavior mod shaping effort?
4. Is there ANYTHING AT ALL that you have control of that could be used inobtrusively as an aversive stimulus that could be used as a 'punishment'
in a slow behavior mod shaping effort? Even such as . . . looking away; turning away; walking away; looking disgusted; sounding disgusted in tone;
looking disgusted as one might look at a temper throwing 2 year old and with head high but not haughty--just mature--walking away . . . ?
5. Does he/she have allies in your work group?
6. Does he/she have any hobbies at all?
7. Does he/she read much at all?
8. What outside-of-work interests does he/she have?
9. What has he/she said about their relationship with their father particularly but mother as well?
10. Do they have any kids? What ages? What's the nature of their relationship with their kids?
11. If you had to guess, what would you guess would be their 3 biggest points of pain and angst generally in their lives and closest relationships?
12. If you had to guess--do you think it would be more realistic, functional to begin to
A) draw a firm line and isolate the person except for absolutely necessary work related communications [usually has negative side-effects work-wise]
B) slowly shape the relationship and the person toward a sort of functioning mutually respectful friendship [doing arm's length or less long term
therapy with gentle tiny shaping behavior efforts takes tons of patience. Yet, would be the safest--depending--unless they are the kind of psychopath
that murders those closest to them! LOL]
C) slowly shape the person's behavior with positive/negative reinforcers & punishments e.g. smiles, frowns, pleasant eye contact/ frowns; pleasant
tones; negative tones etc. delivered immediately after good or bad behavior/communicationis on their part
D) a paradoxical kind of moderately unpredictable dance where on an irregular basis you were warm and responsive to their good stuff--ignoring it the
rest of the time--particularly if their good stuff wasn't all that good. coupled with you were sharply disapproving of their bad stuff when it was
really bad but ignored it when it wasn't all that bad. But somewhat you became too unpredictable and maybe a little uneasy for them to be
around--that is--they'd not be able to predict your response and so might be uneasy around you.
Trouble is with D) it's very tricky. And, I'd want a great relationship with the boss first and maybe even clue him or her in that I was going to
try an experiment to see if I could lessen X's troublesom prickliness toward me.
It's just that in some situations where all else fails, some paradoxical stuff may be the only route.
E) Of course, you could always check out Neuro Linguistic Programming and use some of that in a behavior mod sort of way. I tend to avoid that for
philosophical reasons--it's very manipulative beyond even the above and not very upfront at that . . . yet is very powerful to a point.
There is a book called BOUNDARIES--great stuff for drawning functional boundaries in all kinds of relationships and situations.
Without knowing more, here's some hazardous off the top of my head suggestions--in addition to the above.
1. IF you think the person is incurably curious, suspicious etc. you could begin to take some articles from the net to work about:
A) ATTACHMENT DISORDER--PARTICULARLY ITS EFFECTS ON ADULT RELATIONSHIPS
B) SELF-ESTEEM; SELF-CONFIDENCE
C) A SENSE OF WORTH
D) LOCUS OF CONTROL ISSUES
E) STRESS--PARTICULARLY STRESS AND STRESS REDUCTION AT WORK; RELAXATION EXERCISES
F) HOW TO BUILD MORE SATISFYING RELATIONSHIPS
G) HOW TO STRENGTHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM THROUGH GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
H) HOW TO SLEEP BETTER BY DEALING WITH EMOTIONAL DISTRESS BETTER
I) How to overcome CONTROL FREAK habits.
1. I WOULD NOT OPENLY READ THE ARTICLES [one at a time] in front of her. I'd act like I was reading the article and then quickly and somewhat
obviously but not glaringly obviously hide it in a magazine. The first day or 3, I'd really hide the magazine where she was unlikely to find it--in
my things. After that, after you were sure she'd caught you 'hiding it' at least 1-3 times, then, I'd 'accidentally' leave the magazine in the
break room with part of the title visible out the top or from under the magazine just before she was to go on break.
2. You would do well to plan that any strategy or group of strategies could take 4-24 months to show the kind of progress you need. We can all be very
resistent to change--even when it's to our benefit to change. Troublesome people all the more so.
3. When folks find out their usual behaviors suddenly do NOT work--THEY TEND TO DO THEM MORE AND WORSE for a few days or weeks. THIS IS NORMAL. Must
be ignored, essentially.
4. You can also experiment with saying somethign like:
"Mildred, I just noticed that WHEN ___________________, your response seemed to be to _______________. I was puzzled as to your expectation about how
I/We/another co-worker would respond to your statement/actions."
The above is NOT a question. In fact, I'd probably stop asking the person questions for at least 60-90 days. Just make statements that invited them
to share what you needed to know. PARTICULARLY AVOID "WHY" QUESTIONS. THEY ARE ALMOST ALWAYS EXPERIENCED AS BEING ACCUSING in most relationships.
The above also doesn't blame or evaluate--it merely notes that the person did XYZ and you were curious about their expectations regarding the
response they'd get from their environment.
Much of the time, such folks don't stop and think a flip about the response they expect--they are just spewing or emoting all over those nearby.
If you made such statements 1-4 times a day . . . after 3-4 weeks, they would almost have to think ahead of time about the results of their
statements/actions--because they know you and others will--and they are likely insecure enough they MUST try and outfox you by anticipating threat.
That compulsion coupled with such a somewhat frequently stated curiosity leaves them little choice but to think more ahead about the consequences of
their statements, actions.
5. Along with 4. You could then say something like:
"Hmmmmmm I suspect you could think of 2-3 OTHER ways to respond to _______________ IF your goal for my/our response was _________________. Maybe one
of those other ways would result more in what you were hoping for from us."
Most of us don't get up on a Monday morning trying to come up with the most awful ways to relate to our co-workers. Most folks have just never been
taught any better and have plenty of their own angst and pain they are used to habitually spewing all over everyone--perpetuating their experience
that the world 'treats them like ____."
6. Somebody--could take the person out for dinner after work and gently enquire . . . "Mildred, what sort of relationships would you ideally like to
have at work?"
And if there were any kind of sane, rational, adult response, a plan of action to get there could be suggested.
Here's several pages of books at Amazon.com
7. It may well be also, that just a listening empathetic ear--feeding back to her in your own words what you heard her say--would bolster her feeling
respected and cared for very powerfully.
8. Of course, some folks are so bruised and abused, the minute someone starts to show caring--they have to escalate the destructiveness toward the
caring person to sabotage their expectation that sooner or later the "good" person will disappoint them and abandon them or hurt them hugely.
9. IF--A RARE IF--there were 3 co-workers who were very strong individuals personality and emotionally etc. caring, kind, tender-hearted but as tough
as nails . . . the 3 of them could take her to dinner and say essentially:
"Mildred, we are hurt and offended at the way you speak to us and relate to us. However, we are going to redouble our efforts to show you caring and
kindness. We just want you to know that we are also going to decrease our willingness to let you get away with verbally abusing us. It is your choice,
You can help us build better relationships with all our mutual efforts--or--you can find yoruself more isolated."
10. But the 3 would have to be willing and able to be forgiving and show tenacious persistent kindness regardless--AS WELL AS not allowing her to just
spew, spew, spew without at least walking away from her, if not telling her: "Mildred, that was unnecessary. If you want a decent response from me,
Please speak to me with the kind of respect you'd like to have."
Here is a listing books on Amazon.com on how to handle difficult people. I won't take the time to screen them all for you.
ENOUGH OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD.
Yes, My PhD is in Clinical Psych. I'm a semi-retired former Evangelical Christian missionary and teaching part time.