Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Deal with Ratbags!

My friend and hypnotherapist Lyndall Briggs pointed out this article recently to subscribers of her e-newsletter. The title grabbed me because I have on occasion come across "difficult people" or "ratbags" as we like to call them here in Australia. I'm sure people in customer service roles encounter more of them than isolated comics creators who labour in their home offices, but nevertheless, it's good to be forewarned on what to look for and fore-armed in terms of strategies on how to deal with them. 

The article in question is "Coping with Difficult People" by Keith Levick. By difficult he means "hostile and manipulative". He tells us that:

Difficult people have learned to be this way because it is effective for them. Their hostile and negative behaviour serves them well. Their arsenal of aggressive behaviour catches their prey off guard and then renders them helpless. Consequently, after a confrontation with these people, it’s not unusual to feel mentally abused and frustrated.
Sound familiar? The article then explains the psychology and dynamics in place, and also provides some coping strategies.
These behavioural patterns are deeply ingrained in the personality of the difficult person. The overly-aggressive difficult person (one who bullies, explodes, screams, etc.) uses their aggressive posture as a defence mechanism. Because of their weak and fragile ego, they need to protect themselves. Their best defence is a strong offense-aggression. Therefore, they feel in control of themselves only in a situation that allows them to feel powerful. But it doesn’t stop there. Like all weak people, their insatiable need to feel secure makes it necessary for them to win – and to win at any cost.
We all have different ways of dealing with difficult people. I just remove myself from their vicinity. I will be polite but I will leave. I have no desire whatsoever to soak up their negative vibes or to get into a full-on argument where the point for them is not to find common ground but to anihilate you psychologically and to declare themselves the winner. I have no wish to participate... life is too short!

You may find this article useful if you've encountered your own regular or one-off ratbags. CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

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