Lessons from a Difficult Person

Change how you deal with difficult people

Lessons Learned from a Difficult Person

How to Deal with People Like us

About the Book

Lessons from a difficult person -Book cover - Sarah EllistonThe funny thing is that Sarah Elliston never realized she was “a difficult person,” — someone who harangued people until she got her way, threw snip fits and temper tantrums, talked over her bosses and pointed out what she thought were their misconceptions. In her family, where she felt bullied, the only way she knew how to get someone’s attention and approval was to voice her opinion—and loudly! Without standing her ground, how could she do what she thought was best for herself and everyone around her. She wasn’t intentionally mean-spirited. She was just trying to do what she thought was RIGHT!
Until a kind, but firm, boss woke her up! With great compassion, and strength, her boss pointed out that that her actions had consequences. That in being “difficult,” she was not only disrupting the office camaraderie and production, but impeding her own professional advancement.

Purchase Lesson from a Difficult Person - Sarah EllistonThat’s the beginning of Sarah’s transformation— when she started on the journey to leave behind the difficult person, and become the woman who teaches others how to deal with difficult people.  Sam Elliston is now bringing forth her vital manual on how to awaken the challenging personality, and change both the relationship and the environment, with her new book  Lessons Learned from a Difficult Person; How to Deal with People like us. 

Today, 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.



Click here to read the review from the Kirkus website

A debut personal-growth manual that asserts that understanding the unconscious motives of “difficult people” can lead to better relationships.

Elliston, a volunteer coordinator for the United Way and a former high school teacher, writes that she used to be surprised by the reactions she would get from some of her colleagues in the nonprofit community, who either avoided or criticized her. Her supervisors frequently mentioned Elliston being “difficult” and having “a need for improved communication skills,” which just added to her bewilderment. She only began to realize how she appeared to others when one supervisor confronted her with specifics about the offending behavior: storming around the office while muttering to herself, “lifting things up and dropping them,” and generally raising the anxiety level of the office. The supervisor added that it was clear that Elliston wasn’t aware of her own conduct and the effects it had on others, but it still had to stop. Stunned, the author searched for why she was so blind to her own actions, and why no one had pointed them out earlier. She quizzed her family members and examined her own childhood, and she uncovered maladaptive habits, such as criticizing, complaining, and blaming, that she mistakenly believed would win her approval. In this book, Elliston suggests techniques for looking beyond “difficult” people’s aggression to understand their fears, their senses of inferiority, and their struggles to be accepted. Posing questions and performing exercises, she says, can lead to a greater understanding of others’ behavior, and techniques drawn from Choice Theory and Reality Therapy offer guidelines for early, though not painless, intervention and necessary conversations. This isn’t just another book about dealing with annoying co-workers, but a fresh look at why they can seem so oblivious. Readers will likely break out the highlighter to record memorable points. Elliston’s suggestions, drawn from the work of Drs. William Glasser, Sidney B. Simon, and Thomas Gordon, will cut through readers’ dread as they plan discussions with others. At times, Elliston’s focus on childhood traumas as causes of “difficult” behavior seems too pat, but her insights and work plan never are.

A practical guide that will bring relief to its readers.


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