Free Advice: On Nasty People


Nasty people exist. Everywhere. This, I know for sure..

The human part of me can't help but be bruised by their intentional desire to maim.
The analytical part of me tries to determine their motivation.

Yesterday, I was caring for a critically ill twenty-one year old who had lost a lot of blood. Her condition was stable but guarded. She had just fallen asleep when a group of five visitors arrived. I introduced myself and asked the group if they would consider not waking her. An older blustery a-hole man loudly and aggressively asked "Why???". I responded as nicely as possible with... "because she's had a very hard day and has just gotten to sleep". He said "I'll do what I want - I'm her father". On that note, he stormed into my patient's room and bellowed "Wake up!". He won. Unfortunately, at the expense of his sick daughter.

After 50+ years of living on this planet, I am no psychologist but I have come to the conclusion that nasty people seem to lack self esteem, are not happy people to begin with, need to exert control and many times have various psychiatric and/or substance-abuse issues.

My interaction with this jerk was witnessed by a younger, less experienced nurse who said, "That is exactly why I want to get out of patient care. I'm sick and tired of putting up with people like that". Crudely, (but please don't be too offended) I said without hesitation, ..."Ahhhh, but chances are good, he has a little dick." For real.

I refuse to argue with nasty people.
I've learned early on that it is just not worth it. You cannot win. Especially if you are dealing with nasty people as part of your work.

Nasty people are not thoughtful and many times, their need to exert control brinks on the irrational. The best response to nasty people? No response. Blow them off and walk away. Recognizing that their nastiness is compensation for their 'shortcomings'.

My technique of "shortcoming identification" has worked well for me as it has prevented my carrying the negativity of the exchange into the rest of my day. In my experience, many identified shortcomings have to do with...'Control Issues', 'Anger-management Problems', 'Under-education', 'Fear', 'Substance Abuse Issues', 'Guilt', 'Nutcase issues' or 'Having a little dick'. Enough said.

In situations where it is obvious from the out-set that the nasty person and I will soon "lock horns" and it is in the best interest of the patient and/or my employer that the conversation needs to continue, I have been known to ask a colleague to step in for me, after I have walked away. Nasty people like to perceive that they are getting a lot of attention and are frequently much nicer to their next victim.

There you have it. My assessment of nasty people and how to deal with them. In a nutshell. Hope it helps.

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Janet said...

I think you're on to something cousin. 'Little' men need to feel bigger by pushing their weight around.

keri said...

that is amazing. i volunteer at a local hospital and am currently assigned to the executive office where one of my duties last week was to write letters about nurses who have won company wide awards for extraordinary work. you could have been one of them.

what can you say about MEN like that. Well, you did say it didn't you? LOL .. I love that you thought it, but loved it even more that you said it. I think your my new shero.