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Thank You for Being Such a Pain: Spiritual Guidance for Dealing with Difficult People Paperback – April 27, 1999

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Thank You for Being Such a Pain: Spiritual Guidance for Dealing with Difficult People + Coping with Difficult People: The Proven-Effective Battle Plan That Has Helped Millions Deal with the Troublemakers in Their Lives at Home and at Work + Perfect Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Handling Conflict, Confrontations and Challenging Personalities
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (April 27, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609804146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609804148
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It may seem impossible, or even undesirable, to generate a feeling of gratitude toward the people who make our lives miserable, but management consultant Rosen makes a convincing case for using the difficulties they engender as "one of our most important life lessons." He draws on Eastern and Jewish mystical doctrines that teach that "life is like a school" and "conflicts that seem to be chance occurrences are actually orchestrated for our spiritual development." Difficult individuals, whether they be relatives, bosses, co-workers, neighbors or clerks, can be seen as "teachers" delivering "a divine kick in the spiritual butt." What's more, Rosen states, "the Universe delivers unto us the ideal foe, a person whose characteristics exactly correspond to the places within us that need learning and healing." If we don't learn the lessons they bring, similar problems will perpetually resurface until we do. In a clear, conversational tone, Rosen covers seemingly every possible reason, response, interpretation and lesson that can be attached to unpleasant relationships. They can serve as mirrors, wake-up calls or chances to stand up for ourselves or to become more forgiving. They can help us develop "latent qualities," rectify the past or prepare for the future. With quotes, summaries and exercises throughout this thoughtful book, Rosen thoroughly explores new ways to view personal conflicts and to use them for healing.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"This book will change your life. Rosen shows you how to perform a miracle and live so that difficult people stop weakening you and start making you stronger, better, and happier."
--Charles Foster, Ph.D., Psychotherapist and Author of There's Something I Have to Tell You

From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to anyone - it has many good ideas.
P. Haubenstriker
This book is really well-written, full of insight, with interesting ideas about our relationship with God and other humans.
Kelley Hunt
Seeing things in a new light has given me the chance to come out of each situation better.
linda holloway

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on April 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
_The central idea of this book is that there is a spiritual reason that we encounter difficult people (and that they encounter us.) As the author states, we are not on this earth just to have fun- we are here to refine our character, develop our talents, and contribute our unique gifts toward the greater good. Often this means that we are provided with the ideal foe- one that pushes all of our buttons. Instead of automatically striking back, we need to try to find out why this is so. That is why this book is so useful, for it not only lists every known way of trying to deal with another person that you have a problem with, but also with how to try to understand their motives.

_Still, to his credit, the author recognizes that there are those that are so unreasonable that we will have no choice but to cut them off- and perhaps warn others. You just don't do this until you have exhausted all other options. Also, it is recognized that it is healthy and normal to have extreme emotional reactions to difficult people (how many authority figures have you encountered that considered your anger a worse sin than the offense that triggered it?)

_I've come to the conclusion that the author is correct in his views. There are no coincidences in this life- not if we are sensitive and introspective enough to recognize and interpret them. Plus, the purpose of this life is to learn and grow- and often that means the pressure of conflict. In and of itself, conflict is not good- it is the effort to understand both your motivations and that of others that is of value.

_This book isn't a cure-all for interpersonal conflicts by any means. However it is a good basis for a "reasonable man's standard" to use with dealing with others.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By kimberjs on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took me several efforts to really start digging into Thank You for Being Such a Pain. Though conversationally written, I had to adjust my scholarly mindset to be open to the author's diligent reiteration that the book is based on his own personal philosophy, which is by no means the voice of authority. Because of this, I suspect I would prefer to attend one of the author's presentations over the book alone. That said, the book is thought-provoking but requires emotional calm and maturity from the reader, and an openness to the idea that the number of difficult people in one's life might simply be all in one's head.

If you are a person in crisis, desperately searching for strategies to deal with a difficult co-worker, spouse, or friend, this might not be the first book you want to pick up; especially if your eyeballs are spinning in their sockets. If you're ready to calmly move beyond the sense frustration that grips your waking moments and you aren't opposed to having some scripture tossed into the mix, Rosen's book might prove helpful.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on July 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This excellent book is almost a commentary on Joseph's remark to his brothers at Genesis 50:20: "Although you intended me harm, God intended it for good." For Mark Rosen's basic outlook is that "difficult" people are sent to us in fulfillment of Divine purposes, one of which is to help us grow spiritually.

I say "almost" because Rosen is careful not to assume that "difficult" people really _do_ intend harm; on the contrary, he repeatedly contends, many apparently difficult people don't really have any idea that they're doing something wrong. For that matter, many of them _aren't_ doing anything wrong; sometimes the problem is in ourselves only, and _we_ are the ones who are being "difficult." (Everybody is difficult to somebody, says Rosen. And genuine evil, he thinks, is a rarity, although it does exist.)

But however that may be, Rosen takes the view that there is a spiritual lesson for us hidden inside every one of our dealings with other people, that we will have to keep retaking the lesson until we learn it, and that ultimately the only way to guarantee that we can deal effectively with "difficult" people is to change ourselves in accordance with such lessons. And in chapter after chapter, he sets out exercises and questions that are intended to help us do just that.

Rosen's approach is firmly grounded in Judaism (and clearly inspired by the Musar movement, especially R. Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto's _The Path of the Upright_, from which Rosen quotes on page one). But he is careful to present advice that carries over to other religions and spiritual traditions, and indeed to quote from representatives of those traditions -- or of none -- when they have something apropos to say.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By emily vanlaeys on October 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
We all know them: the driver who swerves into our lane as he's going around a curve, the nosy-body who inspects every aspect of our lives with a magnifying glass, or the co-worker who criticizes our decisions. No one Gets through life without encountering difficult peole, sometimes in our own homes where we can't avoid their irritating antics.
Mark Rosen, a management consultant and workshop leader who specializes in interpersonal conflict and communication, offers a new approach to dealing with difficult people. If we can see them as teachers sent to us for a purpose, we will find ourselves looking for the lessons we're meant to learn from these gadflies rather than swatting at them or shooing them away. Rosen helps the reader to understand the many causes of difficult personalities, because: "To understand everything is to forgive everything," as stated in the French proverb he shares. Then he shows us some of the ways we can learn from difficult relationships, how frequently the negative traits we find in others are a reflection of our own flaws, and how God sends us difficult people to get our attention.
Sometimes pain and frustration are necessary to stimulate our personal and spiritual growth. Rosen guides us gently through this concept so that we can give it serious consideration without feeling defensive. He uses a variety of illustrations to make his points, including the idea that prayer and meditation - working on our inner selves - can result in the transformation of our outer relationships.
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