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Dear Dr. Robert,

We have a group of people (10) who own a vacation home (we have a corporation to hold the property ). For 25 years we have been a happy group, solving our problems with respect and feelings for one another's needs and feelings. We have a meeting once a year to "choose our weeks" etc. We have a new member who was bought in under suspect circumstances). He is very disruptive at these meetings, demanding we change rules, and questioning almost everything we do. He insinuates that we do not know how to run the corporation. He wants to change most everything.

I am president and run the meeting. I have been able to contain him, but I can see how he can tear our group apart. Most of our members are just too polite to stand up to him, so he wins.

He sent out an email, explaining how I should have the agenda out and when, and that there were 11 items he wanted on the agenda and that anybody that knew how to run a corp. would do that.

I sent out and email and said that we have been bumbling a long for 25 years making this work (without him), and would hope we could do it for another 25. I have a meeting coming up on Thursday and my stomach is in knots. I don't know how to handle him.

Please help me.


ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

Hello, Alice--

You should not confuse politeness with cowardice. If all of you dislike what this one person is doing, you will have to suck it up and simply tell him so. You as president must take the firmest possible attitude. You must keep this guy under control no matter what it takes. If you lack the courage to do that, the problem has nothing to do with politeness at all, but with weakness which is not at all the same thing.

I assume that your meetings are run on some kind of democratic system with voting. If this is the case, simply have a vote on his proposed rules changes and defeat them. Then tell him that he has had a fair vote and now needs to shut up.

Be well.

ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

Dear Dr. Robert,

This is a belated THANK YOU!

On Jan. 28, I asked your advice on how to handle a Bully at our meetings. Your opening statement, "you should not confuse politeness with cowardice, "was like a light went on. I had been avoiding a confrontation because I was afraid I would not be able to handle it. Well, I jumped in and confronted him. That gave some of our members courage and when he came out with a completely untrue statement ("I said that My wife and I would not take part in any bidding war, and we didn't") , a big voice in the back of the room said 'LIAR'. Mr. Bully had forgotten that one of the people he made an offer to was in the back of the room.

I can't thank you enough. People in the front row were giving me a "thumbs up" and I think we have control of our meetings again and can enjoy our property.

Thanks again,


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page last modified March 27, 2008

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