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Talking to Crazy by Mark Goulston

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chapter 11

The Eye of the Hurricane

Finding the SaneInside the Crazy

When You’Re dealing with an irrational person, all you can see is the crazy: the screaming, crying, stony withdrawal, or lashing out.

But here’s a secret: No one is totally crazy. Somewhere inside every storm is an area of calm. And when you’re talking to someone who’s over the top emotionally, one of the most effective strategies is to aim for that eye of the hurricane.

Decades ago, I was moonlighting on weekends at a state psychiatric hospital. One night, a schizophrenic patient named John went wild in one of the units, throwing all the chairs and tables around and smashing the television set in the day room. When I arrived on the scene, the three nurses were huddled in ...

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