chapter 14

The Split Second

How to Handle an IrrationalPerson Who’s Playing YouAgainst Someone Else

My Friend Mindy’s six-year-old granddaughter, Joy, called her in tears. “My mom is so mean,” she sobbed. “She said I couldn’t eat anything at all. And I’m so hungry.”

Chuckling to herself, Mindy asked to speak to this evil mom—who reported, not surprisingly, that she’d told Joy, “You can’t eat any more junk food right now. Have a banana.”

When Mindy got back on the line with Joy she said, “Your mommy just doesn’t want you to eat too much bad food, because she cares about you. She wants you to be healthy and …”

Realizing that the jig was up, Joy did what most six-year-olds would do: She hung up.

In psychiatrists’ terms, Joy was trying to pull ...

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