December 6

What Can I Do with This Guy in Group?

December 6, 2012


I received a letter:

"I need some help. I'm new at leading a Real Love group. Recently a man began attending, and I do not know how to respond to him. He reads the Real Love books, but then in group he interrupts and attacks people who speak, and criticizes the Real Love principles. He fires questions at me like bullets, and I can't answer all of them. He has an intense need to be right at all times, and I don't know what to say to him."

My response:

It's your group and entirely your business what you say, but I would just suggest that you balance the needs of the group with the needs of the angry man. If he persists in needing to be right, and he consistently attacks, it's unlikely that he'll listen to anything you say. Almost certainly, he comes just for the attention and power he gets from feeling right. No doubt he does this in all his relationships. But it's worth trying to be kind and emphasizing to him that the answers to his intellectual questions matter far less than the loving FEELING available to him in the group. Teach him that this is the purpose of the meeting.

If your being gentle and accepting makes no difference---if he can't feel your loving him---his continual anger and domination of the meeting can become quite a distraction for everyone else. Other people are prevented from speaking, and those who are new and tender---still in pain from a lifetime of not feeling loved---will find it difficult to feel unconditionally loved in the meeting. The needs of many people to feel loved trump the need of one person to be right.

Angry people do NOT need to be stopped in a group. The group, in fact, is precisely the place for them to be angry and then feel the effect of being loved. But if a group member constantly interrupts and attacks people, that person's presence can become harmful to others. If the man you describe continues his behavior, I would probably say something like, "The purpose of this group is to tell the truth about ourselves and feel loved. We're here to feel more loved and happier. We're NOT here to argue or find fault with people or principles, so if that's what you want to do, this group will not meet your needs. If you want to tell the truth about your own unloving behaviors, we'd love to help you feel accepted and loved."

After telling him that, if he still keeps interrupting and dominating, I'd interrupt him every time he started attacking---within seconds---and repeat what I just said above. One of two things will happen:
1. He'll start genuinely participating and feeling loved, which will benefit both him and the group.
OR
2. He'll leave the group. This will benefit those in the group who are distracted by his unceasing attacks, and it will also benefit HIM. He's not getting his needs met there at the group, so if he leaves, you're releasing him to find another way to do that.

When you interrupt him, remember that he's just in pain, which will help you to be loving, not irritated. Also remember that whatever he chooses to do, it's HIS choice, and either decision will benefit both him and the group.

Real Love for Wisemen and Women

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