Re: Difficult members - Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 136, Issue 16
From: Matt Kramer (
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2015 12:58:50 -0700 (PDT)
As you noted, people who do not find conditions to their liking, tend to move 
on. But in the case described below on May 16, it would be helpful if those who 
find themselves dealing with the difficult person (for the rest of this 
message, I will refer to this person as DP) study the behavioral traits of 
narcissistic personality disorder. DP may also be exhibiting traits correlated 
with psychopathy or borderline personality disorder but without a substantive 
psychology examination, anything I contribute to this conversation is 

The primary point I want to make, in regard to why this person hasn’t moved on, 
is that they are profiting emotionally even though the attention is negative. 
The issues are not the prime motivators; the need for “meaningful” attention 
most likely is driving DPs constant stream of adversarial actions. The win for 
DP can be construed as a sort of negative intimacy: “now you’re paying 
attention to me; now you’re get it that I am important!” Thus when someone 
engages DP in a dialogue with the hope to achieve resolution, the initiator 
will often find themselves mired in an ever increasing muddle of confusion, 
blame, insults, etc. that some therapists label gaslighting; it is not the 
substance of the conversation that is important but that as long as the 
conversation endures, DP is “winning.”

In general psychologists attest that there is no cure for narcissism; here is 
an exception whose article might be helpful:

Another point of view:

As a professional mediator, if I am working with clients and narcissism is in 
the picture, I advise the other party(parties) to learn as much as they can 
about the disorder so that they can stop wasting time using the kinds of tools 
that are effective with healthier personalities and study clinical research to 
develop more strategic methods of dealing with the unpleasant party. In some 
cases, maybe love and attention (delivered as a sacrifice, not with the 
expectation of two way reciprocity) will work; each case is unique; no formula 
fits all personalities. 

I hope this is helpful.

Matt Kramer 
Alumnus of FrogSong Cohousing  

On May 17, 2015, at 6:16 AM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:

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>   1. Last resort dealing with very difficult member (Fred-List manager)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 16 May 2015 18:59:18 -0500 (CDT)
> From: Fred-List manager <fholson [at]>
> To: Cohousing-L mailing list <cohousing-l [at]>
> Subject: [C-L]_ Last resort dealing with very difficult member
> Message-ID: <alpine.DEB.2.02.1505161856240.5195 [at]>
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> The author of the message below prefers not to identify
> themselves and their community so it was posted by
> Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
> --------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
> Many communities have had difficult members. Usually members who do
> not like the people and/or the process eventually leave. But what are
> one's options when they don't and won't? I'm talking about a situation
> that has persisted after years of good faith attempts to mediate,
> facilitate, outreach, accomodate, non-violently communicate: you name
> it. And we still have a member who is contentious, adversarial,
> litigious: threats of lawsuits, unfounded allegations taken to local
> police and courts (even when always found to be baseless). Someone
> whose presence is experienced as a drain on community time, energy,
> money, and happiness. The only plausible reason I can think of, for
> staying where you don't like the people or the process, is a
> personality that thrives on drama and victimhood. What then?
> Our community is long-built, and otherwise runs smoothly and happily:
> lots of good people (including a number of mental-health
> professionals), and good process.  We accomodate a diversity of
> opinions and approaches, but this works best within our process, not
> for a situation where the dissident places themselves outside the
> group, and not quietly. This party has truly burned most of us out,
> and we find it hard to take any more.
> I think perhaps co-ops can evict someone, but I believe the rest of us
> -- homeowners' associations, nonprofits, etc -- cannot do so. Has
> anyone ever successfully dealt with such a last-resort scenario? Our
> documents say if you are an Owner, you are a Member. Nonpayment of
> assessments can lead to loss of privileges to use common facilities
> and participate in decision making. But if assessments are paid, we
> don't seem to have any other tools for denying community rights, much
> less causing departure.
> Any relevant experiences or advice?
> Thanks,
> Disappointed it's come to this, but it has.
> On May 16, 2015, at 12:52 PM, Fred H Olson wrote:
>> On Sat, 16 May 2015, Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah wrote:
>>> In the case of asking advice about an internal problem, can a post
>>> be made without naming the specific community (except to the
>>> moderator)?
>>> Maraiah Lynn Nadeau
>>> RoseWind Cohousing
>> Hi Lynn,
>> What I have done on occasion is have the post sent to me dierectly
>> and make I'll make sure there is no identifying information and then
>> I'd put some general introductory comment and post it.
>> Fred
>> --
>> Fred H. Olson  Minneapolis,MN 55411  USA        (near north Mpls)
>>    Email:        fholson at      612-588-9532
>> My Link Pg:         My org:
>> Communications for Justice -- Free, superior listserv's w/o ads
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