How to deal with someone unhinged who has threatened our reputation?
January 18, 2010 1:46 PM Subscribe
Need some advice on dealing with a mentally ill person over whom I have no control.
Several months ago, I along with other people that I know, agreed to help someone put on a show. We run our own community theater company, and we have a lot of contacts – volunteers of all stripes, a couple of professional people, etc. Without detailing everything to the point of giving myself away, there were points along the way where we really thought we should quit, but this person was a friend, and we thought it would work itself out. Long story short, it has not.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The person is clearly mentally ill, and he's burning bridges right and left. We have the following concerns:
1. He's threatened to “harm us” and I can only surmise that means slander or libel. I would like to know how to recognize this when it happens, as opposed to stuff we just need to respond to by saying, well, we're sorry he feels that way.
2. We are working at an actual theater space in our city that employs actual professional people, rented out by the person in question. I do not, under any circumstances, want any contacts that we've drawn into this to be hurt in a professional capacity because this guy has just come totally unglued. I also do not want to hurt the unglued person in question any more than he is already hurting himself, I just want to protect the people that I stupidly asked to get involved. I would love ideas on how to proceed. He's already “notified” one professional person of someone's “problem behavior,” the problem being that it's not his own, and what he's mad about is totally imaginary.
For the purposes of the question, I'll stipulate the following:
1. We've all comported ourselves in the best way possible given the situation we're in. It's not always meant that we behaved perfectly or admirably, but
2. We've been working in good faith and what we're collectively being accused of is completely bunk.
3. Yes, I do mean actually mentally ill. This person has a disorder, one we've been aware of, but one that it's become clear is not being treated. The behavior is irrational.
4. Assume that while we don't want to further harm this person, we are also only interested in circling our wagons and protecting our people. He is not our responsibility.
Throwaway email: email@example.com