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Being assertive in the face of resistance.

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Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 15, 2023, 6:02 am

Yes, and yes to Jack and Kavalier!

On the positive side, you initially checked her tone, put your foot down, did start to enforce your fair boundaries, and even pushed it further for quite some time (good!).

And, as you say, you also made it a lot more difficult for her to disrespect you, which is always a great step even when you lose.

That did set a precedent of "not easy to be trifled with", as you say -which is why starting is often good, even when you lose, and sometimes the "make it difficult for them" can be a great strategy when a clear victory is unlikely-.

So, yes, well done on that first step, and there are some positives -and yes, she was a tough person to deal with: quite dominant, high power, and even power skilled, albeit in an aggressive and manipulative way. That power move of turning the blame from her to you, was quite impressive, albeit in a negative way-.

Thank You Lucio

Her questions about why I need to respect you, was unexpected and jarring that it threw me of, while trying to make sense of it I struck to being a broken record

However, even better than "not easy to be trifled with" is "not possible".
And in this case, it was possible to win -or at least, take it was possible to take till the finish line and stay unmovable on your frame-.

So, on the improvable side, what was missing was carrying that initial good check until the needed finish line.

As Jack said, it did turn out to be a power showdown indeed.

And Kavalier perfectly highlighted the key moment the showdown was lost: the showdown was lost with the change of topic because that failed to take your "boundary enforcement" until the finish line.
Your change of topic meant you swerved first, something that you probably should have avoided.

You could have handled it just like Kavalier said, which is 10/10.

Alternatively, also a slightly more aggressive, judge power a bit like this:

Her: I'm asking you, why you don't appreciate me yelling? You seem to get affected by it, so it should be you who learns to cope with it, you can't ask other people to change their behavior to suit you. I'm asking you why and you are repeating back the same thing over and over again.
You: (bit angrier and more aggressive tone to match her own tone) Look, are you playing some game now and PRETENDING not to know, or are you really asking for an explanation?
Because I don't know which one is worse and if you're really asking, then it's quite worrying you're asking me to explain why it's not cool to yell to people. (<---- the judge power move). It's a basic of socialization that yelling at others is rude and disrespectul, any child knows so I expect any well-adjusted adult to know how decent communication looks like

Some power keywords to use in these cases:

  • Decent (human being)
  • Proper
  • Civil / civilized

And on the negative:

  • Inconsiderate
  • Insulting
  • Aggressive
  • Ill-mannered
  • Rude and disrespectful
  • Unacceptable
  • Not what a friend does to a friend

I agree that "not possible" sounds much better . The judge power move  golden, not only does it turn it back on to her, it paints her as the socially clueless one, Thank you once more man.



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Quote from John Freeman on March 15, 2023, 7:25 pm

Tough situation! I think this is a great example as she was quite skilled as already been said. I can also imagine she injected anger in her answer so we get infected by this anger and tend to go on the defensive quite automatically. This anger is manipulative in the sense that it is designed to put you in the defensive position (you are in the wrong now). So the emotional component is something to be aware of and staying calm helps to choose the appropriate answer as I’m quite sure you did.

I think a key point to notice is the moment the other person asks a question. This is usually a turning point as the person asking the question has the power:

  1. To task you (to answer)
  2. To change the frame
  3. To induce you to justify yourself (the lower power position)

So it is quite effective. That is what some people do to start a fight: “what’s your problem?”. Now the other person has to justify if or not they have problem. It is already a losing position as soon as the person answers the question. Because whatever one answers he’s already power down. You have a problem? Let’s fight. You don’t have a problem? Then why are you looking at me? Answer this new question and now you’re one more step power down.

What I think is useful is to install a “trigger” in one’s mind: “mmmh there’s a question here, what is going on here?” And detach. Especially in a conflict as the real stake is not the content but the power dynamics.

Hi John

I agree, her initial tone was not acceptable, but once I made it clear I don't appreciate her yelling, she did watch her tone, Like you say, when someone asks a question it is better to first screen it in terms of power dynamics and only then decide to answer if it is genuine. In this instance her asking questions about why she needs to respect me had me thrown of balance,  but with the answers provided here on the thread, I know I could have also punched back with an answer.

Thank You

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