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Bel's thoughts

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BOOM! Thank you so much Lucio, that's powerful!

Ignore and re-set. I've got to re-study the part of PU on frame-control!

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Lucio Buffalmano

Quoting Lucio from this awesome thread that only now I am starting to understand:

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on August 10, 2021, 8:31 pm

I'll start a series of posts now.

They will all start with "social blunder".

They address more basic social dynamics with the goal of increasing social intelligence, the precursor of effective power intelligence.

We start with a popular movie on this website:

Sonny: (furious at Mike)
Fredo: congratulations Mike
Sonny: (takes Fredo's hand and pushes it away, Fredo confirms he's an idiot for everyone to see)

When you compliment someone for doing something that everyone else thinks is stupid, you are siding and tying your fortune to the person who has the least status in the group.
And it's also a major one-up to the person(s) who's criticizing them, who start seeing you as an enemy.

Now, if you have LOTS of status or power in the group, you can effectively rescue them because you pull them up and nobody will have the courage to keep attacking them with you on their side (a very eagle move if they were bullying or piling on someone).

But if you're average or low-ish status, you better sit this one out.
Two social pariahs aren't any better than one.

My analysis of the movie clip is now as follows:

  • at that time, Sonny was the highest status guy at the table (ie the group leader), as proven by his sitting at the short end of the table
  • Michael is in the process of renegotiating power (that's why he stands for his position and doesn't defer to the leader; the content of the discussion is not relevant, it's just an excuse to renegotiate power)
  • anger and physical aggression on the side of Sonny is a (common) way to try to put back the (until-then) lower status guy in place, but it fails in this case: Michael keeps his cool instead of getting upset, and Sonny comes out as the out-of-control guy and loses even more status;
  • (side note: we can hear Sonny's child in the background saying "Mommy, daddy's fighting again": which shows that Sonny often used physical dominance to maintain and gain status. This also confirms that mental dominance is higher-level than physical dominance, because Michael is able to out-power Sonny without physical aggression);
  • Fredo is the lowest status guy at the table, his siding with Michael is not only an affront to Sonny, but also a major rapport-increase with Michael. That's probably why later Michael "forgives" Fredo more than once when he sides with Moe Green.

Also quoting Lucio from the same thread:

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on August 11, 2021, 8:26 pm
  1. Sonny is very high dominance, he'd have escalated that until the bitter end (and had more resources to win that escalation)
  2. Fredo is very low-status, high-power people get even angrier and more resolute when lower-status people try to pull a fast one on them (very low-status one-upping high status is a huge loss for them)

This explains perfectly why all the people in my life, in the last years that I was getting more empowered, pushed back with all they could (manipulation, disrespect, insults, threats): I was renegotiating power, having been lower power all my past life.

This also explains why often, when interacting with other lawyers in the past, they got really angry at me and showed it without restraint (angry emails, words, disrespectful behaviors): I initially self-presented as lower-status, and they (unconsciously) assumed they would thus "win": my "legally" one-upping them (and later power-renegotiating) was perceived as a huge loss for them.

Finally, it explains why angry reactions from others have started to disappear now: because after learning these principles and how to be higher power than before, the power gap with other people is starting to reduce.

3. Even if Fredo managed to find the courage to escalate, he would have been blamed by everyone for ruining the atmosphere, and not Sonny (it's the curse of the low status, everyone would subconsciously go "you're low-status, behave low-status and don't try to act up, or trip our leaders)

This explains why many times in my life, when I decided to escalate for not being able to bear it anymore, bystanders still sided with the other person who was aggressing me. My self-presenting as lower status cursed me from the start.

A final thought: assertiveness is not easy, because you never know whether the other person will choose to comply and stay, or not comply and disappear. In other words, the step from submissiveness to assertiveness is a huge one, because it entails accepting one can lose people from his or her life.

Lucio Buffalmano, John Freeman and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanKavalierAlex

Awesome, awesome analysis, Bel.

And thank you for writing it and resuming that old thread, I now took note both of your analysis, and of my own older thread for that future social/group power dynamics lesson (looks like there is actually quite some good material already, no need to re-invent wheels :).

Kavalier and Bel have reacted to this post.
KavalierBel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you, Lucio. For your kind words, and for what you taught and still teach me.

I’m finally starting to get some of these dynamics.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanKavalier

Great analysis, Bel, thanks for sharing! I'm in a situation similar as yours. I'm rebuilding my social circles from scratch because, in my whole life, I approached groups lower power. As soon as I found TPM and I started to renegotiate my place in the hierarchies I was part of, people pushed back. Funny thing, my assertiveness (and in this case I'm confident I was doing it right most of the time) was misconstrued as aggressiveness (it was Fredo taking the courage to escalate).

That's why I've been very active in John's (@amerok) awesome threads about building social groups/climbing hierarchies, and looking forward for Lucio's new social/group power dynamics lesson.

Now I understand why it's important to show high power early on (or "killing the cat on the first night", as the Persians say).

I think that by building a group from scratch and approaching other groups being already high status – or being already successful in a field, as you are – make it easier to access the top of other hierarchies.

John Freeman and Bel have reacted to this post.
John FreemanBel

Let me know if you need any advice Bel.

Thanks John; feel free to post if you wish to chip in.

Quote from Kavalier on August 3, 2022, 11:52 pm

Great analysis, Bel, thanks for sharing! I'm in a situation similar as yours. I'm rebuilding my social circles from scratch because, in my whole life, I approached groups lower power. As soon as I found TPM and I started to renegotiate my place in the hierarchies I was part of, people pushed back. Funny thing, my assertiveness (and in this case I'm confident I was doing it right most of the time) was misconstrued as aggressiveness (it was Fredo taking the courage to escalate).

That's why I've been very active in John's (@amerok) awesome threads about building social groups/climbing hierarchies, and looking forward for Lucio's new social/group power dynamics lesson.

Now I understand why it's important to show high power early on (or "killing the cat on the first night", as the Persians say).

I think that by building a group from scratch and approaching other groups being already high status – or being already successful in a field, as you are – make it easier to access the top of other hierarchies.

Thank you, Kavalier!

This commonality between our situations and paths and that of many others here is encouraging, to me it means we can do it. I too disengaged from most (social) groups I was in, very abruptly nonetheless, and I too feel I was basically like Fredo in the past.

What is very interesting is that I wouldn’t care for leader-status. I didn’t want to be a group or social circle leader. I would just have liked to be part of, and respected with basic decency.

But this idea that in groups, members always negotiate power between themselves, makes me see that, just by not being able to defend myself, I was an easy mark for those who cared about power.

Work-wise, I don’t know why, I was able (forced?), with struggle and learning, to create a minimum of independence. But my lack of knowledge of power dynamics still hurt me very much; it’s a fact I now understand that lawyers are very power-oriented: there is often one who wins and one who loses.

And high-power people and clients prefer to interact, as Lucio clarified more than once, with power-aware lawyers.

Kavalier has reacted to this post.
Kavalier

Mistake, I meant: Let me know if you need any advice, Kavalier.

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Kavalier

Hey, Bel!

It's great when we can find friends struggling with the same things we are. It feels less lonely when we can grow together and support one another.

John, thanks a lot for this!!

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Bel

Today I was in this situation at a supermarket: a crowded self-chekout. Only one clerk present. I was waiting for her to come to my self-checkout machine because I wanted to remove a product, but she was elsewhere.

So I went to her and asked for help. She said "yes", then didn't come. I moved towards her again and signaled she could come.

Then she said:

Her: It's impossible to work like this alone.

Me: Yeah, you are right (empathizing tone).

Then she started behaving even more curtly, so much that a small mini-escalation ensued between us.

My thinking is that my empathizing with her set a "submissive" frame, because she interpreted my empathizing as me accepting her "excuse".

I should have instead adopted an (internal) frame where I was a customer being ignored, like this:

Her: It's impossible to work like this alone.

Me: (not saying anything, facial expression of surprise and indifference).

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Kavalier
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