Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Bel's thoughts

PreviousPage 31 of 33Next

By interacting with you, I am realizing something new that I was still unaware of.

It is this:

When interacting in writing, it is always necessary to clarify what one is responding to

I noticed that you usually tend to quote specific parts of messages when responding, or in any case mention what your comment refers to.

This is something I did not (and still don't) usually do.

I often answer to one point in a post, or a text, or an email, but don't state which point I am responding to.

In the case above, I agree with your observation on the net effect of the two statements (belittling + praising achievements). In mentioning manipulative building up, I was responding to your observation on naming the technique.

But the fact that I didn't verbalize that, left open to interpretation which point I was responding to.

I think this is a serious mistake I always made, that no doubt aggravated my interactions with many people.

Also, considering I was formerly surrounded by very insecure or very taking people, it's likely they tended to interpret my answers in the worst possible way for them.

And they also probably didn't say anything in response: they just assumed the worst and then retaliated.

This was probably further aggravated by the fact that I formerly tended to be less expansive and more curt in my texts.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Coming back to this particular former boss that insulted me in front of a whole group of people by saying I had no eagerness to work:
Quote from Bel on July 11, 2022, 8:49 pm

Here's something I experienced at the start of my career many years ago, when I was intern at a company.

It's lunch. I am sitting and eating with 10 colleagues from throughout the company, plus my then-boss. I've been working there for 5 months so far, and everyone was satisfied. Suddenly the boss says loudly:

Boss: Bel is great, but has no eagerness to work whatsoever.

I said nothing and just started at her in disbelief. Then she asked me to stay after lunch to talk, and I refused saying I had work to do.

What could be a good comeback for this kind of thing? It seems so far out of normal polite bounds it isn't even a joke.

I now think it was related to me announcing the day before that I would be leaving at end of internship contract.

After the remark, I cut short my time there by one month.

More than 10 years later, I now asked her to connect on Linkedin.

She viewed my profile (which shows I have a law practice) and didn't accept the connection.

I think we can say that revenge has now been served.

Now I fully understand why I have been starting to send connection requests on Linkedin to most of the past ass***** formerly in my life.

It's unfortunate that my other famed former boss does not have a profile (yet... 🙂 ).

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Coming back to your suggestion on this:
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on October 3, 2022, 10:58 pm

It's an interesting project, lemme know if you'll need help with that as at times I have a full plate, but if free, happy to help
(then answer the question)

From your post, I believe we can derive a very important higher level principle for consulting professionals:

Showing interest in a person's situation, without verbalizing one can help, is probably the best way to get work, while avoiding the "chasing" frame

I used to say to clients things like:

Me: I can help you with that.

Then later I used to not say anything, or even feign slight disinterest:

Person: (says something about a legal issue)

Me: Yes. Anyway back to our topic...

Now I get that, if a client starts talking about a legal issue he has, just asking him questions about how he's doing, what's happening, how it's turning out, etc., will lead him to think I can be of help.

It will increase the odds of "getting work" tenfold.

Because:

  • I'm not chasing work
  • I'm showing interest
  • By showing interest, I'm demonstrating care
  • By knowing what to ask, I'm also subtly demonstrating competence
  • By not verbalizing I can be of help, I am showing I don't "need" the client or the work
  • I'm asking because I care, not because I want to "get" something

This is the real meaning of a concept I've encountered many times, but never fully understood until now:

Lawyers best market by simply socializing.

Truly powerful, next level stuff.

Corollary: this also explains why, when someone approached me with a legal issue directly asking for my help and I indicated to them I could do so and handed them my contacts, often no further contact was made.

They thought I had no interest.

In these situations, it is always necessary to show interest by asking at least some introductory questions, before proposing to talk later.

And/or specify that the proposal to talk later is in the interest of the client (ie to protect his privacy and ensure professional secrecy).

Corollary 2: also, when a professional relationship is more ingrained and trust has been established, it is possible to be more and more forward in suggesting I can be of help.

It is possible to directly state I can help the client, provided sufficient trust has been created in the relationship.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
"Suffering fortifies"
On this:
Quote from Bel on November 22, 2022, 10:52 pm

I used to think suffering was a way of fortifying oneself, David Goggins' style. I used to think it was a honor to stand up for what was right openly, even in the face of abuse and public pushback.

Now I understand it's simply useless, and it derives from being unaware and low-power.

I realize now that the thinking that "suffering fortifies" is in itself an introjected false belief deriving precisely from being manipulated.

It is instilled by the manipulator. I remember multiple instances where I was "indoctrinated" with this thought.

It is another way of making the abused accept the abuse. It is a form of gaslighting meant to convince the victim that suffering is what he should experience.

That, somehow, the more one suffers, the more one is "growing" or "doing it right".

What a subversion of life. And what a shame to have had the misfortune of having these people in my life.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

All great notes, Bel!

May be worth noting them down in a folder if one day you wanna go for that "Attorney University" (edit: can't remember for sure the we mentioned0.

Quote from Bel on November 26, 2022, 3:22 pm
I realize now that the thinking that "suffering fortifies" is in itself an introjected false belief deriving precisely from being manipulated.

It is instilled by the manipulator. I remember multiple instances where I was "indoctrinated" with this thought.

It is another way of making the abused accept the abuse. It is a form of gaslighting meant to convince the victim that suffering is what he should experience.

That, somehow, the more one suffers, the more one is "growing" or "doing it right".

What a subversion of life. And what a shame to have had the misfortune of having these people in my life.

Great point.

Of course sometimes suffering can help you grow, or even be a blessing in disguise.

However, you're perfectly right: it's far from a "law".

And sometimes that "growth through suffering" is just a convenient narrative.

Both for self-soothing, as in "it wasn't in vain, I learned and became stronger" and to maintain toxic relationships, as in "love means suffering", "I'm not mean, I'm honest (so you can improve)", etc."

Goggins and the various inspirational self-help around him can bring some people off track with that idealization and worship of (self-inflicted) suffering.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on November 26, 2022, 4:08 pm

All great notes, Bel!

Thanks Lucio!

May be worth noting them down in a folder if one day you wanna go for that "Attorney University" (edit: can't remember for sure the we mentioned0.

I think this thread is my notes folder now.

Quote from Bel on November 26, 2022, 3:22 pm
I realize now that the thinking that "suffering fortifies" is in itself an introjected false belief deriving precisely from being manipulated.

It is instilled by the manipulator. I remember multiple instances where I was "indoctrinated" with this thought.

It is another way of making the abused accept the abuse. It is a form of gaslighting meant to convince the victim that suffering is what he should experience.

That, somehow, the more one suffers, the more one is "growing" or "doing it right".

What a subversion of life. And what a shame to have had the misfortune of having these people in my life.

Great point.

Of course sometimes suffering can help you grow, or even be a blessing in disguise.

However, you're perfectly right: it's far from a "law".

And sometimes that "growth through suffering" is just a convenient narrative.

Both for self-soothing, as in "it wasn't in vain, I learned and became stronger" and to maintain toxic relationships, as in "love means suffering", "I'm not mean, I'm honest (so you can improve)", etc."

There's even a possibility for higher-lever manipulation here:

One close toxic relative, upon my repeated protests that I was not feeling good, used to frequently directly verbalize to me:

Life means suffering. It's normal to suffer.

I now understand this person was just trying to keep me down under his/her thumb. What a shame.

I think this for once is a situation where adopting a "shame" judge frame is fully justified.

In this vein, the same person:

  • shamed me for reading books
  • mentioned my ideas were just useless "lucubrations"
  • discouraged me constantly from my objectives
  • provoked my anger and used it to show I was "bad"

The more I think about it, the more I'm coming to the conclusion that there's nothing to save there.

But: there is much learning for me to still try to continue the interaction and still adopt the "grown up" frame.

Lucio Buffalmano and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitioned
Quote from Bel on November 15, 2022, 8:57 pm

I have had another client aggress me verbally in front of a group today.

I tried to handle it as best as I could, but am unsure whether I did a good job. This thing left me with a bad aftertaste.

The brief story is that I had a videocall with a group of clients who asked for my assistance in a civil dispute in which they are likely to be drawn in.

I had made a preliminary study of the (very complex) case on the basis of the documents they had sent me, and arranged this call to discuss with them my feeling for how to proceed.

The basics are that they engaged a company to do several engineering projects functional to building works, and then as the thing went on they "lost faith" in the works company. And they closed the relationship abruptly by using an excuse.

So my first professional thinking about the likeliest outcome is: they are going to pay at least some of what was done. Maybe not all, maybe not so high, but the work was done.

On the call I (think I) power-protected, mentioned this was a first impression susceptible to being modified as my work progressed, and so on, and then I told them that at this time the most likely outcome was unpredictable, as there were several troubling circumstances, most notably on the basis of what was written in a specific contract. I told them we had various defenses, but none of them was the silver bullet, and this was a case of constructing a story. It could work, but the outcome was not predictable and the case was very complex.

I think I tried to subcommunicate, and maybe I even said it - as gently as I could -, that there is a definite risk of losing here. And the amount involved is very significant.

I didn't say it out loud because they had managed all this big relationship by themselves, and - to me - they made several mistakes. Then they came to me when the damage was done.

But from my former experiences, telling this to a client explicitly never ends well. So I was trying also to "prepare the ground" to later be able to vary my estimation of the outcome, one way or the other (though I frankly think they boxed thesmselves in a very big and very losing case).

Back to the call: so I told them that it was, first, important for us to arrive at a likely estimation of the real value of the case. Which, they told me, the counterpart grossly exaggerated. Good, I told them, but we need expert opinion on this.

Then, on the basis of the likeliest value, it could make sense to try to avoid the lawsuit altogether by trying to reach a settlement for half that value (based on the fact that the outcome is - currently - difficult to predict, and this was probably clear to the counterpart as well).

Then one of them suddently went like this:

Client: I don't understand if we're talking strategy here.

Me: We are talking strategy.

Client: Then please limit yourself to doing the lawyer, and let us think about the strategy.

Me: Well, strategy is part of doing the lawyer's work.

Client: No you should defend us, and we/I do the strategy which I'm perfectly capable of doing myself. Otherwise we're wasting time here.

Me: I beg your pardon: I believe discussing this, and letting you know what is the situation and the likeliest risk at this moment, is a necessary step of doing my job. It is my duty, not a nuisance. Because you should know the risks involved. And then of course, if you decide to charge full speed ahead, we can do that, but you know the risks and can evaluate the situation from a clearer point of view. And will not be surprised if the outcome is not favorable.

And of course, if we have to defend, we will spend every possible defense. But we first need to talk things as they are, to be able to decide how to go on with full knowledge.

I did what I could, but I'm afraid I didn't react strong enough. Especially because there were more people on the call, all potential clients.

I also have a feeling of not wanting to send this particular client Christmas wishes anymore. He was really too nasty.

I think (now, I unfortunately didn't realize beforehand that this was the case) that he felt responsible for the situation that generated the lawsuit (he had brought in a particular person to the others, and this in turn caused the dispute to arise).

But I don't know how I could have handled this better, apart maybe from more power protecting him (eg: these things happen frequently, they are very common, and so on, to try to not make him feel "more responsible" for the possible bad outcome I was suggesting is possible).

On the other hand, it's possible he fully knew they were risking, but was hoping (unconscioulsy) he could make me the "fall guy". This suggests, if they are called into a lawsuit and I decide to proceed (which I should think about), that I put in the engagement a clear warning that the case is very complex and a negative judgment is possible.

BTW: this is the biggest case I am handling after I left my former law firm. So it's also possible this person was "testing" me to see if he could keep faith in me as his attorney

Two weeks have passed and I have not heard anymore from these people.

I formerly used to believe that specific isolated "mistakes" on my part could cost me relationships. That if I made a "mistake", people could go away.

I understand this was not a healthy belief, or even what normally happens. But it was difficult to change belief when one was living in a world where this seemed to happen continually.

I think two things may now be happening here:

  • either I may be continuing to shed people who were just takers, and used to engage me as a lawyer only because I was naive and low-cost;
  • or I may be continuing to do something "bad" that I'm unaware of, that is driving people away.

Either case, I have no choice but to press forward and see if I can understand what's happening.

I reflected on how to deal with people who formerly manipulated me, and I believe the higher-level principles I am getting here are these:

On how to reengage formerly manipulative people:

  • there is no way to do now to manipulative people what they did to me in the past; in fact, since they are aware of the "game", they won't let themselves be manipulated as they used to do to me; especially, not in the immediate term, while they're aware that I dissed them and thus that I was "on" to their manipulativeness (would probably be different had I faded them, but that's not what happened anyways);
  • the choice of openly or even covertly disrespecting them to release anger is a losing choice; they are not going to stay and let them be disrespected. Unlike I did in the past, they'll escalate and/or leave, and possibly even paint me "bad" with third parties;
  • also, choosing to "try to disrespect them" to "vent anger" is a losing choice even from a "strategic" point of view, because it gains me nothing material and only gives me an enemy; it is "winning a useless battle" while I should be focusing on the "war";
  • the only sensible choice to be made is whether to reengage from a position of "distant kindness" and higher-power (meaning, I try to reestablish an equal relationship without letting them disrespect me, but at the same time I have to "formally respect" them); or to continue to sever all ties;
  • assuming I still want revenge, choosing to reengage as above (ie in a "formally respectful way") is in fact the decision that will give me the highest probability of being able to get revenge, by faking friendship and then (hypothetically) betraying them when and if the occasion comes to gain something (now this is "winning the war").

On how to speak about these people:

  • advertising to third parties what these people did to me in the past is a losing choice. If anything, it: (i) paints me as an unaware idiot; (ii) shows to the world I was unable to establish win-win; (iii) shows to the world I am still angry over something that has already ended;
  • so the only sensible choice here is, again, to either not say anything when the topic comes up, or to say only good things. In fact, if I say good things about a manipulator and he talks bad of me, he is going to lose socially while I gain (by coming across as the "good guy" in behavior, which people are going to take into account more anyways);
  • this principle is all the more important the more close and personal the relationship was. This means that, even if I should happen to hate my family's guts because they were the worst of the worst, I can only gain by faking I am close to them, I love them, and advertising to the world how I frequently visit, go to them, hear their advice, etc.
  • on the contrary, I can only lose by hinting at the fact that I am distant from them, or that I hate their guts.

Sad, but that's how it is.

So I must start doing the internal work to adjust to this reality.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Send the resume or not?

I went to dinner with a relative of mine who works in a bank at a central middle level-position.

During the dinner we talked about our work.

At one point she asked me if I have a resume that I could send her, as (she said) she wanted to forward it to a contact of hers to ask him if he could keep me into account as a lawyer for future work.

I said "of course".

Then, later, I didn't send her my resume.

I believe that:

  • if I had sent her the resume, that would have lowered my "lawyer" status in her mind, as I would have been given a vibe of "looking for work"
  • instead I wanted her to consider me as a possible professional to engage, and build possible referrals from her directly.

Some days later, she asked me for my lawyer opinion on something.

The fact is: every person I meet can be a possible source of work, and I can never know who can turn out to be the person that will help me into the "success-breaking point".

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I agreee with most/a large chunk of what you write, Bel.

Not with this, though:

Quote from Bel on November 28, 2022, 11:20 am
  • so the only sensible choice here is, again, to either not say anything when the topic comes up, or to say only good things. In fact, if I say good things about a manipulator and he talks bad of me, he is going to lose socially while I gain (by coming across as the "good guy" in behavior, which people are going to take into account more anyways);
  • this principle is all the more important the more close and personal the relationship was. This means that, even if I should happen to hate my family's guts because they were the worst of the worst, I can only gain by faking I am close to them, I love them, and advertising to the world how I frequently visit, go to them, hear their advice, etc.
  • on the contrary, I can only lose by hinting at the fact that I am distant from them, or that I hate their guts.

Everything has exceptions.

So, with strangers who know nothing (and are probably never going to meet them), that's probably an effective approach indeed because people who know nothing about you also tend to draw conclusions from your other relationships... About you.

But people who are close, or people who know both... Why would you say good things of someone you don't think is good?

It's not like you gain many points if people know that is not the case.
And for people who can smell manipulation and turkey behavior, they will think you are blind for not saying the abuse.

If you wanna stop short of being totally frank and straight, then you can go for the "I'm just saying it but don't believe it compliment" or "yeah-yeahing" their positive comments about someone.

Example from Scarface:

Frank: Omar says good things about you
Scarface: Yeah, Yeah, well Omar is OK

Didn't break rapport or create any strange social vibe, but he's also not lying and being straight because it's clear that the sub-communication is "Omar is a piece of shit".

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
PreviousPage 31 of 33Next
Processing...