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My journey to assertiveness

Thank you very much!

Yes, with all that I learned on TPM, I gained a new maturity. I could even say a warm “good evening” to her as I was not holding any grudge. I know I don’t like her but she’s not my enemy. We collaborate.

I also could see the benefit of speaking up. After I spoke with her on the phone my heart was racing. My fight-or-flight response had been activated: I was angry. A couple of minutes after having spoken my mind, I was calm again. So there is a big emotional pay-off in self-respect and self-expression. In the past I would have swollen my anger and came back at home angry. I would be angry against her and against me for not having had the courage to speak up. It could have stayed for hours.

Another source of my courage is that I came to term with the mediocrity of the people there and of the organization. I know that in 2 years max I will leave and not come back. So all that I’m focusing on is improving and getting good work certificates to move to another hospital. I’m focusing on being an excellent employee to be able to leave to a better hospital. So I don’t give a f$&k anymore about assholes. They had it coming for all my life. Now I finally have the tools to fight them.

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Another important aspect is to accumulate reference experiences: to have in our brains physical proofs of effective strategies and behaviours. So we can repeat these effective behaviours again and again to move to a higher quality of life.

Follow-up

Context: of course she has a narcissistic mindset.

This morning  she struck back. She throws back at me that I was impolite that she did not appreciate what I told her. This was not true at all. I used the words: "I would like to tell you that hen you spoke to me on the phone I didn't appreciate your tone". She accused me of saying: "You!" as arrived. She twisted what I supposedly had said. She tried to use a coworker as witness and the coworker (whom I think said she agreed with her behind my back) was not ready to take sides in front of me. She said she was not "at ease when people do that". I said that I don't feel at ease and I don't like it.

She said that I could have taken her on the side to tell her that. I agreed with her.

Then I said that if the nasty bitch was going to change what was said then I was not ready to have a conversation with her.

Then this evening as I left and said good bye she didn't reply. So it shows the immaturity of these people. This is the cold shoulder. Trying to shame me through body language. Rejecting me to make me feel inferior. I'm sorry this does not work. But good try. This is one way I was manipulable. By being afraid of being rejected (yes I'm reading "who's pulling your strings"). She can reject me all she wants. I don't give a f#%k. She could be my supervisor next year but I'm ok with it. I prefer my option that having let her walk all over me. No more doormat syndrome.

Analysis

My mistake was not having taken her aside. She's almost going to crack up as she's overworked. She's working in the same service as I was before. And the overwork is tremendous. That was my mistake and it's a leadership fundamental: "praise publicly and criticise privately". I know she will try to get her revenge as this is how these people operate. In the past I was afraid of these revenges. I am not anymore. I know I made an enemy and I'm ok with it. I now have enough allies and proved my worth and contribution many times over. So I can take having one enemy. I have a few others but it's manageable. In the past I made too many enemies and these were powerful. I would say I have 2-3 enemies in leadership (ego issues), a few among nurses, 1 among resident and none among supervisors. So I would say it's a minority. I'm on the good side of alliances count.

Strategy

Politeness. I will be polite with her and she will not reply. She will look like she's holding a grudge so she will lose the public relations battle. She will talk sh#Çt behind my back but now I have enough social and leadership capital to take it. She's smart so she's flattering people around her who can't see her game. But now I know that I win on the long term these kinds of war. It's a war of attrition. Now I have the reference experience to have won the attrition war against nasty social climber A. So I know that virtue will beat crappy mindset. This is just another challenge to up my game.

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Matthew Whitewood
Quote from John Freeman on March 5, 2021, 7:20 pm

She said that I could have taken her on the side to tell her that. I agreed with her.

If she was very aggressive and the tone was very displeasing, I think that drawing a line in public is fair.
She used that tone in front of others with you.
She used aggression, and you used a precise assertion on the tone.
It seems leader-like and doesn't come across as holding a grudge on her.

That being said, if a person acts up for private matters between us, I would bring the person to the side.
This doesn't seem to be the case as you were not contributing towards matters behind the scenes.

These are my thoughts.
What do you think?

 She's smart so she's flattering people around her who can't see her game.

I think this is why it could be a good idea to draw the line in public.
She seems to be manipulative to find all reasons to fault you for your assertive behaviour.
She did not mention any fault of her own but looked to find faults in how you drew the line.

Giving negative feedback in private works for value-adding, honest people.
For manipulative people, I find that sometimes social pressure can help to draw the line.

 She's almost going to crack up as she's overworked. She's working in the same service as I was before. And the overwork is tremendous.

Personally, the intensity of drawing the line seems to be fair for her condition of being overworked.
You told her quite calmly that you did not like the tone.
She retreated and told you that she was tired.
And you gave resolution.

What do you think?

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I think it's almost good news she charged back the day after.

It means that your assertion really struck a chord with her.

I can't be sure whether it's a question of narcissism or not, but it's definitely about power and status.
She couldn't stand having lost status and power in front of whoever was there, and it's possible she couldn't stand having lost power vis-a-vis with you. Great: the more it stung, the more she will remember to treat people -or at least you- with basic human decency.



John
: She tried to use a coworker as witness and the coworker (whom I think said she agreed with her behind my back) was not ready to take sides in front of me.

Nice!

Total bitch move and great... For you!

She lost a lot of social capital there, and showed her hand as a vindicative, value-taking person who puts her own victory above anyone else.

People hate it when belligerent folks do it to them, trying to use recruit them as leverage to hurt someone else they have no beef with.
Call this form of power-borrowing "cannon foddering", trying to throw innocent people in the middle of their own little war.

On this one:

John: I know I made an enemy and I'm ok with it. I now have enough allies and proved my worth and contribution many times over. So I can take having one enemy.

Yes, that's why it's good to always seek friends as general rule: so that you can have the power and clout to break that rule with various POS and value-takers: because once you have a good reputation, a good stauts, a positive social bank account, and overall more friendly folks than enemies, then you can allow yourself to take on a few enemies.

There was a saying among fascists:

Many enemies, much honor.

The saying was very wrong. Or, at least, not effective to succed in life. But with a little bit of a correction, it can work:

Some value-takers as enemies, much honor.

Just to make sure you've done all your best to keep professional and cool, you could have mentioned to her that you understand she's over-worked, that you've been there, and that you know how it can be.
And that your issue is not with her, but with the tone. And if you want to take yet one more step, you can add that otherwise, you think she's a good professional and that you're open to grab lunch together to mend things.

After that, you've done your part.

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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Here is an update on my progress:

I had an evaluation at work and it was quite a good one. However, what has changed: I got the highest possible grade when it comes to how I got along with nurses, supervisors and peers (equals: residents).

And I just started this year to focus on my social skills! Last 10 months were more about discovering the main principles of social skills and power dynamics.

The sky is the limit!

Cheers!

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Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Wow that's amazing! Testament to the power of focused, consistent hard work in power dynamics and also to how good Lucio's course is!

As Lucio says, the world is for eagles to enjoy.

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Booom!

Well done John!

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John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Also, one more note:

what's also important is what's not in that report, but what's implied, and what you know.

Such that there is a far higher likelihood of:

  • You being promoted
  • You making it the top
  • You developing a great team
  • You implementing important changes and getting people's buy-in

In this case, you're not interested in staying there. But the best thing is that you bring those skills, attitudes, and mindsets wherever you go 🙂

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John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks a lot, also for your feed-back about the beef with my colleague. I gave it a thumbs up but I want to express that my gratitude goes higher of course.

So tomorrow night I'll be seeing nasty social climber A at a board game night. As you know he has three favorite insults that he uses every time he sees me:

  1. "You're unbearable": when I'm being funny with my friends: babying move.
  2. "You're a genius": when someone makes a mistake or he thinks it's dumb.
  3. "This is John's pussy": when I'm being lucky. This is an expression that he's twisting to attack my masculinity while pretending he's talking about my luck.

So I asked several questions and thought a lot about it. As I said, Here is where I am currently:

You're unbearable

I thought about going assertive. But I'm afraid it will make me look like I'm touchy feely if I go: "It feels like you're treating me like a child when you say that I'm unbearable" and wait to see what he's going to say. Shaming him with "you know it's not cool to call a friend "unbearable" " will also make me look touchy-feely. I can also surface it and become serious and say: "why are you saying that?" but it's also too serious in that moment. Last time I mirrored it: "It's YOU who's unbearable". Now I will add  a disapproving shake of head and move on. To make him look bad. I think it's quite good. Or I'll use Lucio's advice:

Him: tu es unsupportable
You: You SO fell for it brother, ehehe

Now the frame is "you're angry because you fell for it (and I got you)", which reinstates your one-up frame.

I'll experiment with both.

Also when I do these funny faces, he said that he's been "Johned" and tried to take the group as witness of me being a clown. So it's really a 12 years old game. Unfortunately.

You're a genius

Lucio's advice was:

You: (make a small mistake)
Him:
You’re such a genius (they use sarcasm to actually say “you’re so stupid”)
You
: When someone makes a mistake and you tell them they’re genius, it feels like you’re attacking and making fun of them (note: add the “making fun” part because if you leave the “attacking” part alone, he can go undercover with the usual “I was just joking”). Some people (keep it impersonal, it leaves him less room to defend saying “not me, that wasn’t my intention) do that as a way of feeling superior, but it’s actually just annoying

I think on this one I can use this advice. However, the problem is that most people around the table are not so aware of social dynamics. And it will make me look like I'm taking things too seriously. The value of the group is fun. So I think I will also mirror it: "It's YOU who are a genius, man" and move on.

This is John's pussy

With this one I'm going to frame him as being jealous of my luck. So I will say things like: "don't be jealous" or "why are you jealous?" or "it's good to have pussy don't you think?". Framing me as having an abundance of women.

I do understand that these are not the best defenses academically speaking. They are not the most mature answers. He has about a 12 years old mindset. So I will answer at this level. I have to start somewhere. I think that my first step is to get into the mindset of replying back. And from there I can go higher. I do not feel socially confident enough now to pull more sophisticated moves. Because of the funny/light context and because I'm not 100% sure I have enough leadership and social capital to pull this off. I will stick to these simple strategies and see how they work out.

He also started to butcher my first name even though he knows exactly how it is pronounced, which shows that the degree of covert aggression increased when I started to stop seeing him.

I know there will be another character-disturbed individual, so I will have to fight two individuals. This will be a tough evening.

I'll use one-upping and humor as my default strategies: that will be my mindset. Defend all attacks with humor and one-upping: becoming a hard target.

If he goes too far, I'll turn serious and go meta then I'll move on. I think that's the key. If I go serious and meta, then I have to move on quickly as in "this guy is a d##k but I don't want it to impact the group."

Thank you for your answers in the other threads. I'll catch up as soon as possible.

Cheers!