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Hi alli, it really sucks what you are going through with your doctor.

Since one of my topic of interest is health and healing, may I ask you what kind of medication is that and why your kidneys would stop functioning without it, so just in case I come across some piece of information (the other day for example I was reading about wheat consumption increasing the risk of kidney cancer like 300%)

Hi guys,

Surprised to see so much engagement in this thread :).

In response to your question, Lucio, yes.

The conversation where she delivered her covert threat was actually our third conversation on this subject. She had tried to convince me two times before to show up to our appointments. These were times when she made it clear that she was concerned about my health if I continued missing our appointments.

During those two conversations, I told her something along the lines of, "Yes, I completely understand. But, this isn't really about me or my health, it's about my family. If I were to catch the virus and bring it back to my family, I would never be able to forgive myself. So, maybe when this is over or when there's a vaccine available I can start showing up again more consistently."

When we had our third conversation, she called me. But, something seemed different. I noticed right away that she had called to bring up a subject that we had already spoken about twice before. Not only that, she had put in the social effort of reaching out to me. So, I'm thinking to myself, "What makes her think this conversation is going to be any different from the others?"

She asks again if I'm going to start showing up to the appointments. I give her the same response I did before as empathetically as I can because I feel like I understand her position. But, I also feel like I've made myself clear from both our previous conversations and that if she's really still bringing this up, it's because she doesn't have any regard for my interests. It was beginning to feel like she was only calling to protect her own.

So, here I am, not sure what to think because it's beginning to seem as if she cares more about the money she's losing by losing my appointments. Yet, I don't want to jump to those conclusions because that's something my dad would say. Being a traditional Jamaican, he's always on the lookout for that sort of thing out of caution of being manipulated, played, or screwed over. So, I decide to be empathetic while repeating the message because I've known this doctor for years and feel like she deserves the benefit of the doubt. (Looking back, by repeating the same message—even if not word for word—I am displaying assertive behavior: repeat the message and expect compliance).

It was then that she said if I did not show up she would stop refilling my medication. That's when I realized what it was that seemed different this time around. What it was that felt off.

She hardly hesitated when delivering that threat. Almost as if she had prepared for this conversation before calling. Almost as if she had spoken with someone she trusted about the tough spot she was in and they had advised her to pull this move. Or, that she had thought this over long and hard and felt like she had no choice.

When she pulled this move, I was surprised. I was more shocked than anything else. Too shocked to respond to someone I saw as a friend—someone who had saved me from the brink of death with her treatment plans when no one else tried—to respond with dominant assertiveness. I was just too confused.

So, instead of being assertive, I called her game out into the open. I say back, "Did you just threaten me, Dr. M?"

She says, "No, Ali, no. I'm just trying to get you to do the right thing."

Feeling like we both knew that this was indeed a threat put me in the mindset of expecting an apology as her response. But, there was no apology and no defensiveness. It was as if stopping the medication that would cause the loss of my life was the natural thing to do in this situation to her. As if I wasn't a person, only one of many names in her system. So, now I've gone from confused to upset.

I immediately regain a large part of control over my mind because instead of getting angry, I've simply determined not to give her what she wants since she wants to be so cold. I'm sitting up now thinking to myself, "Frame control. I have to control the frame to persuade her to back off." But, I've never been in this situation before, so I don't know what to say. And, as I struggle to think of what to say, silence building up with each passing second, I think to myself, "Man, what the fuck do you say in this situation? What the hell would Lucio say?"

I feel like saying, "And stopping my medication is the right thing to do?" But, I also felt like that would be too assertive. So, I stick with the silence that built up with my indecision. I wait for her to explain herself further, believing that I'm basically wielding social pressure with the silence. We both knew that she had delivered a threat, so I decided to purposely continue to be silent and see if she'd become defensive. "After all, the woman I knew who had been my doctor for the past three to four years couldn't be this cold and she wasn't in our last two conversations," I said trying to convince myself.

But, she didn't defend herself. She only held her ground, reinforcing her frame that her choice was right.

Not long after that, I find myself in her doctor's office, angry and resentful.

The problems that were caused were that I wanted to be passive-aggressive. Passive because she has domain authority but aggressive because I still feel like I have a negative social balance. Sitting in her hospital room office, watching her act as if she hadn't threatened to put me back in a place in life where I was dying alone, I feel like I want to get back at her somehow without shooting myself in the foot.

But, deep down, I also know that I was suicidal once because I had been isolated by the very people I cared about. All because I didn't know enough about social interactions. And, I knew that with Power University I had come a long way since then. I didn't want to make a move that would cause me to feel like I was moving back in my progress—moving back to that dark place I was in—while losing the time I had invested in my self-development.

So, for our next few appointments, our conversations were tainted by my personal battle to avoid passive-aggression toward her. I won every battle, managing to never show passive-aggression. But, those wins caused me to be cold and distant because I still felt like I hadn't reset the balance. I felt like I was still letting a  bully dominate me and it felt painful in more ways than one.

I didn't want to speak to her. I wanted to get the appointments over with as soon as possible since each appointment was a reminder that I had been threatened into showing up and also a reminder that I might now bring the virus back to my family now that I have actually shown up.

She noticed my new emotional state toward her and never apologized, but seemed less comfortable with me in the room.

Things did eventually get better, but only after I emotionally minimized what had happened in combination with reviewing what happened from the standpoint of being a learner.

Hi, Matthew!

Yes, I thought about that as well. I thought about how she might feel offended since she is still putting herself at risk every day and I was basically refusing to take that risk with her as if she was already infected herself (putting myself in her shoes, I might feel somewhat offended since I'm only doing my noble job to the best of my ability).

That being said, I made it clear that this wasn't about me, but about my family. And, after telling her that multiple times, I felt that the empathy from her side should've been higher. She didn't communicate any understanding and didn't show any. Her facial expressions reflected that she was strategizing how to maneuver the conversation to get me to agree to do what she wants. There was no verbal or nonverbal sign that she even cared about my position which didn't hurt my feelings since I understood her position. I assumed that reaction was normal. But, it also made me feel less obligated to do what she wanted.

It was only the fact that we had been through so much together and known each other for years that I felt there was enough incentive for me to show more empathy despite her unwillingness to show any.

Hi Stef!

It's in the past now, my relationship with my doctor has smoothened out since then :).

Yea, I've seen some of your contributions throughout the forum on the topics of health, healing, and wellness, and man, you're an absolute beast!

Unluckily, what you're asking for is a bit too personal to share here, but if you shoot me an email at, I'd be happy to share some more information with you for your health and healing journey.


Lucio Buffalmano, Matthew Whitewood and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew WhitewoodStefselffriend

Unlucky that you have to find out about your doctor's true colours under such a challenging time.
Certainly feels that the doctor is trying to manoeuvre the conversation.

I have encountered doctors who wanted me to go for multiple consultations before.
It seemed like they were in for the money because a consultation could last for 5 minutes without any meaningful advice.
He proposed a lot of expensive treatments, which raised a red flag in my head.
I decided to find another doctor and fortunately found a better one.

My experience with doctors is that they can be manipulative as well, especially those in the private sector.
Very unfortunate that they forgot about the Hippocratic Oath.

Would remote consultations for a specialist be possible in your area?
There are a couple of apps for remote consultations in my area.

Stef has reacted to this post.

Thank you for the breakdown, Ali.

Now we understand much better.

Sorry to hear that, by the way, it takes courage to admit that being treated coldly / rudely hurts, but that's exactly how it is.

It sounds like you managed it well, though.

A few thoughts:

  • Good idea to extend the benefit of the doubt
  • "Did you just threaten me"

I like the bold move of calling it out in the open.

I might have put a further step in between to let her repeat, which expands the thread of the bitch move, and gives her one more chance to change tack before escalating.

Something like:

You: OK, wait, I'm not sure I understand this correctly, Dr. M. Are you saying that if I cannot come there in person, you are going to stop refilling my medication?

Now she has to confirm, which is a good thing.
In the social dynamics, this step in between expands the thread of the bitch move. The equivalent of saying "you wanna be a bitch? Great! Let's make that even louder and clearer to both of us".

Then maybe to soften the escalation slightly, one could have said "that feels a lot like a threat".
But otherwise, for thinking on your feet, well done.

  • To avoids stewing, say how you feel

I totally understand you wanting to hit back, and I'd have felt the same.

To lessen the internal turmoil, adding one step of assertion might have helped.
If on the phone, something like:

Dr. M., you saved my life and I will never forget that. And if I have to be there to get the refills, I will be there because I have to be. But please allow me to say that I am very unhappy and personally disappointed by all of this.

Or if you had missed the moment on the phone and it was in person at the hospital, something like:

Dr. M., let me please add a few thoughts before we put all of this behind us. I am very grateful for all that you've done to me. And I will always be. You've been a wonderful doctor and a life saver. And that's exactly why I was shocked when you told me that if I didn't come here you'd stop my refills. I felt that was unfair.

Let it sit, see what she replies, then drop it.

  • Power move to regain the full power

Another option to regain total power, even while you submit, would be to uncover her game in the most direct possible fashion.

After she said it was "good for you", something like:

You: I feel it's very manipulative to frame it as "good for me".
Look, Dr. M., I love you, you saved my life. I will never forget that, you can rest assured about that. I will always be grateful. And that's why I am so disappointed to hear this. If the reason why you want me there is because you need to bill the insurance company, just say it. I understand you also have needs, so don't play games with me, just say it.

After that, you'd feel tremendously empowered.

Now you're the one speaking the hard truth and on the offense, and she is the one who is making up BS to hide her real reason.

Sure, she can still hold her frame unapologetically, but she'd only be digging her grave further: you know she's being a liar, and she knows it.
And you both know you're the higher quality straight talker.

And when you show up in person, you can show up with pride: you call it as it is, while she's the sneaky one hiding her real reasons.

In case she could really stop your medications, this would be a super risky power move, so probably best to avoid.
But if she was forced to give it to you the moment you showed up, and/or if you could get it from some other doctors, it might have been fair game.

  • On being great, and then turning bitch

Difficult to judge this situation.

She's done so much, and that can't be forgotten and will always stay.

And yet, this also was a truly bitch and cold move. This, also, can't be forgotten.

  • On doctors stopping empathy

It sounds like this lady went into cold-killer style.

I think being a doctor is a profession where you need to be able to switch off empathy, since they are dealing on a constant basis with someone in pain.

That can allow some doctors to switch off empathy in a manner that seems extremely cold-hearted to others.

Maybe John can provide some further insight in case he ends up here.


It's also possible she was feeling bad about having to do what she did, but like you said, prepared in advance, and decided to put on a stoic cold mask and just push through.
Beneath that mask, there might have been more humanity, but the moment she had decided on that course of action, she was also forced to stay the course.

Paradoxically, if that's the case and you call her out and calculative game, you make her feel bad about it, and she might want to cut you out of her life just to avoid having to deal with the thought and memory of having been so bad.

But here we are in the realms of very hypothetical analyses now.
The facts are above, and overall, you did well.

Matthew Whitewood, Stef and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodStefselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks for the feedback and notes, guys!

Very, very helpful.

Glad you found a better doctor, Matthew. Health is so much more important than we sometimes realize, it's always great never to take it for granted.

And, I'll likely be adding your feedback to my self-development journal, Lucio. Very insightful stuff.

Power University

In the forum, this thread made me realize how far behind I actually am.

I'm power dynamics aware enough now to where I knew something was off, but couldn't put my finger on it until Lucio broke it down. This makes me feel like I might have easily made the same mistakes and the last thing I want to do is ruin the friendships I've made here by offending others without realizing it.

For example, this:

Ali: "But, a lot of my research is information I paid thousands of dollars for, so I'm not quite sure it's legally okay to openly share what I've learned in the form of an article that's accessible to anyone with a quick Google search. So, I'm thinking about sharing it in the forum's hidden/locked section of the forum, Power University Talks."

"information I paid thousands of dollars for" (= I got something you really want?)

I didn't think this was social credit inflating or consider that anything might be wrong with saying this because I said it only to express that if we published that information openly, the creators of the content where I got that information may come after The Power Moves. But, if this is somehow manipulative, maybe I could have phrased that better.

I feel like I have a lot of room to improve which is a painful feeling because I really thought I had power dynamics mostly figured out. But, it's also a feeling I'm really grateful for because I know I can channel it into productivity. I'm an eternal learner which is what gave me the self-esteem to publish this. Yet, I can feel an increasing need not to fuck-up creeping up on me out of the fear of being isolated by people I care about (similar to a terribly painful experience I went through when I was younger).

So, I've decided that I need to do a better job of prioritizing Power University more than Masterclass. I finished the Voss review, but I'm not taking Daniel Pink's Sales and Persuasion Masterclass until I've finished my index cards for the major Power University modules.

Honestly, I think that this helps everyone anyway. With more mastery of knowledge of power dynamics, I can provide you all with a much better, thorough review when I get around to Pink's Masterclass and be a better person in the forum.

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Matthew Whitewoodselffriend

We are pretty far ahead from both our past selves and others by learning from Power University and from one another on this forum. 🙂
That being said, personally, I have a long way to even get the basics down.

After going through the new social exchange module in Power University, the basic concept is simple.
But I have yet to internalise the advanced and nuanced portions of social exchange.
Manipulation is hard to nail down exactly, especially if the attempt is deliberately thought out.

At the same time on this site, we are here to learn of our less-than-ideal tendencies to manipulate ourselves and others.
It is a constant work in progress for myself. Innate drives & tendencies can be very strong.

Fair Marketing

"information I paid thousands of dollars for" (= I got something you really want?)

I don't have the full context so I will give my general thoughts.
If you paid thousands of dollars for something, it seems natural to want to share that with people.
This could be part of fair and smart marketing.

Because, if you leave that out, people may take for granted the knowledge that you share.
Especially if it is the knowledge that you went out of the way to seek out whether with money, time, or effort.

When Does It Become Social Scalping?

If you leverage that social credit on people who consume the information in a value-taking manner, that would be social scalping.
For example, repeatedly bringing your instance of sharing to get certain information out of people may constitute social credit inflating.

If I took a ride in your Lamborghini and you told me it costs a million dollars, I would be okay with that.
I may even be thinking "Wow, I took a ride in a fancy car. Love the experience."

But after the ride or in the future, if you bring that incident up and ask for a favour, that would be closer towards social scalping.
It would seem like you are leveraging your social credit to take value from me.
Then I would think "To hell with your fancy car. I have no time to spare."

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett

Thanks for the detailed feedback, Matthew!

Yea, it seems like a great way to analyze the situation is to compare it to other possible situations that contain a less or more manipulative tone.

And, the social exchanges module is an absolute gem, hands down. Even if I don't fully understand all of it yet, that's why we're here as learners. With more practice, experience, and breakdowns of other social situations, we'll surely have internalized a large part of the advanced side of the social exchange.

BTW, was just about to comment on your post here, you seem pretty advanced yourself :). Gave your post a like, keep up the positive self-development, Matthew!

A few quick notes on this:

  • In the forum, this thread made me realize how far behind I actually am

That was quite advanced, and when you measure progress against a high bar, then you might also get a distorted reading.

  • I knew something was off, but couldn't put my finger on it until Lucio broke it down

That's your 80%, Ali!

When you feel something is off, you're already good.

Even if one doesn't exactly understand what is off, you are still able to say "not a good person to be friends with / partner with / romantically involved with". That's already huge, it allows you to pick and choose which people to have around you, who to give more of your time, as well as to avoid behaving like that.

The next step, knowing exactly what was wrong, it's great to have as well, but "feeling something is off" is already a good place to be.

  • This makes me feel like I might have easily made the same mistakes and the last thing

I don't think so, actually.

One, because you said you felt something was wrong.

Two, because people who act like that tend to have a certain personality, which is power-craving + manipulative/sneaky + passive-aggressive (in that case, you could have noticed even earlier that he was going towards that direction).
If you don't have that type of personality, even when one is clueless about power dynamics, they still don't act that way. Which is why good people can make for good friends/partner even when they're clueless about power dynamics.

And three, we (or I) would have told you (and if I may add something: you've always acted just like a great guy).

  • I feel like I have a lot of room to improve which is a painful feeling because I really thought I had power dynamics mostly figured out

May I remind here antifragile ego and growth mindset?

Pain for not being good can be a sign of the antifragile ego that still needs reinforcement.
And the growth mindset here can kick and say: "so great, I still have so much more to learn, which means to much more growth and power for me"

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Matthew Whitewoodselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Inside The Power Moves

Power University

I've been tearing through Power University while doing my best to make sure I'm still being sensibly productive. I still want to make index cards for each lesson, not only since writing helps with my memorization but also because I enjoy reviewing those index cards on my own time outside the course.

LOL, all of those index cards are for one lesson! It took me a day, but it also enabled me to better understand that topic's information much better.

After I've finished making index cards for the core fundamental modules in Power University, I'll be using The Feynman Technique for better comprehension and memorization. In other words, I'll be pretending I'm explaining social and power dynamics to a sixth-grader, lesson by lesson. And, if I find that I don't have the words to say what I want to say, or I get stuck, it means I don't know the material well enough. And, at that point, I can refer back to the course.

Once I've done that, my final move will be using everything I've learned to do breakdowns of the social and power dynamics in certain Telltale games where social and power dynamics are everything. After that, I'll simply continue learning through the forum, journaling my experiences, and doing my best to keep up with any further Power University updates.

Daniel Pink Teaches Sales and Persuasion Masterclass

I'm going to finish this after I've wrapped up my Power University work.

I love sharing reviews of these courses that are made by experts in their field. I remember when I was overcoming my own depression and used self-development as a way to achieve battling the demons in my head. The problem was, I didn't have any mentors. I would read book after book (my favorite at the time being The Power of Habit) as I searched for more ways that would be more effective at curing my depression. Something I found that I enjoyed learning about along with self-development was entrepreneurship.

This was around when Tai Lopez had just become seriously famous and I had already taken an interest in real estate after following some of Grant Cardone's work. When I look back, these sparks of interest kept me away from drugs, away from alcohol, and out of the streets. So, when I think about it that way, something that would have helped me back then was having a mentor to help me continue on the path that was bringing me so much newfound curiosity and excitement.

So, I figured, if young me could have been able to head to TPM and learn all about negotiation or sales or persuasion from some of the top experts (mentors) out there, it would've only fed my curiosity for how to get more out of life. It would have helped me avoid my negative, destructive habits even more.

That being said, just because I'm still curious about how to get more out of life (which leads me to continue to take these courses) and my purpose leads me to write reviews on them, doesn't mean you guys would get value from them. I'll keep doing these course reviews for any good ones that gel with TPM and I hope you guys will recommend any you'd love to see me review, but I also understand if these reviews aren't something you're interested in.

Outside The Power Moves

Start With WHY

I have a coaching call with a member of Simon Sinek's team to discover my WHY tomorrow. It's going to be a two-hour long session over Zoom. I'll be back here to share my insights soon, but I also wanted to share that I was provided with this PDF to prepare for the call tomorrow. Maybe you guys will get value from this PDF on your own journeys to discovering your own WHYs.

Habit Development

I'm very close to having built my daily mindset routine habit.

After I reach 30 days, I'll have built the habit and will continue to the 100-day mark in order to make sure it sticks.

After I reach 30 days, I'll also start developing my next habit in line, a 6 AM morning routine. That one's going to be hell for me personally, definitely what you might call the pain of the "refiner's fire". But, I know this will take my habit development from life-altering to life-changing, so I'm here for it :).

BTW, I'm also thinking about sharing what caused my habits to fail in the past. That's something I think you guys might find pretty valuable since Ultimate Power provides its own roadmap for habit development which pulls from some really great resources. I think that if you combine the lessons in Ultimate Power with the lessons from my failures you guys will have an even easier time on your own habit-building journeys.

Happy Holidays!

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