Manipulation

8 Dec

Nothing takes the wind our of your sails like crying at work. In front of people. In front of people who are in charge of you. People who are in charge of you that you are currently making a request of.

I thought I was being an adult. I was asserting myself, I was making my requests in a firm and forward matter. Face-to-face instead of email, calm and collected and ready to find a solution. I had stated my case and there was no way I could be turned down. Until I was. Rudely. Condescendingly. I could literally feel the judgement from the other person seeping into me pores and wrapping around my bones. It was unexpectedly harsh.

I snarked back, then surprised by my own boldness, I think, I began to cry. I felt useless. I felt personally attacked, cornered. Every phrase I rehearsed and every plan I put into place fell away. I was a child being scolded by my mother, father, grandmother, all rolled into one. Except minus the obligatory “love your children” mindset.

However, when I started to cry, the tides turned. I was praised for all my hard work, appreciated, validated and… given what I was asking for. It’s the reason children throw fits for candy, it’s the reason people flirt to get out of speeding tickets. It works. I feel horrible that it worked. I wasn’t intending anything to go down that way. I wasn’t trying to manipulative, I was just caught in a vulnerable moment and I couldn’t bow out gracefully before breaking down.

That doesn’t matter though. Any way you slice it, from the outside, I played a dirty trick. So I feel badly for doing it, I feel badly for not being able to control it, and I feel badly about the perception this other person must have of me now. It doesn’t make me feel better to know my intentions were pure. It doesn’t make me feel better to know it’s happened to others. It will only make me feel better if I can find a way to avoid a repeat performance in the future. I’ll start with sticking to email correspondence for just a bit longer.

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2 Responses to “Manipulation”

  1. mzklever December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    I once cried in an entire room full of programmers, managers, psychologists, and quality assurance people. In software design, as in any other industry, when one person has to get approval from other people, those other people all feel compelled to “piss on the tree.” No matter how perfect a design might be, or how many other people have already signed off, there will be one person who wants something one way. Once it’s “fixed,” someone else hates it and wants it back the other way. I just couldn’t take anymore of the back and forth, and burst into tears. It was humiliating. I really did try to hold it in, but as I told the room that they weren’t happy if I had it one way, and weren’t happy if I had it another, and I didn’t care anymore, I just wanted someone to choose something, I could feel my voice crack, my eyes burn, my tongue thicken, and then the tears started to roll. All I can say is thank goodness I didn’t start sobbing.

    The fact that the person you cried in front of gave in because of your tears is NOT YOUR FAULT! Either they have control issues and just like to say no, or they didn’t agree because the don’t like anything that’s not their idea, or maybe they just like to push a woman to tears before giving in. If they really felt very strongly that they were right and you were wrong, tears would not have pushed them over the edge. So this is THEIR issue, not yours. You went in honestly, and with good intentions. THEY manipulated YOU.

    • Cally December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

      You make a good point about the fact that if they’d felt strongly, my crying wouldn’t have changed anything. I know quite a few other people have had similar experiences with this person. I’ll forgive myself for it… soon.

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