Author Topic: assertiveness/fear (in money)  (Read 14733 times)

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #50 on: April 14, 2015, 10:48:26 AM »
It's not a light switch, unfortunately, but something that takes practice.  So you will have frustrations (at yourself) when you have these negative emotions based on other people's actions.  And then that frustrated feeling will compound it. That's okay.  It's all opportunities to practice.  :)

Yes. Although I still feel a bit assertiveness-fatigued at the moment, I'm also super excited about upcoming "opportunities to practice". (It's that, or allow other people's moods, behaviour, laziness, and/or greed return me to poverty! My past examples of that would make one's head spin. It does mine.)

I did one practice session this morning, and have booked two more opportunities for the upcoming week :)

One thing I find helpful in one-off situations like this is to keep in mind the person I'm interacting with could have had a really crappy day/week. Perhaps they recently lost a loved one. Or had a serious relationship end. Etc.

Definitely, yes. Though, I think I might lean too far in that direction (i.e., My thinking this way leaves me making LOTS of room for a person's poor behaviour, and choosing to interact with them regardless of it. It's only the second aspect of those, though, that I need to change.)

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #51 on: April 14, 2015, 10:56:37 AM »
You mention past abuse in some of your posts, and IMHO that might tie in with your response to when people are lying/pushy/unhelpful/etc. One of the insidious things about abuse is the abuser often blames the person s/he is abusing for the abuse itself. You made me feel this way. You made me do that. It's your fault I can't control myself. If you'd only do X, Y, and Z I wouldn't have to do this. Etc. So we fall into patterns where managing the other person's emotions and reactions has become our job, and the way others act becomes a reflection of our own actions. (Don't ask me how I know this...)

In the real world, each person is responsible for his/her own emotions and reactions. It really helped me to draw that boundary. If Sally or John or Customer Service Rep lies to me, or gets pushy, or is unhelpful, that is not a reflection on me. It is not about me, but about Sally or John or Customer Service Rep. I am not responsible for anyone else's actions but my own. Understanding this has helped me greatly with not getting emotional when I encounter some of the behaviors you mentioned. Just remember, each person's behavior is a reflection on them, not you.


You were correct, irishbear99, I have mentioned abuse and referenced it generally in the opening of this thread.

Without getting into abuse, even, my counsellor reflected much of the above: that their presentation is a reflection only of them, not about me, and that only they are responsible for theirs. But also that, yes, when people behave poorly, I do hear that "old tape" that it's my fault, I did something wrong to make them behave like this, if I can just behave exactlyunbelieveablycarefully then they won't have a mini-fit. This is inaccurate, though. Some people will have a mini-fit regardless of who we are and how we behave. They will have a mini-fit because of where they are at, how they are feeling. They are the only ones that can shift that.

It's an erroneous belief I carry that if we are kind, gentle, and patient, other people will take that opportunity/environment to breathe, relax, heal, get present. I do that when people are kind, gentle and patient with me, but that doesn't mean everyone has this response. Some will continue feeling shitty and expressing that outwardly -some may even feel further irritated by kindness, etc.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2015, 11:02:42 AM »
To train your nervous system to accept that other beasts on this planet have thicker skin than you do, you just have to escalate your manner bit by bit over time. As you get the feedback that people are not deeply offended or frightened by your manner, your brain will adjust.

sheepstache, you too have accurately identified elements! Thank you. I feel fear even knowing I may need to stand up for myself. That's already one internal stress point.

I LOVE this perspective re: how I might fear I'm coming off to strong for my taste, when really it's simply that any degree more than my norm, more than my natural comfort level, will inherently feel uncomfortable to me.

I also really like that very specific tip re: approach. Increase my manner one increment per stage, allow my body to see that everything was okay, let my nervous system adjust to that new level of activity, then go the next increment up.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #53 on: April 14, 2015, 11:05:55 AM »
On a practical note I would ask for the banks complaint policy.
There's usually a formal process in place for escalation beyond the front line staff.

Yeah, in terms of the bank example, I started with frontline, then one level up, then branch manager, and then some formal level (which I had to locate independently) they have after that. For the practical resolutions, I'm working at that level now.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #54 on: April 14, 2015, 11:24:24 AM »
After the fact, the response is to get a new doctor and ask them to have your records transferred so you don't have to deal with this completely unreasonable person.

In the moment here's a great line to use with a doctor, lawyer or engineer;  "You are not behaving in a professional manner".  This should also be effective with many other individuals and here's why;  often these people are subject to a code of conduct that includes specific direction of what they must and must not do.  It is not optional.  Violations of it are called 'Professional misconduct' and can make you subject to fines, or expulsion from your profession in serious cases.   You are reminding them of this (hopefully). 

If this gentle reminder doesn't help, then you can contact the appropriate board and report their poor behaviour.  Don't think about it as 'being mean' or 'punishing them'.  What you are doing is notifying the complaints board that they have a member of their professional association who is acting in a manner that reflects badly on everyone else.  You are letting them know that there is an issue so that they can deal with this before it gets worse.  What if the next person who deals with this unprofessional person is even less able to stand up for themselves?

Carless, those are all excellent avenues. You also recognized a key piece when you said "don't think of this as being mean or punishing them." Part of what stalls me is that I "don't want to get people in trouble". Granted, I also like to give people time and space to sort things out, but if they don't, I don't want my issue/experience to make their job suck. Which goes back to me caring too much about the other person's experience: "they know they screwed up and are really afraid of getting in trouble"; or "they must be having a really awful week to behave like that." I genuinely worry for the branch manager, and each of the staff people, should any be reprimanded, or even have these errors brought to light. In my mind, I see them feeling embarrassed or sad and going home and having a crappy evening.

In typing this, I now see that I'm also assuming their boss is a jerk and doesn't supervise well.

Once, when I got bad at my job, a client called in to my supervisor. She wasn't mean. According to the supervisor, the client said something to the effect of, "scrubbyfish isn't herself these days. Something's up. She's suddenly snappish.  This is very out of character, and I'm worried for her." My supervisor called me in, and very compassionately explained this and asked if anything was happening for me. Uh, YEP. Turns out, it was the beginning of my first major breakdown! I was offered a three-month break (leave of absence) with guarantee of my job. I never managed to go back -it was intensive caregiving work with no daily support. But that client was right to call in, and she did me a HUGE favour.

The branch worker whose behaviour prompted this thread had very clear signals of being burnt out or otherwise not a-okay. Maybe she needs me to pay it forward :)

In this branch at this bank, I'm seeing multiple issues. Something is wrong. Workers are distracted, frazzled, tense. None have any idea how to resolve a basic issue, who to reach out to when they can't, or who to direct the customer to. This points at a system problem, or a hiring or training problem, or a branch-level management problem. When I speak up, this can help resolve those (if the responsible team members actually want things to be awesome for everyone, like the supervisor at my job did).

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #55 on: April 14, 2015, 11:43:24 AM »
Aware that others are following this thread to facilitate the same shift in themselves and their experiences that I'm aiming to shift in me and mine:

My counsellor gave me tips from an additional angle, from the angle of my general sensitivity to what's going on for other people, and my natural nervous system response of matching that of the person across from me, etc.

As a result of this thread, and the counsellor's tips, I'm going to give myself these options at this stage:
  • Decline to provide more business to this bank until the higher-up has resolved the existing issues, and researched and provided documentation to prevent the same happening again.
  • If I decide to attend the bank, continue going only on days I already feel well, full, relaxed. (I already do this.)
  • Start bringing my paper journal. During and after each session, record the "signals" I notice in me and in the other. This is just to practice awareness.
  • If I'm in line and I sense that one of four tellers is wiggy, I will direct the person behind me to go to them, while I wait for one who I already know is consistently lovely, or one who looks happy, relaxed, and like they are looking forward to more human contact.
  • Really tune in to my body, pay close attention to its "reading" even before verbal contact.
  • If I accidentally get a crabby person, say, "I don't feel well. I need to go sit down." I am allowed to wander off without another word, sit in the lobby, regroup, then decide my next step (go to a different teller, go to a different branch, go home).
  • Continue all cognitive practices of recognizing that the other's crabbiness is their own, not my fault, that they are expressing a factor in their own being/life, that all is well, that their crabbiness probably does not indicate danger, etc.
Something I need to decide is which risk to take:

1. When I behave my normal way -open, friendly, warm, caring, honest, assertive- I gain a lot of joy. I get to know workers at various locations, we laugh lots, I feel happy and I think they do too. The risk is that sometimes I'll be shot down by people who are not (in a given moment or lifetime) into "connecting".

2. If I choose to behave more neutrally, efficiently, blandly, robotically, I might have a more consistent, even-keeled experience (less disappointed or frustrated). The risk is that I would lose the gifts that come with joyful connection.

vagon

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 238
  • Location: Sydney
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #56 on: April 14, 2015, 11:19:34 PM »
On a practical note I would ask for the banks complaint policy.
There's usually a formal process in place for escalation beyond the front line staff.

Yeah, in terms of the bank example, I started with frontline, then one level up, then branch manager, and then some formal level (which I had to locate independently) they have after that. For the practical resolutions, I'm working at that level now.

Good work and good luck!

NCGal

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 138
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #57 on: April 15, 2015, 11:23:30 AM »
Scrubbyfish, thank you for sharing this experience and what you have been learning from it!

...this thread has prompted me to consider several things. First of all, I can be quite demonstrative, and yet when I think I've done everything correctly but don't get the positive outcome I think the situation deserves, and I deserve --  sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me. I think 'If this were so and so, the world would bow down for her. I have to work twice as hard at everything!' and that sort of thing. I've never been abused, etc. but my mind-trap will jump to the sort of response that makes me feel bad about myself.

That being said, in this situation, I think my reaction would have been different than anything I've read so far. I would have been so dumb-founded by the absurdity that they would not credit my account that I would almost be looking for the 'candid camera' to see who was trying to pull a trick on me. I would have escalated it up to a manager pretty quickly and point out that I put my money in their bank for them to save it for me, not to steal it from me, and that if they didn't immediately remove the fee and allow me to fill out a fraud complaint, I would go to the nearest precinct and file a police report for theft. And then I'd ask how they'd like to see that on the 6:00 news. (Can you tell I lived in NY?)

Also, I want to share something totally tangential that I don't recall sharing with anyone and it pertains to SheLivesTheDream's comments about warm fuzzies. I'm not someone who always can muster up a 'hi how are you?' and I, too, like to get to the business at hand. However sometimes you just don't realize how some trite expression of kindness can make all the difference to someone. Years ago, there was a time I went through a deep depression. The kind that makes you feel flat, like you're black and white and the rest of the world is in technicolor; where you walk down the street and everything around you feels surreal and you wish you could be light of heart like everyone else seems to be feeling. And you can't wait to get back home, close the door and shut yourself in

...Well, I was still functioning in that I took care of the responsibilities I was supposed to be taking care of and so one day I made a routine visit to the allergist's office for my weekly injections. One of the medical secretarys smiled at me when I signed in and said 'Hi how are you?'. I didn't say anything about how I was really feeling, just a 'fine and you' kind of thing, put my name on the sign-in sheet and sat down. I had seen this particular secretary many times over the years and she was always kind. She's a very reassuring kind of person, but I've never had any personal conversation with her. But let me tell you, on that particular day I almost felt like she saved my life. It's hard to explain but her comment, and her personal way, just brought me back to the here and now for a few minutes where I could center myself and at least momentarily think the world wasn't so scary.

I always wished I had thanked her because sometimes you just never know what the 'kindness of strangers' can do for someone.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #58 on: April 15, 2015, 11:38:39 AM »
Wow, NCGal...

First, you made me laugh so much, with your thought of candid-camera and then what you would have done, lol!

I, too, am dumbfounded when a worker just does...nothing. I was already amazed that the bank had pulled out a bunch of money, and that no one had called me about it. I mean, assuming there was reason to take the money out, my take was that they were obliged to call me at the time and say what was happening, why, and the plan to sort it out. It was only because I YNAB everything that I noticed it at all, and only my pushing it that made them realize they were taking out even more than they had intended to.

But then I was blown away that when I did notice, and asked about it, they didn't care, didn't respond, didn't anything. Candid camera, indeed!

But yeah... On small kindnesses, this is why I like to function that way. I like to stop, ask a person how they are, hear their true answer, let them debrief and connect so they feel better. Because it's lovely to feel better! There's a lot of stress in the world; I believe that giving each other a few minutes as needed to debrief makes all the difference in how much violence -on any level- we see. Recently, at a grocery store I asked a cashier how she was. She said fine, but as much oomph as she'd tried to muster, she clearly wasn't. So I asked more. She paused, and started telling me exactly what was going on for her. It was awesome. As she spoke and I listened and reflected back and empathized, I saw her visibly calm and de-tense. She seemed grateful. She cheered right up. I think she was glad that someone did care. I do this in most of my interactions. Most people like/appreciate/enjoy it. Some don't. But yep, I am so grateful when people do this for me, and I absolutely feel people have saved my life (long story) several times this way. I just have to find a way to offer this without being devastated when someone functions poorly.

Bicycle_B

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1825
  • Mustachian-ish in Live Music Capital of the World
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #59 on: April 15, 2015, 11:53:46 AM »
Scrubbyfish,

It sounds like you have gotten lots of great advice, and are ready steam forward.  Best of luck!

In the spirit of moving on and focusing on positives, you've mentioned how you got back $40,000 from finding a mistake before. If the victory in that is ok to ask about - well, I'm curious how there can be a $40,000 error, and even more so about the awesome win of getting the money back.  Would you be willing to mention how you did that?

If not, I don't mean to pry.  It just seems like an extraordinary victory, and one that people on a savings blog might be interested in.  If you'd care to contribute that example, I'd be all ears.  Best of luck regardless!

NCGal

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 138
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #60 on: April 15, 2015, 11:54:00 AM »
I've got one more story that I think will make you laugh, Scrubbyfish. And I don't tell this to gloat or anything but this is absolutely true. And I think the moral of this story is that when dealing with a bureaucracy, if the square peg (person) does not fit into the round hole (procedure), they just want you to go away.

OK this was also years ago and with a bank account I was closing out. Somehow when I went to withdraw the funds left in the account, they did some double transaction. I forget exactly how it worked but it was like $1100 remaining, except that two transactions posted, rather than one. So they credited me for an extra $1100. As I say I forget how it transpired because I didn't realize what happened until I went to reconcile my statement and realized their error.

I must have phoned the bank half a dozen times asking for them to review the account. The last time I phoned I finally said, -- Isn't there a "back office" you can ask to review transactions from that day, look through the back-up paperwork and find the paper trail'? And the woman on the phone said to me very nicely - "Oh yes, we can do that. But we have to charge you for that request".  I tried to explain how I wanted to give money back to them, but they would charge me for that???? OK never mind.

I kept the $1100 aside and thought for sure come April 15th, the bank's auditors would be knocking on my door for the money. But they never did.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #61 on: April 15, 2015, 12:07:48 PM »
I must have phoned the bank half a dozen times asking for them to review the account. The last time I phoned I finally said, -- Isn't there a "back office" you can ask to review transactions from that day, look through the back-up paperwork and find the paper trail'? And the woman on the phone said to me very nicely - "Oh yes, we can do that. But we have to charge you for that request".  I tried to explain how I wanted to give money back to them, but they would charge me for that???? OK never mind.

ohmygoodness, NCGal!! Too funny!!

This is the kind of error I come across, and whether the error's resolution is in my favour or the other party's, I aim to straighten it out. Sometimes, people make it very, very hard to straighten it out! And I always have that wondering: Surely the banks have to reconcile their statements same as I do??? So, when it comes to tax time, aren't they noticing these huge discrepancies?!? No?!? Bizarre!

And yep, a lot of my banking is very "square peg in round hole" (not because I want it to be, but because of how my real life differs from mainstream life and intersects with regulations), and it definitely seems like they'd prefer I go away. (Heck, in my detailed letter I basically asked my bank if they prefer I go away! Just to get clear on that. They said they don't.)

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #62 on: April 15, 2015, 12:31:26 PM »
...you've mentioned how you got back $40,000 from finding a mistake before. If the victory in that is ok to ask about - well, I'm curious how there can be a $40,000 error, and even more so about the awesome win of getting the money back.  Would you be willing to mention how you did that?

Sure, BarrettSun. This is a question of "what is an error and what is a blatant attempt to illegally screw with a person". I like to assume anything is an error :) 

In the bigger amounts, I've seen it be either. However, in one smaller several-thousand dollar case, the overbilling error on a large project I was managing was genuine. When I located it, they absolutely acknowledged it -they were quite mortified- but then they only wanted to "refund" it via credit to their services! Um? Hang on. First of all, I definitely want my actual money back! Second, I'm really not certain about using a service that makes gigantic billing errors then doesn't refund them; it needs to be my decision about how I will spend my money in future. I noted the error, was entirely professional and peaceful and kind, and ensured it resolved correctly, but I still felt kinda bad about it, about noticing the error. I worried about the people who'd made the error getting in trouble, feeling embarrassed with their boss and team, etc.

Anyway, the $40,000 (+) one... This was probably more at the "attempt to screw" end of the spectrum. I'd put the money down on property, on a contract to purchase on specific terms. They messed up BIG -devastating the project through their negligence and mismanagement, etc- but tried to keep the money. In this case, their error was not in accidentally moving money but in applying the contract terms as well as legal standards where there is gross mismanagement. I noted the error, tried to address it directly, they disregarded me, I got a lawyer, the lawyer addressed it directly, they paid up. So, yeah, I notice errors and I will step up to resolve them, but like I said, in that case too I felt very emotionally pained in the process, and still feel some of that residually (several years after the fact).

The lesson about the practical aspects? Track all money movements; know what each item is; don't put money somewhere unless you totally understand all related laws and terms or are willing to take a risk; if your gut or eyeballs say something isn't quite right, check it out and refuse to be summarily dismissed; get help when needed.

For the emotional? Lots of therapy ;)

The Great Dane

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
    • Danette's Healing Fund
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #63 on: April 17, 2015, 03:15:05 PM »
WOW!  Can one post save your life?! I think this one has.  I am recovering from chemo this week, so I cannot write as much as I would like and to quote so many great responses to this post, but wanted to say a sincere thank you.  Especially the part about not making it about me when someone else acts in a particular way. Thanks for the reminder!

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27905
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: assertiveness/fear (in money)
« Reply #64 on: April 17, 2015, 03:42:18 PM »
Good luck with your recovery TGD.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.