Sunday, May 11, 2008

Defensiveness

As I've mentioned before, I'm not the greatest at puzzling out women, sometimes. I know this one person, who, no matter how nicely I say suggest something, no matter how flexible I am at changing and doing favors for this person, no matter how much I do, this person automatically resorts to really snippy defensiveness.

*sigh*

I have no idea why this is. It's really ridiculous. I have to work with this person, pretty much.

And I really genuinely like this person. I wouldn't mind, if she'd get over it the next day. She could be going through the "change," and boy do I empathize with hormonal craziness.

I just keep reminding myself how much stress this person is under, and I can see that she's resenting what she's doing because it's not making her the money she wants yet, but ... she's blaming the wrong people and taking pennies from the only people who DO make her money.

*sigh*

I swear, I re-read my emails a thousand times to make sure they sound nice. I make sure there's not a single "but," since that inflames defensiveness. I almost always agree with her. When I disagree, I do it phrased as a nice a suggestion as I can think of.

And yet she always comes back with a defensive attack.

Sometimes I wonder if she resents the favors I've done for her over the past couple years. I really don't understand it. I really don't. It's completely bizarre.

In my espionage research, I read that, mostly, people are more loyal to those they help, and less loyal to those they are helped by.

Isn't that bizarre?

*sigh*

I don't know. Sometimes, I wish some women would just look at things like a man. To stereotype. They don't take everything as a personal attack, especially when it has nothing to do with them.

Oh, blogosphere, any suggestions?

15 bonus scribbles:

Erica Orloff 5/12/2008 08:19:00 AM  

Hi Spy:
We all know people like that. In general, I do the same thing as you--re-read to make sure nothing is snide coming from my end. Sometimes I even sleep on it as far as an email. Beyond that, I think you have two choices. Truly learn to not care (i.e., you have to change in order that this unhealthy relationship doesn't bother you), or you have to confront in an assertive but not aggressive way, by choosing an obvious example of her communication style, and saying something like, "I don't know if you realize it, but when you say x or y, it really, to me, comes across rudely. I don't know if you intend it that way . . . help me to understand where you are coming from." Very often people really DON'T understand what schmucks they are being. ;-) If her response is even more rude . . . then you re-examine your options, but very often a direct approach disarms people like that.

Ultimately, though, asking, "Why can't women be more like men . . . " presents you with a dilemma that can't be solved. This woman can't for whatever reason. So it's better to look for where change and growth can happen. My half a cent anyway, on a Monday morning! :-)

xo
E

StarvingWriteNow 5/12/2008 09:44:00 AM  

"people are more loyal to those they help, and less loyal to those they are helped by."

That is totally true. And so wrong, you know? It should not be that way.

As for your disagreeable friend, may I say another unfortunate truth: it's easier to be mean to truly nice people. You're killing yourself to be nice to someone who probably doesn't deserve it. Throw her overboard.

LaDonna 5/12/2008 12:05:00 PM  

Spy, you're such a sweet gal, and I'm not feeling very "warm and cuddly," about this gal. I, too, don't get the dynamics of people like that.

That said, I avoid hurting people, and appreciate the favor returned. LOL. People lash out for all kinds of reasons. I guess it's important to remember it's not YOU, it's something going on inside of the lasher. I really hope she heals.

Rhonda Stapleton 5/12/2008 12:11:00 PM  

I agree--it's something with her. I don't think you can help or control it. The best you can do is try to come across in the nicest way you can. After that, just let it go. ((hugs))

Edie 5/12/2008 12:19:00 PM  

Spy, it sounds like she's toxic. I'm with Starving. Protect yourself. If she wants to wallow in her misery, that's her perogative. Don't let her take you down into the radioactive pit with her. With people like that I'm polite but distant. You are not going to change her.

Michele 5/12/2008 02:34:00 PM  

mostly, people are more loyal to those they help, and less loyal to those they are helped by.

That's true in so many cases, not always--thank goodness--but I can certainly of couple in my own life of the top of my head!

I definitely feel your frustration, Spy. It's hard because I'm not the best at "puzzling out women" either. I hate, hate, HATE games. Just tell me what you're thinking and I'll do same thing, just be honest...I'm not a mind reader. :-) And all of that can be done nicely, without going into some kind of "snippy defensiveness" or having them simply ignore the problem (or me) and pretending it doesn't exist or I don't exist. (The latter is more childish to me).

It's hurt me and it's difficult, but I've come to the point where I've learned not to care about the unhealthy relationships and to focus on the good ones (as Erica pointed out as well).

You're not alone! :-)

spyscribbler 5/12/2008 07:15:00 PM  

LOL, Erica, more than half a cent! Just send me the bill. ;-)

Does that approach work, though? It's been my experience with people that they forgive you if you're wrong, but they don't forgive you if they're wrong.

spyscribbler 5/12/2008 07:32:00 PM  

Writenow, no throwing her overboard. I am starting to wonder, if by ignoring the snipes and just returning niceness, if she's starting to lose respect for me and see me as a doormat.

spyscribbler 5/12/2008 07:33:00 PM  

LaDonna, what a great remark. I hope she heals, too. I feel for her frustration. I just don't know what to do with it, especially when it's taken out on me.

spyscribbler 5/12/2008 07:33:00 PM  

Rhonda, that's what I've been trying to do. Ah, well. What else can I do?

spyscribbler 5/12/2008 07:34:00 PM  

Edie, I love that. I've tried polite but distant. I'm trying to be as nice and encouraging as I can. I do feel for what she's going through; I've been there. But ... it's getting old.

spyscribbler 5/12/2008 07:47:00 PM  

Michele, I hear you. I've reached a place where I don't care if someone likes me. I just want to be able to work congenially.

Erica Orloff 5/12/2008 08:07:00 PM  

Spy:
I find it's not so much about forgiveness for them . . . it's about taking them from the very sure footing they think they have--the place where they are 'right" and making it more like quicksand so they have to rethink just where they are standing.

Bernita 5/13/2008 05:57:00 AM  

I agree with Rhonda.
Ignore her hyper-sensitivity and do your thing.
Pity she wouldn't deal with the substance instead of her "feelings" about the subject.

Melanie Avila 5/13/2008 04:52:00 PM  

You have a lot of good advice here. I have a friend similar to this and I chose to distance myself. I want to help her and I care about her, but she never appreciates the advice she asks for. It's a very one-sided friendship and I'm at the point that I'd rather save my sanity then help an ungrateful person.