On this episode, Ameé speaks again with Lara Currie, who is a self-proclaimed communication nerd and author of the book Difficult Happens: How Triggers, Boundaries & Emotions Impact You Every Day to talk about having difficult conversations at work or with others by understanding our triggers and adapted conflict personalities affect us.
In this episode, you will hear:
On this episode, Ameé speaks again with Lara Currie, who is a self-proclaimed communication nerd and author of the book Difficult Happens: How Triggers, Boundaries & Emotions Impact You Every Day to talk about having difficult conversations at work or with others by understanding our triggers and adapted conflict personalities affect us.
In this episode, you will hear:
you're listening to one broken long, a podcast dedicated to raising awareness about mental health, parenting and self improvement. I'm the host. One broken Mom is not a family show. It is intended for adults only and may contain adult language. Sometimes the topics are serious, but you can count on the episodes to be entertained. Also, one broken mom is not offering any psychiatric for medical diagnosis. Were just here giving away useful and important information. So if you're ready to hear real talk by real people so that we can all get better together, then you're in the right place. Okay, everybody, welcome back to one broken mom. I have with me one of my favorite guests. It's Ah, Lar Curry. And ah, she was on with one of my episodes that I got a lot of really great feedback about, and it was micro boundary violations. And I don't know Laura if anybody reached out to you or anything. But like I said, several of my listeners actually really responded to that conversation that we had about how people can infiltrate our defenses and totally set our lives askew. And so, having you back on the show is actually great, because what I wanted to do today was actually really dig into your true expertise, which is in the field of working with high conflict businesses and organizations and having difficult conversations. I mean, you have a podcast show yourself called difficult happens. And so to have you in and help us, um, talk and learn a little bit about, you know, when we have these I mean, I think everybody knows that difficult conversations can be spontaneous. They could just show up in our face. It could be at a meeting in a you know what, the company or with friends and something might just get lobbed onto the table that requires you to respond in some capacity or witness it in some way on difficult conversations can also be the things that are planned, like you're going into a performance review. And this is the end of the year when we're recording this, and so some people might start to, you know, get the sense of, you know, we got to go in. We got to talk to the boss. We got to talk to some coworkers. Maybe we're asking for a raise, which can feel really difficult for people or you might be in a management position yourself and you have to have a not so flattering conversation with A with a subordinate or a teammate. And again, this could even be difficult conversations with with friends. And I know this might seem for folks that are used Thio jumping into one broken mom and having a raw conversation about shitty childhoods,
you know, and all that stuff do that, too. We
could do that would totally do that. And so this might I feel a little off topic. But you know, in reality is, Is that you know, we do have jobs or we do engage with non family people pretty regularly. And our bodies and nervous systems do respond differently to different people, depending on what the rules are in our lives and and to some extent, if they happen to have some familiar characteristics and them that do trigger old defense mechanisms which are based on those shitty childhood experiences and stuff. So I want you to start off. We talked about this on the micro boundary episode, but I'd like for you to introduce this again. There are we do respond to different people depending on their roles in our lives, Right?
Absolutely. There's so much involved when we are interacting with someone, and especially when it comes to like awkward or difficult conversations. It depends on what your relationship is. You know, if if you're a peer of line, then the conversation is gonna go a certain way, and our conflicts or our awkwardness around each other will be for different reasons. If you are the boss, you know, if you're in a power position, then automatically There are different rules to conversations and two interactions. So when conflict does crop up, it matters whether you're in that power position, the pier position or the pupils position, you know, which is like the one down position is that you know, you're not gonna go tell your boss they're gonna have conversations with your boss in the way that you would a subordinate or up here.
Yeah, Now we talked about this on UNEP isso that I did with U. S. So it wasn't on one broken mom, but I wanted t introduce us, which is we do have conflict personality types that you know tend to drive our behaviors and how we engage with people, especially when pressed into a difficult situation. And it's like a a defense mechanism. Explain what those conflict personality types are that you've identified and work with organizations on and how we might try to figure out which one in which category we might fall into.
Yeah, you know, we all know like our Myers Briggs or Colby or disc. You know what? There's personality types out there for everything. There's a test for just about everything because we all kind of want to know ourselves in a deeper way. And we all want our individual miss to be to mean something that's different from other people. Do you know what I mean? So, like with your Myers Briggs, I'm an intuitive right. I'm a highly sensitive intuitive. I might meet other highly sensitive, intuitive Sze, but they're going to be different from me because then they also have like, let's say, maybe they are a little more on the Julie Colby scale.
I don't know Colby. I haven't taken the Colby skill.
I love that one. That's basically all about how you work and interact with other people. Write all the tests are helpful to the extent that if you agree with them or if they resonate with you great, they're helpful. Otherwise, they're just useless, right? That's why I absolutely love them. And they're completely pointless. At the same time, they do help you understand yourself a little bit better, but when some people will use them as an excuse to say, Well, what you gonna d'oh? I'm an intuitive. So I'm just gonna walk around feeling all the time,
right? Right? Yeah. And And I do like a predictive index is one that I used quite a bit because I'm actually the day job outside of this is I'm the director of recruiting for an organization. And so we do use these personality tests, and Colby's not one. I'm gonna look it up now that I get off of there. But you're right. It is. It is not a catch all excuse maker. Oh, nor is it a box for you to put everybody in around you. So yeah.
Yeah. So when it comes to your conflict personality type, that is something that comes up on Lee when you're in conflict, so you can have, you know, it's like a love languages. You can have a dominant kind of personality type outside of conflict. But then, once conflict happens, what's your go to? So that's what the conflict personality type it's so think about when you're in those difficult situations or when you're feeling fearful. There are four different types, and they are the perfectionist controller. Now I say perfectionist controller, because they manifest internally and externally. So you think of perfectionism. That's really an internal thing, right? But when it manifests externally, it's a controlling thing. So it has two sides. It's sort of like a well, it has many sides like Acosta, he'd written, But so you think of perfectionism and controlling. And then the 2nd 1 is the pleaser fixer, and the 3rd 1 is the innocent avoider, and the final one is victim blamer. So when you are under stress, what is your go to do? You go right to trying to control the situation or the you know, if you're a perfectionist, kind of blaming yourself and what you've done wrong, or if you're a pleaser, you know, do you go right to trying to make everybody to placate everything or fix everybody else's problems or again innocent avoider. That's just like I don't know what's going on here. I'm out of here. I know. Just kind of like ghosts on. And then the victim, Blamer is well, you don't understand where I'm coming from. You have no idea, You know, blaming the situation on it could be anything, you know, it could be your childhood. It could be the situation. And we've all done all of these. That's just part of humanity. But think about when you are in a conflict. What's the 1st 1 that comes up? What's your go to? That's
your conflict personality type. And I was sitting there thinking about that because for me, I was, you know, listening and like, you know, it depends on the conflict. But if I feel like there is an injustice happening, then I'm you know, I'm in a defensive mode either defending my position or defending something else. But it feels more like a I've heard this term before. Use which is with assertiveness, communication, which is a sword, you know, bring it out and and start to wage war. It could be very dominating. It could be very telling it can be very direct, you know, and and almost, you know, almost to direct. You know, like a sword can be in terms of just like laying out everybody in the room on. And that used to be an old version of me of, you know, standing into that I think, like, right now, um, you know, I I paused a lot more with it, but I can see myself wanting Thio blame in terms of having a lot of a lot of reasons behind choices and actions and defending this. I feel like I keep I keep landing on a defensive position for me with that, but I don't. But I do change because you know, I can be very commanding and some certain situations and then if depending on the topic can then just become wilted and weak and people pleasing like, easily people pleasing, which just doesn't feel like that's a natural state for me. But yet, you know, and I say that specifically when it comes Thio. In the past, when it came to money and setting prices and, you know, asserting values like dollar values for service is or asking for a raise or, you know, wanting to get compensation and becoming the people pleaser like instantly. You know, when something goes, Yeah, I don't think we can do that. Okay, that's fine. You know
which it's very It's also intricate. It's all interlaced, you know. So it depends on your relationship with the person. It depends on what exactly are discussing. Like you said about finances. You know, if there are certain topics that trigger different reactions in people, my husband could talk about finances. No problem. We can work out the budget. He's got no problem. He's like, it's just maths. You know? We just gotta figure this out. And I'm like, just put the numbers away, get them out of my face. I don't want, you know, it just triggers me too, you know, like the taxes,
right? Right. Well, now, so how do we know? I mean, were we How do we switch gears to figure out where we land, You know, on this conflict personality type, I mean, is there is there a sensation or something that we will note? That happens? I mean, does it happen in the moment that we suddenly go? I'm being a people pleaser right now, or is it something that you go. Shit. I left the meeting an hour ago and realized that people please the crap out of that, you know?
Yeah. Yeah, that's the first step. You know, you always gotta look back to move forward. And I really like looking at past situations, like especially past situations that didn't go well and breaking down Why they didn't go well, Where was the trigger point for me? You know what? What got me flustered and a lot of dysfunctional people. And I'll just claim the title right now because I was raised in dysfunction trauma, like you think, you know, And a lot of people like us, we will almost separate from ourselves during conflicts. It's a protection mechanism, will do one of two things that you know that defensive will bring up our anger in a rage, which is a great protector. Fear and anger are, but they go, they're synonymous with each other. Once you're fearful, your anger comes to the forefront cause that's your armor. That's what's gonna fight your fights for you. Well, you know, your brain gets out of there, is protected so or sometimes we just kind of disassociate and it's only in looking back. It's like, Wow, did I really? You know, I remember once having a conversation with my sister, and it was a very difficult conversation. I thought I was being calm and irrational. And my other sister there are three of us said Why are you so angry? I'm not angry. I'm just being clear. But apparently I had been talking like this. It was like I thought I was being clear. That's a lot of rage coming from you, Laura. So just kind of looking back and saying, OK, I was scared to have that conversation. So my anger came up to protect me in a certain way, and then just gonna rewrite in your mind what would have been the best case scenario. How would I have liked that conversation to go? What would have been, Ah, perfect outcome. And what can I do differently next time? Now, sometimes people will trip themselves up because they will have a 1,000,000 intentions. Okay, I want to get this across and this across, and I want them to feel this way. And I want them to understand, Mrs, now that you can't, you can't do that you have to have one intention. When you're going into a difficult situation, you can't have a litany of them. So especially when it comes to like, difficult conversations, what's the one thing that you want to accomplish and how are you gonna get there and how you gonna know when it's going off the rails? You know, I think we talked before about where it lives in your body, where that anxiety or anger or fear lives. And for me, it's my neck and shoulders in my stomach. So I know that once those air getting tight or are starting to react, that something's going on and so I just gotta take a beat and go, Okay, What's what's really going on here? Is it internal is externals. What's up
now? Is there, Uh, when we talk about conflict personality types, is there some some science or information about why we end up evolving into one or several of these? You know, different scenarios in different situations, because I feel like that's obviously a worthwhile reflection to of like, why would I behave in this way with this situation or with this type of a person and and Where would that be? Maybe stemming from.
You know, I think that it goes back that that you have the fight flight freezer, fawn reactions when you're in difficult situations or when you're in traumatic situations. I think the fawning, how it has manifested for you or how it has worked for you in the past. It's simply that's your go to so like for me. I'm a bit of a perfectionist in real life. But when it comes to conflict personality, I kinda pleaser all the way and a pleaser because that's what's worked for me, you know, growing up any kind of difficult situation that I would get in if I was funny or if I would smile or but, you know, whatever it would be, that's what worked. And so that's what got nurtured. And, you know, that became the queen of the castle,
right? Right? Yeah, and I and I sat, You know it many times in my own personal life, which is why I think I ended up like I've crowned myself, is the queen of self sabotage because I have not capitulated. Probably as many times as I should have, like just out of sheer stubborn defiance, you know, which has been, you know, to some extent, my defense mechanism, which was just, you know, not bowing down, you know, And it doesn't mean that, um, you know, there aren't opportunities and difficulties to find common ground, you know, with everybody here. And I think that that's what gets lost in the the kind of the spirit in the heat of the moment when we're when we're engaged in conflict is how to pull back and and figure out how to kind of save that situation of saving it. Maybe not that sometimes you have to be the person that saves the situation, especially if you're dealing with everybody else's conflict personalities. And it is going off the rails really pretty quickly, right?
You know, it all comes down to we all just want to be seen. We all just want to be seen for who we really are and who we are, like in a difficult conversation or an argument or in any conversation. Well, we're basically doing is saying this is how I see myself. Will you see me like this? That's basically what we're doing. And so, in a conflict, what we really are doing is I am hurt, afraid whatever the emotion is, and I want you to know about it, and I want you to see it like I see it. And so sometimes just just acknowledging the way that someone sees something can be enough for them to, you know, step back. I was in a, um this is a court case a couple years ago, when I was a guardian for hyping high conflict divorces. I'm guarding for the kids and there was a conversation going on, and the mother and father, you know, I had talked to the mom about Just acknowledge what he's saying to you because he, you know, it's the argument back and forth. Just acknowledge what he's been saying to you. So she did. She's, you know, basically repeated what he had said, and he must have said it like three or four more times and in three or four different ways because he wanted to make sure, you know, that this wasn't just a did you really see me and it just defused the whole thing. He sat back, he felt heard and he felt scene and they were able to continue on with the topic at hand that were whatever it was that we were talking about. But that's sometimes just that enough That alone is enough to calm the situation down. And then you could still get your intention out there, you know? But they're just defused a little bit. Defensive behavior brings about defensive behavior, eh? So if you get defensive, take a beat and think about what you're defensive about, because if you calm down, it might just diffuse that the entire situation,
right? Right. And, you know, you brought up the point of being able to look around the room and also see if you can't identify the conflict personality of the person that you are the persons in the room that you're in engaging with. And I know that for, you know, I guess it for me, that comes from experience and maturity and growth. You know, a lot of growth in that area of like knowing how I'm going to be triggered, what areas I might be triggered. That's why I think it's important to try to figure out where you lean because that's ah, you know, to some extent, that's gonna be hard wired into you, that's gonna be really tough to change. But you can at least change how you respond after that by taking that moment of breath or knowing as you go in like, Gosh, you know, I'm going to engage with a certain person I'm going into this room and then this happens to be quite a bit. You know, I go into a room with other people that aren't going to be as strong willed, you know, and kind of big personality that I might be, especially if I, you know, passionate about whatever it might be. And I intentionally scale back because I can. I know that this person is sitting to the left of me over here tends to do this when pushed. And I know this person over here needs to do this in order to make sure they feel scene. And I know this person here is, you know, whatever. And, um and so it's it's identifying those land mines before walking in or starting that, you know, so that you can not get to a place of conflict, you know, try to eliminate that, um are there are their skills in which somebody could learn to do that, To be able to see around the room and look for certain behaviors and prepare them for that because we don't want our legs blown off by stepping on a land mine we could have avoided, you know?
Yeah, Yeah, I think the knowing myself, you know, that that's the greatest thing, but also knowing that there are certain. So, like, if you're a pleaser than the opposite conflict personality type to you is gonna be the victim. And those two get into more conflicts because the pleasers trying to fix everything from the victim and the victim just wants to be seen and heard and understood, right? They don't want it fixed. And it's the same for the perfectionist and the avoider. Those two have a dance of their own. And so, if you know that going in, you can kind of set up, um, like you say, if there's a victim that you happen to know who's in the room, make sure that they're seen, make sure they get a a chance to show who they are and to say their piece and make sure that the pleaser doesn't jump in and try and fix whatever's wrong that just hey, she's just saying it or whatever. So it really depends on the context on the topics that you're talking about. If it's talking about feedback like, let's say you're going through when you're giving feedback, everybody wants to. We all make mistakes, but everybody wants people to understand why they made that mistake. Ah, perfectionist is gonna have a lot of different reasons why and so knowing that going in and knowing how you're gonna handle that, what you're one intention is and also how you can have them be seen and respected and not feel ashamed, but still understand that things need to change. And it's the same for the victim or the avoider and pleaser.
Yeah, it does now if we're if we're sitting here talking about the fact again, there's difficult conversations that are spontaneous and those that are planned. And I think sometimes two people find themselves in situations where they don't really get to guide the tone of the conversation. It's not theirs. It's not their meeting they started. It's not their interview. It's not there. Whatever the case may be, and and yet so they end up feeling that they have to go with the flow that's being set in the tone that's being set for. Maybe somebody that has a little less awareness and sympathy, or intuitiveness is as to what's going on there. How do we gain control of a situation in which we are not in the power seat to guide that situation? Does that question makes sense to you?
Yeah, I think it does. And the first thing that came to mind is to slow things down and ask questions so you can do a lot of clarifying and verifying that can direct. So like, let's say there's a way that you see things and you see that things are gonna go off the rails a little bit over here and the leader or the boss or whoever it is, it isn't picking up on it. You can stop and say, Let me ask a question, or can I clarify something in a way that might raise awareness toe where that leader might you in on what's going on? So asking questions or also validating what other people said, You know, saying Marie, I loved what you said about X y Z because it impacts X Y Z, so making sure that people who often don't have a voice or who aren't heard that you recognize that. Hey, I heard what you said and I liked what you said so sometimes you could just take on those positions in a way that's not taking over the meeting. But it's in acknowledging and in slowing things down if you need Thio.
Yeah, now what happens when we end up working with people that are just, ah, dense, you know? Or, you know. And I don't mean that an intelligence standpoint, but they just their social intelligence is a little on the low side, and that's gonna happen. You know, we we wish that we were around a bunch of people with amazing high EQ use and social intelligence quotients. But that's just not the reality. And especially if we feel I would say in a powerless situation, like maybe it's a supervisor or a team, you know, Let's let's do that. Let's talk about you know what if our boss just has, you know, a relatively low EQ U and social intelligence and you are just like, you know, feel like you're dealing with a brick wall, and I mean that incense that I my experience with other people has been. Some people are really hard on other people, like they feel that leadership and management is to be a jerk and to be really hostile with their feedback. And that's that. You know, that's not necessarily the case. It's not how you get that. But if you're in that situation where you're gearing up for that, you know, is there a way to shift that mode, or do you have to just go in and take it?
Um, one of the best ways that I've handled this in the past is that when someone especially is angry and there they have a lot of unrealistic expectations of you and they're laying the law is to kind of stop them and say, You seem really angry. You seem really upset. Is there something going on and just acknowledging it kind of like my sisters did with me, You know, when they're like, what's with all the anger and actually think that's what's with the rage? Because I just didn't know it. I didn't see it and then make sure that you followed up with examples that some examples like you know, you said this and it seemed very harsh or this seems to be your intention. However, when you do this, it gets my defenses up, you know, or whatever it is that's happening. And if it if that doesn't work, if they're still so dense, you can just say when you talk to me like that, it's really inappropriate. It's filled with anger, judgement. Whatever it ISS, can you please and then insert whatever it is that you want or the way that you want them to talk? If it's if it's an ongoing problem, get HR involved.
Yeah, right. Yeah. Now you What you said is beautiful and brilliant, and it makes a lot of sense. And I know that there's probably half the people listening. Here goes. That sounds great, but I don't I can't do that like I can't stop somebody who's yelling at me. Friend. Tell them that they're acting inappropriate, you know, like that's like the essence of assertiveness that a lot of people really do struggle with. You know how to confidently express their needs and their wants and their desires, you know, in a conversation and So what happens if you know you need to say that, but you just can't summon the strength to be able to do that. Have you changed that about yourself? Because it really is not okay, you know, to to feel like you can't You can't do that. But people don't know how to take the first step to changing that for themselves to become the type of person that could while they're being screamed and yelled at, you know, put the stop sign up and gain control of the momentum of the of the way the meeting or the conversation is going.
Yeah, it's sort of like explaining to someone how to drive a car and then sing. Okay, go ahead. It's not gonna happen all at once. You have to practice it and you have to practice it in safe environments. I call this the same yours theory because my sister Megan, when she was in high school, she was in the girls bathroom and high school girls and girls bathroom. Nothing but mayhem. Right? There's no good happening there. And there are a bunch of girls picking on her. And she had just had enough, you know, she was just done with it. And she turned around the same yours. They were like, what? Confused. She just walked out of the bathroom. So she had finally, you know, built up the courage to say something, you know, to stop it. And it came out like that, and it's gonna come out like that. You gotta practice in safer environments at the grocery store. If someone and of the clerk is, I should have an example, like, right here and ready to go, but say, Oh, hey, you know what? I prefer plastic bags. Could you please not use the paper bags? Whatever it isyou know in smaller ways, assert yourself and just practice. And also you can get a backseat. You know, it might seem like once something has happened and it's done and it's over, you can never go back and redo it, but you kind of can't. You can go back and say, Hey, can I give you some feedback? I really felt I felt icky about that meeting and the way it went. Do you mind if I talk to you about you know, there's a lot of different ways that you could kind of get a backseat, you know, take back on how something went, and sometimes that's how you practice. You just go back and say I didn't like the way that conversation went between the two of us. Do you mind if we try again? Or do you mind if I say something or do you have anything more you want to say to me
Now? When you're working with organizations and teams and stuff like that, do you have skills, training's or activities and exercises that you have? People do, because in a room you will find a variety of people that are able to talk through. You know, a difficult conversation from the person that will charge right in and have no fear of the outcomes for it. And, you know, I feel like I'm that way. It's like, you know, there are no hurdles too tall for me to to scale, and so I'm willing to attack and tackle all the way from people that would just rather leave the room and go back to their cubicle. But we all have to be able Thio in those situations, kind of adjust into some sort of like a happy medium. So how do you, um, how do you work with people To get them to some consistency That's acceptable in terms of how we express what we need to say in the midst of a conflict situation.
Yeah, there's a couple of different things I do, depending on how depending on the teams and the dynamic. But one of the things that I like to do is have people do opposite to action. So they kind of take on the personality that is the opposite of them. So they way do an intention sheet. So it talks about what their position is, what their conflict personality type is, what the triggering event is like. What is the topic? Is it the way someone comes at you is if the atmosphere isn't words, you know, whatever the triggering event is, and then to take on that opposite, meaning that what they don't want to deal with, Then they become that, and it kind of empowers them a little bit. But also for people who, like go in and take charge, it could be a little eye opening that. Okay, this is what that looks like from the other side. You know what I mean?
Yeah, for sure. You know, and I for the people that I have, like, I have the greatest sympathy for the people that don't say anything ever. You know, when I talk about self sabotage, you know, many times a lot of people, you know, assume that you know, the biggest part of self sabotage is shooting off your mouth and and saying something that you know you shouldn't have, but you couldn't control it, and you did it anyways. But they're on the other end of the spectrum. There's also the never saying anything at all and that, you know, can induct hurting you in the long run. And it feels like what you're doing. You know, the benefit you think you're getting from that experience is like, Hey, I'm just not trying to ruffle any feathers. So I'm just gonna and I think you talked about that, like being the avoider like that. That's not the, you know, always the best solution to a difficult situation. So how do you take somebody who's natural tendency is to just back out of the room and go away Thio to change their mind set maybe and to allow them to know that it is okay to participate. And sometimes it is appropriate to participate, not always be running for the door.
And the first thing is, when it comes to avoiders, oftentimes they don't really even know what it ISS that they're uncomfortable with because they've spent so much time avoiding. So the very first thing is to identify what's going on, what they don't like and especially around shame type stuff. So if something is happening and they're like, Oh, I don't want to get involved in this because and then they have some internal story, they've got some script that they've told themselves over and over. Maybe it's because that means this about me. If I do say something, then that would mean I am this type of person or, you know, whatever it is that they don't want to be so at the very first, they just need to get to know what it is exactly that they don't like what it is exactly that they're afraid of. And that can take time. You know, sometimes you just said Well, I don't know. I just don't like conflict. Okay. What do you not like about complex. Is it the conflict itself? Is it the raised voices? Is that the confrontation? The one on one? What? What exactly is it? Is it the topic that you don't want to talk about? Sometimes just identifying that is the very first step in order to be able to voice because you have to know what you want, A voice.
It seems like if you're sitting here listening to the show and you feel like that's the person that you would be that now you know, moving forward from, you know, listening to this and I'm going to work on Monday would be to start to just journal, You know, when you feel that way and kind of taking note like you don't have to do anything right away. And I think that's one thing to that you know, frightens people is, you know, they suddenly have to, like, flip a switch and become assertive tomorrow. That it is. It is a long process that you know, starts. And for that it would be to sit down and go Today I wanted to say something, you know, and I know I've talked about this with the other guests were there. Talk about, like, get curious when you want to speak up and then you don't on. Then why you're not speaking? Because sometimes the shame like you pointed out is the fact that they are afraid that if they say something, that somebody will get upset with them, are mad at him or tell him they're dumb or their ideas stupid or, you know, all those negative voices, you know, that are in their head that keep people from from stepping in to, you know, saying what they what they really mean. It feels I like the idea of sitting back and and starting to at least jot for a week when things arose and why you didn't say something when you really did want to say something and start to get a handle on that Because you're right, it'll be different. You know, we might say behave differently again with our friends while we're sitting there at dinner. And that's the other thing, too, is like observation. And these opportunities are not just when we goto work, they're everywhere. In all of our engagement with so many people around us, right?
Yeah. Yeah, and the biggest thing. The biggest takeaway is to give yourself a break because we all are trying our best, and we all fail. I mean, we all have some bar that we want to always be just It's not gonna work. We and what'll happen sometimes, especially if it's a pattern, is that we will judge ourselves for our failures, not for our successes. And it's so important to just take a break and be like I did this really well and not focus on Well, I didn't say this when Ben was in my face and I didn't say this when Sarah took my coffee cup and I didn't say that, you know, don't beat yourself up too much because there's always gonna be something you could be better at, right? But yeah, hold yourself in grace when you make mistakes or when it's harder than it should be. And yes, journaling 100% totally agree about the journaling. I like to journal every once in a while as my best self meaning. I sometimes talk to myself in my journal. You are doing a great job. You did the best I love when you did, you know, because that really does. It helps. You know, it helps in the way that you talk to yourself. Because sometimes journal Incan just be. Here's all the horrible things that are going on. And, you know, here's where I failed at and sometimes you can get stuck in that loop two.
Yeah, well, and it helps with the preparation is well, too, because you're able to, you know, speaking is so different than writing, You know? I mean, duh and no miss obvious here, but in the sense that at least your brain is processing the thoughts that you wanna have and being able to put them down into words first, especially if you are not comfortable with the with the conversation. And you know you're going to go into it like you've got the ability to plan, but then not lose sight of the fact that even if you've missed the opportunity that journaling it or writing it down what you would have said and why you didn't say it, and what you could have said, gives you a chance, right? To be able to that back, to use, to be able to say, you know what I think these things that I wrote down are really important, and I shouldn't I I owe it to myself to follow through with these anyways, and you could even take the sheet of paper and re, you know, re engage with a with a person to have that conversation once you've had a chance to process it. Because not everybody thinks quickly in the heat of the moment either. So, you know, we talk about fight, flight or freeze like that really does happen. Some people are good on their feet, you know, with handling the problem, whether they're handling it appropriate or not, they're handling the problem, and then some people actually do need some time to be more reflect of it. So it is it okay? I mean, should people demand an ability to come back later to a topic if they are the type that really does need to take it in, walk away, think about it, and then come back with, you know, the second go?
Yeah. I love that. I mean, if you can say something like, you've given me a lot to think about. Can I get back to you on that? Sometimes that alone is enough. to give you the breathing room. And it also gives you that open door where you said yes, you're you're giving me a lot to think about. Can I get back to you? And I'm gonna come back to you with my thoughts. Gather?
Yeah, Yeah. And I think to sometimes it just, you know, again writing it out, preparing yourself ahead of time and doing him in small, incremental ways, like you don't have to change everything like I probably for somebody that has had some assertiveness, difficulty wouldn't make the first go around the one that they're gonna go ask for, like, the $30,000 a year raise. But, you know, to find other small victories the bacon that bacon lead in with and and start with. Yeah. You know, one thing that I've done, I'm just, you know, just throwing this out there is is I have started to go into meetings because I'm in a situation that is unlike anything that I've ever been Professionally, I've I cut my teeth in the professional world working with men like a construction industry engineering industry. Like college. I was one of just like two women that graduated my entire class. Then I went into an engineering firm where most of the women were actually admin and not engineers. And then I got into working in manufacturing. And so, you know, being a little brusque is actually okay, you know, to some extent, some guys would get upset and offended by it. But very direct, plain speaking is not is not something that a lot of people you know take issue with. But then, you know, going into an industry where I work with a bunch of women, I really did have to learn how to like, Okay, not everybody can handle, you know, direct and honest feedback, you know, like this. And so And that wasn't because, you know, I felt like everywhere I was doing it was correct. But it did allow me to be able to change an altar and say, Listen, you get curious about yourself in your delivery system and do you have to do this all the way? And so I started to go into meetings with the setting an intention, which was I mean, no harm. You know I'm here for you. I'm here to be the best that I can be so that I can support you. And I know that you come into this meeting wanting the same things. And so if I say something, I always believe in trust that I mean no harm. So even if it feels and that changed the dynamic of many of the meetings that we had in there because I did have some people that were probably more avoiders that or you know, took were triggered by a stronger presence in that Feltz, I don't know, a little intimidating. That's a word that I'm used Thio and it let them know that even if I said something very directly, they believed me. You know that I didn't mean any harm in that. And it totally, you know, changed the dynamic of meetings. And And I bring that up because I feel like starting that out, giving yourself permission to be the human you're about to be in this meeting also kind of like, doesn't it give everybody else the same permissions to
absolutely a good pre frame? Really, It it goes a long way, especially if you're a leader or in the power position, just letting people know, OK, this is how this is gonna go. And if you have any questions, what the rules are anybody wants to know what the rules are. Also, people want to know how they're perceived, meaning If you were, maybe you're a little more brash or a little more up front. And if I'm more oven avoider or someone who sits back, I want to make sure that you don't see me as someone that could be walked over or someone that's, you know, insignificant in some way. So once I know that Oh, that's just how you talk. Or that's just the way that you you are and you ve no harm. It goes a long way for me not, you know, telling stories in my head or, you know, feeling judged in a negative way. A good pre frame goes a long way.
Yeah, well, and it's not hard to d'oh. So for people that are listening like, you know, if you've had some difficulties depending on your organization or your group dynamics, where you just are feeling stifled and unable, Thio um you know everything is stressful every time you go into it. It it's worth putting out there because I think the thing that we forget about is that we're all in the same boat, right? I mean, we're all we all really are not trying to hurt each other. You know, um, and when you can be the first person to lead with vulnerability, sometimes it really does just, like, opens up the air into the room. And it just takes the burden off of everybody because everybody is probably coming into this difficult conversation ready to do their role in fighting and protecting for themselves, you know, in their own interest. Or like you said earlier in the conversation, that there, there wanting to be seen and understood and all of that, And if you're able to be the person that just kind of, like again opens the door and let's hear into the room, it might just, you know, it would go a long way. I mean, I know I've experienced that with it's not happening there. Um, so so are there good ways, you know, a good, um, good, healthy ways of asserting what it is that we want to say in our They're bad ways of saying what we want to say.
I think making sure that you keep it on yourself instead of saying, Well, you always take over the meeting. So I wanted to be sure that I am heard first or something like that. It's like, Well, don't say what other people are doing. Just talk about what you want and how you see things. And if you feel unsure, you can say you know I'm trying something new, so can you. Can you bear with me? I want to be really clear when I say sometimes if you just ask people to cut you some slack ahead of time, they will, you know, or even saying so this is difficulty. I don't usually talk about X y Z, you know, letting them know. And sometimes that will make people want to help. You put people in a position to, you know, helped shepherd you along, especially if you show a little bit of vulnerability. If it's a safe space to do that, you know what I mean. There are some some environment, some offices where it's not safe to be vulnerable. I think it isn't most, though. I mean, most of the groups that I come across, they they're just a different type of family dynamic. Every group of people is a family dynamic of some sort, whether their coworkers or actual family,
you know? And when you say something like that with this, the space being safe, you know, that's a word that, you know, I've used another other context, too. I mean, I feel like that's that's important to understand. So helped define safety for that and what that actually means for somebody, because, you know, we should never be an unsafe situations, and you and I have both. They're not talking about physical safety, and you know that obvious things. But understanding were safe. Zones actually exists because as people that have grown with trauma were used to being in unsafe situations, unsafe is the norm for us. But that doesn't mean that it's actually a place that we need to continue to take residents and work or in life, so help us understand how a person might evaluate whether or not they are in a safe space.
It's the first thing is is they're manipulative behavior in your workplace or in the environment. Does someone use your own thoughts, feelings or emotions against you? Does someone every shame or embarrass you or talk down to you those air emotionally unsafe spaces and often times because it's familiar. If you were raised in trauma and dysfunction, you're used to the passive aggressive comments or the micro managing that tries to control your behavior, or even like I've talked about on your show before. Silence was used in my in. My situation's not only in my household growing up in my family of origin, but by my ex husband, where he would use silence as punishment for, you know, weeks on end. And so those are manipulative that are used to get something from you in some way, and those are unsafe. And sometimes they just need to be called out. Just say that saying something like, I noticed that you haven't spoken in a week. Is there something going on? Oh, you're still not responding. That's very odd, you know, just whatever it ISS. If you call it out, sometimes you can nip it in the bud or just let them know I see you. I see what you're doing. There's this. Have you been following these the away luggage scandal? If I'm such a nerd, I just I love this stuff. I'm actually gonna do a show as a case study about this, this whole thing. But basically the bus is there. These two women who founded this company and it just went it took off. It got huge and they had hundreds and hundreds of employees, and they just micro managed to the point where they had all conversations had to happen on a slack channel, which is open so that everybody can read it. No e mails. No, I am everything had to take place there. Anything that was done wrong. The boss shamed them publicly on that slack channel for everybody to see. I mean, it was just so toxic. Just yesterday, I think it was she stepped down because it just went on for you Got to the point where she wasn't letting people take vacations. She fired groups on mass. If they if she perceived that they were talking about her. I mean, it was just really a toxic environment, and it begins paranoia. It just kind of feeds on itself. And it's sort of like the moldy blueberry. You get one moldy blueberry and it ruins the whole batch.
Yeah, yeah, for sure, Yeah, now. And I feel like you know, if somebody is going through that, if that's your work environment to strongly consider changing work environments and I know you know because I've done that before, too. We're just like I can't you know. There's no there's no time left in life Thio to tolerate that because that isn't that isn't safe. That isn't healthy. That isn't normal. And, um, you know, I don't think there's any amount of money you could never make Thio to allow yourself to be physically and emotionally. You know, Bomber didn't drawn down Yeah, and degraded like that. And so if it's systemic throughout your organization or your company, then it's probably timeto go find something else, you know, to d'oh. Um, you know, one of the things that I think could be a drawback when somebody feels really unable to handle a one on one direct conversation with somebody that is going to be difficult and challenging is that instead of doing it directly with another person, they do it indirectly with other people. Um, which is and I you know, I'm not sitting here on my golden throne with my halo saying that I've never done this. In fact, it's It's been one of my least favorite parts of my personality that when I found myself a conflict in certain situations that when I'm not able to get resolution with the person that I'm trying to have the conversation with, then I my release vent is to vent it out in the direction towards other people trying to get some satisfaction from that. But that can actually backfire if that tends to be your M o and which is, like you described like that passive aggressive nature rather than learning. You know good skills at engaging directly with another person, right? And if you know and that can, that can blow up on you in your workplace. If you're the person that's constantly venting or bitching to everybody else but unwilling to have that conversation, why do people Why do people do that? I mean, I just described Why did it? But have you seen an organization's because I feel like I have worked with other companies where the back channel talking is all over the place and nobody can get in the same room and solve the problems together. And yet It just breeds this toxic poison throughout the organization because everybody's having all the conversations at the water cooler instead of handling it right in the room where it needs to be done.
Yeah, classic triangulation. Some of it is because they're there in a one down position. They just don't have the power, and they don't have the ability to change it. Another reason that I've found is especially around people who have been raised in dysfunction is understanding the different levels of friendship. And sometimes when they go into work, they just they're like, Oh, these are my friends like, No, they're friendly co workers. They don't get to know all of you, you know, And that's a classic where we might share over share with people. And if we happen to over share with someone who's like a pleaser fixer, they're gonna want to triangulate their They're gonna want to get in there and fix it for you, or think that they can. You know that Oh, all that's really needed is my input into this when in reality it just sets up. Oh, it's a system of failure. It's kind of breeds negativity, and unless you have someone who's willing to just listen, just be a sounding board and not incorporate the negativity as fact in their own world. Which is pretty rare, right? Whenever you hear stuff, you definitely start to make opinions about it. So
that's why you need a therapist. Because that's what they're supposed to do is to take it in and not impart anything. Teoh,
right? All right,
well and so passive. Aggressive is not a key form of communication and difficult conversations.
Right? Right. We've all done it, but it's not. Yes, that's not the way you want to go, right?
Right now when it comes Thio I know we talked about this on another thing, and I think it bears mentioning. And this is like when you're having difficult conversations sometimes a, um you know, it will result, Thio, you are not going to be able to get out of it. You know you I know you and I've personally talked about our personal experiences outside of the shows. On this where you know some people, you just cannot get resolution. You cannot get satisfaction out of it. Um, and there has got to be an exit strategy out of a conversation that will not have a conclusion. Do it. And so what do you recommend for people when they when there's just like, you know, you got to just, like, cut the anchor and drift away from it?
It totally depends on who you're talking to, but use, um, wrap up language like like I the one that you said before, You've given me a lot to thought to think about, thank you very much and then just exit stage left or just repeating back what they said to you as a final and then saying, All right, well, we'll talk to you later, you know, just getting out of there. So it really depends on who you're talking to, and there's different ways that you can wrap up. Do you have anything else you want to say? And sometimes that just put the fight a finality to it? Yeah, and it is tough, you know that. It's I think it was in the book. There's the four agreements and they have the fist agreement, and the fifth agreement really goes into how we all are living in our own story. The story I have about me and my life and what it means, what have my purpose. All of that is my story, and you might not see any of that. And so understanding that the way that people see things, that's just really the way that they see it. Even if you so don't see it that way or you're like, Well, clearly that's not true. That's not really that's not, you know, whatever they they believe will stuff that's going on, you know, some of it. That's just politics. They're full of it. Other people, they really believe that that's the story that they live in and just understanding that might take the sting out of it. When you can't get a resolution with someone else, when it's it's, it's never you're going around in circles and it's never gonna change just knowing that they that's the story that they live in. And there's nothing you can do to change that.
Yeah, that's Ah, that's a really great way to wrap this up because, uh, you know it is, you know, in every difficult conversation, not every difficult conversation has a nice time. Pretty bow at the end of it, there and on, and sometimes it is a matter of saying no. It's a matter of walking away from it, disengaging from it, not not avoiding it, but learning howto have it and then realize that you know that sometimes it is great if you're able to get everybody on the same page by understanding where everybody's personalities air coming into this and what everybody is really trying to achieve here. But then sometimes you just you, you know, the best way to end a difficult conversation is just a leave it, you know? Yeah, so cool. Well, um, you know, you have a website that people could go to and you are a professional trainer when it comes to communications, because you are a communications and nerd, as you've said. So how can people look you up and find out and you have a show I want you to talk about and tell people about that. They can come in and listen to get good information from
you. Yeah, so you go to difficult happens dot com and I work one on one with people in coaching and six and nine months terms, and I also come in and do training. So if you have a high stress business in a small group, and you want me to come in and talk to all about triggers and had a work together, especially how to work with your clients, you know, because when you are in a high stress field, your clientele comes to already triggered at a heightened emotional state. And that could be difficult to deal with, especially for your frontline staff. Also, I've got the difficult happens podcast and my book. Difficult happens. How triggers boundaries and emotions impact to you every day. And if you want to know more on manipulation, I did a series that you got a difficult happens dot com slash I think it's manipulate. I'll get you the link that has all the podcast episodes talking about manipulative behavior and how to deal with it.
Well, Laura, I love talking to you.
Way. Enjoy talking to you. And I can't wait to have you on my podcast mix. Yes. Oh, this is not a difficult conversation with you, so yeah. Thank you for being on again for having me. Thank you for listening to one broken Mom. You confined podcast notes on my website. Aneke marconi dot com, and they're all provide all links, all of the resources that we mentioned on the episode. Also, if you have any questions, comments or ideas for other episodes, feel free to send me an email. And if you're interested in sponsoring the show, I'd love to have you be a part of the team. Finally, if you like what you hear, please share the podcast and leave a review so that others could find it. We're all here to get better together. I am the host Me Marconi. And, as always, I am super grateful to have years of Mr Until next time. Have a great day.