Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rewriting Reality

I know that sometimes one persons reality is not another persons. I know that we enter situations with different expectations, perceptions and may focus on different parts of an interaction. However, I fail to believe that every single interaction that two people have leads to a totally different reality for each person. I believe there is some rewriting of reality that goes on between the original interaction and the recollection of that interaction.

As you may have guessed this rewriting of reality is happening in my interactions with another individual (an individual who has some power over me). The thing that bugs me the most about all this is that the other persons rewriting of reality leads to the accusation that I don't have the ability to do things. That things are not done, or are not done on time because I did not have the ability to do these things on time, correctly or sometimes at all.

I fully recognize that perhaps I could be the one rewriting reality, however I have discussed these "lack of ability" accusations with other people and they recall these interactions/situations in the same way that I do. I have confirmation that were someone not standing in my way I could have easily done things on time, correctly and completely. Also, when the accuser is pressed for details about how I did not have the "ability" to these things, the tune changes and all of a sudden it's "well I did not mean you didn't have the ability." Really? Because you're exact words were "I should not have expected you to do this given that you did not know how."

These rewriting of realities are driving me crazy. They're diminishing my motivation and lowering my moral. But when you're dealing with someone who is overly sensitive, insecure and passive aggressive what the hell do you do? Besides fester in frustration that is??


post-doc said...

In this situation, I tend to confront the individual with what she's saying each time it's said. Then - if at all possible - I'll go over her head to someone who can understand and change circumstances. There's generally power to be had in a situation - it's just finding and fighting for it that's the tough part.

Shell said...

My automatic reaction to this is to begin communicating with this person only by email, if possible of course. This person is clearly living in a delusion of sorts regarding the situations you have mentioned that at the end if he/she believes that her perception is real it becomes extremely difficult to challenge it. Having everything in writing (aka email) might help in avoiding a he said she said scenario with this individual.

PhizzleDizzle said...

Shell has a good point. An email paper trail is probably a good start....sorry you are going through this :(.

Psychgrad said...

I am often shaken by the differing interpretations people have coming out a conversation.

As I read what you wrote, my first thought was "keep a paper trail of all communication". I see others have recommended that as well. Minimize in person interaction and when necessary, send a follow-up email stating your understanding of the conversation.

Pittles said...

sounds like you're having the same frustrations that i've heard over and over again, from various sites within the system...turnover rate of GOOD clinicians are pretty high because of exactly what you're talking about. at least you're not alone? good luck, and don't give up.

Psych Post Doc said...

Thank you for all the wonderfully supportive comments everyone!!

I've confronted this person previously about similar issues and it blew up in my face. They are overly sensitive and any confrontation leads to defensiveness and then further passive aggressive behavior that I just can't deal with.

Dealing with them only via email is very difficult, but I have kept a paper trail of proof regarding why these tasks haven't been completed. Things are very informal at my job though so sometimes this is hard, and especially hard if you want to pull it out as proof of an issue.

I have gone over this person's head on two occasions, if these accusations keep coming up I can assure you I'll be doing it again.

Thank you again everyone! I really appreciate it, I was writing this as more of a vent but it means a lot to get such great feedback.

Mamabeek said...

Wow... I think this person must be my supervisor's twin. Same issues, same frustration, same reaction when I confronted gently. GAH! I have had the same great advice you got here. Document like crazy and check in with collateral to confirm you are NOT crazy (or even just myopic).

Keep on keeping on and keep on doing these reality checks with others, they are absolute sanity savers!

B said...

Wow that sounds incredibly frustrating. I agree w/ everyone else, document why things aren't done, and document what you get accomplished too so if there is another type of discrepancy you have a record of everything you've made happen. (despite the roadblocks)