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Despair at irrational people

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bitstrange
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Despair at irrational people

#147398

Postby bitstrange » June 22nd, 2018, 5:42 pm

Hi everyone, apologies, I don't know where else to turn to vent a bit. It seems that in recent weeks all I come across is people who just cannot be reasoned with, who refuse to take account of evidence and who basically make me feel like whatever the problem is is my fault. I'm just reaching the point where I don't know how to deal with this and I'm so fed up.

1 - I'm a lawyer working for a big organisation. I've been working on a complex contract for the past few months now. My internal client is frustrated with how long it's taking, so she's now basically micromanaging my job: she has interfered with my drafting, she has undertaken negotiations with the other party without my involvement, she is pressuring me to just get something crap signed off, all without any legal knowledge or understanding. She has questioned and amended some really, really basic things that all lawyers take for granted, which are not the reason for the length of time this has been taking, but now it's taking up extra time to justify or explain these basic things to her. She is rude and her behaviour is actually counter-productive. She cannot just accept that I know what I'm doing and we are making good progress, but it's a complex matter so it will inevitably take time. But of course this is all my fault.

2 - I have a little niece and my brother-in-law regularly gives her sweets at treats. We've been trying to persuade him that it would be better for her if he didn't give her sweets. This doesn't seem like such a radical suggestion to me. There is absolutely no value in eating sweets, but they contribute to tooth decay and obesity even in children. He says he only does it in moderation and everyone knows that too many sweets are bad. She doesn't though, does she?! She's too small and she's learning from him! If he didn't give her sweets, she wouldn't know such things existed and wouldn't expect them. His argument is that there is no proof that sweets in moderation are harmful, therefore it's OK. He is unwilling to listen to any evidence about forming long term habits. And how dare I question his parenting; he's her father. All I'm doing is causing tensions in the marriage and disrupting his bonding with his daughter. And apparently it's because I hate all men.

3 - At the risk of getting political, Brexit is everywhere and it is a complete disaster. But one thing that frequently crops up is how it would all be much better if we could just all accept the "will of the people" and pull together to get a good deal for the UK. It's these terrible Remainers that are apparently making things difficult. I'm sorry but the reason it's a disaster is not because of Remainers. The UK cannot be simultaneously out of the EU and have seamless trade with the EU and have influence in the EU's policies/activities. The UK-Irish border is still a problem and nobody has suggested any realistic solution. Nobody voted to leave Euratom, and there is currently no solution as to how life saving cancer treatment will be available after Brexit day. Etc, etc, etc. But how are all these things Remainers' fault? What do these people expect us to do to somehow magically solve all Brexit problems? If we all suddenly decided to support Brexit, these problems would still remain.

4 - I commute by bicycle and I am naturally a target for pedestrians, dog-walkers and drivers. No amount of considerate riding, giving way, dinging my bell, anticipating erratic dog behaviour, stopping at red lights, etc. avoids my being in the wrong.

I suppose I've always known that not everyone is rational, that you can't always reason with people, particularly where there are emotions involved. But somehow a lot of things have come together at the same time and I'm just starting to feel like everyone's an idiot and I'm just so tired of having to defend myself or trying to persuade someone of simple, basic, sensible things. I'm feeling so fragile, like it'll take one more stupid thing like this and I will completely crack.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

Itsallaguess
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147405

Postby Itsallaguess » June 22nd, 2018, 6:29 pm

bitstrange wrote:
I'm feeling so fragile, like it'll take one more stupid thing like this and I will completely crack.


There are times when we need to concentrate on the battles that we as individuals both need to, and more importantly *can* win.

Forget about Brexit, as your individual influence on the process from this point forward will be limited.....

Forget about your niece and her sweets *for the time being*, as it's not worth potentially spoiling family relationships over. You may choose to play a longer game on this one at a future time, when you've got the bandwidth to do so, having dealt with more important matters...

Try not to get worked up on your bike. There are simply too many variables onma daily commute to think that you can actually *solve* many issues for the long term. Take on a more Zen-like riding posture....

Concentrate on the issue at work, and find a solution. Sit down with your internal colleague and state the issues, and try to find a way that suits both parties to get the best result for your client. If that does not work, and give it enough time to do so, then go above her and put your points forward to a superior.

Good luck.

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

Dod101
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147409

Postby Dod101 » June 22nd, 2018, 6:46 pm

I'm sorry that I cannot help you with many of your frustrations but as for your niece, I am sorry to say that it is none of your business. Put that to one side. You are not a parent and so you can do nothing. You have made your point and if brother in law pays no attention there is nothing you can do.

Sadly your attitude is somewhat dangerous for you and others. As Itsallaguess says, there is no point in getting worked up about Brexit. You personally cannot change anything. So that is two of your frustrations sorted.

As for your work problem, is there no one else you can appeal to? That would appear to be at the root of your frustrations and if you are right it looks as if your colleague needs someone in authority to tell her to back off. I would get a third person of some seniority involved and ask for a three way meeting so that he/she can be the arbiter.

It is the weekend. Take a long walk tomorrow and think things through calmly and rationally and by Monday you will hopefully have a plan of action.

Dod

didds
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147415

Postby didds » June 22nd, 2018, 7:05 pm

I'm with both itsallaguess and Dod.

you have no control over Brexit. You have made your point about your niece - that's the sphere of your influence exhausted (maybe "for now". But don't dwell on the "one day" - it may never happen). Cycling - people ARE idiots. I'm afraid its rule number 5, to use cycling vernacular wrt this and just get on with it.

The one thing you may have some control over is the job situation. I wouldn;t bother - as kindly suggested above - with trying to engage her... you've clearly already tried that. Its time for you to talk to you boss/the boss above that (if she is your boss - though as an internal client it doesn't sound like it).


best of luck.

didds

johnhemming
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147424

Postby johnhemming » June 22nd, 2018, 9:03 pm

It is all a bit sad, but it could be a lot worse. Try thinking more about how full the glass is rather than how empty.

Find some things you like and ignore the stupid people at work as long as they pay your salary. You can try to find another job or go self employed. You might be a lot happier, but trying to make idiots see sense is a futile exercise.

When it comes to nephews and nieces then parenting them is not your job. Don't worry. Perhaps be a drunken Uncle/Aunt who does embarrassing things.

As far as brexit comes hope that the government decide that jumping off a cliff is not a good idea. If you want to go on tomorrows demo that might be a nice thing to do. You may enjoy it. But otherwise it (Brexit) fits with the many stupid things that happen that it is hard to do anything about.

Urbandreamer
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147438

Postby Urbandreamer » June 22nd, 2018, 11:22 pm

Welcome to my life!

Ok, I'm not a lawyer. I'm an engineer. If I get things wrong or agree to dangerous things people may die and I may go to jail.

Despite that I get the same issues that you raise in point 1. Just agree that we can do this (NO). You are being obstructive. No I'm being responsible, if you want to take responsibility and record the fact that I advised you that people could die, then possibly I may stay out of jail! If, and only if, I make efforts to prevent you killing people.

It doesn't go down well.

Though to be fair death is usually unlikely, but I don't want to be responsible for someone losing a hand.

Ps, Sometimes risks can not be avoided, but they need to be mitigated as much as possible. The Idiots just see that not mitigating risks makes their life easier.

Braziers
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147443

Postby Braziers » June 23rd, 2018, 12:06 am

The problem is you and how you think about yourself and the world. The good news is that means that the solution is entirely within your power.

I searched this

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=how+t ... e&ie=UTF-8

Found this
"Is Being a Control Freak Ruining Your Happiness?
Tethering your happiness to how others behave may be your problem.
"


https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog ... -happiness

Best of luck

vrdiver
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147444

Postby vrdiver » June 23rd, 2018, 12:12 am

ap8889 wrote:I’ve learned that some people aren’t wrong. They’re just assholes.

Careful there, AP. That sort of statement has founded religions and brought down empires...

To the OP: there has been some good advice here. I recommend reading, rereading and cogitating.

In the case of client interference, as a lawyer, I assume you need to account for your time? If so, do make sure to spell out the amount of time spent on wasteful activities with the client. You also need to raise the issue with your own line manager PDQ - if a complaint comes in from your client they really don't want to be surprised. When talking to your manager, I'd go in with a couple of strategies for dealing with the issue, rather than expecting them to solve your problem. The idea is to get their agreement re whatever action you propose in dealing with the client, so that if it goes well, they recognise your capability and if it goes pear-shaped, they can't cut you loose, having been kept in the loop all through the process.

Brexit: fire away to your heart's content on anonymous fora, but stay shtum in the real world, especially with clients and co-workers of all ranks: if it goes pear-shaped, nobody likes a "told-you-so" and if it goes well, you will just be labelled a Remoaner.

Niece: I think I know how you feel, but she's not your child. No matter how many children you might have already brought up, it's not your call. The more you push the issue the more sweets she's probably going to get...

Cycling: car drivers are morons. Pedestrians are morons (actually, cyclists are morons too). As a driver, dog walker and a cyclist (I have two bicycles) all I can offer is the personal observation: the more I am p155ed off the more idiotic and inconsiderate those around me appear to behave. When I'm happy and chilled, the "others" seem to behave much better. Go figure.

From your post, the issues you raised felt like the tip of an iceberg. Maybe time to take a step back and ask what is really making you so stressed?

VRD

flyer61
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147495

Postby flyer61 » June 23rd, 2018, 11:44 am

There is really good advice in the posts above. It is shame it has all come from blokes and there isn't a female input to this thread. I maybe mistaken though!

Your last sentence made me think it would not be the end of the world if you rang the Samaritan's for a chin wag. They are very good listeners and in the main quite rational people.

PinkDalek
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147513

Postby PinkDalek » June 23rd, 2018, 12:42 pm

bitstrange wrote:
1 - I'm a lawyer working for a big organisation. I've been working on a complex contract for the past few months now. My internal client is frustrated with how long it's taking, so she's now basically micromanaging my job: she has interfered with my drafting, …



It may be of no help whatsoever but TMFGr0w once emailed on a certain external matter and included:

He is quibbling about pettifogging details ...

That was a great word to keep in my head, to form a view about the person concerned (not A TMF poster but a complainant), and it is still in my head, some 10 years later, whilst currently dealing with a lawyer advising the other side, who is merely racking up our costs.

stewamax
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147572

Postby stewamax » June 23rd, 2018, 6:01 pm

"Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can change
And the wisdom to know the difference"

Line 3 is what other replies are trying to give you
(It is also secret of time management...)

People will always be irrational. You can't change them.
They on the other hand may find you over-rational.

It is part of your job to be rational but don't let it take over your life.

gryffron
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147581

Postby gryffron » June 23rd, 2018, 7:00 pm

Urbandreamer wrote:I'm an engineer. If I get things wrong or agree to dangerous things people may die and I may go to jail.
Despite that I get the same issues that you raise in point 1. Just agree that we can do this (NO). You are being obstructive....

I was an engineer. More than once I have been accused of being negative, obstructive, always looking for problems. I ask them if they would want to fly in an aeroplane designed by an optimist?

Gryff

Ashfordian
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147586

Postby Ashfordian » June 23rd, 2018, 7:54 pm

bitstrange wrote:Hi everyone, apologies, I don't know where else to turn to vent a bit. It seems that in recent weeks all I come across is people who just cannot be reasoned with, who refuse to take account of evidence and who basically make me feel like whatever the problem is is my fault. I'm just reaching the point where I don't know how to deal with this and I'm so fed up.


Sounds like you need a holiday and soon.

And one that gives you a blackout from work and news media with all its negative noise, for at least a couple of weeks.

Your work stress is affecting your work/life balance and making you think irrationally to normal irritations e.g. your niece and sweets are pretty much none of your business especially when your views are on the extreme end.

Then you need to address the work issue. Sounds like you need to get an objective view from your manager and/or another senior lawyer as the current working relationship is broken and I don't see how it can improve with some sort of intervention.

paulnumbers
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147602

Postby paulnumbers » June 23rd, 2018, 9:22 pm

You can only get angry about Brexit if you haven't made significant effort to understand the other persons point of view. I suggest anything by Jonathan Haidt as way of explanation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gZ5UD1hFM4&

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMRpzblD8VE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ox-UjTyhxM&

melonfool
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147611

Postby melonfool » June 23rd, 2018, 11:13 pm

Woman - reporting for duty!

The one that worries me here is the bike one. I am fearful that your other issues, crowding up your head, may be distracting you and you could put yourself in an unnecessarily unsafe situation.

However, for a bit more:

1) I am in HR - I hear ya! I get this all the time. But, as I've got older I've just learnt to be more zen. I do my 'good enough' work for the bosses who like to interfere, I figure they're going to interfere anyway, so I do my min and let them crack on.

2) While "you are not a parent" is an unnecessarily mean thing for a poster to have said, you are entitled to your view. But, it's really not worth disrupting family harmony for it. I am "not a parent" but I am a qualified nursery nurse, and some parents are, frankly, useless so....... But, ya know, people never want to hear advice they've not asked for. Give your niece a hug, play some Lego with her and kick back. Don't worry about the sweets.

3) I'm with you but, again, not much you or I can do about it. Brexit has contributed to my poor mental health over the past months I think. You have to rise above it, you just have to.

4) - this is the one I'm worried about.

Have you considered practising some mindfulness? You can get apps and do a bit each night. Make sure you are always 'in the moment', focus on the thing at hand.

(((Bitstrange))) - because the other answers were a bit mean, considering this is *Comfort Cafe*!

Mel

(and just be glad you're not a TLF moderator! ;) )

melonfool
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147612

Postby melonfool » June 23rd, 2018, 11:15 pm

paulnumbers wrote:You can only get angry about Brexit if you haven't made significant effort to understand the other persons point of view. I suggest anything by Jonathan Haidt as way of explanation.




Wrong - people have a right to their feelings and to be angry if they want to.

This is Comfort Cafe, people come here for support and sympathy, not political lessons.

Mel

zico
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147626

Postby zico » June 24th, 2018, 12:31 am

Hi Bitstrange. Venting is good for you (preferably in a safe space) so feel free to do as much as you like here. We've all been in this kind of situation, and a friend of ours tends to describe her working day as 'another day strewn with morons'!

Do you actually want suggestions on handling the various situations you describe or would you prefer simply to vent?

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147664

Postby TedSwippet » June 24th, 2018, 12:05 pm

I am starting to wonder if part of the problem is the increasing level of regulation and control the government is exercising over more and more aspects of our lives. Every day there seems to be another. Take today's as an example:

Child obesity plan targets sweets at checkouts - BBC News

Now, I am not for one moment disagreeing with the above either as a concept or an actuality (clearly, 'something' needs to be done!). But... it takes away yet another opportunity for 'critical thinking' on the part of the consumer. And the more regulation like this we have -- and boy, do we have a lot of it now -- the less that this 'critical thinking' muscle in the brain gets exercised. Muscles that are not exercised, atrophy.

All of which leaves me with the creeping feeling that good old-fashioned common-sense is slowly being forgotten as it is gradually but inexorably replaced by government regulation.

Dod101
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147677

Postby Dod101 » June 24th, 2018, 12:48 pm

I was the one who pointed out that the OP was not the parent. I can be black and white at times although I have had my share of 'soft' issues to deal with in my own life over the past three years or so. What I was trying to do was point out the facts and be brutally frank because there is nothing he can do about it whether the parents are useless or not. As long as they are not causing harm they are entitled to bring up a child as they see fit, besides which it sounds as if the poor chap has got much more important things to concern him.

But a woman's view is always I think very helpful in these circumstances.

Dod

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147682

Postby beeswax » June 24th, 2018, 1:01 pm

Sweets are bad for your teeth...OK..

Firstly as someone posted earlier, your niece's teeth are no concern of yours even if your motives are good. It will cause friction and that may fester for a long time. Its not worth it. If she goes to the supermarket with her parents she will see plenty and other kids using them too.

I am near 74 years of age and have eaten tons of sweets since I was a tot and by golly enjoyed every single one. I still do and still buy loads of them. Ditto with soft drinks like Pepsi etc. Everything is bad if you listen to all the experts. Fitness centres are great until you get a heart attack at aged 35 by overdoing it.

I have a partial denture but only had that a year or two and had plenty of fillings over the years but if someone asked me would I change that, I would clearly say NO I wouldn't, as we are a long time dead and my visits to my MIL's care home these last three years has shown that its all rather pointless telling people what to do and what to eat because if they live long enough they may just end up in one..

A working colleague of mine was so so strict on what he ate, no sweets, no sugar, would not even drink water from the tap and each day his food was calorie controlled and he and his family used floss after every meaL..He and his wife must have had the best set of teeth in the Cemetery as both died at aged 60 just a few months apart actually..

My MIL who is 100 this year with severe dementia and doesn't know who she is and where she is and the moral of my contribution is stop worrying about anything and just enjoy life as best you can. Its the only one we will get..

ATB and we all support you here and come back please to vent your frustrations if need be..

Love and kindness,

Mike


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