Jump to content

Menu

Would like some perspective --can you help?


Recommended Posts

I'd like some perspective in this situation in which I am having a hard time getting my mind around what the other party is saying and vice versa. We are trying to work things out in a situation in which there has been conflict.

 

Situation: two children's programs share space. I directly oversee one program, person A (my equal in terms of job title) oversees the other, but indirectly. Person B is the actual director of the other. When I had the only children's program in the space, I had the walls painted in consultation with a decorator (were white when we started) and hung bedsheet-sized hand-painted murals in each room. I had intended the murals as a temporary thing (they were jungle themed) but the decorators loved them so I left them up.

 

Some years later, the other children's program is in the same space. I got an email from person A apologizing that she forgot to let me know but that the other organization had planned to redecorate the rooms. At the point I got the email, in fact, they were done. Redecorating had meant cutting down the wall hangings and replacing them with one whole wall of the room being decorated with randomly-placed removable wallpaper clings of shapes (circles, squares, triangles) ranging in size from about 8 inches width/diameter to about 12 inches in diameter in colors ranging from bright pastels (like hot pink, almost royal blue) to autumn colors (pumpkin orange, olive green, dark brown.) They said that they would take them down if I didn't like them, but my perception was that they were clearly wanting them to stay up. Several rooms (with the work it took to do them) had been done. What would have been your reaction at that point? What would you have thought? What would you have felt?

 

I'm going to add part 2 later after I get some responses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest lmn_tree

OKay, I'm going to jump in on this one. Honestly I would feel a bit betrayed, but at the same time it is only decorating right? I would have thought that the person above the two of you would have had some input on this move in one way or another.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like some perspective in this situation in which I am having a hard time getting my mind around what the other party is saying and vice versa. We are trying to work things out in a situation in which there has been conflict.

 

Situation: two children's programs share space. I directly oversee one program, person A (my equal in terms of job title) oversees the other, but indirectly. Person B is the actual director of the other. When I had the only children's program in the space, I had the walls painted in consultation with a decorator (were white when we started) and hung bedsheet-sized hand-painted murals in each room. I had intended the murals as a temporary thing (they were jungle themed) but the decorators loved them so I left them up.

 

Some years later, the other children's program is in the same space. I got an email from person A apologizing that she forgot to let me know but that the other organization had planned to redecorate the rooms. At the point I got the email, in fact, they were done. Redecorating had meant cutting down the wall hangings and replacing them with one whole wall of the room being decorated with randomly-placed removable wallpaper clings of shapes (circles, squares, triangles) ranging in size from about 8 inches width/diameter to about 12 inches in diameter in colors ranging from bright pastels (like hot pink, almost royal blue) to autumn colors (pumpkin orange, olive green, dark brown.) They said that they would take them down if I didn't like them, but my perception was that they were clearly wanting them to stay up. Several rooms (with the work it took to do them) had been done. What would have been your reaction at that point? What would you have thought? What would you have felt?

 

I'm going to add part 2 later after I get some responses.

I'd want to know where my stuff was so I could collect it. I'd be ticked if it was in the trash. That would be plain rudeness on the part of the other people.

 

Other than that if I am not the owner of the building there isn't much else I could do. If the owner has not approved of the work then it is up to the owner to take issue with anything done.

 

Personally I might think the new walls are tacky. And the whole incident was not handled properly. A quick email then done is not very professional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first question is who "owns" the space? We could get into this problem at church. The space belongs to the church but we share it with a preschool - the director/owner goes to our church. She had to make changes to the space. The children's committee (which I'm part of) wasn't happy with some of the changes, but it was up to the church governing body, not us.

 

So back to my question - who owns the space? If the changes were made with the owners ok, then I'd suck it up. I wouldn't like it, but I'd suck it up. Oh, I'd also want my hanging back!

 

I'm assuming you are not the owner of the space. Because if you own the space, then it changes everything!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have felt disrespected -- as clearly you had put great thought and work into the large mural sized jungle themed ones that were much more elaborate and likely beautiful compared to the shapes. Also....didn't you say you were the first user of the space? It would have been common courtesy to at least discuss it with you before making the changes.

 

Something similar happened to my mom. She taught Biology at a high school and had a professional artist (who once was my high school classmate now she paints professionally) come in and paint the entire back wall with a GORGEOUS mural of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (where the school was). And this mural took this artist WEEKS to paint. It was about 25' long and 8' (to the ceiling) high and the local TV station even did a story on it. Into the year another teacher (new teacher, age 26 ish) and mom had to change rooms for a semester. The new teacher had the mural painted over in some solid, neutral color (without consulting anyone).

 

I'm sorry they were so rude to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OKay, I'm going to jump in on this one. Honestly I would feel a bit betrayed, but at the same time it is only decorating right? I would have thought that the person above the two of you would have had some input on this move in one way or another.

 

Re:it's only decorating--yes in one sense, though more about that in part 2.

No the person over both of us knew nothing about it .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Alte Veste Academy
They said that they would take them down if I didn't like them, but my perception was that they were clearly wanting them to stay up. Several rooms (with the work it took to do them) had been done. What would have been your reaction at that point? What would you have thought? What would you have felt?

 

I would be irate. They have quite obviously taken the path of choosing to ask forgiveness instead of permission, something I personally find very ugly because it usually makes the victim of the offense feel rude and/or guilty if they indeed choose to undo the work of others. They count on that though, which is what makes it so ugly in my book.

 

I would be tempted to be as nice as pie about the whole thing but if I really found the new decorating scheme unattractive (and that color combination just doesn't sound right to me), I would sit down and ask if we could talk about mutually agreeable decor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be insulted, and want the murals given back to me, since they were on sheets.

 

Seems like you consulted with several ppl before the murals went up. Who did they consult?

 

And they absolutely should have checked with their boss before making drastic changes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have thought that a more appropriate approach would have been to consult you *prior* to doing any redecorating and then to proceed with a mutually agreeable plan.

 

:iagree:They were disrespectful to the work you put into it and should have consulted with you. I would want my murals returned and some input on the "finishing touches".

 

Is this a church owned building? I've found that many times the line of communication with who actually has authority is hard to follow. I've started on projects thinking I had permission from the person in charge and come to find out they weren't. Frankly it was rather embarrassing for me after putting in hours on a project to have it changed in a few short months because it wasn't the vision of the person really in charge.

 

So the person that redid your room may have been confused about their authority, or maybe not. :bigear: Awaiting part two.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lousy process.... and i'd address it. i wouldn't deal with the quality of the decorations (or lack thereof) at all. i would need for it all to come down and us to start again.... because if it works, then unilateral action worked, and will happen again...

 

five step process for journalling:

1. this is what happened (journal it until you can put it in neutral terms)

2. this is how i felt (keep adding words until no more come)

3. this is why i think it happened (if feeling words come up at this point, you aren't quite done with step two)

4. this is what i need

5. this is what i'm going to do next.

 

then let it sit for a day or two and reread it.

then proceed. sharing it with the other person this way and asking them to listen throughout, and then have them share the same way while you listen.

 

sigh....

 

ann

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't understand how to QUOTE someone.....(I'll get it eventually)....

but I love elfgivas' journaling information. I'm printing this out for keeps.

Edited by mhg
fixing my messed up attempt to quote elfgivas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to answer before reading other responses (or part 2, if it's posted already):

 

This sounds like a classic "ask forgiveness, not permission" strategy on their part.

 

Is there any other entity overseeing both of you? Who has the final authority on the physical space both groups are using? I would think there would have to be someone else arbitrating decorating decisions, or it could be a constant back-and-forth between your two groups!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't care about the decorating but I would be concerned about what the future held in terms of working with the other person.

 

It seems so obviously rude and petty that I think you can anticipate other sorts of power struggles with the other person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alte Viste nailed my feeling in this quote: "it usually makes the victim of the offense feel rude and/or guilty if they indeed choose to undo the work of others. " I felt horrible because I did ask that all but one room be taken down. The one room wasn't necessarily what I would have chosen, but wasn't visually overwhelming. (It was a wallpaper decal mural that was at kids' eye level and the colors were all from the same package.) The decorating in the other rooms made me actually uncomfortable because of the overwhelming visual impact (amount of wall space, random placement, colors from two different sets: bright pastels and autumn). I tried really really hard to see if there was a way to make it work by taking out a color or two or to rearranging it to be less random and finally just said no. (Both programs serve kids with special needs. I have a child with visual processing issues who walked into a room and said, "This is freaking me out." He would not have been in the room, but it was a cue to me that it was indeed visually overwhelming and not just a matter of taste). But I did feel awful saying no nonetheless. I felt like I had been set up to be the bad guy.

 

Later, when we discussed the whole process, person B said that 1) they didn't ask me to participate in choosing the decorations because they thought I didn't want color on the walls (huh?) and that they thought if I just saw how cute it was that I would be pleased and that they intended it was a gift. Person B also said that it was a case of asking forgiveness instead of permission. (as some of you correctly perceived.)

 

 

I have a hard time meshing "We intended this as a gift" with cutting down artwork without asking and with "We did decide to ask forgiveness rather than permission." (I was not invested in the artwork being up there --I had originally intended it for temporary use until the decorators said leave it up, but they didn't know that. They did know it was my artwork.) Can any of you see a way in which someone could view what happened as a genuine gift?

 

We are actually having this discussion about relationship issues in retrospect because the person in authority over both programs worked out a process wherein the design was mutally agreed on after this happened. He requested that I not bring up these issues until that process was done so that it didn't derail it. So now I'm dealing with the relationship aspects.

 

The reason I'm asking is that I want to 1) get all the issues on the table now while we're working through it and not put a band-aid on something that needs more because we will continue to work together and 2) I was told that my feelings of feeling "bullied and disrespected" were overly strong words to use about something that was intended as a gift and I wanted to gauge whether I am over-reacting and 3) I am only me and have only my own reactions and perspective and blind spots. I am posting to see if my response was typical (of course, I think it's normal, but maybe there are other ways of looking at it) or atypical and I'd like to find out whether I'm being a jerk by not just accepting the "it was a gift" explanation. Could it genuinely have been intended as a gift at the same time it was admittedly a decision to ask forgiveness rather than permission? Can anyone see that? I'd genuinely like to know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lousy process.... and i'd address it. i wouldn't deal with the quality of the decorations (or lack thereof) at all. i would need for it all to come down and us to start again.... because if it works, then unilateral action worked, and will happen again...

 

five step process for journalling:

1. this is what happened (journal it until you can put it in neutral terms)

2. this is how i felt (keep adding words until no more come)

3. this is why i think it happened (if feeling words come up at this point, you aren't quite done with step two)

4. this is what i need

5. this is what i'm going to do next.

 

then let it sit for a day or two and reread it.

then proceed. sharing it with the other person this way and asking them to listen throughout, and then have them share the same way while you listen.

 

sigh....

 

ann

 

Thanks. This is helpful. We're having a follow-up meeting today in which 4 & 5 are good places to start since we've covered 1-3 to some extent already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

I have a hard time meshing "We intended this as a gift" with cutting down artwork without asking and with "We did decide to ask forgiveness rather than permission." <snip> Can any of you see a way in which someone could view what happened as a genuine gift?

 

Could it genuinely have been intended as a gift at the same time it was admittedly a decision to ask forgiveness rather than permission? Can anyone see that? I'd genuinely like to know.

 

I would have felt disrespected and insulted. And no, I don't think the "ask forgiveness instead of permission" and "gift" go together. Since they already anticipated a negative reaction, I would say that those two ideas are mutually exclusive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have thought that a more appropriate approach would have been to consult you *prior* to doing any redecorating and then to proceed with a mutually agreeable plan.

 

:iagree:

 

lousy process.... and i'd address it. i wouldn't deal with the quality of the decorations (or lack thereof) at all. i would need for it all to come down and us to start again.... because if it works, then unilateral action worked, and will happen again...

 

five step process for journalling:

1. this is what happened (journal it until you can put it in neutral terms)

2. this is how i felt (keep adding words until no more come)

3. this is why i think it happened (if feeling words come up at this point, you aren't quite done with step two)

4. this is what i need

5. this is what i'm going to do next.

 

then let it sit for a day or two and reread it.

then proceed. sharing it with the other person this way and asking them to listen throughout, and then have them share the same way while you listen.

 

sigh....

 

ann

 

:iagree:

 

I wouldn't care about the decorating but I would be concerned about what the future held in terms of working with the other person.

 

It seems so obviously rude and petty that I think you can anticipate other sorts of power struggles with the other person.

 

:iagree:

 

I would have felt disrespected and insulted. And no, I don't think the "ask forgiveness instead of permission" and "gift" go together. Since they already anticipated a negative reaction, I would say that those two ideas are mutually exclusive.

 

:iagree:And if it hasn't been mentioned, the groundwork has been put in place for an uncomfortable situation if not an unpleasant one...and I would be hurt and probably angry.........not that you should be, but I would be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have felt disrespected and insulted. And no, I don't think the "ask forgiveness instead of permission" and "gift" go together. Since they already anticipated a negative reaction, I would say that those two ideas are mutually exclusive.

 

Well, technically what they were saying was that they thought there would be a negative reaction if they asked first (because they thought I wouldn't be able to visualize it --though being someone who is an artist, visualizing is kind of required) and that there would be a positive reaction when I saw how cute it was in reality. Then it would have been a gift.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd want to know where my stuff was so I could collect it. I'd be ticked if it was in the trash. That would be plain rudeness on the part of the other people.

:iagree:

 

 

1) get all the issues on the table now while we're working through it and not put a band-aid on something that needs more because we will continue to work together

 

I'd be up front and say that I felt it was unprofessional and unappreciated. Feel free to dress that up, but that's the bare bones of what I'd want to make clear.

 

 

2) I was told that my feelings of feeling "bullied and disrespected" were overly strong words to use about something that was intended as a gift and I wanted to gauge whether I am over-reacting and

 

I'd state the facts. Fact is they admit they knew you probably would not like it. Who the he'll gives a gift they KNOW will likely not be wanted and they KNOW they will likely have to ask forgiveness for? That's BS and they know it and I'd call them on it and request they not give me anymore "gifts" if that is their idea of a gift. Again, dress that up in more professional speak probably.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know. I guess it depends on whether I have any ownership of the space. If I did, then I'd be annoyed not to have any say. If I don't then I wouldn't really care. But I'm not a big decorator. Just leave me alone and let me do my job. LOL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think people who are in a space first have more of a claim on how that space is decorated than newcomers. It's just a common custom & good manners - regardless of who actually owns the space.

 

They should have discussed it with you.

 

I'd get all psycho babbly on them about color & art & pull out articles on color therapy and sensory integration issues & basically stun them into submission with your brilliance & intellectual prowess in determining the appropriate visual resonance of this children's space.

 

Then tell them they can decorate the inside of the hallway closet if they like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well, technically what they were saying was that they thought there would be a negative reaction if they asked first (because they thought I wouldn't be able to visualize it --though being someone who is an artist, visualizing is kind of required) and that there would be a positive reaction when I saw how cute it was in reality. Then it would have been a gift."

 

This sounds condescending to me as if they know more about decorating than you. How do they know that you would have a hard time visualizing it? They disregarded the fact that you're an artist. I would have a very hard time working with them in the future, sorry to say. That's how I would feel about it. And the asking for forgiveness versus asking for permission, ugh, double ugh. The nerve!

 

I like Hornblower's psychobabble bit. That might work with these people if that's how they operate.

 

I'm sorry. This must be very frustrating for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I completely agree that this was handled very badly!!! That said there is something I would like to bring up. It sounds like the sheets had been up for "years?" One of the things we did as childrens pastors was try to change things up every year or so...at least one area. The longer things are left up the more intimidated people can feel about asking to do something different.

 

It could be that they really wanted to change things but were afraid of you.

 

Again, I'm not saying this was an okay thing to do...just trying to point out what might have been going thru their minds.

 

As, a children's leader I would have done 2 things...1. I would have picked the basic theme and layout then invited both of you to the table for brainstorminging ideas. 2. Started with a brainstorming section with everyone and work from there.

 

It sounds like it was time for a change...just not in this manner :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, technically what they were saying was that they thought there would be a negative reaction if they asked first (because they thought I wouldn't be able to visualize it --though being someone who is an artist, visualizing is kind of required) and that there would be a positive reaction when I saw how cute it was in reality. Then it would have been a gift.

 

Ummm, no. They didn't like the jungle decor, but didn't have the guts to tell you or figured that you wouldn't agree to take it down. So they did it without asking. They hoped that you might like it, but they really just figured that once it was done you probably wouldn't hate it so much that they would have to change it. The "gift" aspect is just a way to, after the fact, attempt to not look so jerky.

 

 

I'd get all psycho babbly on them about color & art & pull out articles on color therapy and sensory integration issues & basically stun them into submission with your brilliance & intellectual prowess in determining the appropriate visual resonance of this children's space.

 

Then tell them they can decorate the inside of the hallway closet if they like.

 

I'd go with this approach. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alte Viste nailed my feeling in this quote: "it usually makes the victim of the offense feel rude and/or guilty if they indeed choose to undo the work of others. " I felt horrible because I did ask that all but one room be taken down. The one room wasn't necessarily what I would have chosen, but wasn't visually overwhelming. (It was a wallpaper decal mural that was at kids' eye level and the colors were all from the same package.) The decorating in the other rooms made me actually uncomfortable because of the overwhelming visual impact (amount of wall space, random placement, colors from two different sets: bright pastels and autumn). I tried really really hard to see if there was a way to make it work by taking out a color or two or to rearranging it to be less random and finally just said no. (Both programs serve kids with special needs. I have a child with visual processing issues who walked into a room and said, "This is freaking me out." He would not have been in the room, but it was a cue to me that it was indeed visually overwhelming and not just a matter of taste). But I did feel awful saying no nonetheless. I felt like I had been set up to be the bad guy.

 

Later, when we discussed the whole process, person B said that 1) they didn't ask me to participate in choosing the decorations because they thought I didn't want color on the walls (huh?) and that they thought if I just saw how cute it was that I would be pleased and that they intended it was a gift. Person B also said that it was a case of asking forgiveness instead of permission. (as some of you correctly perceived.)

 

 

I have a hard time meshing "We intended this as a gift" with cutting down artwork without asking and with "We did decide to ask forgiveness rather than permission." (I was not invested in the artwork being up there --I had originally intended it for temporary use until the decorators said leave it up, but they didn't know that. They did know it was my artwork.) Can any of you see a way in which someone could view what happened as a genuine gift?

 

We are actually having this discussion about relationship issues in retrospect because the person in authority over both programs worked out a process wherein the design was mutally agreed on after this happened. He requested that I not bring up these issues until that process was done so that it didn't derail it. So now I'm dealing with the relationship aspects.

 

The reason I'm asking is that I want to 1) get all the issues on the table now while we're working through it and not put a band-aid on something that needs more because we will continue to work together and 2) I was told that my feelings of feeling "bullied and disrespected" were overly strong words to use about something that was intended as a gift and I wanted to gauge whether I am over-reacting and 3) I am only me and have only my own reactions and perspective and blind spots. I am posting to see if my response was typical (of course, I think it's normal, but maybe there are other ways of looking at it) or atypical and I'd like to find out whether I'm being a jerk by not just accepting the "it was a gift" explanation. Could it genuinely have been intended as a gift at the same time it was admittedly a decision to ask forgiveness rather than permission? Can anyone see that? I'd genuinely like to know.

 

I have directed children's ministry for many years, at two different churches. I would be very, very upset at someone redecorating shared space without my input. I would be doubly upset to know they had actually, formally decided to keep me out of the loop until it was done.

 

Insulting your ability to visualize, passing over your totally legitimate input as well as your authority, and redecorating a shared room is NOT A GIFT. Those are words to try to legitimize the unbelievably bad behavior here.

 

I think "bullied and disrespected" are appropriate to this occasion.

 

Often diplomats in these situations will try to get both sides to give a little. In many situations this is legitimate. However, in other situations it allows those who have made poor choices to get away with it, and minimizes the wrong that was done. In this case, the other side has wronged you on several levels and yes, they need to take responsibility for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm...not that I would do it myself, but I can see how it's possible that they thought you wouldn't like the "idea" of it, but would like the "actuallity" of it if only you could just see it first. Sort of a matter of 'if we ask her first she'll probably say no, but if we do it and show it to her I know she'll just love it'. And I can see how they might genuinely mean it. And the 'ask forgiveness rather than permission' aspect could have been a matter of 'but if for some reason we can't imagine (because we think it's darling) she happens not to like it, then we will apologize and take it down.' And the gift aspect could be along the lines of, 'oh she will be so happy to have a fresh, updated space to work in, and she's such a busy person with so much on her plate already, wouldn't it be nice if we did this for her so she can just walk into a fresh new space without having to worry over it.'

 

So yeah, I can see how it could have been a gift in their minds. And I can see how their feelings might have been hurt too, if they were genuinely trying to do something nice and then were accused of being...otherwise.

 

Obviously I don't know their hearts. If it were me, though, I would choose to believe them and assume that they really did have good intentions and were trying to do something nice. Why? A few reasons.

 

1) I've done dumb things without thinking it through thoroughly enough myself--things that seemed like such a good idea at the time, but didn't turn out as I'd hoped--and if I were to inadvertently cause offense through my bungling I would hope that the other party would forgive me and understand that my intentions were good. I try really hard to forgive others their trespasses as I want mine forgiven because I know at some point I'm going to goof something up royally. Again. And I cannot expect mercy and grace from others that I am not willing to give to others myself.

 

2) I would be able to work with them with more genuine pleasantness in the future if I could look at them as well-meaning but misguided rather than spiteful and mean. Taking them at their word and believing it was a gift gone wrong (while also setting up some appropriate boundaries as far as how changes should be handled in the future) would improve the working relationship.

 

3) I would not want to carry the bad feelings around, and taking this perspective on the situation would help me let go of them. It may be selfish, but I don't like that feeling of darkness and bitterness taking up space in my heart. If I can find a way to let go, I will. Then there's room in my heart and emotional energy available for something more pleasant-- or at least more deserving. Whatever the intentions this is over and done with and spending more emotional energy on it would be a waste.

 

4) I genuinely believe most people are not intentionally spiteful and manipulative (though there are some exceptions), but rather are just muddling along trying to do good and be good and, being mortal human beings with flaws and limitations, sometimes mess things up in spite of their good intentions.

 

My advice would be let it go. Be the generous, forgiving one. Don't let this thing eat up any more of your life than it already has.

 

But that's just me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm...not that I would do it myself, but I can see how it's possible that they thought you wouldn't like the "idea" of it, but would like the "actuallity" of it if only you could just see it first. Sort of a matter of 'if we ask her first she'll probably say no, but if we do it and show it to her I know she'll just love it'. And I can see how they might genuinely mean it. And the 'ask forgiveness rather than permission' aspect could have been a matter of 'but if for some reason we can't imagine (because we think it's darling) she happens not to like it, then we will apologize and take it down.' And the gift aspect could be along the lines of, 'oh she will be so happy to have a fresh, updated space to work in, and she's such a busy person with so much on her plate already, wouldn't it be nice if we did this for her so she can just walk into a fresh new space without having to worry over it.'

 

This (whole post). If we are in a position to choose what we believe of others -- they're nasty people out to mess with me, or genuinely good people who happened to take a less than perfect approach -- then isn't it better to assume the best? When in doubt, give the benefit to the other person. You'll feel better for it, and so will they.

 

Of course we always have a right to feel however we feel... but it's important to remember that we do get to make a choice regarding the thoughts that lead to those feelings. Nothing outside of us can make us feel disrespected, offended, etc. It's the thoughts we think about the situations we perceive that holds the true impact.

 

I bet you'll all find the perfect new look for your space. Good luck!

 

Melanie (happily assuming people are out to do right by me)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm...not that I would do it myself, but I can see how it's possible that they thought you wouldn't like the "idea" of it, but would like the "actuallity" of it if only you could just see it first. Sort of a matter of 'if we ask her first she'll probably say no, but if we do it and show it to her I know she'll just love it'. And I can see how they might genuinely mean it. And the 'ask forgiveness rather than permission' aspect could have been a matter of 'but if for some reason we can't imagine (because we think it's darling) she happens not to like it, then we will apologize and take it down.' And the gift aspect could be along the lines of, 'oh she will be so happy to have a fresh, updated space to work in, and she's such a busy person with so much on her plate already, wouldn't it be nice if we did this for her so she can just walk into a fresh new space without having to worry over it.'

 

So yeah, I can see how it could have been a gift in their minds. And I can see how their feelings might have been hurt too, if they were genuinely trying to do something nice and then were accused of being...otherwise.

 

 

:iagree:

 

I have dreamed of redoing the garage in DH's absence. I know that he probably won't get around to it for a long time, and that even though I'd probably do things differently than he would, I would get the job done and then he could tweak it later. Maybe it was something like that? I agree that they handled it badly--decor is kind of a big deal, it sets the tone for everyone who uses the space. Especially if you have kids with sensory issues.

 

I would focus my energy at this point into coming up with a solution that works for everyone involved. And express your appreciation that they were trying to do something nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I would have felt "bullied". I would have felt disrespected in both my role, and in the relationship--this is a shared space, and one party decided to act on solely their own desires.

 

It does sound like they really thought that they were "being helpful", and creating something "cute" and new. I think, though, what I would need in the future, is that they understand that the space is shared, and how to constructively work within a shared environment (ie-there are more parties involved than their own desires).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Laurie, in your shoes, I know I would feel hurt and disrespected, and probably even manipulated with the whole "ask forgiveness not permission" aspect of it. But I also hope that I would remember what MamaSheep said:

 

 

1) I've done dumb things without thinking it through thoroughly enough myself--things that seemed like such a good idea at the time, but didn't turn out as I'd hoped--and if I were to inadvertently cause offense through my bungling I would hope that the other party would forgive me and understand that my intentions were good. I try really hard to forgive others their trespasses as I want mine forgiven because I know at some point I'm going to goof something up royally. Again. And I cannot expect mercy and grace from others that I am not willing to give to others myself.

 

 

I think there is real wisdom in this.

 

I don't know, but maybe the best thing you can do at this point is to tell them that you are saddened that they felt they could not come to you so that you could work together on it, and you hope that in the future you can have a more cooperative working relationship with them. And then mention something that you like about the changes they made (I hope there is at least one positive thing about them that you can focus on!), and from there say how you might have built on that or done things somewhat differently. Boy, I am so *not* an expert at these kinds of things that I'm hardly in a position to give advice! But that's what comes to my mind. Not an easy situation, by any means. I wish you the best in getting through it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alte Viste nailed my feeling in this quote: "it usually makes the victim of the offense feel rude and/or guilty if they indeed choose to undo the work of others. " I felt horrible because I did ask that all but one room be taken down. The one room wasn't necessarily what I would have chosen, but wasn't visually overwhelming. (It was a wallpaper decal mural that was at kids' eye level and the colors were all from the same package.) The decorating in the other rooms made me actually uncomfortable because of the overwhelming visual impact (amount of wall space, random placement, colors from two different sets: bright pastels and autumn). I tried really really hard to see if there was a way to make it work by taking out a color or two or to rearranging it to be less random and finally just said no. (Both programs serve kids with special needs. I have a child with visual processing issues who walked into a room and said, "This is freaking me out." He would not have been in the room, but it was a cue to me that it was indeed visually overwhelming and not just a matter of taste). But I did feel awful saying no nonetheless. I felt like I had been set up to be the bad guy.

 

Later, when we discussed the whole process, person B said that 1) they didn't ask me to participate in choosing the decorations because they thought I didn't want color on the walls (huh?) and that they thought if I just saw how cute it was that I would be pleased and that they intended it was a gift. Person B also said that it was a case of asking forgiveness instead of permission. (as some of you correctly perceived.)

 

 

I have a hard time meshing "We intended this as a gift" with cutting down artwork without asking and with "We did decide to ask forgiveness rather than permission." (I was not invested in the artwork being up there --I had originally intended it for temporary use until the decorators said leave it up, but they didn't know that. They did know it was my artwork.) Can any of you see a way in which someone could view what happened as a genuine gift?

 

We are actually having this discussion about relationship issues in retrospect because the person in authority over both programs worked out a process wherein the design was mutally agreed on after this happened. He requested that I not bring up these issues until that process was done so that it didn't derail it. So now I'm dealing with the relationship aspects.

 

The reason I'm asking is that I want to 1) get all the issues on the table now while we're working through it and not put a band-aid on something that needs more because we will continue to work together and 2) I was told that my feelings of feeling "bullied and disrespected" were overly strong words to use about something that was intended as a gift and I wanted to gauge whether I am over-reacting and 3) I am only me and have only my own reactions and perspective and blind spots. I am posting to see if my response was typical (of course, I think it's normal, but maybe there are other ways of looking at it) or atypical and I'd like to find out whether I'm being a jerk by not just accepting the "it was a gift" explanation. Could it genuinely have been intended as a gift at the same time it was admittedly a decision to ask forgiveness rather than permission? Can anyone see that? I'd genuinely like to know.

 

:001_huh:

WOW! Can you say manipulative? How they acted is not grown up, nor is it proper workplace behavior. It's like my dd hiding something from me because she's afraid I'll "get mad." Well, if you KNOW I'll get mad, why did you do it in the first place. If they KNEW you were going to disapprove, why did they redecorate in the first place? In any other business they'd be fired. They didn't have the right to redecorate without permission, and they are refusing to take the blame/consequences of their actions. They were testing you and, quite frankly, you passed. Kudos to you for making them re-decorate what they had done. Be firm with them and YES, they were being bullies. There's no other word for it.

 

:grouphug:

Dorinda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have felt disrespected and insulted. And no, I don't think the "ask forgiveness instead of permission" and "gift" go together. Since they already anticipated a negative reaction, I would say that those two ideas are mutually exclusive.

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really appreciated the feel of this post and wanted to add a couple more thougths.

 

All of us tend to color our actions in our minds, because we know our own intentions. It sounds to me like the person who wanted to make some changes is nervous of confrontation, so chose to avoid it. Of course that never works, it only delays it and often complicates things. It could be that person B also complicated things in a fairly innocent way, unwise, but innocent. Person B is a male. :D My dh is a leader and he is drawn to anyone who wants to DO something. I could see a situation, where a person came to him and presented the desire to update the space for both parties and was eager to get started. He could have said, sure go ahead and then we can check to see if the other person likes it, too, and make any other changes that are neccesary at that time. Person A's small fears of confrontation are set aside and the fun idea takes over. Next thing you know, Person B is hearing the word "bully" and really feels that is over the top. He had no thoughts of bullying, because all he saw was someone excited about making something nice and he agreed. ...or something like that. He also may not have strong feelings about decor at all and can't imagine taking ownership and pride in ones workspace and decor.

 

I would have been upset, too, but try to calm down and talk to person B first about what type of precedent this sets and how it is not a good way to work with unity with another person. Ask why you were not asked for input in as open of a way as you can. Were they thinking that you wouldn't like the ideas or would "complicate" things? (I know I hate to "settle", when something else would be better. But my methods can take too long for some people. :) ) Anyway, all I am saying is be prepared to really listen and then work at coming up with solutions that will work in the future. The first point of disrespect was in not even giving you a chance to say anything about the SHARED space. That is the main point to work on. The other stuff just added to the missed step of communication. That step would have made all the difference. I would focus on that and try to leave the mural out of it as much as possible or it could be seen as more personal. After the missed communication is cleared up, then you can address anything that happened afterward.

 

Good Luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am with Hornblower; and I think the whole thing was, and as I see it, continues to be, handled exceedingly badly. How can someone else tell you that YOUR feeling of being bullied is inappropriate??? That baffles me. I think they may have thought they were being nice, but it's sure not how it comes off in your description of events. Who PLANS to have to ask forgiveness for a "gift," for heaven's sake? That's nuts. I think you're right to feel bullied, and I know I would be very hurt by the attitude of the "redecorators" and by that of the "boss" in this situation.:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regardless of the intentions behind the original redecoration, the way they're handling it afterward feels emotionally manipulative to me. What has your relationship been like prior to this? Has there been a pattern of disregard for your feelings and/or manipulation?

 

Also, the original jungle murals were cut down, as in damaged? Your artwork was damaged? That alone would be a serious issue for me, regardless of what else happened.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm...not that I would do it myself, but I can see how it's possible that they thought you wouldn't like the "idea" of it, but would like the "actuallity" of it if only you could just see it first. Sort of a matter of 'if we ask her first she'll probably say no, but if we do it and show it to her I know she'll just love it'. And I can see how they might genuinely mean it. And the 'ask forgiveness rather than permission' aspect could have been a matter of 'but if for some reason we can't imagine (because we think it's darling) she happens not to like it, then we will apologize and take it down.' And the gift aspect could be along the lines of, 'oh she will be so happy to have a fresh, updated space to work in, and she's such a busy person with so much on her plate already, wouldn't it be nice if we did this for her so she can just walk into a fresh new space without having to worry over it.'

 

So yeah, I can see how it could have been a gift in their minds. And I can see how their feelings might have been hurt too, if they were genuinely trying to do something nice and then were accused of being...otherwise.

 

Obviously I don't know their hearts. If it were me, though, I would choose to believe them and assume that they really did have good intentions and were trying to do something nice. Why? A few reasons.

 

1) I've done dumb things without thinking it through thoroughly enough myself--things that seemed like such a good idea at the time, but didn't turn out as I'd hoped--and if I were to inadvertently cause offense through my bungling I would hope that the other party would forgive me and understand that my intentions were good. I try really hard to forgive others their trespasses as I want mine forgiven because I know at some point I'm going to goof something up royally. Again. And I cannot expect mercy and grace from others that I am not willing to give to others myself.

 

2) I would be able to work with them with more genuine pleasantness in the future if I could look at them as well-meaning but misguided rather than spiteful and mean. Taking them at their word and believing it was a gift gone wrong (while also setting up some appropriate boundaries as far as how changes should be handled in the future) would improve the working relationship.

 

3) I would not want to carry the bad feelings around, and taking this perspective on the situation would help me let go of them. It may be selfish, but I don't like that feeling of darkness and bitterness taking up space in my heart. If I can find a way to let go, I will. Then there's room in my heart and emotional energy available for something more pleasant-- or at least more deserving. Whatever the intentions this is over and done with and spending more emotional energy on it would be a waste.

 

4) I genuinely believe most people are not intentionally spiteful and manipulative (though there are some exceptions), but rather are just muddling along trying to do good and be good and, being mortal human beings with flaws and limitations, sometimes mess things up in spite of their good intentions.

 

My advice would be let it go. Be the generous, forgiving one. Don't let this thing eat up any more of your life than it already has.

 

But that's just me.

 

Thanks. I appreciate reading this possibility. There's nothing I can do if it wasn't a "gift" anyway, except I was trying to decide whether to "call it." This isn't the first time something has appeared in shared space without discussion. Also, to find out if I was as emotionally "off" as they have said. (Then that would be my issue.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I completely agree that this was handled very badly!!! That said there is something I would like to bring up. It sounds like the sheets had been up for "years?" One of the things we did as childrens pastors was try to change things up every year or so...at least one area. The longer things are left up the more intimidated people can feel about asking to do something different.

 

It could be that they really wanted to change things but were afraid of you.

 

Again, I'm not saying this was an okay thing to do...just trying to point out what might have been going thru their minds.

 

As, a children's leader I would have done 2 things...1. I would have picked the basic theme and layout then invited both of you to the table for brainstorminging ideas. 2. Started with a brainstorming section with everyone and work from there.

 

It sounds like it was time for a change...just not in this manner :(

 

Absolutely. I would have had no problem with a change. I would have enjoyed helping with the creativity involved with a change. I wouldn't have minded taking them down even a little. The only reason I even mentioned that part is that I would feel that I was being personally disrespectful if I took down someone else's artwork without even speaking to them. I would assume that would really hurt feelings because art has so much of a person in it. They didn't know I didn't care, but they did it knowing it could have really hurt feelings. That's one of the parts that feels disrespectful and bullying.

 

And I asked what I might have done to make it feel like they couldn't talk to me. 1) I had said no to a few other things and yes to many others. 2) I had used the word "shellshocked" the last time something appeared in the shared space with no prior discussion. This was, to her, overly strong language. Additionally, I know that when I am anxious (like when there is conflict) my body language reads more intimidating than intimidated. It is not conscious and was a pain when I was single and hoping for a date and people would tell me guys were intimidated by me. :)

Edited by Laurie4b
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone. All of your input has been helpful. It was helpful to know I wasn't emotionally over-reacting by the way I was feeling, it was helpful to have suggestions on how to go forward, and it was helpful to have someone be able to figure out how it could possibly have been meant as a gift. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would choose the words "broadsided" and "railroaded" over "bullied". "Disrespected" would stand.

 

Those are good words. Part of the bullied comes because there were repurcussions when I said no. I won't go into those here because they've been apologized for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about this more, and while I think assuming the very best of intentions on the part of other people is generally the best policy, I also think the way they handled your murals might be very revealing of their intentions. Did they handle them with respect and give them back to you? Or did they damage them or toss them out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not be happy. I was actually in a situation similar once - and it lead to my actually breaking ties with the place. Either my position and person is treated with respect or it isn't. If it isn't, and consistently isn't, then I need to move on or the rest needs to change their approach.

 

I will say the fact that this space is also used for cihldren with special needs very much upsets me. Are they also in a nonsubtle way saying that the needs of the children served there are not important? I think tht if I wanted to stay in this space and direct that program, I would change the focus from my self and make the focus the needs of the children. Point out with support from research and past experience why your decor worked so well and why visually busy random walls are not advisable.

 

I am so very sorry!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let this go. Not a big deal.

 

If there were strings tied to your decorating, then you should have let that be known then. LET IT GO. Are there kids in the space enjoying the new decorating? Yes? Then LET IT GO.

 

If these people are just rude, then they're just rude. What do you want out of the situation now? An apology? Why? It's over. Move on and let it go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone. All of your input has been helpful. It was helpful to know I wasn't emotionally over-reacting by the way I was feeling, it was helpful to have suggestions on how to go forward, and it was helpful to have someone be able to figure out how it could possibly have been meant as a gift. Thanks!

 

In a gift you have the option to refuse or return, doesn't sound like it in this case. :grouphug: I so understand the intimidating stance as well. I tend to get bristley (like a porcupine) when I'm feeling emotional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regardless of the intentions behind the original redecoration, the way they're handling it afterward feels emotionally manipulative to me. What has your relationship been like prior to this? Has there been a pattern of disregard for your feelings and/or manipulation?

 

Also, the original jungle murals were cut down, as in damaged? Your artwork was damaged? That alone would be a serious issue for me, regardless of what else happened.

 

:iagree: One of my first thoughts was, "Have these people always been so passive/aggressive in their behavior?"

 

I hope you are all able to find a comfortable resolution and to salvage a relationship that works for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...