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Old 05-18-2017, 02:38 PM
 
520 posts, read 209,777 times
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As I've mentioned in other threads, I regularly facilitate a self-help group which has been by and large a successful endeavor. On rare occasions, though, it forces me to deal with difficult situations.

Over the past 24 hours, I've exchanged a couple of emails with a group member who was seriously offended by what happened at the last meeting. Her version of the story is that she shared a very difficult subject matter looking for feedback, and instead we were dismissive and judgmental. From there, she ranted that for a group that's supposed to be dealing with difficult personal issues, we spend an awful lot of time talking about pleasant, upbeat topics.

I wrote a response trying to explain the situation as I understood it, but her next email was even angrier. She took several things I said out of context, although she did express (at the very end) an appreciation that I reached out.

I'm just wondering how to handle this going forward. I virtually never get criticism about the group, and yet this makes me wonder if others are secretly unhappy as well, or if it's just this one hyper-sensitive person twisting things around based on her anger over one incident.
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,570 posts, read 14,187,164 times
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To me this person sounds like a drama queen. Taking something you said out of context and blowing it up is a sign of someone who wants drama and/or attention. The fact that she felt her concerns were not addressed in full tells you that she wants more attention that she got.

It is hard for me to know if she was being judged harshly. You were there and so you know. But it sounds as if her reaction was out of proportion to her treatment by the group. If there is more to the story than you have related, then my answer might be different. But it sounds as if she is being unreasonable.
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:07 PM
 
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Do you see a lot of turn-over in your group? If you did, maybe it's indicative of people being unhappy with the group and leaving. Did you get a sense that any of her comments had any merit? Like; "Well, I guess we COULD'VE been a little more sensitive to her pain." Or did she just come out of left field with her anger and accusations?
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:16 PM
 
9,643 posts, read 4,900,051 times
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Offer to meet her for coffee. Neutral territory, just the two of you. It shows that you're interested in hearing out her concerns. It's also harder for her to fly off the handle when you're face-to-face and in public. Ask for her input on specific steps that the group can try to avoid the problem in the future. Tell her that you can't make any promises (you're only one person of a whole group. you can't control the behavior of others) but that you've heard her and want to try to work together to a solution.

It's also just a good practice to deal with issues in person, as opposed to email where things are very frequently taken out of context, and tone can be difficult to read (or easy to assume)
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:36 PM
 
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Meeting her for coffee sounds like a good idea. Then you can talk one on one and get a feel on why she is offended. Perhaps the situation at the group triggered her and she reacted with anger. Is this a mental health support group? If she is depressed or manic then it could explain her actions. Maybe she just did not feel heard. Nothing you knowingly did wrong.
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Old 05-18-2017, 04:25 PM
 
Location: 🇬🇧 In jolly old London! 🇬🇧
15,672 posts, read 8,324,800 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael917 View Post
As I've mentioned in other threads, I regularly facilitate a self-help group which has been by and large a successful endeavor. On rare occasions, though, it forces me to deal with difficult situations.

Over the past 24 hours, I've exchanged a couple of emails with a group member who was seriously offended by what happened at the last meeting. Her version of the story is that she shared a very difficult subject matter looking for feedback, and instead we were dismissive and judgmental. From there, she ranted that for a group that's supposed to be dealing with difficult personal issues, we spend an awful lot of time talking about pleasant, upbeat topics.

I wrote a response trying to explain the situation as I understood it, but her next email was even angrier. She took several things I said out of context, although she did express (at the very end) an appreciation that I reached out.

I'm just wondering how to handle this going forward. I virtually never get criticism about the group, and yet this makes me wonder if others are secretly unhappy as well, or if it's just this one hyper-sensitive person twisting things around based on her anger over one incident.
That's just one persons opinion, yes it's not nice but after receiving no other bad feedback ( no complaints IS good feedback ) then on the whole it speaks volumes about yourself, your organisation and the group of people that's there mate

So I really would just take it as one
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Old 05-18-2017, 04:38 PM
 
Location: So Cal
40,212 posts, read 39,746,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael917 View Post
As I've mentioned in other threads, I regularly facilitate a self-help group which has been by and large a successful endeavor. On rare occasions, though, it forces me to deal with difficult situations.

Over the past 24 hours, I've exchanged a couple of emails with a group member who was seriously offended by what happened at the last meeting. Her version of the story is that she shared a very difficult subject matter looking for feedback, and instead we were dismissive and judgmental. From there, she ranted that for a group that's supposed to be dealing with difficult personal issues, we spend an awful lot of time talking about pleasant, upbeat topics.

I wrote a response trying to explain the situation as I understood it, but her next email was even angrier. She took several things I said out of context, although she did express (at the very end) an appreciation that I reached out.

I'm just wondering how to handle this going forward. I virtually never get criticism about the group, and yet this makes me wonder if others are secretly unhappy as well, or if it's just this one hyper-sensitive person twisting things around based on her anger over one incident.
Sigh....

I see the same thing here on CD, people can say the really most innocuous things and someone somewhere is going to find something wrong with it or take offense on some level.

People who are perpetually offended get off on the moral high ground "high" so to speak. She's has the temperament of the typical snowflake social justice warrior, again, seeking the moral high ground for some petty emotional boost or confirmation or whatever. One way to boost one's sense of self-importance is to be offended by what someone said.

Mrs. Chow's father was that way, he went through life looking to be offended by crap so he can stand back and take a "how dare you" attitude about things, he typically did it with servers and other people in similar situations. Made me sick when he pulled that garbage.

That's my armchair psychologist take on it.

I say this under the guise that you're truly trying to be inclusive and not harsh or judge her wrongly and in the spirit of faith in your interactions with her. Again, some of the stuff I've seen here over the years just reaffirms me that you can put it out there but have zero control how someone else's brain through the prism of their baggage is going to interpret what you say.

It's fascinating in a completely and utterly annoying way.
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Old 05-18-2017, 04:44 PM
 
Location: 🇬🇧 In jolly old London! 🇬🇧
15,672 posts, read 8,324,800 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chowhound View Post
Sigh....

I see the same thing here on CD, people can say the really most innocuous things and someone somewhere is going to find something wrong with it or take offense on some level.

People who are perpetually offended get off on the moral high ground "high" so to speak. She's has the temperament of the typical snowflake social justice warrior, again, seeking the moral high ground for some petty emotional boost or confirmation or whatever. One way to boost one's sense of self-importance is to be offended by what someone said
.

Mrs. Chow's father was that way, he went through life looking to be offended by crap so he can stand back and take a "how dare you" attitude about things, he typically did it with servers and other people in similar situations. Made me sick when he pulled that garbage.

That's my armchair psychological take on it.

I say this under the guise that you're truly trying to be inclusive and not harsh or judge her wrongly and in the spirit of faith in your interactions with her. Again, some of the stuff I've seen here over the years just reaffirms me that you can put it out there but have zero control how someone else's brain through the prism of their baggage is going to interpret what you say.

It's fascinating in a completely and utterly annoying way.
Hahahaha soooooooo bloody true mate!
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:38 PM
 
9,880 posts, read 3,931,322 times
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michael, I've led many groups too and am sometimes also surprised at someone's "take" on what happened in the group.

Are you a therapist, or are you a volunteer facilitator? (I'm that last one). Or something else?

If this is a therapy group, there would probably be ground rules that no one can make judgmental statements and the member expressing concern should be taken seriously and asked supportive follow up questions before the subject is changed.

If this is a non-therapeutic group - for example a group of adults going through divorce that meets in a library or can use a church meeting room, run by someone who has been through divorce before, that's a different thing. It would be expected to be lighter and more social, with fewer restrictions.

Is she or her insurance paying for this group? If so, she might have something to complain about. If not, she's not found the right group. She wants something much more heavy and less socially supportive, and she should probably pay for therapy.

Also, if this was her first time in the group it might be a lesson for her to learn that you don't tell your most inner thoughts first meeting.

Anyway, just some thoughts. If I were you I wouldn't meet her outside of group, but would make a special effort next meeting to greet her warmly and thank her for her input privately at the beginning of the group meeting.

I don't think you need to give this woman more of an audience than you're already given her.

And go from there.
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Boston
3,732 posts, read 1,453,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chowhound View Post
the typical snowflake social justice warrior, again, seeking the moral high ground for some petty emotional boost or confirmation or whatever.
Guilty until proven liberal, its bigotry.
They project their own guilt onto others.
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