I'll be your mirror--but I'd rather not
February 18, 2011 12:37 PM Subscribe
I've realized that I mirror people's emotions back at them way too much, especially at work. I have a lot of trouble dealing with an accountant who is very nervous and fussy because I get nervous and fussy along with her; I also mirror the tone of another accountant who is very aggressive and accusatory over routine no-wrongdoing things. In each case, I escalate behavior that is already upsetting. How can I stop?
posted by Frowner to work & money (7 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I also escalate nice behavior--ie, I mirror happy people, which is nice and all.
I don't know if it's that I am afraid to express my actual feelings, or I'm not grounded enough, or I'm too passive. I do know that I grew up in an authoritarian family where any expression of anger or displeasure was frowned upon, especially for girls.
I think that if I could express my actual feelings, not only would I feel better about myself (ie, not feeling bad about being angry or fussy, or fake about being happy) but I'd also have more successful dealings with people, since I wouldn't say yes when I need to say no, or get crabby over something just because I'm mirroring anger or anxiety. I find myself getting irritated about totally reasonable demands that are part of my job when they come from the accusatory person, for example, things that I would do without question if asked nicely. (Of course I do them anyway, but with bad grace.)
I don't want to express work-inappropriate "real feelings" like "you annoy me"...I just want to be grounded in my dealings with my co-workers.
What do I do?