What to do when you feel blamed by your manager

A friend just called me, very upset. She told me that something went wrong at work, and that it was not her fault, but that her boss seemed to be blaming her for it. Here are the suggestions I gave:

1) Clear the emotional blockage

Whenever you feel an unpleasant emotion, it is a sign that what is currently happening is triggering an unresolved event in the past. As long as that is not dealt with, any subsequent actions will not be fully appropriate and adaptive for the current situation. A powerful and rapid way to achieve desensitization is emotional freedom techniques.

2) Find the positive (accept the promotion)

Once there is no emotional charge associated with a memory, thought, or situation, then you are free to frame it however you wish. A manager blaming you for something that you were not responsible for can be seen as an implicit sign of trust and of expectation of a greater level of responsibility. If you step into that responsibility going forward, then you are essentially giving yourself a promotion. Increased money and other benefits will follow the level of responsibility that you are promoted to.

3) Solve the problem

You may as well step back and work out how you can take on this new responsibility. Is there some way that you could easily prevent the problem from occurring in the future? Perhaps you need to manage sideways, or perhaps you need to put some new systems in place.

4) Manage the relationship

The final thing to do is to talk with your manager about the problem. You will need to tailor the approach to the individual. For example, if the manager’s personality style is enneagram type eight, then it may not be a good idea to apologize. You may, however, want to clarify what happened.

It’s most important that you work to get your needs met in the long run. To do this, you need to manage up. The more you learn to manage up, the more skilled you will be in managing down and sideways, because managing up is the hardest.

For example, if the effect of the way your manager spoke to you seemed to be demotivating to you, then you are serving the interests of both you and your manager by telling him or her: “You probably didn’t intend this, but I think it’s important that you should know that I imagined that you were blaming me, and that made me feel demotivated.” The form is “I imagined X” and therefore “I felt Y.” There’s no retaliatory attack, nor judgement about his or her tone of voice or behavior. There is only powerfully vulnerable sharing of your inner process.

Stop arguing and enjoy real intimacy

What is the meaning of life? It is emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy and connection are the most important things to humans. Without emotional connection a baby will die. When an adult is lacking emotional intimacy, they will become depressed and suicidal, even if all their other needs are being met. As far as we know, we are the only meaning-makers in the universe, and therefore emotional intimacy is the most important thing in the universe; not money, not power, not beauty, not resources, but emotional intimacy.

We’re all seeking to be seen, heard, understood, appreciated, valued, connected, loved, adored, cherished, and validated. That’s what we all want, even if we think we’re trying to get more success, more money, more security, more meaningful work, more notoriety, or more leisure time.

So when we get into arguments with people, it’s typically because we’re not getting our emotional connection needs met. The problem is that most of the time we either are not aware of what our needs are, or we are scared of being rejected if we reveal them. We have learned to be ashamed of these primal needs that we inherited from our mammalian ancestors. I have written about shame and how to rid yourself of it before. When we shamefully hide what is really going on with us, we feel emotionally isolated, and we also create conditions that lead to further and deeper emotional isolation. Many couples consist of two people who are highly dependent on each other yet fundamentally emotionally isolated from each other, and from everyone else.

It is important for you to practice being aware of how you are feeling inside your body when you are having a disagreement with someone, and to experiment with revealing what is really true for you. When you focus on revealing these things that are deeply personal, and that you can be sure are true, such as “I feel hurt,” you are much less likely to be perceived as attacking, and much more likely to bring the cascade of reciprocal attacks to an end.

When you reveal what is most true for you in the present moment, it not only stops you from attacking, and makes you more vulnerable and less threatening, it also begins to build a foundation of true emotional intimacy and connection, the very thing that everyone is seeking. The other person will also then be more likely to reveal what is really true for them, further deepening a foundation of emotional intimacy.

When you have built these kinds of strong emotional foundations in your relationships, you will find that you are able to weather extreme adversity while feeling secure and supported. You, and the people that you are connected with, will then be more capable of handling the very adversities that you once argued about.

How to thrive with intuitive decisions

The word intuition has been used increasingly in the last decade. Intuition had become a popular topic in business. As things are changing with increasing speed we don’t have time to figure out the right thing to do cognitively, with linear left-brain thinking. Instead we have to make good split-second decisions based on partial information and past experience. Malcolm Gladwell addressed this to some extent in his book Blink.

I’ve heard spiritual teachers describe intuition as tuning into the will of God, which I interpret as getting in harmony with the Tao. The essence of the wisdom of Lao Tsu in the Tao Te Ching is that suffering ends when we are in harmony with the Tao. But often, no practical method is given for being in tune with the Tao, apart from meditating. Over time, certain types of meditation will increase your harmony with the Tao, but there are times that we really need to fine-tune our intuition quickly.

I have written about removing energy blockages and how this leads to a free flow of life energy. The life energy you feel in your body, as emotions and as other subtler sensations, is the Tao. The Tao ultimately manifests in everything you perceive, but your feeling of it in your body is the most direct perception you can have of it, without merging with it completely. You can literally feel the Tao right now in your body. Say hello.

Intuition is usually considered important when you have a decision to make. At these times, if you feel any kind of unpleasant sensation or negative emotion related to the problem, it means that you have energy blockages in your body. No matter how rational we think we are, all of us make decisions based on our feelings, and then later rationalize. When there is an unpleasant sensation, we typically make decisions that we anticipate will make the sensation go away, usually temporarily. So, this is the time to focus on clearing the energy blockages, which are the real problem.

When you have a free flow of energy in your body, there is an overall feeling of being able to choose, and decisions seem obvious. This is pure intuition. This is what it means to be in harmony with the Tao, to be clear on the “will of God,” or to feel the “Holy Spirit” flowing through you.

So next time you need to make a decision, don’t do it if there are any unpleasant sensations in your body. First stop and clear the energy blockages. Then take action when there are only pleasant sensations in your body. This is how you will have good intuition and make adaptive choices using your intuition.