Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Emotional Blackmail

I received an email from a caregiver today to mention that she has been having problems with her TC. Her fellow caregivers and herself have been working well with the TC, then it seemed a few months ago, there was one persistent complainant. This led the TC to start threatening to remove the cats if there were complaints. They also refused to let her speak with the complainants.

The caregiver is worried as she does not want to jeopardise her working relationship with the TC so doesn't want to bring this up higher. While I totally agree with her that working with the TC is the most ideal situation, one of the things to bear in mind is this - what happens when the TC won't work with you?

If someone holds something that you value dearly as ransom to make you do something you don't want to do, then it's termed emotional blackmail. That's what is happening here - the TC knows that the caregivers are worried about the cats. They also know that the complainants on the other hand have nothing to lose. So whom do they choose to lean on?

The problem is this - when does the emotional blackmail stop? When the complainant (who in this case, the caregiver said is unreasonable) stops complaining? When all the cats have been removed (and the TC officer mentioned that there would be no complaints if there are no cats at all?)? What happens then when new cats move in?

I sympathise with this caregiver because I know she's trying to make the best of a bad situation and anyone would be worried if their cats were threatened. The problem sometimes is that in a case like this, there is no more good working relationship. There is just a TC officer who is bullying the person who has more to lose.

This doesn't mean that there aren't good TC officers of course - there are and the good ones would not resort to this. Praise should be meted out where praise is due - but correspondingly, if someone is going back on your agreement, and threatening you and your cats, then it may be time to seriously rethink what you need to do.


chinky said...

Caregivers must now exert the same rights accorded to the complainants and demand that the cats stay until the complainant/s meet their fellow residents to discuss the problem. It is not difficult to get other residents in the same block as the complainants to support the decision NOT to remove the cats.
Then write an email to "higher authorities" cc to the unreasonable officer.
Be reasonable and fearless.

Anonymous said...

Agree. But is this caregiver "equipped" with the soft skills and courage to go out there to reason with these ""authorised"" TC and be more fearless? I have met a few caregivers with typically kind and soft-spoken personality, some have little education so they are more vulnerable to bullies such as haughthy TC officers and complainants. I'm sure that these would not have been in the first place if this caregiver had the natural personality and in empowerment to talk it out with TC and the complainant(s). I think it is difficult to get other residents within the block to get support for matters such as stray animal welfare. I hope someone better "equipped" can support and help this caregiver out.

Dawn said...

Be reasonable and fearless - I like that :)

Anonymous - in this case, yes I think she is. She's discussing it with the other caregivers to decide what to do - sometimes it's also a group decision and some members may be adamantly against it. Or sometimes it's hard to imagine that a TC officer who used to be helpful now no longer is and you're hesistant to do something because of a good past relationship.