For some reason, I have had a lot of encounters with angry people in my life.
I used to think it was something I was doing wrong. I would try everything I could to “correct” the situation, apologize, explain, etc. And nothing ever worked, until I would finally go along until I could get away.
I realize now that’s a habit/strategy from my childhood that never worked. I had no idea how to set boundaries, stay safe, etc. (I’m getting better!)
My latest was an exchange with a former gallery manager who used to carry my work, until they had to shut down at the beginning at the pandemic. They sent me my final consignment check.
Which I set aside and forgot about, until two years later. (As in, last month.) It was a sizeable check, too, for me. Drat!!
The check was “stale”, of course, but I tried to reach out to see if they would still honor the payment with a new check. After many, many unanswered attempts, they finally wrote back.
And the resulting conversation(s) were so toxic, I couldn’t believe it.
Their first response was, “Sorry, you messed up, not me. So too bad.” I responded with, ‘okay’. I thought that was the end of it.
I then checked with a few other galleries I’ve been in/am in, and asked them what they would do if a consignee hadn’t cashed their check. I did NOT tell them I was the person who had to be notified.)
Every single one said they would reach out to the person, to make sure they’d gotten the check, to make sure they were okay, and to make sure they deposited the check.
I thought the story ended here. I didn’t hear back from this person….
Until weeks later, when they asked if I’d gotten their replacement check. Wha……??
Yes, they’d finally sent a check. Did I get it? No. Because rather than contact me, they found the address to my STUDIO on my website, and had mailed the check there. Where we can’t receive mail.
There was a terse bit of back-and-forth, and of course, more blame assigned to me. But they finally sent a second check to my home address, which I provided them. With the $30 stop-payment fee deducted. Okay….
But the card had quite the toxic message.
I had “messed up” by losing the check. (Yes, I know.)
I had “failed to provide a proper mailing address.” (Um….no. They never even told me they were sending a check, or I would have given them my home address. And they HAD my home address at some point, or I wouldn’t have gotten ANY of their consignment checks.)
They found an address on my website, but it was the wrong one. (Um…yeah. For the record, a LOT of artists who are women/women living alone/jewelers working with precious metals and gemstones, avoid giving out their home address, and yes, I have the backstories for that. My website has my STUDIO address.) (I have added my mailing address, though I still worry about visitors mistakingly coming to my HOME.)
So it was “my fault” the second check got lost, and so it was on me to pay the $30 stop-payment (for a new check I never was informed about.) Both the card and the check had a “FINAL SETTLEMENT” note on them. (Okay……)
In my research about this person, I contacted a few friends, and got confirmation this person’s ethics, processes, etc. were slightly off. It was a relief to know my suspicions were confirmed. No, this person was not playing fair….
Fortunately, I had a meet-up scheduled with a dear online friend of mine who mentors artists. And I got clarity about what was really going on.
This artist friend and I both had a similar toxic encounter with someone similar years ago, and they came up in the conversation, too. My online friend’s insights helped me heal from that incredibly toxic encounter, they shared some of their more recent experiences, and they gave me more clarity about why/how we get caught up in these entanglements.
They said these people are someone with “The Dark Gift”:
The ability to see our tender places, and to use them to demean and destroy us.
“WE are the real thing!” they said. “And they attack us because they want what WE have. And when we don’t see our own value, we can’t see their envy. And so we tend to blame OURSELVES for their anger and agression.”
Wow. WOW. This explains soooooo much.
Another dear friend shared a similar insight years ago when I was struggling with another, very famous toxic entity. The person was so successful, and internationally-reknowned for their work. Why were they constantly trying to take me down??
This other friend shared a similar encounter they’d had, and then said, “When someone at that level tries to take you down, they have raised YOU to THEIR level.”
It was restorative, and combined with these new premises and insights, it was a (BIG) breath of fresh air. And comfort. And a huge “Aha!” moment.
Keep these words in your heart the next time someone blames you for issues they have created.
Constructive criticism can be helpful. Destructive criticism serves no purpose, except to that person with “the dark gift”.
It’s hard to recognize our value, especially at our most vulnerable, when certain people let us know they DON’T value us.
But then, those are exactly the people whose words and actions we shouldn’t take to heart.
And now for the “if’s”….
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14 thoughts on “THE ANGRY PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE”
I loved hearing about your experiences with this. I had my own jewelry biz cute 15 years and I have 99 % positive experiences, but there were a couple of doozies!!!
Thank you for sharing these insights!
I’m already glad I shared my experience because I’m hearing this from a LOT people today. And I’m glad you’re sharing YOUR experience. It’s always good to hear we’re not alone.
Embarrassingly my phone swypes(I don’t type, I swype) the word “cute” instead of the word “for”! Arghhhh.
LOL NO WORRIES! 😄
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The Dark Gift…..nailed it……Thanks for sharing 🙋🏻♀️👍🏻
Glad it helped, and thank you for letting me know!
Reading your story about “Angry People” I concluded that this is really a bookkeeping problem. Both you and the gallery share responsibility. The gallery folks handled this very unprofessionally and I’m sure you were “angry” at losing your profit. Don’t blame you. Lesson learned: a good bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold or at least a lost check. No, I am not a bookkeeper and yes, I love your art.
First, yes, I acknowledged my error from the start. However, a) it was at the start of the pandemic, and I’m sure my brain was as stressed as the rest of the world. And b) I’m honored you believe my work sells enough that I can afford a bookkeeper. 😀 And thank you for for the compliment on my work, much appreciated!
Thanks for your answer Luann. Yes,Covid muddled a lot of things including my brain. I know a bookkeeper is not an expense I can afford either . I am very low tech with a notebook and a pen. Very useful for reference and if the IRS ever knocks on the door…. I also appreciated your comments on producing multiples of one design. I can’t and won’t but it is nice to know I am not alone . My power of concentration like water seeks its own level which is pretty low. I do enjoy your newsletter and look forward to your next design. Lindy
Thank you for your follow-up comment, it helps! This incident really was a one-off, and as I mentioned, I know I goofed up, and owned it. But most (ethical) gallery owners would KNOW if a check hadn’t been cashed, and would have made it right. This person did EVERYTHING wrong, over and over, and then blamed me for THEIR mistakes. If they had apologized/owned ANY of this, or simply not insulted me, over and over, I would have had more compassion for them. After all, when they said it was all MY fault, I didn’t give them shit about it. And as my friend said, people who do this are coming from a dark place. So I’m glad I know who they really are now, and that I won’t be doing business with them again, ever. Even with a loss of over $200, that alone was worth knowing. And this is why I write about these hard places, so people like you know that we all have what works for us, and what won’t. And letting others know they don’t have to feel “bad” about it! There’s no one-size-fits-all in the artworld, for creatives!
Luann,thank you for being so candid. This is a worthwhile conversation if only to raise awareness. I did not mean to imply you were solely responsible for this screw up. A reputable gallery has no excuse for not having a good and accurate bookkeeping system. It is in their own self interest if nothing else. I suspect you are not the first artist they have treated this way. You are wise to sever ties with them and especially to post the experience. Sooner or later these kind of business owners will fail in business and blame it on to someone else. But in the meantime the rest of us need to know what we are getting into when we do business with anyone. I just went through a lawsuit involving a whole lot more than $200.00. It took three years and very expensive lawyers but the judge could see who was lying and it wasn’t me. The sad part is I don’t think the other party will change business practices because they are greedy and rather stupid. I do hope your next encounter with a gallery is a happier experience. Thanks for letting me voice my opinions on an important subject.
Lindy, THANK YOU so much for your newest comment! My blog post got reposted on FB by someone sharing it, and one of the comments there was so toxic, I had to sit on my hands for a loooooog time before replying. (Took the higher road!) Then saw YOUR new comment, and I LOVE it! I’m honored you swung back to give clarity, I’m glad you can see who REALLY messed up, and I am SO SORRY you went through something even worse. And no, these people will probably never change. It may be a (bad) choice, it may simply be the way they’re wired. In the end, I’m soooooo grateful for the galleries who have treated me with respect, kindness, and integrity. They are where I will choose to focus my energy today, and for all the days ahead.
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Keep moving on and good luck . Lindy
The pandemic brought out the worst in a lot of people. Life wasn’t living up to their expectations and this made people angry with no good place to direct that anger. If it seems like you are running into more angry people, yes, you are. There are more and more angry people all the time, even now that the pandemic has eased. Life still isn’t living up to expectations and getting back to where we were before the pandemic is not going to be quick. In other words, it’s not you, it’s them. All the best to you!