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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3174
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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This has been a strange week for good news. Out of the blue

Customer Question

This has been a strange week for good news. Out of the blue a person from an organization I used to belong to called me. She's going to be president of the organization next term so she was looking over the past few years at what has been going on. When I left, she was 2nd vice president, but didn't do much in the role because she had breast cancer (good reason) anyway, she's recovered from the surgery and chemo and what-not, and they've asked her to be president.
She called me because she saw some problems from the past she wanted to discuss with me. I had to tell her how bad it got and why I left. There were Deaf members and they came to the convention because they were promised interpreters. No interpreters were hired. I am a professional interpreter, so I interpreted for them. I wasn't paid. They thought in a group of 500 or so people, there would be 10 or 15 interpreters. Anyway, for the next two years, interpreters were promised but never provided. I quit because of that. At any rate, when she's president, she wants to make sure professional interpreters are going to be provided. She also has some clout because she's been with them for over 25 years. She's on the board now, too. I warned her that the year I quit, the board said anyone who mentions the interpreting, or lack thereof, will be suspended for a year. I guess I can't imagine them suspending the president, but I have no idea what problems she's going to face in talking about the issue. I think the people in the group would be supportive of her but the problem I had was that the board, and the jerk of the president at the time, wouldn't inform the organization of either the need or the problems. It's good news she wants to deal with it, but I don't know how far she'll get. She wants me at the next convention to talk about the issue head on.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 6 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello :)

Customer:

Hi there!

Dr. Z :

Wow that sound very interesting about the organization

Dr. Z :

That is awesome that she is trying correct the mistakes of the past and wants your input

Customer:

It's a great organization, except for the past 7 years or so, the president they had is a narcissist worse than my sisters!

Dr. Z :

Thats not good

Customer:

I'm thrilled about that part, but man, she doesn't know who she'll be dealing with. The past president (the jerk) will be on the board with her and I don't think she knows yet what she's up against. She actually, having read the letters he wrote me, along with the bad things he did to other people, actually wants to have him suspended.

Dr. Z :

Well you are not there to fix the problems, just give your input and be honest

Customer:

Yep, I'll only be there for the board meeting to discuss what all went on. I'll support her any way I can. I also think the membership at large needs to know the details. That's one of the things Del did, deliberately keep people in the dark, and also by implication (and some bald face lies) mislead people into believing things were happening that weren't. For instance, no one knew I wasn't getting paid, and he implied that I was.

Customer:

Is there anything we should look at in planning to confront the issue?

Dr. Z :

I think you are doing a good thing by showing your point of view and opening it up to a good discussion on how to avoid these mistakes in the future. Well Narcissists will try to manipulate the issue a lot, so make sure you keep it on point.

Customer:

I would hate to see him do to her reputation what he did to mine.

Dr. Z :

Also do not mention that one guy's name directly as he may interpret this as an attack, but talk about the organization as a whole in your criticism

Customer:

I think that's what the plan is. Neither of us want to attack him. We both want the wrongs corrected.

Customer:

It wasn't him alone, either, so it would be unfair as well as pretty useless to attack him as a person.

Dr. Z :

Good, then I think if you just tell the truth be open and honest will go well. But in things the organization did well too, to try to minimize some of the bad things to not people think you are attacking the organization

Customer:

That's the other thing. The organization is a good one. The people there, for the most part, are really excellent individuals. That's also one reason they weren't told the truth because they would have done something about it.

Customer:

I quit when I found out they were breaking state laws. They're exempt from the ADA (sort of) because they are a religious organization. What they messed up in doing though, was promising interpreters, taking the money from the Deaf members, and not providing them. With the ADA, they could have said no interpreters will be provided, and let that be that. But since they promised, and especially took the registrations, they opted out of the being able to get away without providing interpreters.

Dr. Z :

Wow that is very unethical, i can understand why you wanted to quit. Definitely bring up that concern of yours and discuss on how it can be remedied.

Customer:

That was my issue. I wouldn't like that they excluded the Deaf because I don't think it's right to do. But when they promised, in writing, and then took their money, and then didn't provide interpreters, that was going way too far. That's more than discrimination, that's fraud.

Dr. Z :

Exactly right!

Customer:

But, I quit when I found out by the state law that even having interpreted, I could have been sued by any of the Deaf members in the organization OR the Deaf who came to the public programs.

Customer:

The other way he lied was to whomever asked, he told them that the FCM was paying the interpreters. Some members asked me because they went over the convention funding report, and didn't see where I was paid. When they found out by asking me that I wasn't paid, the ones who went back to the board with the question got threatened with suspension if they brought the matter up in the board meeting.

Dr. Z :

That is a very hostile attitude and I definitely agree that this is fraud too

Customer:

Dr. Z, what's worse is that the last year there were interpreters (allegedly) they had a Deaf performer on the show!

Customer:

Yep, it's discrimination to say they couldn't come, but it becomes fraud when they take the money (and we're talking $500 each from 7 people) it becomes fraud, especially after interpreters were promised.

Customer:

It's also sort of amusing that by name, I became persona non grata in the organization, that is, until people figured out who I was, then they were really confused.

Dr. Z :

I agree and its also just immoral too, I mean these are people with a disability and were promised an interpreter to help them engage like everyone else and they could not. It just seems so inhuman

Customer:

but this guy is so "out there" with his thinking that he actually wrote me a letter (she read this, because it's on the record) that although the Bible says that we're required to pay our workers a fair wage, he prayed about it, and God told him that HE is exempt from that. :P

Customer:

yes, especially since it's a Christian organization, and Christianity forbids discrimination of any kind, let alone cheating someone.

Dr. Z :

Wow, I go to church and I do not remember that section in the Bible.

Customer:

It says, quoting Jesus himself, "A workman deserves his fair wages."

Dr. Z :

Good call, I definitely agree

Customer:

But it's the way they treated not only the Deaf, but they about killed me! Not only wasn't I paid, but I was required to pay for the convention, and I couldn't attend any part of it because I was interpreting for it!

Dr. Z :

Oh I am so sorry, but that was in the past and now you have a chance to do something good and help change this for the better :)

Customer:

yep, and that someone with some authority really wants to do something about it. She is wise in just starting with no longer discriminating, and providing interpreters, but she really wants to find a way to refund the money that they paid when they didn't get services.

Customer:

I just hope they don't grind her down before she gets a chance to improve things.

Dr. Z :

She is trying to do the Christian thing and not the business thing, and that is very admirable.

Customer:

yep, I'm very proud of her and want to support her every way I can. She also wants to do the right thing the right way.

Dr. Z :

That is very good and I think it is awesome that you get to support her in this

Customer:

I also told her that although she was technically on the board during the time, that she wasn't guilty of anything because she didn't know and wasn't there. Like I said, people in general were kept in the dark, and she had to focus on getting well.

Customer:

She is a really cool lady, too. She's a tiny little thing, a fantastic vent and good magician, and she does most of her stuff in the biker community.

Dr. Z :

She sounds like a good person and I hope she can get it done to fix some past mistakes in that organization

Customer:

One of my difficulties when it was going on was that I couldn't say or do much about it since they wouldn't allow public discussion of the issues. If you go around talking most of what happens is that a split is caused with no one having the full facts.

Customer:

Is there any advice I can give her, knowing she's going to be dealing with a narcissist, in how to go about change? It's not so much about the past. It's about correcting past mistakes. I'd just hate to have her blindsided.

Dr. Z :

Well you know about NPD better than anyone, if you want you can recommend the books that I recommended to you. The best thing to do it is to mix in compliments with criticism to help disarm him and help him not think that he is being attacked. If he feels like he is being attacked he will retaliate

Customer:

One of the good things, and what we think will also be helpful in promoting change, is that the organization is also changing venues of where the convention will be. Talk about a clean start.

Customer:

That's my concern, how he might retaliate especially if she brings it up privately to him.

Dr. Z :

Well if she compliments him to boost his ego then he may take the criticism better

Customer:

I think too if we come at it as misunderstanding what was needed/is needed that may help deflect it from getting personal.

Customer:

What she was especially wanting to check with me about was whether it was true it would only cost each family (not each member) a mere $90/year extra to fully staff the convention.

Dr. Z :

I understand that, it seems like she just wants evidence to back her claims that things were bad in this area and she wants you to talk about how things were bad.

Customer:

Yes, not with the goal of knocking anyone, but dealing with facts. What needs to happen for the organization to be all it can be.

Customer:

Not focusing so much on what was done wrong, but the best ways to make it right.

Dr. Z :

Exactly point out solutions, not mistakes.

Customer:

It's our mistakes that give us the experience to do better :P

Dr. Z :

That is very true, but it is important to move forward and see how you can change. "Quo Vadimus" this is Latin for "Where are we Going?"

Dr. Z :

I had a boss that used that line all the time

Customer:

Exactly! and one of the things I think the whole organization will enjoy, is when they provide interpreters and the Deaf can really take part, they'll be able to experience Deaf storytelling, which they will really enjoy.

Customer:

I mean, it's one of the performing arts (which the whole group is about) that most of them have never experienced before.

Dr. Z :

I think that is true too, it will allow those deaf members to participate more.

Customer:

yep

Customer:

and that will add to the whole group

Dr. Z :

I think it would be great if they participated and that everyone can see them perform

Customer:

I mean, even when they saw me interpret music, it was something they had never seen before, but REALLY enjoyed.

Customer:

so there is a lot of positives to focus on in talking about it

Customer:

that's one thing I don't think Jilly and I discussed much either.

Dr. Z :

I think there are many positives too

Customer:

That's another way to focus on what the cost will provide. It's tough for any organization to bring up having to raise fees for anything. I can appreciate that.

Dr. Z :

The cost will be the hard sell, but I think it is important to address for moral reasons to help provide deaf members with a voice in a way

Customer:

That is her biggest issue (was mine, too) is that especially as a Christian body, if we don't do the right thing, we'll damage the very thing we're setting out to do.

Dr. Z :

I agree, it is not the best business decision, but it is the right decision to make

Customer:

that was tough for me, too, I heard from EVERYONE about how badly people were being treated. From parents of Deaf kids who were upset with the lousy interpreting, to hearing from the Deaf who were being ripped off, to dealing with the Deaf from the community who felt badly about the way they were treated, especially when Del told them that "you're lucky we let you come"

Dr. Z :

I am sorry to hear that, hopefully your friend can change that and make these individuals feel more welcome

Customer:

Well, but on the other hand, there are tons of Deaf performers, even Christian Deaf performers, who would join if good interpreters were there. When Matt brought that up (he was the Deaf magician who had to stop his performance so the person messing up the voice interpretation would give me the mic) and that would increase membership, and again, introduce people to a very enjoyable visual artform.

Dr. Z :

I think so too, I think it would be a good thing for the organization and deaf community

Customer:

The thing is, we wouldn't need more interpreters if there were 7 Deaf attendees, or 100 Deaf attendees.

Customer:

The really interesting part of a Deaf storyteller, is that in the performing, the hearing people watching it hardly need an interpreter to understand the story.

Customer:

wb

Customer:

You've helped a lot, again. I'll make a list of things to discuss with her.

Dr. Z :

That is really cool

Dr. Z :

I think you should and if you got any of those books, definitely give her a copy or refer them to her

Dr. Z :

They have some good bullet points in there that can be helpful

Customer:

LOL the one thing that got me interested in becoming an interpreter is that I saw a Deaf performer tell "Goldilocks and the 3 bears" when I didn't know sign language, and I can still remember his performance, and it was 40 years ago!

Customer:

right, I just want her to be able to protect herself. This guy can get pretty vicious.

Customer:

It was interesting to read how easily narcissists can get in positions of power, especially in regards XXXXX XXXXX organizations.

Dr. Z :

Wow that is awesome how one performer made you want to be an interpreter. I dated a girl in college who learned sign language because there was a girl in her church who was deaf and she wanted to communicate with her because she seemed nice.

Customer:

see, that's my issue, too. The FCM is all about the performing arts, all but one (the ventriloquism) is very visual. When one considers that 97% of Deaf Americans have never heard about Jesus, the FCM could make a big difference in presenting the gospel visually.

Customer:

Those are the points we want to make. She was looking over a few moral issues, only one having to do with the Deaf, that were creeping in to the FCM.

Customer:

We have to be examples if we're going to be effective.

Dr. Z :

I agree, and I think you both can be effective concerning this issue

Customer:

I think so. It's a good thing some years have past because for quite a while I was quite angry about it all. Now the way I can deal with the anger is less sarcastic and more powerful.

Customer:

I can be nasty sarcastic when I'm angry (and that won't help anything.)

Dr. Z :

That will probably be more helpful being less sarcastic, haha.

Customer:

oh, yeah

Customer:

well, I'll let you know next week how the support group goes. It will be months before we really deal with the FCM issue. Again, you've been most helpful.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. I hope that it goes well and definitely keep me updated :)

Customer:

LOL another good thing happened to me this week. When I was coming home from Marti's funeral, after I took Chuck and Rowena home, I was driving through VA and thought I was in a 65mph zone and was in a 55 zone. I got a ticket. I went to court (had to go back to VA) because I got so busy I didn't send the fine in on time, and the judge completely dismissed the ticket.

Dr. Z :

That is great news, you beat traffic court!!

Customer:

yep! and I was just planning on paying the fine. Nice judge!

Customer:

anyway, have a great night!

Dr. Z :

You as well and good luck to you :)

Customer:

thanks, nite!

Dr. Z :

Give my best your family

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3174
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 6 months ago.
Thank you very much for the positive review and generous bonus, I truly appreciate it :) I hope that it goes well with the meeting and I am sure you will do great! Hope your family and friends are doing well and if you need anything, you can contact me at anytime.

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