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You may t have heard of emotional oppression. You will have heard of abuse and bullying. Emotional oppression isn't really either of these, but it's more common than both of them. It is a state of mind that has been fed into us by parents, teachers, bosses, figures of authority, which was planted in them by their parents, teachers, bosses, figures of authority, and so on down the line. It betrays itself in countless everyday comments such as 'who do you think you are?', 'what could you possibly do?', 'you could have tried harder' or 'it never did me any harm'. We are all oppressed and we can all be oppressors, pointlessly recycling this judgmental emotional inheritance of misunderstanding and prejudice. Combining portraits of long-suffering family life in Nottinghamshire either side of the second world war - and of the intimidating business world of the 1970s and 80s - Don't Upset Renee traces the roots of Michael Sylvester's oppression at the hands of his mother and analyses the effects on himself and those around him in his personal and business life. His story aims to encourage people to think about why they behave in certain ways, and why other people might behave in certain ways, with a view to creating better understanding among us - happier families and more productive workplaces.
Michael Sylvester is a motivator and business mentor. He has come across emotional oppression - and the unnecessary unhappiness it causes - in many clients he's spoken to. He hopes that his story will help others. David Knight is a former newspaper editor and television publicity officer who has set up his own writing and design company. He is also a lecturer in journalism.