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Say a manager emailing the people under her in a way that to them feels degrading, and putting down. But at the end of the email its encouraging/uplifting type saying I know you are intelligent and capable people.

So is there a name of this type of behavior to attack/degrade then at the end say something nice?

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you everyone for you help. Gave me quite a bit to lookup. Appreciate it. $\endgroup$ – Edward Byrds Mar 22 at 13:52
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It sounds like a variant on the sandwich technique, which is advocated by some as the preferred way to deliver critical feedback to a person, like a student or employee. The sandwich technique can be defined as:

...offer[ing] a piece of negative feedback “sandwiched" between two positive ones, thus easing the blow of the critique.

Note that this technique is criticized, because people might not remember the crucial middle critical part of the message, because of the recency effect: our brains are hardwired to remember the first and last bits of a conversation whilst glossing over the middle part (source: WeQ).

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The closest thing I can think of to what you are talking about is loosely referred to as 'Push-Pull'. It happens in a lot of unhealthy relationships and is a favorite tactic of so-called pickup artists. Used appropriately it can be healthy, but it is typically a manipulation tactic. https://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/push-pull

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  • $\begingroup$ This reminds me of the cycle of abuse $\endgroup$ – Ooker Mar 21 at 1:29
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Sugarcoat also fits. If this is intentional in order to have them under control, this can be said as a form of manipulation.

A reverse effect that the actor may not be aware of that the recipient chose to remember the good information only. This can be described as cherrypick.

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I'm not sure it has an established name, (perhaps "lead with the negative", "bad news first", or “get the bad news out of the way”) but research suggests that people prefer to hear the bad news before the good ones... even though that might lower their chances of changing behavior in reaction to the bad news. (For a free but longer summary of the study see this PT page).

The body of research in this area is fairly thin though, so I wouldn't put too much stock in it.

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