Monday, February 23, 2009

Making me angry.

I am easily annoyed and overly dramatic. Understanding that about myself - and having no shortage of people eager to point it out should I forget - I take steps to control it. I don't send the emails that I immediately write in response to petty nonsense. I bite back the sharp remarks and control the impatient gestures when someone says or does something of which I disapprove. My particular personality includes sensitivity toward hurt feelings as well as anger so I try to use some care at not accidentally poking at someone's sore spots.

"So," Adam said, "as I expected, this went white-hot very fast."

I replied with a bad word.

"Update me on the background," he ordered and I obediently began reciting what I knew, making sure to point out every single flaw I could remember about one particular colleague.

"She," I seethed, "whispered to make sure I wasn't invited to dinner." I remember blinking in surprise when she did it, but soon brushed it off and decided I didn't want to spend time with her anyway. "She has gone out of her way to exclude our team and then - when we have made progress and established relationships in spite of her - sends hysterical email to important people in the company because she heard a rumor that wasn't even true!" I detailed progress I'd made and waited while Adam took notes.

"OK," he finally said. "I'll handle it from here."

"I'm sorry," I said, suddenly sad that I'd let him down. "I know I drop the ball sometimes, but I didn't here. There's nothing more I could have done!"

"I know," he said, distracted but attempting to be soothing.

"I hate this," I sighed, feeling my lip emerge in a pout. "I know I get emotional and I actually like people who are passionate about their work. But I would never have gone to my boss's boss's boss with a petty complaint about a colleague without talking to her - multiple times! - first. She was wrong and unprofessional and vile." I nodded at the final word.

So, despite prayers requesting some help with forgiveness and peace, I feel like an angry cloud. "Oh, shut up," I mutter when someone says something with which I disagree. I call them names and delete feeds from my reader and make faces when I talk on the phone. And I plot. It's awful, but I formulate and discard various plans, all the while knowing that - given the opportunity - I'd pounce on it to make her suffer.

That's a terrible trait to recognize. It's one that - in my experience with other nemeses - fades with time. I wouldn't even recognize the little girl who hit me with a hairbrush when I was 5. I have no ill will toward the blonde who accused me of cheating on a science test in 7th grade. While I did take vicious pride when winning all the final awards in high school, I can't summon any residual emotion for the girl who shunned me because she was sure she was smarter than I. I don't even mind WWE anymore - she eventually realized I'd fight back and the effort cost more than it was worth. So we leave each other alone.

But this one - for now - should stay out of my way. At least until I figure out how to get a life and be a bigger person.


Psycgirl said...

You can't be perfect, right? Besides, recognizing your flaws is incredibly insightful - most people wouldn't even be able to do that!

Anonymous said...

I have no ill will toward the blonde who accused me of cheating on a science test in 7th grade.

You lie! And you know it! If you didn't still bear her ill will, you wouldn't even remember the incident.

post-doc said...

Thank you, Psycgirl. I like you very much.

Oh, shut up, Anonymous. Just because I remember doesn't mean anything other than I happen to remember stuff. Don't make me call you names.

CJR said...

The human instinct for melodrama is almost universal, so you share this flaw with most of our species. Sadly, actually recognising it as a flaw is much rarer...

And Anonymous is entirely mistaken: forgiveness doesn't erase the hurt someone may have caused you - it's just a conscious decision not to let a painful memory out to wreak havoc in the present.

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