I had flashbacks to the night I was attempting to place a man under arrest. I was working in plain clothes, as an officer at the casino, when I recognized a person wanted by police. After identifying myself, he ran. A foot chase ensued across the parking lot, towards Wendy’s. With a line of drive-through cars looking on, I caught him by the arm, leg swiped him to the ground and got him handcuffed. With the help of an off-duty security guard, who happened to be in line, we escorted him to my office.
I remember, in the moment he decided to run, how angry I got. I was thinking to myself, ‘Buddy, there are cameras everywhere and I am wearing new pants; are you really going to make me chase you?’ Since he made me run and he struggled with me, all the way to the ground, I was peeved. That is exactly how I felt the other day. My claws came out, my anger scale went from zero to ten and I wanted to face plant someone to the ground. This time, I wasn’t a police officer, no one was under arrest and it was a minor, unimportant event, in the grand scheme of things.
The problem was that I had a set of expectations and over the course of dealing with this person, my expectations were not met. I felt disrespected by this individual and so did the others who had interactions. My initial requests were dismissed, my authority was challenged and my decision to halt the task at hand, as well as the hourly time clock for the job, did not go over well. I ended up stomping around, boiling and furious (like someone just stole my chocolate bar) and my claws came out. I unleashed my fiery of words, onto this individual and by the time it was over, I was livid.
This is where it gets messy. I then proceeded to stomp into another room, continue my fiery of words onto someone else in the vicinity and lashed out over something else that was bothering me. My blood pressure was through the roof, my face was beet-red, I became a royal witch and then it was over. I continued the other tasks I needed to take care of, moving at lightning speed, before engaging in a conversation that turned it all around.
Nancy, I want to thank you. I appreciate that you picked up on my frustration, listened to my woes, compassionately calmed me down and gave me solid, clear action steps to move forward. Making me walk slower, into the next room seems funny now, but it worked. I had to be conscious to slow my mind down, take a deep breath and be in the present moment.
This event seemed to trigger every single time I felt disrespected by someone, every time someone didn’t listen to me, every time I was dismissed, overlooked or taken advantage of. It was like the mechanics who charge you for things you don’t need or the companies that soak you with extra charges. It was like decades of wanting to speak up about matters came to a head and I unleashed it all, on a perfect stranger. I feel sorry for the people who were in my path that day, but I guess it needed to come out.
Dealing with the situation that day didn’t need to happen. I should have been speaking up all along. I should not have kept so many things inside, from when I was young. I should not have been the quiet and timid one. I should have been expressing my feelings in a healthy way, whenever I felt negative emotions. I should not have bottled up my anger and my pain and my hurt, for years, without saying something.
I now realize that this little incident this week was a wake-up call for me, as a reminder that it is not helpful to keep things inside. It is necessary to say what we need to say, in a respectful, assertive, caring, kind and constructive way, so that we do not explode, randomly, when we are unhappy about something. Years ago, I decided to not be taken advantage of anymore and for many of those years, I carried a gun on my hip, as evidence. Authority and respect; though, needs to come from drawing lines and boundaries, being clear about our expectations, calling attention to the issues that are arising and handling ourselves in a level-headed way.
I was clear on what I needed, someone chose to disregard my requests and this person suffered the consequences. Regardless of what this person’s reaction was to my decision, I only have control over myself. I blew it. When I decided to halt the job, I should have just stood my ground, remained calm and the situation would not have caused me such stress. I had control over me, and me only, and I failed miserably. I did not keep my anger in check, I did not handle things well and when I advised this individual that I was too angry to discuss this right now and I was ignored again, I should have simply stayed silent and removed myself from the situation. Instead, I engaged. This was my fault.
Regardless of what caused me to be angry in the first place, going from assertive to aggressive is not the answer. Going from passive to aggressive is even worse. I strongly advise that you don’t do what I did this week. Please discuss your concerns, before they become blowouts. Please address your issues, when they first become an issue and not after allowing them to pile up. Please remove yourself from any situation where you are beginning to lose control. In this case, no one was physically hurt, but words can sting even harder.
Since our ability to think is reduced, once the adrenalin begins to rush from our brain to our arms and legs, putting us in fight or flight mode, it is best to catch ourselves before this happens. I also highly recommend that you find a Nancy. Nancy was able to allow me to vent, assist me in putting things in perspective and work with me to come up with immediate and practical action steps. Thank you again Nancy. I truly appreciate that you were there for me. Everything happens for a reason and we are all human. This human is grateful for Nancy. Time now, for me to set some apologies in motion.
‘Anger is a feeling that makes your mouth work faster than your mind.’ ~ Author Unknown