I Can Count To Zero

  “I can count to zero!”—  Roseanne Conner,  on the television show Roseanne.

It’s funny the quotes that stick in your mind.    I am going through a bad time the last few days.    I am trying to figure out what lessons I should take away from my recent experiences.    I wrote yesterday that sometimes lessons are hard.   And it does seem to me that I keep having to learn the same lessons over and over.     A friend commented to me  “… if you have to learn the same lesson repeatedly, it’s not because it’s not getting through but because you’re not getting it quite right.”

Well that got me to thinking.   The thing is I am pretty sure that the lesson I am supposed to be learning from this has something to do with the fact that when another person is upset,  one really shouldn’t bait them.     I think  that I have in fact learned that anger is very destructive,  mostly to the person who feels it.   I hope  I have learned that when someone is screaming and arguing with you,  and you find that you can not calm them down with words,  the best thing to do is to remove yourself from the conversation and if need be from the person who is so angry.    And yet,  say the wrong words to me and it’s like cayenne on the brain and I can scream and curse and rage with the best of them.   Even though I really  don’t want to.

I know that it was wrong to bait the acquaintance who was SCREAMING at me in a private chat.   And yet I also know that I quite calmly did just that.     I know that anger is destructive and an emotion best exercised rarely if at all.   And yet as much as I intellectually understand this,  there clearly are times when my emotions get the best of me and I say things as mean and hurtful as any I have ever heard.   Part of me thinks that developing the emotional skills to react calmly to anger,  and to see my fellow human beings as people who are struggling and not enemies to be vanquished is the real lesson I am supposed to take from this.   But another part of me feels all but clueless as to how to do that.

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11 comments on “I Can Count To Zero

  1. “Kids suck” ~ Mama from the Goonies. My favorite quote 🙂

    Seeing how I’m not to far from your 47 year, *cough cough, 41…ahem* I’ve also learned it’s hard not to bait sometimes. We’re human…we mess up. Feeling the anger is fine and dandy, it’s what we do with it.

    Of course, suppressing it is unhealthy. Which I’m guilty of cause then I explode months or years later and really get crazy. Where’s the balance? I have no idea.

    Best of luck on finding authors. That’s gotta give a headache once in a while, reading and reading, hoping for that spark.

    Sharon
    http://sharon-moms-madhouse.com/

  2. “Kids suck” ~ Mama from the Goonies. My favorite quote 🙂

    Seeing how I’m not to far from your 47 year, *cough cough, 41…ahem* I’ve also learned it’s hard not to bait sometimes. We’re human…we mess up. Feeling the anger is fine and dandy, it’s what we do with it.

    Of course, suppressing it is unhealthy. Which I’m guilty of cause then I explode months or years later and really get crazy. Where’s the balance? I have no idea.

    Best of luck on finding authors. That’s gotta give a headache once in a while, reading and reading, hoping for that spark.

    Sharon
    http://sharon-moms-madhouse.com/

    • Honestly, Sharon, I love reading and I love books and I am only doing what I do because I greatly enjoy doing it. Sometimes I think, having a real bad day can help you to see how good most of your days really are.

  3. I think the most important thing to realize is that much of the time, the root of anger is fear (men) or frustration (women). If you can feel some empathy for the underlying emotion, it is easier not to take the heat personally. Often, something triggers anger that has been sitting in another person, sometimes for a lifetime, and what seems like an insignificant act or statement is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In these cases, you are just the catalyst, you aren’t the cause.

    Removing yourself from the situation is a preferable response to “baiting” the other person. But if the person is someone you care about, a friend or family member, it’s important not to isolate yourself from them which can seem uncaring and as if you only want to be around them when they are “happy” and not the tough times. Sometimes, after they have calmed down, the best thing you can do is just give up the time and listen, be a presence. Don’t try to “fix” the problem, just support them and if they are angry at you, consider whether they are pointing out a failing on your part. That can be hard to hear but it could result in you become a better person.

    • Liz, I think your advise is spot on when you are talking about family members or friends. But what if the relationship is actually a professional one? And not trying to fix the problem, not a viable business solution?

  4. I can’t top what Liz said 🙂

    I do find that if anger comes up it is definitely best to step away until everyone is calm.

    Some people are more angry in general, and some of them you have to let go, but they are very few and far between in my experience.

    Thanks so much for sharing! And I hope tomorrow is a brighter day.

    • You know, you Are right, Anne. I have literally hundreds of friends all over the world. The fact that one of them proved to be, well, something of a dud, doesn’t in any way take away from all of the other folks who like and care about me. Hope it’s a great weekend for you.

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