I’ve been studying my anger issues from the perspective of power struggles. The concept of power struggles seems to apply to maybe… hmm… 85% of my outbursts. I watched a helpful YouTube video about power struggles, and it made some good points. It got me to thinking that we can’t control the other person. What he pointed out that resonated with me massively was that first, a problem arises, as you’d imagine. Then, you try to force a solution and control the situation.
This is key. I’m guilty of this. For example, at the grocery store, I could’ve gone home and then complained to customer service after the fact. I didn’t have to “solve” the problem right then! But I swear, there’s something about power struggles that warps your brain into thinking, I must take immediate action to fix this situation right this very second! And let’s face it: that’s not logical. Yes, it makes sense at the time and is very, very persuasive and seductive, but when’s the better time to solve a problem? AFTER THE FREAKIN’ FACT!!
I assume this would apply to interpersonal relationships, as well, although that’s not the huge area where I have issues. If you’re upset with a significant other or your kid, you can discuss it with them after everyone’s feeling better. Why not? At that point, it’s problem-solving time. But reacting in the moment is going to hurt everyone involved. (“You bad kid! You’d better clean your room, or else!” Not helpful.)
The man in the video also said that we should show understanding of the other person’s position. I do sort of understand where the other person was coming from. She was being paid to corral people around the U-Scans. However, I have to say that her abrasive manner in screaming “Ma’am!” at me repeatedly was rather vulgar. Hmm… thinking… [Tapping my finger on my mouse here…]
But anyway, he said that the problem can’t be solved in that moment, because no one’s good at “forcing” a solution. (Instead, in the moment, you need de-escalation, which I’ve used in a professional context.) This notion seems to be in alignment with my idea of putting my groceries on the floor and just leaving. It gives me the sense of having made a statement, and yet it prevents a massive explosion. Because this is where my anger’s headed:
“Cleanup in aisle three! Cleanup in aisle three!” And we’ve all been there, am I right? That trucker clearly took a wrong turn in frozen foods. [Shakes head in disapproval.]
I need a new temper mantra. “I’m not allowed to solve this problem now. I can solve it after I get home and talk to Codger.” [And repeat.]
This makes me feel better. Now all I need is some incentive to wait until I get home to solve the problem. Hmm… incentive… it comes to mind right away that I’ll feel better about myself. What’s weird is that I enjoy lashing out at people for the sole reason that they deserve it. But. However. The problem is that I always, invariably, wind up filled with self-loathing and the fear that I can’t control it. And besides, if they deserve it that badly, won’t they still deserve it tomorrow? I can always wait before deciding to go and tell someone off. Hypothetically speaking, the opportunity is always there.
So the motive for betterment needs to be for myself. And I could reward myself later with a shopping trip, or whatever. Okay, new mantra: “I love myself too much to express my emotions right now.” [And repeat.] That one also works. [Nods.] “I love myself too much for this. I’ll fix the problem later. Right now, it’s not fixable.”
That could be doable. And I’m being too hard on myself. You know how easy it is to hone in on everything we do wrong? Well, a few days ago I ordered a pizza. I went to pick it up at the scheduled time, and they got mad at me for entering the pizza place. (Circumstances: I’d ordered online and chosen pickup, not at-store car delivery, but it was a chain restauraunt. Also, they had a sign that I overlooked saying to call the store upon arrival, but hello, Meg doesn’t use a cellphone. So even seeing the sign wouldn’t have helped me that much.)
So did I get mad? No. The guy who told me the lobby was closed sounded apologetic about it. He added that my order wasn’t finished yet, and that I could wait in my car. I told him I’d parked down in the neighboring lot and then left to wait in my car.
However, twenty minutes later (geez!) I still didn’t have my pizza. So I went back and just stood outside the lobby, gazing through the glass.
I had my pizza ten seconds later. [Eyeroll.] I’d love to know if it had just been cooked and prepared in that moment, or if it had been sitting on the shelf, waiting for some divine message that I was still in my car in the neighboring lot. But the point is that when the other employee brought out my pizza, I didn’t get mad at him, either. No. I was one cool customer. I thanked him and took it home.
And I saw that as a success. I swear, I have the ability to “sniff out” when someone’s being sensitive and thoughtful (the pizza shop employees) versus being a jerkface because they can be (the screeching grocery store employee), and I react accordingly. I need to become less self-righteous and not act accordingly in the latter instance. Mostly for my own sanity and self-esteem.
I hope everyone’s having a great day! Thanks to all of you who comment with suggestions and/or support, etc.! It’s all helpful!!