Why I hate getting mad

Once you get mad at someone, really mad, there is never any going back in that relationship. Things will never be the same between you two ever again. Never, ever.

That was advice I got from my mom (or something very close to it). Like most things we hear from our parents, depending on our age, we may or may not believe it. This was something she said to me when i was young, which has stuck with me ever since.

Today, despite my best efforts, it came true again. It may have been justified, but I’m afraid it i’ve ruined this relationship forever, again, and I feel terrible about doing so.

Most everyone thinks of me as plesant. I try to keep a happy mood, a positive, encouraging mood, because I grew up around negative people. It wasn’t an abusive home, or anything like that, it was just everyone was very negative all the time; everything was wrong, or something was bad, no matter the subject. The odd thing was, they were very strong willed and determined people. No matter how bad things might get, it just upped their resolve. They were negative but never down.

I think I’m one of those people who bottles up the negative, and unfortunately, it comes out at some of the worst possible times. I have damaged and lost friendships because of it. I’ve tried to keep this side from girlfriends in the past, because I don’t want them to experience me being mad. I’d rather keep that from them, rather than hurt their feelings. As a result, I’ve had girlfriends think I either don’t care, or that I’m too much of a pushover. I think those outcomes, however, are better than the alternative.

A few years ago, I was getting mad, a lot. My temper was getting the best of me. Fortunately, it was with people I didn’t care about very much (it was all related to a new condo that was being built, which I was buying). I got some good advice from a friend, who knew the situation, and who thought my anger was justified. Her advice was to start the next meeting by telling them I was mad, and why I was mad. Don’t wait to blow up, but explain your feelings while you are calm, so you don’t end up yelling.

It worked, at least, that time it did. Later, I would learn they had outright lied to me, and I had become somewhat of a joke to them. Strangely, I was able to end that relationship calmly and without anger. I think it was because I knew I would never, ever, work with them again. They were dead to me, so there was no reason to waste any energy getting mad.

Today was different. It was with people I liked, to review material, that was sent just before the meeting. What they sent seemed deceptive to me, like it wasn’t the real picture of what was going on. I should have known better than to assume the worst: That morning had been rough — I had been dealing with some IT issues (the joy of working for yourself, you get to do everything), I have been plagued by a low grade migraine the past few days, and I haven’t been sleeping well for several weeks. I should have taken these signs that I was not in right sorts, but I didn’t, and I let my self righteousness get in my way. I took some time, and I tried to frame it in terms of the issues: I was not happy. But, my rant got more rambled, and I talked about ending my relationship with this group. I didn’t yell, but they could tell I was unhappy.

After I was done, they managed the situation as well as could be expected, and tried to address my issues. They were polite in tone, but recieving the message made me feel stupid. I ranted too much without giving them a chance to answer. I knew this was happening when I started to get mad; I could feel the devil welling up inside me, and as much as I tried to nullify it, I let it lash out too much.

The meeting ended well, and they made changes to how this information would be presented to me, so I would not jump to these conclusions again. At first, that devilish part of me tried to comfort myself saying they probably deserved it, or it will be good to keep them on their toes, so they don’t take advantage of me. But over several hours, I just feel like a jerk again, for assuming the worst in people — that I was being taken advantage of — instead of listening to their explanations. Worse, it is the sad realization that even at this age, I still haven’t learned how to communicate effectively.

As someone who lives alone, has never married, and whose normal state of being is to be alone, i’ve joked that my life is easy. Today, I’m realizing again, that my life is a crutch to avoid engaging with people, something I have proven to be spectacularly bad at all my life. And the less I engage with people, the better off we all are.

I’ve damaged another relationship. Time to retreat back to my hole. The world is a better place without me in it.

Navigating the world with manners & civility