This weekend was hard for me. I had the worst migraine I’ve had in 20 years and it held on for a day and a half. I was a cranky bitch to say the least. And then someone, who was upset with my boyfriend because he withdrew from potentially dating her because we decided to close up our relationship and go back to monogamy, expressed her upset in my direction a little more forcefully than I would have appreciated and I snapped.
I wrote a VERY unloving email back, which, gratefully, I didn’t send. I went back and put in more language at the top of the email that said that I saw that she was upset and that I agreed that the issue hadn’t been handled well. I put in some explanation of why things had played out the way they had and that it hadn’t had anything to do with her personally. I reiterated the agreements that had been in place when everything started. I was doing SO well. And then I reread her initial email and it was accusatory and angry and I felt unjustly attacked – especially since I hadn’t really been involved in the situation much. And my migraine cranky, overtaxed, victim-mode self kicked in and I put a zinger at the end of the email. And, I’m not proud to say it, I pressed send.
What played out was a series of angry emails that ended not in resolution, but in upset on both sides and blocked messages. Was she right to attack me over something that had happened between her and my boyfriend? No. Not from my perspective – although her perspective is clearly different on this matter. Was I right to come back at her and escalate the issue? No. And I think she would agree with me on this one.
The proper response would have been the early part of the email, without the zinger at the end. Even though everything I said was true, not everything needs to be said. If I had been in less pain, if I had taken more time before hitting send and allowed myself to calm down from feeling attacked, if things had been different – I would have been a better person. But they weren’t and I wasn’t. And that’s my fault.
Would the end result have been different? I’m not sure. She was pretty angry and was looking for a place to put her anger. But then again if I had been more reasonable and loving, perhaps her hurt and upset would have been diffused. I’ll never know since I didn’t behave that way and now we have mutually blocked messages so I can’t reach her to apologize for my side of things. So, the only thing I can do is acknowledge that I slipped back into old patterns, give myself a break, forgive my sins, and move forward with the intent to be a better person next time.
For those of you reading who are Strong Woman Syndrome sufferers, I share this with you both to model this type of vulnerability and to show you that mistakes are part of the process. No one is perfect – no matter how hard we try – and that includes me. When you fail to be perfect, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. We choose who we are in each moment – and that means that even though you weren’t the person you wanted to be a moment ago – you have a choice to be a new person in the next moment. Beating yourself up for your actions serves no purpose. Acknowledge that you weren’t the person you wanted to be, apologize if necessary/possible and then commit to the new path. It’s all any of us can do.