Keeping your mouth shut. Quite often for some of us we only open our mouths long enough to change feet. Of course our mouth only opens when our brain tells it to. And the brain has different states. Present, calm and focused, on autopilot or ‘off with the fairies’. Then you have to factor in mood, sensitivity and excitability and you never know what your mouth will come out with when it opens.
In the last week I came across a hideous situation where I kept my mouth shut. I let it be. While being screamed and raved at, and also threatened I managed to keep shtum. Perhaps I should have defended my innocence. Perhaps this person needed to hear what I had to say, but a calm came over me and I did not need to respond. I left my ego behind. I was able to let it go. Why escalate, why give it energy? Why bother?
I realised firstly that I was dealing with someone completely out of control and anything I said would not be heard. That’s not a two way conversation. Some people ‘spoil for a fight’ and you have to recognise them in that mood. I was being bullied and wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of a response. In fact if I had given my response to all the injustices being levelled at me, it might have helped this person. She was SO ANGRY, so convinced that she was right about everything and that I was the devil incarnate by the way she was acting. She may have been telling herself stories about how unlucky she was that the world was full of such terrible people and that she had just come across another one. I had heard these stories from her about other injustices done to her by other people, her workplace etc. A sign of things to come.
I have been there in the past and I know how it works. I have experienced that kind of anger once, many years ago and it wounded me deeply. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I even had a couple of minor car accidents in that state. But I have since seen how it works, matured enough to realise you are only hurting yourself, not the object of your ire.
So her anger is her cross to bear and much as she raved at me, she didn’t realise she was poisoning herself with it, by gathering ‘evidence’ of why I was wrong and how she was the victim. I could have put her out of her misery and pointed out her misdemeanors but only someone in control can hear that kind of information, much less take it in and act on it to calm down. We only reach a state of calm when we realise we are not perfect, we have a part in every interaction and accept it. I too knew my part in the whole fracas and the lesson to be learned from it.
What helped me is that I think this lady has a lot going for her and therefore I bear no ill will. She is a ‘nice’ person, helpful to others, a gentle soul in many ways. That someone could be capable of such violence was a surprise though it shouldn’t have been. How well do we know others, what their triggers are and how they will react? I don’t know what else was going on in her life and nor do I need to.
She will take her memories of this interaction with her; will let it affect her opinion of people and maybe accept her own part in it, if she’s lucky. And I will take my memories with me. That’s how it works. Our brains rely on past experiences, trying to make sense of the world so we can respond more efficiently to the next minute. This one’s a keeper, a valuable lesson in keeping quiet and not stooping low.
May you all find that inner calm and know when to keep your mouth shut. What you save is your self esteem and your sanity.