Open mouth long enough to change feet

Keeping your mouth shut

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.

being and becoming


11 thoughts on “Open mouth long enough to change feet

  1. What an amazing experience that must have been and how humbling to have had that self awareness. I too have been the crazed anger monster and it’s not pretty but have also been in the position of keeping my mouth shut. As humans we get to choose the experience that we are going to have from moment to moment. 🙂

    • So true. It is our choice. It would be nice to always be aware and in control though. I can only celebrate the small wins and ponder on how far I’ve come. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Well done, you definitely did the right thing. There is no way anything good would have come from you defending yourself, and you can feel proud!

    • Thanks Colin. I always appreciate your support. I haven’t put weight back on btw. 62.6kg. Yay!! You really helped me get there and comments on this blog are much appreciated too!

  3. I love this. You expressed the situation so well in the telling of the story and likewise the way you handled it. How did you get so wise? 🙂

    • Oh you are lovely! I don’t know about wise but I am trying to be more aware so that I can see situations from a wider perspective rather than be sucked into the drama like I used to. I still don’t always get it right but I listen to Eckhart Tolle when I can and it helps. Xx

  4. Emma I agree with Pat, it’s not easy to take the higer road. This post came at such a perfect time for me (as most of yours do… it’s that connection thing between us I think it must be… hey could you email me? My address is I’d love to connect with you and had something to run by you when you get a chance…)
    Anyway, I had a recent experiene with a good friend that is so angry and resentful all the time talking about everyone else, it wasn’t such a surprise to find out that the same people she complained about to me, she was complaining about me to them. I won’t bore you with the details but she actually told on herself by repeating a conversation she’d had with them about ME, never realizing she’d just basically shared with me the information I’d expected for decades. She is a gossip. The thing that stung was I kind of hoped I was her soft place to fall and she mine over the years, and though we sometimes vented about our everyday friends to one another, they were people not in each other’s lives (because we lived far enough away to be semi removed) though when we came to visit each other we did know who so and so was… for instance “the friend who was a selfish only child” etc….blah blah blah… Well, I guess it did dawn on me that she might be talking about me to them but it slapped me in the face this last visit and I have been biting my time to respond to an email where she basically sold herself out without really probably even realizing it. Soooo your wonderfully insightful blog really helped! Thank you!

  5. Ahhhh
    I didn’t spell check and my keyboard needs repacing! I click on letters that don’t appear unless I go over everything with a fine tooth comb and I’ve found myself pushing SEND before I edit! Sorry! 😉

Comments are closed.