A dear friend called me this morning quite angry about a situation. I was taken aback by her words. She was not angry at me but at a person we both know, and she was fuming.
I first tried to understand her anger, and I’m still unclear about the origins of her outburst today. What was immediately clear to me was my own anxiety. Her words caused my stomach to churn and my mind to fog.
Next, I stated my perception of the events in order to diffuse her temper and offered solutions we could both pursue to work through the matter at hand. It had the desired effect; she calmed down. We agreed on a course of action, and we are starting it today.
Is the problem solved? Yes.
Am I feeling better? No.
My stomach is just beginning to settle two hours after the phone call. My friend’s anger infiltrated me and has not dissipated. Frankly, I’m a mess. I’m not the type to cry or act out in other ways when I’m emotionally upset. I bottle it up inside. It’s unhealthy, but I’m much better at displaying my emotions today than I was ten years ago.
I also have an unhealthy habit of incorporating the emotions of people around me. Others’ little anxieties can become monumental to me. It’s awful really, and I don’t know how to stop.
I recognize where my responsibilities are and what I can control. However, that realization does not negate this emotional turmoil seeping into my pores and mind. I am using calming techniques I learned at the job training I recently completed. I’m breathing slowly and deeply. I’ve distracted my mind by following up on the ideas my angry friend and I decided on. I’m writing here. I am carrying on with my day.
Still, I feel like I’ve been hit in the stomach. This incident will be something to discuss with my therapist.