I had this experience last week, the same week as my dental surgery, first or second day back at work. I tried to explain it to Ron, but he didn’t really understand the way I wanted him to. I think because he sees things from the perspective of one whole person, and my problem is, I have all these different parts.
My boss was being bossy as is her wont. There was no editing, so I was given a mysterious (to me) task of downloading and filing. You’d think this would be simple, but it’s this process of trying to determine which document to download which is not obvious at all.
I can’t remember the details, but she was getting up my nose. She’s told me to send my questions by email, so I don’t bother her with questions, I ask my co-worker. Somehow, we still interacted, and I ended up responding to her in this loud, shouting kind of a way. Anything she said to me, I’d kind of shout something back. And I was super defensive, defending myself when I’d really not been accused of anything.
After this happened, and I was alone at my desk, I realized I was in a complete state. I felt so small, and completely and utterly ashamed and humiliated. And so anxious.
From this state, I emailed Ron from my phone. I’m not much good with typing on my phone so it was short. I told him I’d been triggered and was super anxious, and that I’d thought it had to do with the dental stuff. I’d been feeling a lot of parts come up while I was trying to recover, various bits of things, feeling young and not able to manage adult life. This happens to me after the dentist, and this time it had lasted a few days.
After the humiliated feeling subsided, a few hours, I was left wondering what on earth had happened. I knew it felt really bad, but it didn’t seem that bad that I had to feel so humiliated and ashamed. Then I realized I must have been acting from a younger part. If I switch in public I end up feeling this humiliated feeling.
At lunch that day, I was walking, and trying to feel into what had happened. I knew it was not fine. It was not how I wanted to be at work. And I found this furious angry part, full of black boiling anger, ready to jump on people. I could feel that part, but also not become that part. It seemed really important. I figured if I could keep tabs on how that part of me is doing, I’d avoid these stupid scenarios where I turn into that hurt child who is defending herself with everything she’s got.
Ron’s take on this, in my session yesterday, was that whether I stay calm or whether I get angry, this is a job where I have boring tasks and an unpleasant boss. I wanted to figure out a way for this switching not to happen, but his point was that it’s natural to feel angry in this situation.
But I think there’s anger and then there’s anger. Maybe I needed to get angry in that situation so that this part didn’t feel she had to jump out and be angry? But anyway. If I need to be angry, it’s not effective to have this hurt child leap out and scream at people is it.
I can see that if you’re one person, and you’re in a situation where you’re being treated badly, it might be therapeutic to get in touch with anger and allow anger some expression. That’s not what I did. I don’t want to plunge into trauma anger, because that’s inappropriate to the situation.
I wish Ron had understood this more. To me finding this very seething angry part seemed like a big deal, and I wanted to share that with him. That sense of – oh, this is what happened, that’s why I felt humiliated, that’s why this situation seemed so awful to me.