August 26, 2021

Mélanie Boucarut

Drinking poison in the hope to kill the enemy

Oh, the retaliation scenarios I can play in my mind…

Two months ago, I booked a nice restaurant to celebrate a close friend’s upcoming milestone.  I’d asked questions in the booking form. They’d gone unanswered so I decided last week to drop by the place.

The owner explained they’d be on vacation the week I’d booked. That since he hadn’t answered, I should have understood my booking didn’t hold. He then proceeded to make clear how he was right in his approach and how I was wrong in expecting him to inform me they’d be closed on that date.

The conversation itself was brief and polite. Everyone was calm, information was exchanged, we parted courteously.

But the dialogue in my head afterward…

Oh. Dear.

We were yelling.

More exactly: HE was yelling, losing his temper; while I “put him in his place” with carefully chosen, witty words spoken with icy fury.

I had several variations of the same scene – me steadily funnier and meaner; him proven more and more wrong.

I even had the version where my Trip Advisor review was SO powerful, his restaurant lost 50% clientele overnight.

Until I realized what was going on.

I was telling myself he didn’t care about me, his client. I felt humiliated, angry, wounded, and ultimately: disappointed and powerless.

These mental movies only made me feel worse. I was making myself relive the pain of rejection and disappointment over and over again.

He, of course, had NO IDEA what was going on in my head.

I was doing the thing so many of us do, in small slights as in big ones:

drinking poison in the hope of killing the enemy.

Then I remembered: what I actually need is to be kind to myself. This is an unpleasant situation. The celebration I was counting on isn’t going to pan out the way I’d envisioned, and that sucks.

I didn’t need to vent my anger; I needed to feel loved and understood. To be seen for who I really am: not an annoying customer. A loyal friend organizing a nice occasion.

The moment I changed my approach, my mood cleared up.

I booked somewhere else and it’s going to be awesome.

What do YOU do when your brain plays a payback matinee? But maybe – this NEVER happens to you? 😉

No bad horses, only untrained riders 🐴

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