The Path of the Tornado
I got my butt handed to me pretty darn good a couple of days ago. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was the most worthless thing in the world. My character was assaulted; my whole life was completely insulted. It was some of the most denigrating tripe ever uttered. But I did what I always do when somebody is actively losing their mind on me: I let them lose it.
I have heard that the biggest reason why we shouldn’t argue with a crazy person is because somebody else that is watching might not be able to tell the difference. I learned not so long ago that you never engage in such a discussion. So, if we are going to keep our mouth shut and just take it, what do we do while it’s happening and what do we do after it happens?
First, you trust God. There are always thunderstorms in our otherwise peaceful lives. Sometimes, we are simply in the path of the tornado. If I immediately remember that it is happening for a reason whether I know what it is at the time or not, I can navigate it more easily.
Second, you remember that hurting people hurt people. The individual that verbally accosted me is under an incredible amount of stress, marked by physical pain and financial instability. They feel completely helpless and frustrated. They are in a constant state of worry and are bubbling all the time and have a history of bubbling over, kind of like a volcano. If I can immediately remember that only a person in great pain, self-inflicted or not, would act in such a way, my anger can transform into compassion.
Third, you get grateful in a big hurry. As the toxic words spewed out of that mouth, I was immediately grateful that I don’t act that way under any circumstances. That behavior is as ugly as it always is and I choose not to be a font of it. I was grateful that I am generally and reasonably happy most of the time and don’t let things get to me where I have to lash out at other people. My circumstances are nobody’s fault but my own. I’m simply not in the business of harming people anymore. It doesn’t mean they’re not in the business of harming me.
Fourth, you get over it. This is key and it is a difficult process. Most of the things that were said to me were not true. This is a person that still thinks I’m that rotten son of a gun that lied, cheated and stole to get away with selfish drinking and other hedonistic behavior. I had to listen to almost 10 minutes of personal attacks from a person that thinks I am today what I haven’t been for about seven years now. The real truth is whether what was said is true or not doesn’t make any real difference.
God knows our true selves and is the only being in this universe that has the authority to judge any of us. Regardless of the good life I live, if someone chooses to insult me, I guess that’s just part of the good life I live. Don’t spend any time rerunning it through your head, trying to discern what was real and what wasn’t, what you would’ve said if you opened your big mouth. That is part of that whole lunatic cycle and why I try to stay away from such situations as much as I can. We simply let it go because it’s too heavy to hold onto.
It is my prayer that the next time somebody is losing it on you that you remember a few of these words. If you don’t remember anything else, remember that nobody has a right to treat you that way. Just wait till the dust settles before you do anything about it, if you have to at all. It is often easier to just forgive them and move on.
James A. Francetich is a freelance writer and author. The opinions expressed are solely of the author and do not represent any community based recovery programs, private or public entities or any governmental agencies.