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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I was angry

Last Friday, I was angry with my boss. She was about to leave the office, and wanted a quick update from me about a customer with whom I had been dealing. Did I tell you that it seemed that I spend most of my day at work updating her? Each morning I receive fifteen to twenty e-mails from my boss, about half of them are requests for updates. I have to copy her on almost every e-mail that I send to my clients. And when my clients send me e-mails that did not copy her, I have to forward it to her. Yeah. You can take your chin from the ground now. It is true.

Anyway, back to last Friday. She asked me for an update. I told her. I said I had received an e-mail from this client who told me such and such. "You didn't update me!" she snarled. If looks could kill, I would have died again right there! Something in me snapped! I must have rolled my eyes or something. I was flabbergasted really because, I had only received that e-mail about an hour before that, and it was not like there were absolutely nothing happening at work. There were also other customers screaming to be served. Phones ringing, e-mails to respond to, colleagues to collaborate and discuss, meetings to attend, and so on. I was flabbergasted. Whatever it was, my facial expression triggered something in her, and she started going off at me, and she starting telling me something about respect for my boss, and that she as the owner, president and founder of our proud little organization had the right to ask for an update and get it whenever she wants. That put me over the edge...

Once I started, I couldn't stop. I said, Respect is a two way street. It was not the case that I wasn't going to update her - I had other things that I needed to get down before my clients went away for the weekend, and I was going to send her updates on all the goings on at the end of the day... We were like two middle school children bickering at each other in the playground. Other employees were just standing there dumbfounded. Luckily for us, we were saved by an attorney. No, no lawyer jumped in between us. She had an appointment with one, and she was late so she had to run.

My colleageus later marvelled at my audacity to stand up to our Dragon Lady. I couldn't help it. I was breathless. I was shaking. I was mad. But mostly at myself. I had failed to control my impulsiveness - again!

She pushed my button and I went off. As simple as that! I wasn't able to think straight. I wasn't able to isolate the incident by telling myself that it was her issue, not mine. She was the one who was dysfunctional and she was the one who is unreasonable, and I need not have taken her incessant belittling treatments personally. I failed once again and only got us into a downward spiral. I stooped to her level.

I became livid at myself. Then sad. Then depressed.

Although I was able to set the depression aside and repress it over the weekend, it actually became a dark cloud over my head that eventually thunderstormed down hard upon me. I felt the accumulated stress and depression badly the past few days. Really badly. It didn't incapacitate me, but it just created this deep, sunk, defeated mood that stayed in the background.

Then last night my counselor did further work with me in the inner child therapy. I was able to get to the point of my childhood when I was around five to the around the time when I was almost ten. I remember those years were often filled with tears. They were tears of humiliation and shame. It all started at the time when I was about five years old. My family often went away to have vacations and time off at the beach or some other place. I never knew where they went, because I was too young to go according to my parents. So I had to stay home with my nanny.

She probably was also resentful that while everyone else get the day off - it usually was a day off for my dad who worked incredibly hard during those days. A day off meant he went to the office before the sun rose and worked a few hours and then came back home to get the rest of the family to take them out for one of those day trips to the beach or some other place. I unfortunately was always too little to go along. Anyway, I was left home with the nanny. I don't remember much of what happened with her, except that during one of these days when my family was away, I had to go to the toilet. My nanny took my pants off, and I went. When I was done and ready to be dressed, she helped me put my pants on. Only before she did that she pulled at my penis! I remember crying. But I don't remember much of what happened after that, except I remember that later on I told my parents about it. But they just laughed at me. My brother teased me about it as well. For the longest time. From that time on till I was ten or eleven, I remember I was often teased by the adults around me. My neighbors. They often find little things about which to tease me. And I would run back to my room to cry. The more I did that the more they want to tease me. It was like a game to them. My mum and dad would laugh along with them.

That was how I internalized the feelings of shame, humiliation, loneliness and insecurity.

And I saw that coming to the surface last week. It was like I was holding a balloon underwater. It was bound to surface any moment. And it did on Friday. My boss had especially been mean to me in front of my clients at a meeting during the week. Humiliating me. I was carrying that hurt in my heart through the week. When again she accused me of not updating her, which to my ears was tantamount of not doing my job well, I snapped. Enough was enough. It triggered that part of me that could not stand to be humiliated and could not stand to be accused of doing a bad job. I struck back. My counselor often said that anger is our angel. It is angel that comes to our aid when we feel threatened, it comes out to protect us from being hurt again. That is why we respond in anger when triggered. Still, it was a dumb thing to do, but I now know it was because of that hurt little child in me. The hurt little boy who cannot stand to be humiliated and shamed one more time.

That realization helps me to heal. It helps me to know what I need to do. I need to internalize God's special grace to see Him meeting me at the point when I needed reassurance, and love, and protection from shame, humiliation and guilt. I need to apply the sweet balm of the Holy Spirit and realize that the hurt little boy need not cry alone anymore. I need to see and feel the embrace of my Heavenly Father as He brings me to His bosom and say to me, "Son, you are loved, protected and healed. See, My Son is here for you. Let Him cover you with His everlasting arms and keep you close. Feel His strong arms covering you and be free."