For those who don’t like to wade through long posts, here are capsule distillations of three recent ones I struggled to get right (and edited numerous times for clarity before and after posting):
I was hurt for weeks over an inability to salvage my oldest friendship. I finally composed a question to put the final pieces to the troubling puzzle in my hands. I asked the guy what my final unforgivable act was. He told me: my wife told me you recorded our last conversation, she told me you said you were mad enough to punch me in the face, she told me you said I was a pussy and she won’t be married to anyone whose so-called friend regards him as an unmanly coward. link
I pondered the two most common approaches to anger: getting angry and repressing anger. I concluded that the advantage to feeling anger, and sitting with it long enough to understand why you were angry, is that it gives you the possibility of having less anger in your life. Repressing anger cannot lead to that place. I provided an illustration or two of each approach. link
An aggravating medical situation persisted for an additional week as I waited for test results that would determine whether I needed to worry about late stage bladder or prostate cancer. The cause for my aggravation turned out to be a failure of technology (Samsung phone will not display T-Mobile voicemail notifications) and poor office follow-up with the doctor. I learned, a week belatedly, that the doctor had promptly left me a compassionate voicemail with all the info I needed, but the message was not readily available on my phone. His staff took days to follow-up with him and I didn’t get his subsequent voicemails until days after that. Things escalated unnecessarily as I kept receiving bureaucratic stonewalling, instead of empathy and help and the doctor kept leaving me messages I didn’t get as messages from the insane patient grew increasingly hostile. Everything was finally resolved amicably during a short talk with the doctor. link
That post, which began with a sentence claiming “we were both right” now begins, more precisely:
A completely avoidable misunderstanding, made possible by a design flaw and human error. The first party did exactly the right thing, the second party was continually misinformed, by day seven both parties were right to be indignant, both parties were right to think the other a complete asshole.
Sometimes things actually shake out that way. Both parties wind up angry, and both have good reason to feel angry, based on what they are each being told about the other. Cutting out the unreliable “middleman” is really the only way to resolve this kind of difficulty.