Back to Top

Well this is awkward...

awkward text

Written by Claire Ranit

We’ve all been there; that moment after you’ve blazed down the long, fiery path of fighting back against persecution only to realize you maybe…probably…well yeah, you were in the wrong.  Maybe not with the core of the issue or how you felt, but with how you reacted, responded, or handled the situation.  Sadly, I found myself there on July 4th, 2017. It’s always funny looking back because it couldn’t be more obvious; all the areas I reacted instead of choosing my actions.

Let’s start at the beginning – it’s the 4th of July and I have been waiting in anticipation all day for the fireworks show; it’s one of my favorite things. Human creativity merged with science on display in celebration of independence.  All day I planned – what I would bring to the BBQ, what time to arrive to get the best seating location, and where to place my special star-gazing chair (yes, I have a star-gazing chair). 

Things were going great. I arrived at 7pm and had the pick of prime seating locations – arranging my special star-gazing chair and the two others I’d brought right next to my best friend.  I could chat with friends, relax in comfort, and be in prime location for the fireworks show.  My significant other soon arrived along with many other friends who started gathering around.  Eventually, my significant other suggested we move to make space for everyone to sit more comfortably – I politely declined to move my seat.  He then brought it up again a few minutes later and I gave the same response, now a little more irritably.  The third and final time he brought it up I got up in a huff and shoved my chair back – he understood then I wasn’t too happy but I didn’t use my words to tell him, just my reactions.  From that moment on, in my mind, my evening was ruined and I had a point to prove.

Over and over in my head I ruminated on why he wouldn’t listen, how he obviously cared more about other people than me, how my night was ruined because I wasn’t in my prime location or sitting by my best friend anymore.  I placed myself smack-dab in the victim role and my partner in the persecutor role.  Throughout the night, the “rescuers” came through – friends knowing something was wrong trying to cheer me up – and I sat sulking, not leaving my chair, wanting to prove a point.  By the end of the night, no one tried talking to me anymore and my night was truly ruined; even the magic of the fireworks couldn’t reach me. 

The next morning, after I had cooled down a bit, my significant other asked what had happened – was I truly upset because of the moved chair? I felt silly; then told him it wasn’t truly about the chair. I felt he wasn’t listening to me and therefore did not care what I had to say or how I felt.  He apologized for the breakdown in communication.  Now, why hadn’t I just told him that right after it happened?  For the most part, I can fill a role in TED. But every once in a while, just like everyone else, I take on a role in the DDT; making it difficult for others to fill roles in TED. 

If you follow the triangle around and around, I started off as the victim and eventually became the persecutor.  My significant other started out as the persecutor and became the victim.  My friends circled around as rescuers. No one had their needs met and the interactions were not healthy. 

Can you think of a time you found yourself in my position? Starting out as the victim only to become the persecutor? How did it feel when you realized what had happened? What can you do differently in the future in similar situations? I for one, have a plan. What’s yours?