Several years ago I collaborated on a project from hell.
(NOTE: I’m not disclosing which project, how long ago, or with whom because my collaborator may still be a bit tectchy on the subject. On the remote chance this blog finds its way to said collaborator they needn’t worry about reading further because this isn’t about their out of line behavior, it’s about mine.)
Anyway, suffice it to say that our year-long working relationship had some monumental craggy bits and by the end the two of us were barely speaking, as in not at all. The final brick in the wall came with my words, hissed over the phone: “Let’s just finish the damn thing.” And we did, sorta. What I mean is that yes, we completed the project and delivered an award-winning result but we never successfully “finished” the real business between us.
As promised, I’m not getting into any of the dirt. Truly not important. But I want to cop to my reactions to the situation. At this time you may be thinking, “Oh, good! Annie’s now going to tell us how she rose above the animus and appealed to her Higher Angels to guide her through a cantakerous relationship.” Sorry, but that’s not where I’m headed so feel free to turn in your ticket stub at the box office for a full refund.
I will give myself some credit for having had the maturity not to air dirty laundry when I was operating in any professional capacity. But I will take full responsibility for compulsively talking about what happened with family and certain close friends. I’m not proud of the way I vented without restraint for several years. Fact is, I’m down-right embarrassed as I now picture myself running my mouth as I did. Not only was I stuck in a pity party, I was gorging myself at a never-ending Outrage Banquet complete with Doggie Bags.
Why am I telling you all this? Because you’re not the only one who can’t quit gnawing at that old bone even though it’s dry, maybe a little rancid and actually turns your stomach. Looking back, I’ve gotta wonder, was I temporarily insane? A masochist needing to relive the discomfort, the feeling of betrayal ad nauseam? What was the point of all that re-hashing? Weren’t the first twenty servings of hash distasteful enough?
I’m happy to report that particular pity party is done. Yippee! I realize I totally overstayed my welcome. There’s now no doubt I could have processed my feelings more efficiently and saved myself and my captive audiences a ton of suffering. My apologies to all of you.
The next time I’m bonkers, brooding and blaming I hope to cut to the chase with a few well-directed questions to myself:
1. What happened?
2. How did my response contribute to the way I’m feeling now?
3. What (if anything) would I like to say directly to that person? (as opposed to talking about them)
4. What did I just learn about myself in these kinds of situations?
5. The next time I’m in a similar circumstance, what might I do differently?
OK, folks, party’s over… See ‘ya around.