Not long ago I realized that I should never allow myself to act within approximately 24 hours of receiving news, whether that be good news or bad. I don’t deal well with surprises or stress and am prone to impulsiveness in the best of situations; un-glad tidings, even only somewhat un-glad, tend to engender intense negative reactions that take a variety of freak-out forms. To make matters worse, when I’m acting under the influence of a surprise I’m absolutely convinced I’m being completely rational, even (and maybe especially) when I’m being the diametrical opposite thereof.
I’m glad that I learned that about myself earlier. It came in handy this evening, when an initial reaction to a situation was one of hurt and pre-defensive anger (note: anger is always a secondary emotion with me; it’s pain or fear that I don’t want to face, so I turn it outward). With just a little more information, though, my entire outlook on the situation radically changed – leaving me very, very grateful that I was for once able to remain quiet when the event occurred. I could have really hurt someone whom I love dearly and whose motives and actions are, thank goodness, much more ingenuous than mine. (I would like to be more like this person when I grow up. Perhaps I should actually tell her that.)
So, step one seems to be recognizing the problem. Step two is managing to keep myself from acting on the impulses I feel during the initial shock. I would like for step three to be avoiding the huge overreaction in the first place; I wonder if such a huge change could take place without some kind of cerebral transplant?