People Can Be Oh So Bad But How You React Can Make It Ten Times Worse

by admin on July 18, 2013

Last week my thirteen year old daughter, Ella, had to have her wisdom teeth removed. The procedure was difficult for her due to how impacted the teeth were and the surgeon wound up removing two molars as well. One day after her surgery, our neighbor, “Jennifer”, with whom I had been very close for some time, called and asked if she could come over to check on Ella and chat. I said, alright. I knew (or at least thought I knew) this woman very well and I knew my daughter would not mind.

When Jennifer came over, Ella had just taken a pain pill and was sleeping on the sofa in the family room. Jennifer walked up to her, and (it still makes me furious to think of this) SQUEEZED her cheeks, HARD! My daughter immediately woke up and burst into tears. Jennifer GIGGLED (yes, giggled!) and pranced away to my kitchen to get herself a drink. I stood there, furious and in total shock but managed to compose myself and comfort Ella, who was sobbing in pain and was totally confused as to what what happened to her. I got her a cold pack and got her back to sleep and went into the kitchen, nearly shaking with fury, to find Jennifer sipping away at a Mimosa. It took every thing I had not to break her jaw. I told her that Ella was unwell (thanks to you, you evil b****!) and Jennifer needed to leave immediately. She looked confused but downed the rest of her drink and left.

I called my husband and managed to tell him what happened through furious tears. He was livid and even said I should call the police on this woman. I didn’t want to go to that extreme but vowed that I would never, ever, ever speak to Jennifer again. Ella was in horrible pain for several hours after this and no amount of pain medication and ice helped. I was horribly upset, which made her three younger brothers upset, then their still-fuming father came home and disturbed the peace even more by calling both his and my parents and ranting to them about what happened. This might have been inappropriate on his part, but that is how he deals with anger and I suppose I should be thankful that’s all he did rather than marching over to Jennifer’s and dealing with her “old school”, as he would say.

Ella had a thumb-shaped bruise on either cheek and was in great pain for the next four days. We found out at her check-up that what Jennifer had done had pinched off the newly formed scabs on Ella’s gums, resulting in her developing dry sockets. We now have to get them packed on a daily basis, which, though it does not hurt us to pay for this, is a cost that could have been avoided if Jennifer had chosen to reign in her inner sadist. The oral surgeon could not believe what happened when I told him. Everyone I’ve told about this has been absolutely appalled at how horrible this woman was. What possesses a person to squeeze the cheeks of someone who’s just undergone dental surgery and then LAUGH at them as they cry in pain? I believe this goes beyond an etiquette faux pas and into plain cruelty, but I simply had to share this. I still feel like crying when I think of what happened. In the past few days, Jennifer has called and left messages asking if she’d “offended me” and if she could come over to “talk about it.” How clueless can you be?! 0710-13

You have Mimosas (orange juice and champagne) on tap in your kitchen?  And she just helped herself to one?

It goes without saying that Jennifer has some serious boundary issues.  Was she perhaps a little inebriated when this happened?  It appears she was drinking alcohol at your house rather early in the day and her confused reaction and lack of understanding about why you are offended seems odd to me perhaps indicating she had been drinking before she came to your house.   It appears that even you consider it out of character behavior for her to behave this way.

Jennifer aside, can you now see how the drama you and your husband kept fueling disturbed your family peace long after Jennifer had done her deed and left the house?  How were the children served to witness their parents in a state of hyped up anger which only distressed them further?   Sometimes there are occasions where you, as the parent, have to suck it up and behave calmly and rationally so that you set an example for the kids.  What you say behind closed doors to each other and other family adults is one thing but you and hubby selfishly gave vent to your anger in front of the kids with little regard as to how this was upsetting them.   I don’t know the ages of the three younger brothers but it’s probable they were young enough to not understand all the drama and instead of one child victim, there are four courtesy of yours and the hub’s lack of self control.   Your job as a parent is to train up your children to react to other people’s horrid bad manners in a calm, civil, rational manner because they have to learn that they cannot change other people’s behavior but they sure can control how they react and behave. What they learned this week is that screaming, venting, ranting in anger regardless of how it affects those innocent bystanders is the appropriate drama response to any offense they happen to incur.

Addendum as of 8:55 am EST:

There is always a subset of people reading Ehell who believe in their inherent right to react to grave offenses committed against them with high drama and reciprocal retaliation regardless of what impact that behavior has on innocent people in their sphere of relationships (children, pets, family, co-workers).   I delete comments quite frequently from people who advocate reciprocal rudeness as their entitled right of response since I have no interest in promoting their twisted brand of etiquette or giving them a platform to justify their own right to exercise out of control behavior just because someone offended them.

Reread the story again and note the following:  “I was horribly upset, which made her three younger brothers upset, then their still-fuming father came home and disturbed the peace even more by calling both his and my parents and ranting to them about what happened. This might have been inappropriate on his part, but that is how he deals with anger.….”  Jennifer’s cruel act was a one time deal (so far) but Dad’s way of displaying his anger is “how he deals with it”, i.e. meaning he routinely “disturbs the peace” of his family with his rather selfish lack of self control in front of his wife and children.  Rather than the drama ending with Jennifer’s departure from the house, it just keeps going on and on for hours thus giving Jennifer enormous power to have ruined an entire day in this family’s lives.  How many times has this site discussed the concept of not giving power to the rude, ugly, mean boors of this world by moderating our own reactions in a way that rises above the drama and takes control of the situation?  Yeah, lots.   “No power to the boors” should be this site’s mission statement.

And Jennifer has yet to be confronted on this matter so instead of directing their ire at her, the kids get the brunt of it.   The kids became the unwitting audience upon which Dad rehearsed his anger.  (Hint:  If you cannot muster the self control or courage to confront your offender, no fair taking it out on the innocent parties of your immediate acquaintance.)

And then there is always some readers who take hyperbole to new heights by interpreting phrases or words like “self control”, “rational”,”civil”  to mean “act like a doormat”, “be a wimp” or to declare that anger under control is to show no anger at all.   It’s as if anger is either an “on” or “off” emotion and there is no concept of how one can express anger in a firm yet rational and civil manner.  If you are one of those readers who thinks anger is best expressed in frothing displays of emotions, you haven’t grasped the basic premise of this site and your comments will continue to be deleted lest you influence others with your limited understanding of how to behave.

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