Doing the right thing … especially in the face of anger

I can’t speak from the perspective of a non-traumatized person on this topic of “doing the right thing.”

From my perspective, it’s often difficult for me to know when I’m doing the right thing. I have so little connection, still, to what my own needs are, that the lines get blurred between what’s right for me and what’s right for someone else.

I tend to react instinctively to situations that feel threatening to me. Example: It’s almost impossible for me to be rational in the face of someone’s anger. What do I do? I retreat and basically do or say whatever I have to in order to appease them.

It took me almost two weeks to recognize this behavior and, then, to realize that I’d made the wrong decision.

In other words, I don’t trust myself to do the right thing, especially in the heat of the moment when someone expresses anger around me, whether it’s directed at me or not.

So here’s the thing: I need to make a change to my memoir. Technologically speaking, it’s not easy to make a change to the eBook because of the way I published it.

But someone asked me to change something, and I need to do that. Originally, as you read, I made a rather rash decision to just take the book down. That decision was based on my reaction to this person being angry with me. (Important: This person is not the abuser or my daughter.)

Instead of taking time to consider what this person said, I reacted the way I was trained to react, if you will: by doing whatever I needed to do to appease the angry person.

As you read in my previous post, I changed my mind. I’m not taking the book down right now. Instead, I’ll make the changes I need to make, put up the new book, and then take down the first edition. That’s what I should have agreed to do in the first place.

I learned an important lesson this morning, too, one that I will really, really try to remember.

I had first told this person that I’d simply take the book down. When I changed my mind, I told them that, and I explained what I was going to do, instead. I’m writing a new edition with several edits and an added section on trauma therapy, and I’ll publish it in early 2013. At that time, I’ll take down this first edition.

And guess what? They were fine with it. The anger had subsided. And they thanked me for doing the right thing.

The lesson for me is that I need to try to recognize my reactions and analyze them first, before simply agreeing to something that may not be in my best interests (or theirs). In this situation, I realized it’s possible for both of us to feel good about the resolution to a disagreement.

All of this must seem so basic to a non-traumatized person. But it isn’t for me. I live every day second-guessing myself and trying to keep from reacting instinctively to everyone else’s actions and words. It’s exhausting.

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