|Age-old panic derived from modern problems (please give me some suggestions)
||[Jul. 1st, 2007|12:52 am]
I can't sleep for the silliest of reasons: memories of a confrontation from last week (with a person I don't even give a damn about) has left me with an angrily hammering heart and a queasy stomach. Perhaps writing about it will vent up some frustration.
Ok. Kathy (the girl whose job I'll be taking over) had brought a friend to the textbook desk and had spent a couple hours conversing with her on work time. I, as always, was keeping busy with customers, phone calls, and paperwork as the two of them chatted away in the next seat. Well, somehow they got onto the subject of the assistant manager and how they thought he was anorexic (he always watches what he eats). Somewhere within that conversation, her friend asked him if he was anorexic and if he made himself throw up in the bathroom (much to his dismay).
Since conversation with everyone who works there is always open, and because with my history with this stuff I couldn't stand to hold my tongue, I told her that bulimics vomit, not anorexics--they restrict. Well, what did she say? Not "oops, my mistake" like most people would...no, she proceeded to ask Kathy why "this girl thinks she can listen in on what I'm saying and act like she knows more than me", while shaking her low-cut cleavage menacingly in my direction. With a "WTF?" expression and thinking "My GOD, where did THAT come from?", I explained to her that I was correcting her for her own good, that it was a mistake I found too personal to let go, and that if someone is obviously misinformed I feel it's my duty to alert them of it. She then started yelling at me about how she's in college and isn't stupid and knows perfectly well what an anorexic is. I said no, from that phrase she obviously did not, and repeated the correction. She then said "well, you didn't listen to what I was saying! I said I thought he was a bulimic and you just didn't hear it!".
By this time I was pretty scared and my heart was hammering because she was practically foaming at the mouth (and plus, she'd obviously internalized my correction, lol), so I said, "Well, good! I'm glad to hear you know. I'm sorry if I 'misheard' you."
I was shaking the rest of the work day for no rational reason, even though I was wondering...what do I care if a slutty party-girl who got pregnant too soon, obviously trying to appear full of herself to hide an enormous lack of self-esteem, raises her defenses toward a girl who's informed, professional and confident, and who she's heard speaking proper grammar to customers the whole time? What can she do to harm me? Absolutely nothing. And, I know she was lashing out not to convince me she was right, but to convince HERSELF she was right. She's obviously using me as a battering-ram to give herself synthetic confidence. So it isn't my problem, it's hers.
But, I think that when it comes down to it, any confrontation brings the old grade-school feeling of helplessness and panic back to me. I know how to defend myself now as I never did then. More importantly, I know why it was done to me. But that doesn't change the fact that when I think of something like this, my body goes into panic. Like a reflex, even though my mind knows it's stupid and irrational, all mental activity freezes and I prepare to run. No fear is needed--just an appropriate thought--and I'm spring-loaded into action. I was traumatized from those years in school, and that's what those kids wanted me to be. So why have I let them succeed in taking control of my life like this? They deserve no part in it.
It was so hard to sleep each night after the hell with my first roommate...I think that, in itself, brought on a bout of post-traumatic stress syndrome. I still drift into waking nightmares about her, even though I know I could've snapped that little, skinny, black-supremacist Vicky in two, anytime I pleased. So, why the fear and rapidly-beating heart every time I think back on her (even as I write this)?
In the fall, when therapy is once again free, this will be the next counseling topic.
Do any of you have any suggestions on how I can handle this? Any mindsets I should try out?