Behaving Like a Child

Sunday 3 March, 2002

Newsletter 10. Having been unable to complete the newsletter during the week we worked hard all day to meet a very tight deadline – one which caused my script to rear up to something approaching its full height, such that I was unable to put any of the procedures into practice which help me deal with my script.

The foundation for my reaction was laid in the morning when Karaj expressed a desire to finish by midday so that we could have everything completed by three and Robert, Dev and Karaj could then leave for London. On the back of this I considered what I could do with the rest of the day and I had it all worked out – rest, football, tidy the house and sort through my belongings. Karaj asked me to phone Priya and I arranged a 18.30 meeting for them all to look at a house with her.

After lunch we worked to get the Newsletter completed in time. 3 o’clock came and went but I was not too concerned at this stage because I never expect to finish right on time. However, as we approached 5 o’clock it was clear to me that I was not going to hear any of the football  and, more importantly, it looked as though the others would be late for the meeting with Priya. For whatever reason, I have a big problem with lateness – sort it out! – and when this goes unverbalised it can be very destructive both for myself and for those around me.

At around 17.30 Karaj and I printed the first version of the Newsletter and we decided to take a break once the printing was done. I switched on the radio to find out the score of the match. My thought process prior to this was, ‘What could go wrong? We are probably winning and if not then I will not be too bothered’. I was wrong. I turned on the radio just in time to hear the opposition’s equaliser. And it got to me. From that moment on my evening’s fate was sealed, wrapped up, as it was, in my script.

During the break we decided to add a further four pages to the Newsletter, a job which was completed much quicker than I had expected (negativity!). Robert and Dev had worked together downstairs to edit the additional material. At one point when I had asked Robert how it was going he expressed doubt about where to include a particular passage. I simply told him to put it where he thought it would best fit. He thanked me for this later. I appreciated his words and when I reflected, I realised that I had not become impatient or angry with him. Neither had I explained to him his own capabilities – I had simply empowered him.

Karaj and I remained focused (I, less so) to complete the job. I became a little frustrated because of Karaj’s layout but after one initial comment I kept my mouth shut. There were two reasons for this: Karaj often has his own ideas on how things should be done and I didn’t think we had the time to discuss such an incidental point. [Karaj: Once our path is chosen, we have no choice but to follow it, however difficult it may look.]

This lack of verbalisation had a more severe impact because I did not talk about my resentment. I had withdrawn too far to be able to talk about how I was feeling and I just wanted to go home. Once we had printed the final draft, we moved downstairs and everybody collected their belongings and rushed out of the door. In fact, Dev and Robert had not got things ready, nor filled up the car with petrol. This was typical of their subservience – their own scripts had kicked in too.

As they left for London, Karaj’s last words to me were, ‘Turn the heaters off, light the essence, and tell my mother we’ve gone’. That was the final straw for me – being told to tell Karaj’s mother that her 50-year-old son had gone to London for a few days was more than I was prepared to take. I did try to find her but she was not downstairs and I was not going to look any further.

So, when Dev shouted goodbye without shaking my hand I felt no inclination to chase him down. I quickly tidied up and was ready to leave when Robert and Karaj came back through the door. I shook Robert’s hand and walked out ahead of them. Dev got out of the car and hesitated, looking over the car door as we, once again, said our goodbyes. It occurred to me that I could shake hands with him but in my childish resentment I just strode on to the bus stop, feeling sorry for myself and resenting the world for whatever reasons I could come up with.

At home I bashed myself up for being so childish, but that began to ease and a few hours later there was nothing but the background radiation of what the day had taught me. Sunil phoned in the evening and we chatted about our respective days. He had attended an intermediate dance lesson and so had not been at the house. I filled him in on how I had reacted and he rightly said that I do this every time: I plan my time based around what someone else has said and then fail to verbalise my resentment when it rises. We laughed about it and I felt much better after his call.

Other important points from the day

  • Challenge people. The group is becoming too comfortable
  • A network means you can talk to anyone. Don’t create a hierarchy – it’s a network
  • I will not move forward until I know I can rely on Jonathan. That is why we are not moving’ – Karaj [My understanding of this was corrected three days later.]
  • Write everything down to rule out any confusion
  • Be powerful and empower others

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