Assertively Flying Off the Handle

I’m an incredibly impatient person. While I realize great things in life — read: making a lot of money — don’t happen overnight, waiting around frustrates me. [When I say “making a lot of money,” I just mean the amount of money that would allow me to buy the kind of house I would want to live in, not the amount of money that would allow me to buy three of the kind of house I’d want to live in.] I feel like I have to keep telling myself to be patient, but I just want to move! Not necessarily move to a new place, I just mean move to the next part of my life. It’s like I can see that next stage, but my legs are shackled to the reality of being 25, or at least what the reality of being 25 is for me.

Anyway.

When I was a child, I had this habit of overreacting without thinking. If my brother made me mad, I would slap or hit him. It was like my reaction mechanism decided to skip the part where it asks my brain what we should do, and instead went straight into defense mode. My mom would refer to this phenomenon as “flying off the handle.” As I got older and matured, and my brother got stronger, I realized that slapping and hitting were not going to get me anywhere and would only escalate the problem. I learned that I needed to stop and think about what happened or what was said and make sure I understood it correctly, then I could react, but it needed to be in a collected manner.

I’ve come to realize that my bad trait is actually making its way back into my behavior. The idea of thinking, processing, then reacting has completely gone out the window. Well, I don’t hit or slap people, but I just blurt out whatever comes to my head. It might be important to note that this doesn’t happen in every conversation. It’s mostly situations where someone angers me or I think whatever someone just said was wrong. I did this to my boyfriend about a bazillion times this past week (we were on vacation in Florida). I can’t come up with an actual example, or even an illustrative example, so I’m sorry I can’t help you picture a scene. But most of the situations started with him saying something in a plain tone, not insinuating anything and me responding in a not-plain tone, insinuating that he’s an idiot, when in fact, I misunderstood what he said or didn’t think about what he said before responding, and therefore turned out to be completely embarrassed when my brain finally was able to do its job and informed the rest of my consciousness what was going on. Let’s just say there were multiple instances where my boyfriend was able to gleefully say, “Ooohhhh, Lindsey Quick was wrong!” which only infuriates me more, and causes me to continue flying off the handle by hitting or slapping. I’m a real gem.

Why is “flying off the handle” seeping back into my personality? I believe there are a number of reasons. First, I’ve grown to be so comfortable around my boyfriend that I feel like I can say anything, even things in a not-plain tone, and it’ll be OK. Second, and I think this is the real reason, I’ve been working on my “assertiveness.”

I took an “emotional IQ” test at work and my lowest score was assertiveness. This didn’t come as any kind of surprise, but it’s one of those things where, with work anyway, once we’ve pinpointed a weakness, we need to address it. Even though we could probably have guessed that I lacked a high level of assertiveness, we now had a documented source reporting a low score in it. So I was advised to keep an “assertiveness journal” about times when I showed high or low assertiveness. I stuck with the journal for a little bit, but then I just started recognizing it on my own without needing to write about it.

Anyway. I feel like instead of just doing whatever someone asked me to do or just going along with whatever answer/explanation they gave me about a question I had, I started questioning their response. I don’t know if it was my tone or just the choices in words and facial expressions I used when saying those words, but I felt more assertive. I also felt bitchy and demeaning. Sometimes after I said something, my brain would catch up to what was going on and say, “Whoa! That might have been a little overboard, Lindsey, you better do some back pedaling here and say something to fix this!”

So I’d like to re-take that emotional IQ test and see if either my “bitchy-ness” or “assertiveness” scores have changed.

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2 thoughts on “Assertively Flying Off the Handle

  1. Patience is overrated.

    Note: I am struggling to get a mental picture of you bitch-slapping your brother…a youtube video would probably rectify that situation. I’m sure you can count on Harry’s assistance in this endeavor.

  2. Haha, I’ll try to figure out some way to recreate the “good ole days.” We’ll have to dig up some of our childhood wardrobe: ninja turtle t-shirts and umbro shorts.

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