They Must Think I’m a Lunatic

By, Dr. Susan Burger

They must think I’m a lunatic. The negotiations had started out OK. This couple was wanting to rent 2 rooms in my office building for their small business. They had many questions and asked for some special considerations, some of which I agreed to. After long phone calls and a few meetings we signed a contract, and I handed them the keys.

But wait, a few more questions! Something in the contract just didn’t seem OK to them. I offered another option that could solve the problem, or so I thought. They had to think about it, I took the keys back, and went home.

The next morning I checked my e-mail and there was a message from them asking for several more things from me. Are you kidding?! They had pushed me too far.

“You either want the room or you don’t!” “I am not the investor in YOUR business!” I went on a not very tactful tirade expressing my frustration. The next e-mail from them sounded surprised. “Wow Susan, I don’t know what it was we said that upset you so much…”.

I felt bad. I lost sleep over it. I am usually a good communicator and I could have counted to 10, taken a breath, and written a more reasonable and less inflammatory response. But I didn’t. I knew the deal was unsalvageable once I sent that message. And I didn’t care. You see, I am dealing with some challenging issues at the moment that they are not aware of. The biggest of which is that my Dad died 2 weeks ago, and my Mom isn’t doing all that well. I need to give myself a break and not be so hard on myself.

I have judged people for being cranky or unreasonable. But this situation reminded me that we never know what is going on inside someone. We don’t know what they are dealing with and how they are feeling. That person that just acted crazy or unkind may be in the middle of a divorce, have a very ill child, or lost a job.

It reminds me to remain compassionate. People act out from fear, anger, sadness…and in our culture we aren’t very comfortable with expressing our emotions, or when someone else does. We apologize when we cry, “Oh I’m so sorry”. We hold it against any politician should she or he show that “weakness”.

When someone asks me how my Mom is doing, they want to hear that she is “OK” which usually means that she has a smile on her face and is going about life as usual. But sometimes doing “OK” is that she is crying, wanting to talk about Dad, expressing her sadness and fears of this time of her life. Along with the loss of my dad, there is a resurgence of grief from my younger sister dying of cancer 3 years ago. It can feel overwhelming.

So I guess I’ll forgive myself for flying off the handle and not dealing with that couple in a professional way. Maybe it was good for me to let myself just go with the emotions of the moment. In fact it has opened up another level of feelings about the journey I have had with my Dad. I have friends who consider it an honor to support me and let me talk or cry…so I might as well let them, and not feel like I have to be so strong.

Sometimes we just need to ask.

If you choose to contact me to do some healing work please note that I will do my best to listen, to guide, to support, and sometimes to challenge. If you see that lunatic part come out you will know you have pushed me too far!

Here’s to being human…

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