Many consider anger to be a secondary emotion – as in, it’s not the first emotion that you feel. Because the first one is the one that makes you feel vulnerable, feel pain, feel hurt. Anger comes in after as a protective mechanism through which many make a lot of… “first responses” through. It takes a lot of effort to go back to your first emotion, identify it, and truly understand why the situation upsets you.
The other night, I received an email from a colleague. To back the story up a little, I was once a part of a grassroots organization. I took a hiatus and decided to come back. I had only been back for a few weeks and this was the first event in which I had a role. I admit that my role was a little confusing and I tried to figure out what was asked of me, but perhaps I didn’t do it in an appropriate manner. Anyway, back to the email. So the colleague was the one who had planned the event and had assigned me the role. There was a disagreement at one point, but I didn’t think anything of it, but I guess the fact that I had so loudly voiced my opinion without checking in with her about any possible changes really irked her and prompted her to send me such an email.
While I am completely open to feedback about ways in which I can improve, the manner in which the email was sent to me was absolutely unacceptable to me. Maybe someone else who reads it will think nothing of it, but it was an email full of triggers. Here I am, trying to get back into an organization and I’m trying to tread lightly. I’m also in a vulnerable spot of trying to find a place where I fit in, a group with whom I can call my own and do social outings with because ever since childhood, I haven’t had something that lasted and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to have.
But the entire email made me feel unwelcome and after I sifted through my emotion of anger, I figured out why I was feeling so upset and so hurt by the email. And to be honest, although it’s not the best decision, I’m about ready to flee. If this is how I’m going to be treated in this group, even though it was done by one person, how will others feel about me? Am I still welcome? Is this something I even want to process? Should this be reconciled between me and this colleague? Maybe it’s still too fresh and the wounds still burn, but I’m not ready to go back and pretend as if nothing happened, because something did and I’m not okay with that.