Monday, October 31, 2011

Living With Wasps

If you are living or working with a wasp you have my sympathy. Not the Anglo Saxon W.A.S.P. but the stinging insect with the pretty yellow and black stripes. And not actually the insect but the person who delivers a sharp and unexpected sting in wasp-like manner. Harmless for the most part, the wasp person is not to be trusted in difficult moments. Moments involving spilt coffee, lost keys, socks left on the floor, slow deliveries, rain and snow, cat spray, late flights, wrong turns, everything. The wasp person responds to life's little disappointments or annoyances with fury and if you are anywhere in the wasp person's vicinity, LOOK OUT. Don't wave your arms and don't even try to sooth with words. Don't move. Then, as soon as possible, slip away.

The next time you see the wasp person it will be all pretty stripes again. You may be suffering from a welt but the wasp person will appear to have no recollection of the incident that set him/her off or of the person stung. "Be still and slip away," may seem like cowardly advice but, lacking extermination, it is difficult to change the behavior of a wasp.

However, if you are a wasp person, you do have the ability to change. Your biggest obstacle is your remarkable ability to deny bad behavior. Welts you have caused seem so small to you as to be negligible. You easily turn to more pleasant things; little jokes, an invitation to lunch, a posy or two and all is smooth again. What you don't fully realize is that once stung, people don't forget. Stung more often, resentment builds and dreams of pay-back fester.

Low tolerance of life's little difficulties and the habit of blaming turn people into wasp. Blaming is based on the irrational thought that someone (or something) has to be responsible for your frustrations and that if you call out that person, it makes things better. And that may feel true in the moment but it's only a temporary release of anger. The coffee doesn't flow back into the cup, the keys are still lost and the rain and snow remain indifferent to curses. And you have created distance and distrust and fear in others and likely made a fool of yourself.

Blaming and temper tantrums hearken back to childhood. In order to avoid punishment or to protect a good boy or girl image, you blamed your brother or the dog or the teacher. In order to get what you wanted, you threw tantrums. Alas, the baby years are over. We're all wearing grown-up pants now ... best worn without yellow and black stripes


Anonymous said...

I loved this. Especially the part about the wasp person not noticing the little welts she/he leaves behind. And the image of black and yellow-striped pants!

CatLover said...

I am probably not a wasp person, overall, but it is an image that is easily held in the mind. I think this will really help me, since I have severe depression that didn't respond to meds. The wasp is another tool in my toolbox, to help me keep my relationships on track, and thank you very much! So much therapy stuff is too abstract to actually use when you are very depressed. Maybe I will think hard on some other concrete picture analogies to keep in mind for other problems.

Bridget said...

Good idea Catlover,
It's true, sometimes having a concrete image delivers more than a wordy analysis. You get the substance immediately and it's easier to hang onto.

Sorry to hear you have been so depressed. I hope you are able to exercise, get out and walk. It's the best non med way to help depression. Hard to do sometimes but rarely does one walk and then regret simply raises the spirits. Also, glad to hear you have a cat (s). They bring a lot.

Bridget said...

I had a good time writing that piece, anonymous. Thanks for sharing your reaction.