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Blinded by rage - Dealing with difficult conversations

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Just a normal day in the supermarket…🙄

Picture the situation 🎥

You are in your usual supermarket, it has a single queue system, where the first person in the queue is called by the next free cashier. Also, it has a separate fast lane, for the ones with less than 10 items, which runs independently from the "everybody else's lane".

I go with my trolley to the "everybody else's lane" because I had more than 10 items. I was the first one, because there was nobody in that lane. On the other hand, the "fast lane", beside me, the queue was long, with people waiting. 👭🏾 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏾 👬🏾 👫🏾

At the moment I positioned myself in the lane, the lady beside me (in the fast lane) showed me where the end of the queue was. And I told her I couldn't be on that lane because I had more than 10 items. She looked puzzled, and told me "but I've been waiting before you arrived"... already showing some "emotional distress" on her voice… I then repeated myself and showed her the sign indicating "Fast lane - Less than 10 items", so I couldn't be there, in "her"lane.

Simultaneously, the other people in her lane started "whispering" amongst themselves, and another lady said, "she is trying to cut the queue", referring to me. To whom, I explained the situation again.🤷🏽‍♀️ 🤷🏽 🤷🏽‍♂️

The cashier gave me the sign to approach her counter, which I did.

Then, an avalanche together with a tsunami suddenly appeared…

The lady who told me I should move to the back of her lane, started shouting "how dare you to take over all of us", and in an act of rage she broke the lane barrier (one of those elastic ones) with her trolley (two small children inside) and came beside me shouting that I was "uneducated, rude, etc etc etc, and that I should allow her to pay before me"... Request that I ignored after her being so aggressive.

It took me by surprise, so I asked the cashier if I was doing something wrong, to which, with a grim face she nodded to me, "no, you are ok"!

During this "show", the convulsion of voices and complaints started escalating in the queue, with people arguing with the cashier saying the signs were not clear. Sorry to say, they were crystal clear, the problem is, people don't read, they are focused on their phones so they just follow the crowd as herds (a topic for another story, and I'm taking myself out of this generalisation consciously).🙇🏽‍♀️ 🙇🏽 🙇🏽‍♂️

The woman remained by my side, shouting, talking "nonsense" (important to emphasise it because in moments of rage people don't communicate "logically"), while I kept processing my shopping, silently, not giving her my attention. Which, of course, infuriated her even more.

When she realised I was going to ask for home delivery, she went ballistic! And then she asked someone in the other lane to let her in… and the person did.

I thought it was over, but no. After she paid, she took the time to come back to me to continue releasing her rage. And I continued pretending she didn't exist. Then she said something which I see happening amongst mothers quite a lot, I must say... (sorry mothers, not all of you do that but many do… and you know it. Another topic for another conversation), which is to include her children as part of their "arguments" to make their point when they feel they are "loosing a battle". She said something like "how could you dare do that with me, a mother with two children… etc, etc, etc"... uhhhmmmm… this is called "a punch below the waistline lady... Not allowed… 🤛🏽

After that, she left. Fuming...

Let's stop here and briefly analyse the situation.

First, let's be fair. Any person can get upset when someone tries to overtake the queue you are in. I can argue too, but… keeping the head where it belongs.

My point here is, notice how rage, irrational behaviour, emotional overwhelm, can make someone blind and deaf. And physically, due to our most basic instincts of fight or flight, we do lose a great deal of our hearing and our vision becomes narrow focused when we feel in "danger".

The only thing the lady "saw and understood" was the fact that she was in the queue waiting, and I came beside her, and moved forward in front of her. She didn't consider anything else. Neither the fact that, even if she wanted me to go to the end of her queue, I couldn't, I was not allowed because I had way more than 10 items…

What really "impressed" me was, in her rage she ignored everybody else too and was focused only on her own interests. "She was in danger". Because, let's get back to the facts here. She left her queue, advanced in front of everybody else to be beside me in the other queue.

So… who was misbehaving here?

Wouldn't it be more "correct", more civilised if, once she started the debate and I explained about the different lanes, as she had just a few items, she could have asked me if I could let her go first, especially because she had two small children with her?

Do you think I would've said no? Of course not.

What is my point here? Simple, think before you act. You can not live in a "reactive mode" all the time. You can not take things to the personal level all the time. A simple confusion about lanes and queues should not lead to rage, bad mouthing, insults, etc.

You can't be living like a "mine bomb", if touched, it explodes.

And, unfortunately I see too many people like that. Where misunderstandings, small confusions, can quickly lead to attacks, retaliations, instead of asking for clarification first.

A daily shopping at the supermarket which led to unnecessary release of bad energy and stress. Because, even considering I didn't engage in the "fight" with her, her bad energy affected mine, and I had to keep very centred and focused to not fall into the same energy level she was. Because that is what we do if we are not "present and grounded."

And, while she was there, beside me, after having paid, shouting how "bad mannered" I was, I looked at her children and thought about how such an incident could confuse their values, and also affect their own future behaviours…

Do you think that someone who loses control of herself in such a minor incident, misunderstanding, behaves differently in other environments when she feels threatened? Of course not. The difference could be that she wouldn't shout or, she would refrain from saying something, if it would be in a work related situation.

And, maybe, she had been so "explosive" because she has been holding her voice back in other environments… who knows.

Whatever I say here about the source of that woman's behaviour, is a speculation. However, what I can say for sure is that if we don't learn how to deal with our emotions, how to respond in challenging or difficult situations, sooner or later, we will explode or, even worse, implode, causing a lot of self-harms, including depression.

There is a lot to explore and learn about how to deal with conflicts and difficult conversations. And I want to have this conversation with you, because that affects your personal and professional life and well-being.

Have you ever been blinded by rage? Let's continue this conversation.

Good day to you. 🌹



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I'll be sharing stories and solutions about how to deal with difficult conversations the next upcoming weeks.

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