Monday, March 31, 2014

Having A Bad Time? Remember Who The Real Enemy Is

In Hunger Games Catching Fire, Katniss is reminded at least twice to "remember who the real enemy is". One of those times, she was reminded by somebody she was about to kill.

This advice doesn't just apply to a fictional character living in a dystopian future. I say it's great advice for daily living.

I wasn't as good at compartmentalization as I am now. In 2001, I entered into what I now believe to have been a dysfunctional marriage, which miraculously lasted until it was officially dissolved in November 2013. Looking back, it was over a long time before that. I guess I just didn't realize it. Or I'd seen Fireproof too many times...

I'm not planning to pick on my ex. But since this is experiential, it makes an example. My ex wife and I fought constantly. And we never resolved anything. That's all I'll say on the matter, besides choose your mate wisely.

Early in the marriage, when we had a fight, I'd go into work still pissed off. In fact, one day about 6 months into the marriage, I walked into work, slammed my bag down, and asked the two guys I worked with "Has your wife ever pissed you off so bad, you were still pissed off the next morning?" Since both of them had been married 30 years or more, I had to do all the work that day because they couldn't stop laughing. For an 8 hour shift.

But at that point, I couldn't compartmentalize my feelings. I'd have a fight with my wife, (ex now), and would inadvertently take it out on somebody else, usually at work.

I eventually learned to stop doing that. but some marital problems would bleed over into my performance.

Then of course, there were the eventual financial problems, health insurance problems, and other problems that pop up in the daily course of life.

I finally learned to compartmentalize, so if I was having an issue with something, it wouldn't bleed over into other parts of my life. Last year, when I was going through the divorce, I did not let it affect my performance or interactions at work, or with anybody else.

I learned the lesson: remember who the real enemy is.

I know a lot of people who have been through divorces. I asked a while back if it was contagious. Seems like it's easier to list the people I know who haven't been divorced than the people who have.

I have some friends who are going through similar experiences. I can tell they're hurting. I can tell they're cranky, and want to lash out.

If you fit that description, like Katniss, remember who the real enemy is. Don't take it out on the rest of us. That's the advice I tried to follow through my own divorce.
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