I wanted it so badly I could feel it crunching between my aching teeth: The first bitter bite, the heat in my veins, the sweet release of rage, pure and cathartic, roaring out of me.
Oh how I wanted to take the bait. How I longed to wreak vengeance on the person who was dangling the hook.
Have you ever felt like this? Maybe you know what I mean. That Person Who Can Get To You Like Nobody Else has struck again. You feel wounded, wronged, righteous. You want revenge.
You have been baited and you want to bite.
Problem is, you also know that if you take the bait things will get much much worse: pain, entrapment, spiritual annihilation.
Sometimes it’s really hard to back down from a fight, especially if you have the misfortune of having chronically troubled relationships in your life.
It’s tough when you feel righteously wronged. Someone has tried to get you. Someone is spoiling for a fight. You’re not being paranoid. It’s real.
Alas, even when the other guy is out to get you it’s not always a good idea to get into it. For one thing, you probably won’t elicit a confession, to say nothing of an apology. Folks who bait you rarely admit to it. They dig the subterfuge. Copping to something takes the fun out of it.
What’s more if you react to the provocation then you have made it your problem and your fault. The person who will suffer, especially when the perp is denying everything, is YOU.
Finally, and hardest to admit, if you blame the other guy and punish him or her with a tidal wave of rage, you are ignoring the fact that there may have been some small provocation on your part. Did you deserve the evil response? Definitely not. It’s good to keep in mind, however, that behavior is karmic and if you want to stop a negative cycle you have to let it end with you. No fair? You betcha.
What to do with the leftover feelings broiling your brain?
I’ve tried everything, I am sorry to say, including smashing glassware, burning pictures of the Evil One, mixing a batch of cheap cocktails in the sports blender, and unleashing my ire in an apocalyptic fit of drunk dialing. I don’t recommend any of those.
Today, I stomped around the empty house ranting and weeping, then I cranked up Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and “Monster”. It was splendid to sing along.
After this bit of catharsis, I decided to head for the cooler air of the higher ground. I can’t promise I will stay in the peaceful aerie of forgiveness but it’s a pretty good destination for a scorching day in July.