My older brother and I were talking about this problem client that he had and overreacting and how sometimes people skip the normal steps of upsettedness (yes, I realize that is not a word, which is why the acronym was born) . As worded by Brad, “There is a Socially Acceptable Escalation of Hostilities, and this woman skipped them.
An example…someone cuts you off while you are driving. This manoeuvre doesn’t cause an accident or even an adrenaline surge, it just makes you angry. Well, the appropriate reaction (if you are normal and don’t possess the ability to just smile and nod) would be to honk and give a dirty look. It would not be to pull out your Glock and shoot a tire, or worse.
Obviously, not everyone has an understanding of S.A.E.H. Or they do, but only when they apply it to others. And those are the people I just want to shoot. Of course, if I were to do that, I would be breaking my own code, so I don’t. I just think mean thoughts about them and wonder why they can’t control their anger. Not that I’m cruel or heartless or don’t care about upsetting someone, but when one skips multiple rungs on the ladder of S.A.E.H., I just realize that they aren’t capable of functioning at a normal capacity and that I can’t let there hostility get to me.
Understanding of this ladder is extremely helpful when dealing with repeat rung-jumpers. As you breathe out S.A.E.H. in your mind (pronounce ‘say’ with a little extra ‘h’, unless someone offers something better) you will realize that the person you are dealing with doesn’t have an understanding of these principles and that knowledge can almost instantly diffuse a potential “situation” if you allow it to. I had the opportunity to practice this over my short Christmas break. A comment became a situation when the person to whom the comment was made decided to skip about four rungs of the ladder. Well, once upon a time, I might have jumped up there with her, but instead, I just walked away and calmed down.
Was I a little bugged that I couldn’t say everything I was thinking? Of course. But the problem with rung-jumpers is that they feel the need to always be above you. No matter how high you jump, the rung-jumper will always jump above you.
So, the next time you are upset about something ask yourself two questions: 1. Does my level of anger seem appropriate to the situation? 2. Does the person I’m dealing with have the same understanding I do of S.A.E.H?
And then move on.
Great post Chloe. I saw your link over at Janssen’s place. I find one of the nice things about aging is that I tend to get less easily upset. I grumble to myself sometimes and shake my head, but I’m usually more astonished at terrible behavior than I am angry at it. The one thing that really blows me away is when I see older people jumping the rungs on this ladder. There should be some wisdom gained with age.