I Do Not Want to be Irritated

Last night at work there was a “situation.”  There are a couple “difficult” personalities where I work and this situation involved one of them.

I walked into her room to do her med reminder, but she was in the bathroom so I got everything ready and waited for her in the other room.

Long story short… she got very angry with me.  It went something like this…

Her:  “You never help me!  All the other girls help me!”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you needed help in there.”

Her:  “You should know I need help!  I have such a terrible time.”

Me:  “The door was closed, I didn’t know.  Please just tell if me you need help.”

Her:  “You just don’t care.”

That’s how that conversation was going, which is to say, it was not going well.  There was no calming her down and I could feel my own personal buttons starting to get pushed.  It was at that point that I thought of my choices.  There were two that stood out.

One, the “high road,” which I don’t really consider a high road.  That entails me resolving that I am in the right and keeping myself aloof, not partaking in the hostility, because I’m “the better person.”  This option is no good, because it simply changes the hostility from being outward, to being inward.  It is equally hostile as if I’d verbally lashed out.

Two, (this is the option I chose) is simply to not be irritated.  Sounds difficult when a person is in such a situation, but the difficulty just depends on how you look at it.  See, what I realized in the middle of that conversation as I felt myself getting worked up, was that I didn’t want to be irritated.  I just didn’t want to be irritated.

So I let her (unjustified) accusations go.  I didn’t let them offend me.  I let her “go off the handle” at me and it didn’t bother me.  I wanted to love her and I would have been the only thing stopping me from doing that, no matter what she was doing.

The conversation ended with her mustering all the strength in her 87 pounds to spit in my face, “I’m DISGUSTED with you people!”  I just listened to her complaints, explained things when I could, kept helping her get comfortable once she’d made it back to her chair from the bathroom, and then asked her before leaving if there was anything else she wanted me to do. I gave her ample time to think if there was anything else she wanted and when she was ready, I left.

Later that evening when I was tucking her into bed she told me that she was so sorry, saying she just gets irritable when she’s in pain (understandable!).  And that was the peaceful end to a peaceful day in my spirit.


“Most days I choose peace over drama,

because it just feels better.”

~Kerry Herlihy, “Papa Don’t Preach”



~ by Eva on September 2, 2009.

4 Responses to “I Do Not Want to be Irritated”

  1. You are such an angel. A true example – to me – of how Jesus would act. Thank you.

    • Oh, I’m just acting in my own self-interests. Being irritated takes too much of the wrong kind of energy and in this instance I was just not interested in conjuring that up. It seems to me to take much less energy to just be open-hearted. Thanks for the compliment though!

  2. It sucks when people choose to be so difficult. It also sucks, very thoroughly I might add, to live in pain.

  3. Such a good life lesson. I contend that the “high road” as you described it was really the self-righteous road, and thus the low road. The “high road” is the one you chose–to be open-hearted and to hold no grudge afterward. A very difficult thing to do. I am so proud of you.

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