Today someone I am attached to professionally violated some established social norms in a spectacular and offensive way, while I was in the room. I did nothing wrong, and I did my best to keep out of the fray but though the violator wasn’t aware, or perhaps didn’t care, I felt the eyes of the room and the wave of disappointment, anger, and disapproval falling on him, and me by association.
I was mad at the violator for the outburst the same as everyone else in the room, but I was also angered by my lack of control over the situation. Suddenly the way I was being viewed had nothing to do with me. Suddenly someone else was acting and speaking for me.
My anxiety has over the years turned me into someone who moves deliberately and with forethought. I rely on my friends and coworkers to give me the space I need to control the world’s perception of me and this person took that away.
I watched, outraged and angry, as he initiated a chaotic situation and acted in ways that left the outcome uncertain. He left me with no choices. He left me with no way to reassert my place or my boundaries. He left me exposed and with no way to salvage anything for myself. This, for me, is his true offense.
I don’t know how I can forgive it.