Like I mentioned before, I want to try this reframing technique using a story that just occurred a couple weekends ago. There are so many versions of this story I could tell, but I'll narrow it down to the following:
The Facts Version
The Victim Version
The Other Side
The Funny Version
Just the Facts, Ma'am
It was cold and raining. I had taken the kids to a birthday party and then picked up my husband, who was grocery shopping, and we returned home, parked the car and loaded up the stroller with all the bags. Both kids had fallen asleep on the way home, so I put Luka in my carrier, and Yusuke carried Ailin from the car to the apartment building. The stroller was very imbalanced because of all the bags and it was constantly in danger of falling over. Yusuke had run ahead, leaving me with the stroller, and by the time I reached the gate which leads from the parking lot to the building, he was already going inside the lobby. I put my key in the door, but when I attempted to open it, the stroller fell backwards and both the diaper bag and my purse fell to the wet ground. There were 2 ladies standing nearby (a mother and grown daughter), and they began walking towards me. Then they stepped over my bags and the stroller, opened the door (my key was still in the lock) and went inside. I began yelling obscenities at them, and they ran towards the elevator, jumped on and disappeared.
I am having a really hard time reframing this because the FACTS version is so apt in explaining what happened - I really doubt that adding more to the story would change the way a listener or reader would feel. I mean, it is so obvious that these women are cold-hearted & inhumane. (And, I think I have problems! Just think about people in Dafur, and it really puts a story like this into perspective.)
Anyway, I am going to try the Funny Version instead.
Ha Ha, the Joke's on Me
So, here I am a foreign woman with 2 kids, living a normal life in a normal condominium, where I sometimes come across totally clueless individuals - one in particular - we'll call her Ms Clueless. The other day, it was pouring rain and I was struggling with a stroller loaded up with groceries, Luka sleeping in my carrier & an umbrella. The door from our parking lot to our garden requires special skills to hold open while pushing a stroller through, and every time I opened the door, it would slam shut before I could push the stroller through, and in the process, the stroller fell backwards...not once, but twice. Meanwhile, Ms Clueless was standing nearby with her daughter, Clueless Jr., and they were chatting away. When they saw me struggling, I thought for sure they would rush over to help like any good, decent human beings would do. And, they did rush over, but then they stepped right over my bags and my stroller, opened the door and ran inside, leaving me in the mud. (I would say "leaving me in the dust," but as I said, it was pouring rain.) Shocked, as any person would be, I yelled "Thank you!" in the most sarcastic tone I could muster, but sarcasm goes over Japanese peoples' heads, so then I yelled "That is so rude!" in Japanese. It only made them run faster. They jumped onto the elevator and disappeared. I have seen Ms Clueless a few times since, and though I promised myself that I would give her a piece of my mind if such an opportunity presented itself, I have not said anything because a clueless, heartless, inhumane person would not understand what she did wrong anyway.
Okay, it was sort of funny until the end when my true feelings took over. The word diatribe floats to my mind whenever I want tell someone off or when I am on the receiving end myself. In this case, it is hard for me to avoid wanting to soak her in a diatribe of my own spit every time I see her, but she is the coldest, most stuck-up, heartless woman I have ever met, and I think she would actually turn her head away and ignore my very existence. It wouldn't be worth the rise in my blood pressure.
(Speaking of blood pressure though, on the day that this happened, my temples were about the explode, and my heart was beating out of my chest, and my hands were shaking uncontrollably. I yelled at my husband shortly afterwards. I broke an umbrella too. These are things I am working on - anger management.)
Now, for the Other Side version. When thinking through a situation which involves other people, try looking at it from their side. Of course, you can't possibly know what a heartless, inhumane woman might be thinking, but let's give it a try.
The Other Side
I was a young mother once. I had 2 girls, but that was a long time ago. 35 years ago to be exact, and I never once, not even once, needed help. Back then, we had no elevators or strollers. I carried both girls on my back, rode a bicycle, and balanced all my grocery bags around my neck, both arms, and my head without any trouble at all. I have no idea why this foreign woman is getting all worked up just because I stepped over her bags and her stroller to get inside my building. It was raining. I didn't have my umbrella and neither did my sweet, sweet 35-year-old daughter (who is unmarried and still lives with us, by the way). We didn't want to get wet. Look, I have seen this foreign mom before and she is a tough lady. I was sure that she didn't need my help, and I wouldn't want to interfere with her private business anyway.
Okay, that actually worked. I honestly feel much better after examining the situation from Ms. Clueless' side. She didn't want to get wet. The poor thing.