I had an experience this week in traffic where  –boom!  I was on the triangle – Hero-Victim – Villain.   

A woman in a sleek burgundy car was starting to pull out of her parking spot at a red light.  I waited a moment.  When she seemed to be pausing and not moving, I moved ahead of her.  This led to her inching up toward me, trying to crowd me out while the light was still red.  Realizing she did in fact want to go in front of me, when the light turned green I let her go.

What response did I get from this?  She rolled down her window and gave me the finger.  A quite lovely finger in fact, with a beautiful long fingernail.  Then she did it again as she was turning left in front of me (a parting gesture).

In her mind, I was villain.  She was victim.  It was hard not to feel like a victim myself.  My intentions were only good.  I wasn’t trying to crowd her out, I was just moving with the flow of traffic when she didn’t.  I even let her go in front of me in the end. But here we both were seeing ourselves as victims of the other’s villainousness.

It made me reflect on how many times arguments go this way.  A couple tries to figure out who’s the bad guy?

When it is determined who acted worse, that person is expected to apologize.  Then it is expected that everyone feels fine again.

In truth, what really needs to happen is everyone needs to feel and express their own feelings. And be heard.

I sat for a minute in my car after this event before going into the store.  First I felt sadness for her.  If she is giving me the finger in a situation like that, she is probably feeling disempowered in general in her life.  Then I felt my own feelings.  I felt misrepresented, unseen, misunderstood and hurt.  Once I could acknowledge how I really felt, I took a deep breath and could get off the triangle.

The truth is, we all get triggered.  It is bound to happen again and again. So don’t feel bad when it happens.  Just make a new choice.

There’s no bad guy.  Love is your nature!