Your Point Is?

Some time back in early May, this happened.

When you’re someone who pays excessive attention to how the other person is feeling in any conversation you have, it can hurt pretty bad when you feel that the other person doesn’t reciprocate, or doesn’t seem to have the same ability to care about how others – aka yourself – can be impacted by the tone they use, the things they say, the way they put across certain things.

It was a Saturday evening, and the friend and I were walking along the civic district, making our way to an evening concert. She was telling me about a boy in her class. He has anger management issues, and despite his ability to rationalize and process through his actions when he’s calm, the moment he is triggered he forgets everything has has said, promised and vowed, and goes berserk again in one viscous cycle after another. She sighs in exasperation and says: “What happens to the rational voice inside when he is acting up? He is a deep thinker and fiercely intelligent. Why does he allow himself to go berserk the moment he is triggered?”

I wanted to reply, in a nutshell, that because when someone is overcome with anger, it’s not the rational brain that is working, but the primal brain, the lower level brain, the one that executes fight or flight mode, the survival mode. While rational thinking is a process, there’s hardly any room for that in fight or flight mode – the body simply reacts. And children who aren’t given enough alternatives or coping mechanisms to their fight or flight mode, could end up becoming adults who react in the same way every time they encounter strong emotions.

It all sounded pretty good and logical in my head, of course.

But somewhere in the process of getting the words from my brain to my mouth, they morph into sentences that trail off halfway, words that get stuck, thought links that fade away. I think I must have paused somewhere along “Anger is a very primal emotion…”

And then it came.

“Uh huh. So your point is?”

I’m in an interview room, trying to explain my entire life’s philosophy and beliefs to a panel of judges who are going to determine the value of my life.

“So your point is?”

High heeled shoes tap impatiently on the cold marble floor. The air is thick with murky silence as I try to breathe and push the words from my head to my mouth, hopefully in a coherent order. To articulate what had been a beautiful, logical chain of thoughts in my head.

“So your point is?”

My point is that I see enough value in this conversation to pursue it with you. I value you enough to attempt to share what I think about what you have just shared with me.

“So your point is?”

The point is that I’m inarticulate, useless at speaking off the cuff about things that matter the most to me, so why should I bother?

“So your point is?”


I’m back along the streets of the civic district, making our way to an evening concert.

“So your point is?”

I take a deep breath.

“My point is…”

I speak slowly and gradually bring the words out, one by one. Not that I really remember what I said anymore. Friend was silent as she listened. Maybe she is unconvinced. Maybe she took something from my reply to mull over. Whatever it is, I’m glad she didn’t come back with another “but…”. Because by then I needed to retreat, needed shelter to heal the wound and fear.

Until the next time we have to be Out There again.

Get my point?

Disclaimer: Friend in this episode is a close and good friend whom I enjoy talking to and sharing ideas with. I just tend to forget how straightforward and impatient she can be at times, and then things like that happen. She said “so your point is?” ONCE and the rest of it took place in the recesses of my easily-stimulated, INFJ mind.
And yet, life goes on.

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