Proud moment today. My oldest Zach was kind enough to drive me to a doctor’s appointment.
While we were waiting, another patient (let’s call her Mary) started going off on the receptionist (a young 20 -something ‘we’ll call Jen’ who stayed professional the whole time). Mary was acting rude, entitled and wasn’t communicating her needs well.
I watched and listened to Mary closely – because I was preparing to step in to try and de-escalate if need be. I had a good idea what her self-talk included by what she was saying to Jen.
After Mary left, those of us in the waiting room looked around at each other with shocked expressions.
Then Zach stood up and walked over to Jen’s window,“I’m sorry you had to deal with that.”
She asked Zach if he had a question for her and he responded,“No, I just wanted to say that to you.”
She downplayed the incident,“Oh it’s okay.”
An older couple (we’ll call them Ward and June) was sitting near us. June leaned toward Zach and said,“Thank you for saying that.“
This opened the door for us to process with each other what had happened. We were strangers – didn’t even know each other’s names. But we had an upsetting shared experience that bonded us for a moment.
I shared some of my observations about the behavior we’d witnessed from Mary – including the suspicion she may experience being talked down to in other areas of her life and was projecting that on Jen.
In a touched voice, Jen said,“Thanks guys.”
I sensed she felt seen and relieved with everyone’s reassurance that it wasn’t her.
As for Mary. I hope she finds more people who can sit with her and give a good listening to. She could use a little being seen too.
For a bit more context. Zach is the reason I do what I do for the Neurodivergent community. He’s living with Autism, ADHD and bi-polar.
Anyone who’s read my book about how I raised Zach and his brothers will understand how much he’s grown. In fact, he’s majoring in Social Work.
It’s amazing how far our kids can go with the right strategies.