The Illusion of Control

May 24, 2020
Spring 2006
a picture of a library card filing cabinet with one drawer open by Maksym Kaharlytskyi, courtesy Unsplash Remember [#a2l46a]? He provided that helpful advice about the importance of looking deeper when it comes to understanding a situation, and by extension, people. As you will later read, I botch that advice horribly for three years straight before reality sets in like a ton of bricks. Another reality was about to set in much the same way.
As you may or may not know, I am not new to the Capital Region. I'm quite at home with the slowed-down pace, which is why I preferred it to downstate (which is increasingly looking like I dodged a bullet). During my first residency, I lived in a facility where my ability to control things was nearly non-existent. Ironically, it put me in a controlling mood, and one of those things I sought control over was the chore sheet.
Every couple of weeks, the chore list would rotate, and each of us was expected to pick up on that task without hesitation and with proficiency. Naturally, I did really well whatever chore it was (although I resented cleaning the bathroom, especially during the renovation stage). Staff kept track of this list in a form, which I helped create on a Word document as a way of thanking them for having my back during my March 2005 CTP, which reinstated computer privileges I initially lost*.
One day, one of my peers, [#p2b92n] made an objection to my monopoly on the file, and wanted an opportunity to contribute. I was selfish, and argued against his involvement. However, the staff member he was arguing with, which happened to be [#a2l46a], was sympathetic to the concern raised. Rather than realize I was overplaying my hand, I decide to take the file with me into the restroom, and I attempt to close the door behind me. I fail, and before I know it, I'm pinned against the wall facing the window in a standing hold.
Amidst the circumstances, I try to break free, and I bite [#a2l46a]'s hand to do it. He starts bleeding, and remarks "you punk!" (I deserved that insult, although my past self might disagree with me) Eventually, [#a3s78k] takes his place, and he says "Damn, Eric, why'd you do that for. You realize he's a hemophiliac, right?" "What the hell does that mean?" I said, my waist pressed up against the sink. "It means his bleeding takes longer to stop." Here come the bricks. After realizing what I had done, and the rationale for doing it, I broke, and I calmed down.
My mind made numerous leaps that would not make sense from hindsight, and words can't begin to describe the disgust I feel towards those processes. It's a world apart from how things were handled just three years earlier, when the absence of de-escalation measures made me even more violent. I can see why it's imperative that I implement those measures when I encounter conflicts of my own, because I have both seen and experienced the value in doing so.

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