Tuesday, November 01, 2005


There is a woman with whom I used to work who was pleasant, cheerful and nice, but thoroughly incompetent. This woman (we will call her Pat - not her real name) was the bane of my existence. She was the reason I took the cardio-kickboxing class and started running again. I used to dread the moment she walked into the office. She eventually got fired because she lied to the boss as she had been lying to the rest of us all along, and she went away. Interestingly, though, my stress level did not decrease - in fact, it increased.

Later, with several years of hindsight, I realized that though this woman was dumb and un-dependable (and a liar) she was not the horror I had made her out to be - she was simply the lightning rod for my stress. Doug and I continue to call anyone who is the lightning rod for our stress "Pat".

We have some friends who are having relationship problems. The husband has made the wife his "Pat" - the woman can do no right. Similarly, when I was crazy after I had Annika, I made Doug my "Pat". It's so easy to make someone your scapegoat. I have to fight it every day and focus on what I can do to make something better rather than blaming it all on "Pat". Do you have a Pat?


Dogwood Girl said...

Ah, I don't have a Pat, but rather sometimes have a tendency towards worrying too much about what others are doing, rather than what I am doing. I tend to be pretty judgemental and have gone to great pains in the last 5 years or so to concentrate, like you, on what I can change about myself to make me happier, and to let go of everything else that I can't control. I am much happier these days.

Kat or Mike said...

You are so right with this one-- I definitely have a Pat. I never thought about this before, and I love the phrase "lightning rod for my stress". I will definitely be using this in future.