Last week I walked out to the pond in the morning to feed the fish as I always do. I immediately noticed the plant that was astray and then looked down to see a fish on the cement, pretty ripped up and obviously dead.
I became a bit frantic, immediately called Steve who wasn’t there, hung up and screamed, “I want to kill the cat!”
There is some important additional information required here:
1. I don’t know if a cat killed the fish.
2. If it was a cat, I don’t know which cat.
3. Killing any cat won’t bring my fish back to life.
After a minute (or more like ten minutes), I was able to relax enough to feel my actual feelings. I was sad and confused. I wanted the fish to be safe in my care.
Killing the cat in the moment seemed to be a way that I could keep my fish safe, except for maybe not, since there are many cats, and I no longer think it was a cat that killed my fish. (damn raccoons!)
The rage implicit in the statement “I want to kill the cat!’ is important to notice —giving me the information of how important the well-being of the fish are to me.
If this reaction was in relation to something someone said or did in my life, my feelings are still super-valuable. They are my barometer of how important the needs are that underlie (cause) the feelings themselves. Sharing them immediately —“I want to kill you!” for example is likely not the best strategy. As with the case of the cat, that first thought (the cat did it) is most often not accurate.
Next time you have a quick and strong emotional reaction to something that happened, I encourage you to take your 10 minutes. Connect to the needs. You will then be better able to strategize how to actually keep your ‘fish safe’.
UPDATE: Since this happened, another fish was found outside the pond, not dead yet.
I am sleeping downstairs by the pond.
I have no idea what I will do if/when I discover the predator. Maybe I should consider this next step. I’m fairly certain screaming at it will be part of the plan. I hope it works!