Oh, just get over it!
May 19, 2014 5:15 PM Subscribe
I am a public librarian. Sometimes I have to deal with problem patrons, and on rare occasions, those interactions turn ugly, and I have to ask the person to leave the building, etc. The problem is, I get upset, and then I get all flushed and shaky and worst of all, I cry. And when that happens, I can't really go off by myself and get composed -- I'm usually at the reference desk alone, so I can't be away for more than a minute or two. I've read previous AskMe questions about avoiding the crying, and have tried a lot of those tricks -- what I'd really like is to avoid getting so emotionally upset in the first place.
For example: tonight I had a deeply unpleasant run-in with a couple of teenage boys who are almost always on their worst behavior in the library, and I ended up having to tell them to leave. They refused, cussed and yelled and acted like bullies at me, I ended up having to escort them to the door and get a coworker to help me deal with them, all while trying to help other patrons. It sucked mightily, and I ended up in tears after they left.
After doing the necessary emailing of my boss and such, I took some deep breaths and tried to settle back down and get work done, but... as soon as I walked back out to the front desk and a particularly nosy coworker asked "Oh, are you upset about those boys??" I started to cry. I excused myself to the staff room, got a drink of water, and got some composure back, but it was embarrassing, and I'm still feeling shaky and teary-eyed. And, since I'm alone at Reference, I can't deal with it privately -- since every single patron in the room was a captive audience to the obnoxious teens, I've had lots of people making sympathetic comments and such, and that just makes it worse.
I would love to be one of those people who just shrugs it off once the conflict is over, but I have no idea how. Deep breaths and all to try to calm down afterward is one thing -- how do I avoid getting so stressed/upset/ wound up emotionally to begin with? Does anyone else deal with this? How do you handle it? I know part of it is anxiety -- I am on medication for an anxiety disorder, so I'm sure that's a part of it.