Posts Tagged With: therapist confidentiality

Day 393: Left holding the bag (more idioms from Ann)

Here’s what I want to do today, people!  I would like to free associate on the idiom “Left holding the bag.”

Before I do, I would like to provide a wee bit of context, as follows:

      • I like to write about idioms, and so I have: here, here, and here. 1
      • I enjoy free-associating and writing about idioms, just for fun, but I suspect I might also do such things when I am avoiding being direct about something.
      • I have trouble being direct when (1) I need to keep something a secret and/or (2) I’m upset.
      • “Upset” is often a euphemism for “angry.”

Now, my context may have raised some confusion2 which I would like to do my best, right now, to clear up. Here are some thing I’d like to clarify:

      • I don’t like keeping secrets, but I do so when it’s in the service of keeping a situation “safe enough.”3
      • I was upset last night, and woke up feeling upset this morning.
      • This post is a way for me to move forward, through being upset, to the next right thing which — to me — is often related to connections to others.

Arrghh!  I think I’m digging myself deeper into a explanatory hole here. The more I say, the more I fear I need to clarify. I think it’s time to …

Image 4
…. stop this portion of the post, and move on to the Idiom Du Jour, which is

Left holding the bag

So what does that idiom mean?  Here’s a result of an online search, this morning:

be left holding the baby (British) also be left holding the bag (American)
to suddenly have to deal with a difficult problem or responsibility because someone else has decided they do not want to deal with it. “He abandoned the project after a year because he felt that it was going to fail and I was left holding the baby.”

I have to say I was startled by the surprise appearance of a baby:

Image 5
… but I guess that’s because I’m American.

Well, this is fun, but I think I’d like to be more direct, right now.

In a recent post, called “Free-floating, re-sticking anxiety (The __ Metaphor)” I wrote about suspecting that somebody was angry with me.  I did check that out with that person and, as I suspected, I was incorrect.  However, as I also wrote about in that post, I often suspect that SOMEBODY is angry at me, so when I continued to check out that perception, I did eventually, discover ….

…. somebody who WAS angry at me.

You know what?  At any particular time, there probably is somebody, somewhere, who is angry with each one of us. Why?  Because as we move through the world, with all our imperfections, with our messiness, and with our selfishness (which is not always a bad thing), inevitably we are going to hurt somebody’s feelings.

So if you keep asking people, “Have I offended you?” …. no matter how nice you are, or how hard you try NOT to offend people, eventually, the answer will be “yes.”

So THEN WHAT?

Well, speaking for myself, when I DO find somebody who is angry at me, my first response typically is ….

… to feel anger, back.

But that’s just the first step.  There are lots of options for ways to continue from there.

So why did the idiom of “left holding the bag” come to my mind today?

That’s a reflection of this: My first discussion with this person was too short. We only had five minutes to speak on the phone.  So, as a result, I felt left holding the bag. What’s in the bag I’m holding?  Anger, I suppose (or whatever else we want to call that feeling).

So, in my blog post today, I knew I wanted to get ahold of that bag, understand it, perhaps make it smaller, before I talked to the person again. And I definitely want to maintain my connection with this person.

And, you know what?  Writing this post has definitely helped with that.

Also, I chose this topic today because I had a photo I wanted to show you:

Image

Why did I want to show you that? Because that’s the bag I’ve been carrying around lately.  It’s made by Vy & Elle, who recycle vinyl billboards into bags and wallets (among other things).

Bags that you’re left holding can also be beautiful.

Thanks to Vy & Elle, my friends who have been angry with me at any time, stop signs, babies, and to you — of course! — for reading today.


  1. You know, when I include a link to another post, I’m not just doing it because I’m trying to spruce up my post with different colors, people.  I’m including posts I think you might actually find helpful, interesting, and maybe even fun.  It wouldn’t kill you to click on one of those every once in a way, would it?  (If you do click on these links, I apologize for my tone, which may seem a little harsh.)

  2. I started a post last night, with the title “Confusion,” in which I wrote some stuff about the fluctuating temperatures around here (for example, yesterday the high was allegedly 47 degrees: today the high is supposed to be 19 degrees). I rarely start posts the night before; when I do, it’s because of an unusual circumstance. In this case, I’m going to my son’s school this morning at 8 AM, so I thought I might not have time enough to write a post this morning.  Almost always, when I start a post the night before, I don’t use it.

  3. Therapists are trained to keep confidential the identities of their clients. While the people referred to in this post are friends, not clients, I often get into the habit of “secretiveness” regarding personal details.

  4. Stop signs have shown up in previous posts, including herehere, and here. Thought stopping is also the last in this list of antidotes to unhelpful thoughts.

  5.  That baby made a previous appearance, here.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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