Opening my work email at home after a day at work (habit I am trying to break), there was one from my wack-a-doodle boss. He wanted a meeting. He sent a second email the next morning requesting a meeting. I had noted that his face the last two weeks had the "Gargamel" (character from the Smurfs") look to it which was not a good sign. Having already identified him as one of the major contributors of my anxiety, I did what I always do: panicked. I worked myself into a frothy frenzy; heart racing, face flushing, wringing my hands. I knew I was in for a battle where I would be scapegoat of all that might be wrong.
In the midst of my panic I told myself this was anxiety. I had been to the counselor, what was I supposed to do? What is it that she had taught me? There was a moment I couldn't remember anything. The next moment I could recalled that anxiety is just an emotion that you won't let yourself feel, and emotions won't kill you. So I took some long, deep breaths, told myself to give validity to the emotion, that I was not having these emotions for no reason, that I had been thoroughly programed by my boss to anticipate the worst and to be prepared to defend myself from false accusations; I had not made this up at all and the emotions were appropriate.
The anxiety went down by two thirds. I could catch my breath again and I stopped shaking. Then I put on my armor, the emotional armor I had hoped to always leave packed away forever (wishful thinking). Ready for battle, facts and figures in hand, I went to the meeting.
The meeting went much better than I expected. The boss was asking us to cut down the amount of help we used. I agreed with him and proceeded to tell him about how many hours a week I spend assisting others in the department that are technically outside of my assignment. If he decided to cut my help, I could no longer assist others and I would let those people know that my boss had instructed me not to assist and to stay within the parameters of my job. My boss visibly backed up in his chair. He put both palms out to me and told me no, please continue to assist others as it promoted team work.
All of that armor and no fight? Perhaps things have changed. While I remain ever so skeptical and guarded, I may have over prepared for the situation. Time will tell.