Tag Archives: anger

regrets of a baited bear

It is a very grey day. As in it’s raining, the last day of the holidays and we are all tired and grumpy. I have losing-my-temper-like-a-fishwife remorse and I suspect Steve may have marrying-her niggles.

You see despite the fact that Ida was so bone tired she actually fell asleep at a reasonable hour in her own bed we didn’t have a great night after all. Due to the party in the church hall next to us which extended into the night and then into a loud, emotion and alcohol fueled dispute outside our bedroom window at about eleven thirty.

Something similar happened last Saturday so I had pent-up rage. Also a plastic bag of empty bottles and can’s that had been tossed over our fence. One of the cans hit Ida on the head.  I didn’t march straight round there with a lighted torch. I did spend half an hour composing an outraged letter for the priests.

So when Ida woke up for the second time and I had to cuddle her to calmness since she was frightened by all the shouting I went and indulged in a little shouting of my own.

Not helpful, not grownup, and not cool. Very satisfying though. Nothing  breaks up a gang of looming, leather clad, eastern european young men like a sleep deprived mother on the edge. I can’t even remember what I said – I know there was foul language, finger wagging and some ‘young man’ s.  All at the top of my voice.

I was almost instantly remorseful. This is not not sweating the small stuff. They were just stupid drunk men who were thoughtless. It’s hardly the end of the world. I feel ashamed.

I definitely have a temper. Mostly I keep a lid on it. I don’t really bear grudges either, it’s over quickly. Often I’m already feeling better and saying sorry as the other person reaches their peak. As I was dressing down those men last night I could see they were all abashed especially as they could see Ida upset on Steve’s shoulder. They weren’t mean – in fact it was hard to get them to stop baring their hearts and beating their foreheads in remorse and just leave. Blowing up like a pocket rocket Hulk does NOT mesh with my assuming-the-best-of-people, seeing-the-good life plan.

Must try harder.

I just asked Steve if he felt ashamed of me and he laughed and gave me a fizzy cola bottle. Maybe we can rename it as quirky. At least I’m not a sulker.

The sun has finally broken through the clouds, and is lighting up my smeary windows. Just in time for bed. It makes the lights that have been on for most of the dark day seem orange and odd. Toys are strewn all over the floor, Zeph and Ida spent the afternoon arranging the enormous cuddly animal collection into a  zoo and charging us for the privilege of being led around it. Money- sharping tom sawyers the both of them. They also took a lot of pleasure in burying Steve at one point;

 Ida is asleep in her bed. We have adopted a short-term plan of one of us lying on the bed til she drops off in her cot. It only takes half an hour and we can read. There’s already been a certain amount of, “no, no – let me..” On the way past Z’s room I looked in to say it’s lights off time as he’s got school in the morning but he was so pleading about being at a good bit in his book that I relented. I can’t resist a bit of bookish stuff and he totally plays me with it.

I love that.

Rage

BT – I’ll admit it’s odd – but it’s arguing. With Steve. I have a bad habit of passive aggressively storing up rage until it all pours out. I try to break it – but like all habits it’s persistent. In the middle of this particular snotty ranty outburst I realised 1)- how hard he was trying to listen to me although it was all squeaky and incomprehensible and frankly, a bit personal 2)- how lucky I was to be able to be angry like this. In previous miserable relationships I could never of cut loose like this with no fear of repercussions.

That was enough really to derail the fury train, and then the sorry’s and explaining and hugging are another step on the path to better understanding I hope.

I have a lot of rage and I’m right at the beginning of trying to find healthy ways to express and disperse it. Making bread is surprisingly successful. Not knitting though… Zeph went through a really bad time about two years ago when he would just get SO angry he couldn’t function. He got into fights at school with other children, with teachers, with us. I was pregnant with Ida and was so worried it was this big life change at the root of it. The things that made the difference were the tools we gave him to handle it and the permission to BE angry. I was unnerved by the language the school used – their angle was all about NOT being angry. How do you stop your feelings before they happen?

I felt that it was hugely important to say it was ok to be angry and to make some firm boundaries about what actions he took when he was angry. It boiled down to three basics – Do no harm to others, to yourself, or your surroundings. We practised counting, deep breathing. running a lap of the playground, using a pre arranged chill out chair, doing starjumps – all sorts. It really turned around once we took control and talked to Z and followed our own plan we’d concocted after much reading, listening and talking with each other. It literally  changed overnight.

 We were chatting idly about it a few weeks ago at bedtime and I asked Zeph what he remembered as helping the most. He did that silence thing for so long I wasn’t sure if he’d drifted off but he was just thinking hard and said it was when I’d said about how I felt when I was angry – he hadn’t realised other people had the same feelings – that he had thought there was something really wrong with him. It was just such a relief when we gave him permission to feel angry and shared our feeling with him. I remember describing my physical feelings, really simply – like the roiling feeling in my tummy and my face feeling hot and tight and the lump in my throat – and his joyful recognition of the symptoms and adding his own. I was so choked up I couldn’t say much and just gave him an extra huge hug before turning off the bedroom light.

Anger is part of me, without a doubt. I can’t pretend I enjoy it and I’m definitely not proud of it but to deny it endlessly is so exhausting and repressing it leads to scenes like earlier. I wonder if the people I really admire never feel anger or are so enlightened  they can recognise it and deal with it early and effectively enough that it doesn’t become ugly. Like snarling up  a stream with dams and blockages so the water spills over causing  floods and damage or just letting it flow free.

Whoops, nature simile. Time to go to bed and my sink is shiny.