Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tantrum


I have a bad temper.

This is not something of which i am proud. The opposite is true. I am ashamed.

There is a lifecycle for this temper.

I lose it. I totally lose it. I scream like a rabid harpy at my child or my husband. I scream for about five minutes. Sometimes i throw things. The more i scream and storm, the worse i feel. I can't seem to stop it.

Then i have to go away. I can't calm down unless i am alone.

After a while, i present myself to the offended party. I apologize. I admit my failure. I stare at the floor.

I feel deeply ashamed of my disgusting behavior. I slink around for several days, not being able to look anyone in the eye. I sigh a lot. I am depressed, deeply. I think how they would be better off without me.

I can see it coming with Em. I can't with the Mister. So with Em, sometimes i can get away from her and calm down before i lose it.

With the Mister it comes out of the blue. It's binary. From zero to sixty in 3 nanoseconds.

My family forgives me, but i do not. I swear it will never happen again, that i will control myself. (The fact that i never do this in front of other people is proof that i can control myself. This makes me feel even worse.)

Then, six, eight, ten months later, i do it again.

48 comments:

flutter said...

I think we all have something like this, that shames us.

But I wonder, knowing how conscious you are of it, have you considered meditating on it?

Mrs. Chili said...

There's a theory in child-rearing that our kids save their worst behavior for us. They can be lovely and sweet all day at school, then turn into little demon children as soon as they cross the threshold.

The reason for this, researchers hypothesize, is that children do these things because they feel safe enough in their home environment to release all that negative stuff. They know that mom and dad (are supposed to) love them unconditionally. They won't get tossed out of class or sent to the principal's office or rejected by their friends.

Perhaps this is why you're able to release in your own home environment? Or am I full of shit?

QT said...

It's GOT to come out sometime, right? In some form?

{says fellow tantrum thrower}

Sober Briquette said...

in my experience, that type of noisy rage comes from the feeling that I'm not being heard any other way. so, while I'm completely guilty for doing it, I sorta blame the other person's (lack of) communication style, too.

Sarah said...

I am exactly the same. Exactly.

Let me know if you figure out how to stop it. xo

lu said...

I can relate to every part of this. I only do this with people I feel safe with; Part of unconditional acceptance-which leaves my children to withstand my eruptions. Blah. I want so badly to be zen like about conflict.

Gordo said...

I know it feels terrible, but you can take some comfort in knowing how infrequently it happens, can't you? I'm grumpy the majority of the time with my kids and I hate that.

Poe said...

Honestly, if you were mine, I would love you all the more for the simple fact that you are capable of seeing your own truth, and of admitting to your bad qualities. It takes a special kind of person to be as honest as you are with yourself. And I would put up with almost anything if the person doing it were as honest as you are.

Nobody is perfect. Be kind to yourself.

liv said...

all i can do is nod.

furiousBall said...

next time you're about to go apeshit, break into some interpretive dance or keep a package of lunch meat with you and slap your ass cheeks with it.

Cagey said...

Oh, sister. ME TOO. I hate, HATE my temper. While I am grateful that I don't hold things in or carry a grudge, I wish I could find an outlet or some sort of magic cure for my incredible impulse to Let It All Out. *sigh*

Tink said...

ME TOO! I got on medication for it that did absolutely no good. Made me poop like a champ for once though. That was kind of nice. LOL. Yeah-yeah-yeah, ew, I know. Whatever, that's life. I don't know how to make it not happen. But thankfully I have a guy who forgives me every time it does. I just wish I could forgive myself.

Marshamlow said...

Me too! I also think it comes from feeling like I am not being heard.

Princess in Galoshes said...

Meno, try to forgive yourself, and just work on it for next time. I don't think perpetuating negative feelings (towards yourself) will help. But I do know what you mean, I hate that feeling of losing control, it's scary.

Schmoopie said...

People all show sadness and depression in different ways. I get really anxious and have a bad temper as well.

It sounds like you may be having a lot of trouble with the anger side of depression that comes with menopause. You have mentioned before that exercise helps. Up your level of exercise. Walk 6 miles instead of 3 etc.

This too shall pass. I told Stucco to lock me in a closet when I go through menopause. I have witnessed several women's personality shifts during this time. Sometimes it isn't pretty!

All this cloudiness doesn't help either. Where is our summer? Bring on the sunshine! :)

TTQ said...

I got nothing for ya on this. TTQ = Temper Tantrum Queen. I haven't had a fit in a long time, it's a hrad title to maintain once you label and file it.

Anonymous said...

Think how powerful you felt when you were enraged--you in fact were "going strong," yes?
I am not at all sure that this happens because one is out of control. I think it may have a lot to do with being controlling, and with the joy of being powerful.
If this is the case, you don't want to drop it because that is giving up power. And so you may wish to look around (well in advance) and plan on what you will do to feel powerful if you don't allow yourself the tantrum.
Pat

Maggie said...

I haven't read the others so if I repeat, just rinse and go.

I was thinking that maybe it's not so much that you control it around others. Maybe all the bottling around others, all the times you don't let yourself be mad adds up and then you let loose on the people you know will forgive you. Doesn't make it right, to be sure, but it might help how you approach the problem.

I know I can be a screamer from time to time and it's taken me a long time to figure out in some very very very small measure things that trigger it. But you know, it's all a part of life. Of course, I do like you, I apologize and feel like a dirty heel until I feel confident I can handle myself and then it happens again.

fiwa said...

No advice. Just wanted to say, I still like you.

lovins,
f

patches said...

De has an excellent point. I'm not implying it is a means to justify the end, but I do think it offers perspective on the why.

I have the same problem. After months of eating shit politely with a knife and fork, I find it difficult to sit quietly and continue to take it. Typically my blow-ups aren't about one thing, they are about six months worth of things.

No matter how hard we all try to make things right, we will all continue to be flawed in some way.

Brad said...

I've always been one to bottle things up and then blow my cork. I'd like to say 'I used to be'...but haven't quite got there yet.

It helps me a bit to let it off a little at a time. Right when I feel offended or a bit angry at the actions of others. I just try to keep myself on a slow simmer.

Don't kick your self too hard - No one's perfect - right ?

jen said...

i kind of admire it. i wish i could free myself enough to let it rip sometimes.

Clowncar said...

I was gonna say something meaningful and heartfelt until I read about doing interpretive dance with a package of lunch meat.

That sounds more fun than my suggestion. And probably more constructive.

Do that.

pat said...

Frankly I think its healthy to let it rip...I sometimes have to go insane for a few minutes and i warn everyone whats coming and that its not thier fault and then...let it loose..

Scott from Oregon said...

The temper part... sure. Whatever. A couple of times a year.... bleh...

The throwing things part. Unacceptable. Knock it off.

crazymumma said...

me too. I do the same thing.

Deb said...

Me too. And it really pisses me off. Is that ironic?

luckyzmom said...

The pressure builds up then the top explodes. It would be less painful for those you love, if you would learn to let the pressure escape less violently. You can do it.

Nancy Dancehall said...

But you come back down to earth afterwards, and you apologize, and you try not to do it again. that's worth A LOT, meno. *hug*

Vanessa said...

I'm with Patches. I think things get so built up over time then they have to escape somehow. I also think awareness is the first step towards change.

Irrelephant said...

Darlin', to have it happen so very rarely is a treat unto itself. We live in a very tough world, where change comes at us a mile a minute, where pressure is nearly constant and tomorrow seems to hold more of the same, only with gas a few cents more expensive and one more worry about poison fruits or someone being killed by a crazy man with dynamite tied to his chest.

Be thankful it's so rare, and we'll be thankful to you that you come back to us after it's over.

Bobealia... said...

I have a father who does this. As a result I laugh when people have extreme emotions. This does not go over well with anyone. I'm such a bitch.

Anonymous said...

My husband and my 16DD both do this too. I don't know if its a nature/nurture thing but his Mom and Grandma are that way too. As a laid back, quiet-anger person it just gets my goat! I find that it is worse with them when they are stressed. Meditation, as someone suggested, may be the key?

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

Maybe you're like a dog, and if you'd just get enough exercise, you wouldn't be chewing any shoes, or jumping on people, (or biting). What do you think?

(I hope this made you laugh.)

Sienna said...

It's okay to feel anger and angry.

It took me a while to learn that I am just human and feel all kinds of emotions and anger is one of them.

Also it it took me some time to realise I needed to work on how I express(ed) my anger/frustration.

It was never at the kids, never at work, or day to day stuff, only at my partner, it can sort of eventuate from how emotions/anger was dealt with in you own family growing up, how you relate to your partner, relationship issues, so many things....but it is also something I had to deal with and take responsibility for because it was wrecking my life, health and affecting everyone..

I have come a long way, I've got you something:

http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/MH/00073.html

and...especially:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anger-management/MH00075

http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/anger/

That'll take you to some good reading and links, you aren't a monster Meno, there is no manual for each person on their life and sometimes we learn stuff/cope that we kinda should unlearn or get help for...we can be the hardest taskmasters on ourselves, and often there is an answer and help available..

I got help because I deserve better and my family deserves better.

It is the most wonderful feeling to be able to recognise what's going on and expressing whatever it is that's building up..it's one of the best things I have ever done.

Hugs to you!

Pam

hockamama said...

*cyber hugging you*

there's nothing I can say that hasn't been said, except of course to say that everyone has qualities that they feel bad about, you're not alone; although that doesn't really make it feel better...

just know that you're loved by lots of people

sari said...

I have fits here and there as well. I wonder when I will grow up.

tt said...

I used to do that too...I'd bottle everything up and then one day...sometimes out of the blue...BAM!!! The roof gets blown off...
I don't bottle things as much and it's almost gone now a days. I just couldn't keep having battles with myself...it was cpunterproductive.
Of Course , the hysterectomy helped a bit too I think ;) lol

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have a temper, too. Usually I can control it. I am always sorry when I can't.

Btw, I've read all your posts. I am just low on energy and time to comment right now, but I relate to your new stage of life, empty nest, wherever it is, and ovaries with ADD.

Hang in there. Everything will be all right. Really.

Say It said...

you are not alone. I think we behave the worst with the ones we love and feel secure with.

Jennifer said...

I'm not going to read these comments because if I find out this is not normal behavior, I'll be depressed for months.

I do this same cycle all the time.

Mona Buonanotte said...

I'm a "bottler"...I bottle up feelings until they explode. It's not pretty, and I feel crappy. But then again...letting off steam every day seems sort of pointless too, like little farts of my unhappiness.

womaninawindow said...

Six, eight, ten months later...you're not doing SO badly, really!

Susanne said...

I know how you fell, I really do. And, months without exploding, congratulations.

On the other hand I'm learning how to keep my calm too. If we can do it for other people we should be able to do it for our family too.

I gave my husband a book about anger by Thich Nat Hanh. He says that it's good but I have yet to read it myself.

Laurie B said...

Any communication is good communication. Not being heard (or even thinking that you are not being heard) is terrible. You do have a voice, and it's very ok to use it. Sometimes it may just blurt out at 2 am, othertimes you can actually talk.

Here in our house it goes like this; I'd rather be blasted at ( or blast off at) than risk not being heard. Every single time, for either of us. I can surely deliver the heat, and ya' know, I can take it too. If you don't want blasts, well then, let's just talk more often.

Good on ya', apologies are nice but they shouldn't be necessary.

ETK said...

Wow, lots of great comments. I don't have anything new to add but I wanted to reiterate:

1) be kind to yourself, no one is perfect, we all have flaws.
2) we do save our best behavior for those we love and I firmly believe it's because we're comfortable and loved.
3) Self-awareness is good.

I love that you're flawed yet self aware. You are so real.

Anonymous said...

Stop and think about what a memory that leaves inside your childrens little brains. And what you acting that way speaks to them of. That's what finally stopped my "spells". I learned to get-it-out in private. Tessa

egan said...

Umm, you seem very mild mannered to me. This post speaks volumes about your courage and desire to break the habit.