Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A connection

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In my family, as kids, my brothers and i were encouraged to make fun of each other.  Ganging up on whomever was the current odd man out, whomever had done something stupid (as kids often do) or whomever was being ridiculous (as kids often are).

When it was me being ridiculed, i hated it, and it felt like there was no escape, no safe place to go and collect myself.  When it was not me, i participated gladly, thankful that it wasn't me.


The maddest i get as an adult is when i feel stupid.  That's when i lose my shit and start throwing things. 

At the time of this temper losing, i feel unable to stop, like i am under attack and have to defend myself.  My brain time travels back to that stupid-feeling child and becomes her again.


This is not an unimportant observation.

16 comments:

Lynnea said...

Recognizing what makes us tick is the kind of bellybutton gazing that pays off.
I think a temper tantrum, as long as it doesn't do any harm to yourself or anyone around you, would be very healthy. Or a good long hike to work out the excess energy, something like that. Also ranting and raving with a good listener. Then again, there is good old fashioned revenge. ;D

De said...

When do you feel stupid is a good question. How you react is important, but what triggers it? That's different for each of us, too. Zeroing in on what makes you feel vulnerable (aka stupid) and examining those things could you come up with ways of reacting that you prefer.

In my family, there was a fair amount of mockery. I heard, "Don't dish it out if you can't take it," often, but it made no sense because you didn't gain immunity if you didn't dish it out.

My oldest brother has a wife and three adult daughters. They make fun of everything and everyone mercilessly- most especially themselves, and yet they somehow don't seem to get hurt by it. I am not sure if this is a true picture or just a facade.

On the other hand, my sister, my other brother, and I are sensitive in the extreme. I'm kind of like a small terrier - I act ferocious out of fear.

Bob said...

recognizing the trigger gives you a critical tool to use to fix the behavior. Knowing why you do something is the first *and biggest* step to changing it. Obviously the goal is to not feel "stupid" - or at least to find another way to deal with that feeling.

This sounds more like a revelation than an observation, a milestone in understanding yourself. Which is !!FANTASTIC!!.

Melessa said...

I think we grew up in the same family. :(

jaded said...

I am better about giving myself a free pas on stupid, because seriously, how can I possibly know everything I feel like I should know? But being manipulated…that can spark me to behave inexcusably.

We carry baggage from childhood that impairs our ability to cope. Few are lucky enough to recognize the linkage as you have.

Taradharma said...

just last night on Colbert, he interviewed Jeffrey Kluger who has written a book on sibling dynamics and how our childhoods are training grounds for our adult years. Understanding your family/sibling dynamic is a good way to look at your current behavior, just has you are doing. It is no fun, this feeling stupid, but we've all been there and will visit that place again and again. How you view your 'feeling stupid' and how you act from that place now that you have knowledge, are two different balls o' wax.

Mrs. Chili said...

It is not an unimportant observation. You're more than halfway there.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

"The Sibling Effect" by Jeffrey Kluger is on my reading list, Tara, because I also carry a lot of unwanted baggage from childhood. Meno, I was constantly told that I alone was stupid in a brilliant family. I was the youngest and only girl, so there was male chauvinism, too. Feeling stupid triggers real pain for me, along with anger that I was treated so badly.

Your family's pretense that it was just good fun may have been even more damaging because if you were upset, it was taken as further proof that you weren't enlightened enough. I'm sorry that present stuff is triggering old reactions because you have a really good mind and heart and are valued by all who come here.

flutter said...

seems incredibly important to me

Dick said...

That seems to me to be unusual for parents to allow to continue. I guess I was lucky enough to have pretty normal parents. It is sometimes hard for me to understand why people react the way they do to outside stimulus but of course I am looking at it through the experiences I grew up with, which must have been pretty benign. I also would suggest that being able to recognize it puts you on the way to mend or at least understand why certain things affect you in a particular way.

nick said...

Getting angry when you feel stupid sounds like a healthy reaction to me, as long it doesn't go over the top as you say. My reaction to feeling stupid and inadequate is to internalise it into anxiety and panic, which is not so healthy.

luckyzmom said...

This certainly is an important observation and I agree with what the others have already said.

mischief said...

You know what frustrates me is how these things, these things from childhood, still matter as much as they do. And it kind of drives me crazy because on the one hand I believe we're supposed to "quit blaming mom" at some point and take responsibility for our own shit. But on the other hand maybe some of these hurts are so deep that we don't have enough time in our lifetimes to get over them the way we want to. I guess your revelation here is a step toward that, though, toward healing. Recognizing your own vulnerabilities and where they come from. I hope there's some empowerment in that part of the process... and I hope the rest of the journey is less rocky. For both of us.

mischief said...

Goddamn it, i just said all kinds of encouraging things and they vanished into the ether. Close your eyes and *feel* them instead, so I don't have to re-type them, okay?

mischief said...

Ohhh you have comment moderation on. I could talk to you like this all night then. But I won't.... phew!

fiwa said...

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