Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Caution, contents may explode

I've been wallowing, lying low and licking my wounds, castigating myself, knitting a hair shirt.

I totally lost it with Em on Saturday night. I could explain it all and tell you what happened, but really, she's 16, and the queen of passive-aggressive defiance. What more do you need to know? Without regard to what happened, losing it is never cool, never. I screamed, SCREAMED at her like a hyena on steroids. I didn't slap her, but oh, did i want to.

I hate it when i let this happen. It takes me a few weeks to forgive myself. I know i have to, but i just feel like shit for it.

We were out after an event (Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go of God", which is most excellent) and Em was behaving badly while attempting to drive us home. The Mister ended up driving while the two of us cried.

What a great role model i am.

The only upside of this is that Em is behaving herself and listening to my driving suggestions without arguing. I think i scared her.


It's starting to get dark here earlier and earlier. I feel the weight of all that darkness pressing down on me. I try to think about how it only gets worse until November 22, then it's all uphill from there. I ignore the fact that the expanding daylight is an exponential curve.


Thinking of the people in San Diego as i listen to the news today. One thousand homes destroyed, One thousand. I will not whine anymore.


Anonymous said...

I know, I know. I yelled at D this morning. Banged a door with my hand, too. And felt utterly stupid and unworthy of being a mom.

The encroaching night. I tried to put it in a poem this weekend. 'The high tide of the night', as it steals away the shore of the day.

OhTheJoys said...

What can you do, friend. You are a human and a good one at that.

KelKel said...

Em sounds like a great young woman who has had a great Mom to help her become just that.
I had many a arguments/fights with my Mom and remember trying to ignore her after one of these fights when she came in my room and asked the most shocking question of all.
She always asked "What are you thinking?" after she would rant a rave about something. I always said "nothing". To which she would reply "You have to be thinking SOMETHING, your brain is always on" This used to just piss me off even more. But, this day her reply to my "nothing" was "Do you think I am being a bitch?" I was shocked, I don't remember if I answered her or not but, I was sure thinking she really did not want me to answer that truthfully.
But, you know it seems that ever since then we talked/talk about everything BIG in my life.
Keep your head up!!!!! Everthing will be fine.

sari said...

I lived up in Washington state for a while...long enough to know that I need the sun (which is why I live in the middle of the desert now, I guess).

I hope things are better now. I know when I lose my cool, I feel horrible about it for much longer than my kids do.

My sister and my sister-in-law (and her family) all live in the San Diego area. I'm hoping they're all ok, I haven't heard they had to evacuate yet, but you never know.

Mignon said...

I lose my cool and yell nonsense and slam doors sometimes. I really don't feel that bad about it, either. My kids and your kid are not abused. They are loved and cared for and paid attention to and listened to. Sometimes they need to know their parents are human and that humans experience strong emotion. How sad to think that they would grow up never having seen a grown-up cry, scream, throw a fit. How could a child ever try to emulate that?

An even-toned, reasoned, "I'm so mad at you right now" doesn't seem to carry the same weight as "AAAAAAAAAA YOU'RE DRIVING ME FUCKING CRAZY YOU LITTLE MONSTER!!! AAAAAAAA"

Dick said...

Aren't teenagers wonderful? I think they get to their worst, then all of a sudden flip around and are fun to be around. Of course that is when they leave to be out on their own.

Uhh, I don't want to rock your boat but doesn't it keep getting dark earlier and earlier until December 22nd, not November 22nd?

I was going to school in Santa Barbara in the fall of 1964 when there was a fire that started in the hills behind town and, thanks to the Santa Anna winds, burned south of Ventura, 30 miles away, before they got it out. It was a lesson to me as to which houses survived and which burned. Those with a nice yard around them came through it. Those where they set them into a natural environment were for the most part burned to the ground.

Andrea Frazer said...

I teach Sunday school and have been known to tell my kids to shut the fuck up jesus christ.

Nice, huh?

crazymumma said...

There is nothing. Nothing like being humbled by one's own temper.

Move on. I know it sounds glib. But the bigger picture is there and she knows that.

thailandchani said...

CM is right. It will blow over.

My housemate is in San Diego right now.. and I'm wishing he would call to give us an update. I hope all will settle there soon.

TTQ said...

I wish my mom had screamed once in awhile. The silent treatment is the worst..

meno said...

nancy, banging on things is always a cause for me to hang my head in shame for a few days. Does kicking the seat in the car count? I think so. Can we see your poem?

wng, i try not to beat myself up, but i still do a little. I should remain calm and cool. But dammit she can be annoying. I'm sure you were never like that though....

oh the joys, i can't wait to read your posts when you have two teenagers. Thank you, i know, i know, but ugh i wish i wouldn't do that.

kelkel, hi there. She is a great kid, much of the time. But she, like her fallible mother, is human. I try to think of this as an opportunity to model good apologizing behavior. :)

sari, i love the summer here, all the light, from 4 in the morning until 10:30 at night. I just need to find a southern hemisphere location to spend my winters. Would that be cheating? I hope your family will all be okay. What a mess.

mignon, i am in good company then. Yes, a good swearing really gets my point across much more forcefully.

dick, December? Are you SURE? Dammit, i was so happy in my denial. I wonder if there will be certain houses that survive this too.

mamap, oh thank you for that. I am laughing now.

crazymumma, yes, and i manage to do it often enough so that i stay humble. I will move on, you know there's really no other choice.

chani, it has blown over for her, i am just wrestling with my own guilt. I hope you hear good things from your housemate soon.

ttq, no silent treatment in this house. :) Like you, I think that's even worse. And talk about passive-aggressive!

Lynn said...

I overheard a kindergarten student speaking with his mom one day, he said... "When you lose your temper, you give me the power." Then he looked at her and smiled... (the little shit!) Can't wait until he's a parent!

Princess in Galoshes said...

You are quite adept at keeping things in perspective, for going through such emotional turmoil.

My mom and I always had a pretty secure relationship, but by the time senior year of high school rolled around, we were honing our "button pushing" skills. And from that, neither of us were sad when I waltzed off to college (many states away.)

And we're just fine, and back to being good friends, now.

ms chica said...

It is always devastating to lose our shit in front of the ones we love the most. Your first responsibility to Em is that of a parent, but the truth is, your relationship extends beyond the strict boundary of parent child. You guys are obviously friends too. I'm envious, and could have never achieved that type of alternative relationship with my mom.

I get angry when I lose my shit with Mister Hombre, lucky for me it doesn't happen very often and when it does, he is far more forgiving about than I am. Don't be so damn hard on yourself. This is one outburst of poor form compared to thousands of awesome examples you've set for Em.

Liv said...

I rarely feel overwhelmingly terrible for losing it with people. It's probably because I don't do it very often, so I feel it's pretty damned justified. Also, I tend to get over things quickly and don't hold grudges. I have been told that my main problem is that I have anger but don't allow myself to feel it. hmmm...

Em loves you. You know that. If she was behaving badly enough for you to lose your shit, I'm sure it was at least somewhat justified.

Daphne Enns said...

My mom and I have always been very close. But, we have had our arguments and she has called me a bitch on occasion when I was growing up. And I was a bitch sometimes. Calling me on it always stopped me in my tracks.

Even now, my mom and I are close but she drives me crazy and yet we talk to each other every day.

I sense that you and Em will be like my mom and I. Always close and always real selves.

Girlplustwo said...

while i can't picture it and i bet you scared the shit out of her, of course, i think it's all just fine.

you are real. she knows it. this is part of it. it's okay.

and yes, whoa..on the burning. friends are evacuating today and it's sad, sad, sad.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm glad we don't live in San Diego anymore. We left about the time of the last serious Santa Ana wildfires, but my daughter is in L.A. and I'm anxious.

I still remember in painful detail the times I blew up at her, which she actually never deserved, because I was under enormous pressure. Em will probably forgive you faster than you forgive yourself. Sometimes it isn't easy being a mom.

Anonymous said...

I think teenagers and their parents have to fight, otherwise they wouldn't ever want to leave home. It almost seems like we're preprogrammed to do this dance.

She'll survive the yelling.

I hate the dark as well. I don't want to do anything, including getting up, when it's dark outside.

Bob said...

my dad and I used to have occasional yelling matches when I was a teenager. He and I stopped when I moved out (HAH!) and have a great relationship. I'm quite sure Em is fine about it. give yourself a break.

amusing said...

Hey -- not like you were sitting around the media room watching "Marie Antoinette" -- she was a teenager, learning to drive a few thousand pounds of metal, and apparently something didn't go well and visions of all those car crashes they show in driver's ed, alchohol and drug education, etc. flashed through your head (or their equivalent) and that set off the safety alarm, which led to seat kicking and a rage - it was fear, it was concern, it was anger -- because suddenly there was a realization that you aren't always going to be sitting there and she damn well better get this driving thing right!

So, I'd cut you some slack.

Joan said...

I think every mom is allowed to "lose it" once in a while. With all mothers put up with on a daily basis, I'm surprised most don't lose it more often. Just don't beat yourself up...obviously Em came away from it unscathed.

Anonymous said...

We all do it and feel terrible afterwards. Chocolate doesnt even numb it. Sorry.

SUEB0B said...

As someone who has only been a child and never a parent, let me say that I am somewhat amazed that my mom lost it as few times as she did when I was a teen. I TOTALLY deserved to get yelled at. But then again, I was her 6th kid, so she had plenty of practice.

Schmoopie said...

Part of my anxiety troubles caused me to yell at my children far too often for my liking. I'd get nervous, start shaking and let go and scream at them. Then I felt enormously guilty for days. I've mellowed considerably since being medicated. I am happier and so are they. Medication is not for everyone and is a controversial way to live one's life, but I am thankful for the peace it has given me.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. This is how I feel most of the time. Ashamed of myself. It pretty much sucks.

Fiona's got my button and she pushes it, and pushes it, and pushes it. It's incredibly hard for me to try to remain calm and in control against someone so relentless. Even on the "good" days, where I feel like I "kept the upper hand," I'm just exhausted, worn down to the bone.

Anonymous said...

My sister has three teens. When I used to say I felt bad for yelling at my toddlers, she would say, "Sometimes kids need to know that they've gone too far. It's not a bad thing."

Mermaid Melanie said...

sighs. *big hug* sometimes scream therapy works. don't beat yourself up too much. its all a learning process.

fiwa said...

Eye-popping anger, I understand. I have a slow boil temper, but sometimes my ugly just comes out. And then I agonize over it for days.

The lack of sun is weighing on me too, but didn't we have a nice day yesterday. I'm burping fish because I heard that taking fish oil helps. We shall see.

Marshamlow said...

Been there done that. Hugs and all that.

meno said...

lynn, you have nailed exactly why i hate losing it and why Em tries so hard to provoke it. Although the alternate theory is that sometimes you just need to give the donkey a swift kick in the rear.

princess, yes, i think this may be a necessary part of the separation process. It will certainly make it easier.

ms. chica, i know, it's just so damn embarrassing. It doesn't fit in with my view (obviously skewed) of myself as a reasonable person.

liv, you must not make as big a scene as i do. :) I screamed so much that my throat hurt.

daphne, i hope you are right, i think so too.

jen, i did scare her. That's what she told me the next day. But it also corrected the bad behavior. We'll see if it lasts.

hearts, i can understand your anxiety. These fires are so scary. Em has forgiven me, she knows that in some way that she provoked it. That doesn't make it okay to me though.

deb, good point, don't want to make it too comfortable here. Otherwise i'd never get rid of her. And about the dark, it's much harder for me to force myself out of the house when it's dark.

bob, i will. She's already fine.

amusing, yes, my cool-losing was fear inspired. She's just not as good at driving as i'd like. That will only take another 10 years.

joan, you are right, but you have NO IDEA how much i wanted to smack her smart-ass face.

my pool, hmmm, chocolate? That just MIGHT help. I'd better investigate.

suebob, after 6 kids, i'm surprised she didn't just drink all day. :)

schmoopie, it is much more difficult to keep calm when i am anxious. I'm so glad you found something that worked for you.

de, Yeah, it does suck, but don't feel like the Lone Ranger out there. Em doesn't usually deliberately push my buttons. If she did we be at each other's throats all the time. I understand why you are exhausted.

capacious, that's a good way to look at it. Thanks.

melanie, scream therapy! I like it.

fiwa, it takes me a while too, but after the stean builds up for too long, LOOK OUT! Yesterday was heaven. Today, not so much.

marsha, i knew you would understand. Our little angels can drive us right over the edge.

Tink said...

I remember what it was like being 16... I'm sure she deserved it. You're OK. Don't beat yourself up about it. You're a Mom, yes. But you're human too.

egan said...

You're aware of it though, so this is a good thing. It would be nice to say it's never going to happen again, but it will. Maybe it won't be as severe though.

The fires in California have made me take a step back from blogging for a couple days. I think the last count I heard was 1500 homes lost. And then there's looting, man this country is crazy at times.

SuperP. said...

"SCREAMED at her like a hyena on steroids."

I've done this. And my girl is five.

Not often, not for long & never proudly. Twice I believe, actually, and it was one of those awful, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.. omgosh..

I know your pain. But, I had to laugh at your description. So humiliatingly perfect. ;)

Don't be too hard on yourself.

I told my girl, after a heartfelt apology and a long talk about anger management and frustration and the humanness of Mommies and Little Girls.. that this was my first time ever having a little girl.

"Well, I've never been a little girl before, either!"


No doubt.

Mother of Invention said...

I can imasgine how bad you feel when acting like that is usually foreign to you. I don't yell often at all but when I do, it's usually a combo of those darn hormones, feeling frustrated and not feeling like anyone is listening to me.

The darkest day is usually Dec. 21st...well that's the shortest day anyway at eqinox. I always make a joke that when I was born on Dec. 22nd, just alittle bit more light came into the world!

Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, sweetie, I've so, so been there. So been there. We all have.

Susanne said...

I'd say, everyone of us loses it once in a while. (And by what you write I more so than you.)

And sometimes it's a good thing to be reminded of our blessings. I have been thinking about people in San Diego quite a bit.