Last week I almost lost my temper. That frustrates and scares me because good Lord, I have a ridiculous, stupid temper.
Inevitable, when I do loose control and get really mad I do absurd and self destructive stuff. I melt down completely and make myself look like a complete ass. And for days afterwards, I feel physically ill. So, I try very very hard not to get smokin’ hot mad.
One day, a few years ago, I got mad at my Swifter while I was trying to clean house. Alex rolled up the driveway in his big blue truck and I was slamming the Swifter against a giant oak tree. There were tiny pieces of plastic all over the yard. But I just couldn’t stop.
When Jack was ten or twelve we had our first go-rounds over rap music. I thought it was filthy, racist and sexist and I told him he shouldn’t have such dark thoughts rolling around in his head or in my house.
Because twelve year old boys make lots of mistakes, Jack put on a CD, I think it was NWA, I heard it, walked in his room picked up his cd player and slammed it down on the tile floor. Again, I was surrounded by lots of little pieces of plastic. An hour latter I was calm enough to apologize and he did too. And a few days latter Jack and I split the cost of a new CD player.
Sometimes I wonder if a bad temper is genetic because lots of folks in my family had them. Fortunately, I don’t seem to have passed the gene on to my kiddos.
Obviously, the correct move in this situation would have been to take his CD player away for a week. Of course I know that.
When I feel the rage building I generally do one of two things. If I’m with the kids I tell them to leave me alone, immediately. I make sure they are out of the house or in their room. If I’m with adults I simply remove myself from the situation, I walk out. And when I walk, it may look really rude, but I’m trying to save my self.
For the past three weeks a man at work thought I did something to hurt his career. I didn’t do it. I explained that I simply didn’t do it and I apologized for the situation. He didn’t hear a word I said and kept insisting that everyone was out to get him. (The truth is we all liked him a whole bunch).
For three weeks he was cold and rude to me but I figured he would get over it, eventually. Then my boss made us sit down to talk it out. Ok, I was fine with that, but the man launched into a condescending attack complete with finger pointing. I felt that sick, hot rage building so I simply walked out in the middle of his tirade.
If I didn’t get out, I knew I would have picked up his computer monitor or the staple gun sitting on his desk, and thrown it through the window and then quit my job. All of this absurd behaviour would have been very bad…FOR ME.
Finger pointing always gets to me in a negative way. Once a teenage boy was putting his finger in my face and I told him if he didn’t move it I would snap it off and eat it. We are still friends but he never did that again.
I don’t loose my temper very much any more. I work at it. Because I know I only end up hurting myself and I hate having to apologize. And I still miss my Swifter.