Bad Behavior

Yesterday evening I was very tired and in pain and, unfortunately, ended up having an argument with my sister that got really ugly. And it was so stupid!

I was at the kitchen sink trimming berries and, instead of paying attention to the water conservation card we have posted above the sink (about the current drought situation) and turning the water off in between each berry, I was just letting it run. When my sister came into the room she said something to me and pointed to the card. And I do not know why it hit me like it did; it’s almost as if I expected her to say something – but I took immediate offense at her presuming to “instruct” me when I am an adult and am in control of my own actions and responsibilities; I would never presume to “instruct” her or challenge her behavior in that way, because she is an adult and it’s her business – and why can’t she give me the same treatment?

But it got totally overblown and ridiculous. There are some things that we just cannot seem to see eye to eye on; we cannot even understand the other’s perspective. And I get so frustrated; I could not seem to stop my crazed behavior. I felt truly hurt and insulted. She felt (rightfully) abused and unfairly yelled at. What a mess.

But I guess the strain of dealing with all this pain and dysfunction and everything else recently just caused me to explode. Luckily it doesn’t happen very often and not even as much as it used to. But it’s weird how I can just go to this place in my head where it all seems so righteously real – but it is a place of pure emotion and it shouldn’t be allowed to take me over like that. It causes me to hurt others and it serves no good purpose that I can see. It’s like a pressure boiler venting or something; maybe sometimes it needs to blow or else it might have other negative consequences to my health or something. I do not know. I know that I generally will not even be aware of emotional stress until I explode in some way or my body “attacks” me. But why did THIS set me off like THAT? It’s so stupid!

And it isn’t my sister; it’s more likely a case of “unfinished business” and old “baggage” on my part. She is who she is and I am not the same as her, but that is fine and I need to be okay with that and not get so defensive! I need to be okay with myself and not feel threatened. But it comes from a long history of feeling like a fuck-up; disapproved of, defective, incapable of doing anything right and just WRONG in other people’s eyes – “other people” being my family. (And isn’t that always the way it is?) But I can work on this if I am aware and conscious of it; if I pay attention.

I remember once when I was in grade school – 3rd, 4th, maybe 5th grade; I can’t remember, but what I do remember is that one day during recess I was talking to my best friend and something happened. Something happened to release RAGE on my part and I literally saw RED and then – everything went BLANK. I LOST TIME.

The next thing I remembered was finding myself sitting alone on the walkway in front of the classrooms with no recall of how I got there or how long it had been. It was very weird. Then over the next day or two I became aware that my friend seemed to be angry at me and wouldn’t speak to me. I did not know why and I asked her what was wrong. I remember her screaming at me, “don’t you remember what you said to me?” And I could not. I had no idea what had transpired from the moment I got angry until I found myself in a totally different place after an unknown period of time with nobody else around. It really freaked me out!

From that time on I tried real hard to keep a leash on my anger. I was not always entirely successful, but I don’t remember that I lost any time or memories ever again. Too scary. How can a person who is generally very easy-going and cheerful suddenly turn into a monster? I do not know. But apparently (and so I’ve been told by my therapist) I still have a lot of unexpressed anger inside me. And it is perhaps this anger that has made me sick at times and caused so much pain and fear and depression, even though I never actually feel angry. I rarely get angry. I guess I am better at turning it on myself. I don’t like to upset other people or cause them distress, it is not my nature to do any harm. How do I deal with anger that I am not even aware of existing?

I am reminded of my dad who used to be so placid and quiet, but then out of the blue sometimes he would suddenly explode in anger and we would never see it coming and it always felt totally unfair.

Well all I can do is what I always have done – apologize and try to get over it. As for my sister, so she sometimes says things that trigger my self-defensiveness; just in the way she says it. But I can choose not to act on that. I can choose to accept that I have these sensitivities but know that I am not really being threatened or mistreated and I can swallow my stupid emotions and let it go. Just deal with it at face value – which is generally not much of a thing at all. It is NOTHING, definitely not worth causing either of us so much upset. And apologizing all the time is stupid too. I should have nothing to apologize for – I create the whole thing.

I might wish that my sister would instead merely point something out in a way that doesn’t make me feel condescended to, but that is never her intention and I can’t expect her to tailor what she says to suit me; it is my interpretation and reaction that I need to attend to. Not changing my sister – who means no harm. Sheesh, am I crazy? ENOUGH.

Sometimes it’s hard to be human – with all our challenges and failings.  But oh well, we’re all in it together! 


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