13 October 2008

Temper, Temper.

Time for more self-exploration. Gad, I need a Publix sugar cookie. Or ten.

I have a horrible temper. When something doesn't go my way, I will yell, throw whatever is in my line of sight, kick, or punch. It's horrible. At times, I'm like a demon. But I never hurt people. Only myself.

Do I demonstrate this temper in front of others? No.
Does it scare me? Yes.

I'm like a woman possessed. I will go to a room upstairs, away from the kids, or into the garage, and scream at the top of my lungs until my vocal cords sting. I'm sure the neighbors think I'm a loon. And I will throw, kick, or punch whatever is in my way. Plastic hangers are my favorite. I can't tell you how many I have broken and how many walls have been scuffed. If I'm in a particularly sour mood, I'll chuck toys around the main floor house (under the guise of "cleaning up"), listening to the satisfying thud of toys hitting the floor and bouncing off cabinets. All of this is done while the kids are at school or napping. I have been known to rip the seams of stuffed animals with repeated smacks against a door frame. It is satisfying. Tiring. Mortifying.

It drives me nuts that I do this. I'll wake up on a Monday and decide That's it. I'm not going to allow my temper to get the best of me. I'm a grown woman. This is ridiculous. And so, I go about my days. By Friday, I'm a mess of grinding teeth, short answers, and an even shorter fuse until I pop and march upstairs to slam doors, cuss out a few choice words, and cry.

And so, it's back to throwing toys, hangers, or ripping mail to shreds. Otherwise, I'm a vacuum seal waiting to pop. And that? Is ugly.

I've researched anger-management classes and they're mainly geared toward corporate environments or for people who are ordered to attend by the courts. Nothing like a "Defensive Driving" course you can just sign up for off the street. I've considered yoga. Didn't work. Where did this temper come from? I have no clue. Could it stem from my attempt to constantly please those whom I think (incorrectly) need pleasing and in turn bottling up those negative emotions rather than expressing them? Possibly. Could it be a recessive genetic trait, showing up in both me and my uncle and just waiting to turn up in one of my kids? Maybe, but I think that's the chickenshit explanation. I just know that when I perceive myself to be stuck in a rut, my temper gets worse and flares up with an intense heat and it's then I realize that I need to get out or a door, a wall, my knuckles, something is going to get dented or damaged.

This is the part of me that embarrasses me the most and saddens me to have to deal with it day to day.


HEATHER said...

I used to have a white hot temper, and then my doctor prescribed Effexor.
It keeps me on an even keel. I still get angry, but I don't scream and yell and throw things or beat the stuffed animals to a fuzzy pulp, and I am by no means a Stepford zombie.
I am not suggesting that you are by any means looney or mentally ill. But as women we are subjected to hormonal highs and lows and they can play havoc with your emotional balance.
Maybe you should talk to your doctor.

Avitable said...

Until I went to college, I had a horrible temper that usually resulted in injury to myself. Typically my knuckles.

I went through a period in college where I got very detached, realized that nothing's worth the anger, and once I reconnected with people again, I didn't have a temper.

I still get annoyed occasionally, but I haven't gotten mad like that in almost 13 years.

That One said...

I've heard that the sound of breaking glass is very satisfying to one who needs to vent some anger. You could stock up on chipped tableware at yard sales, etc. When the mood hits, smash away! You could then make pretty mosaic stuff and your anger would be helping to produce something beautiful. (Of course, you would need to have a completely kid-free zone for this. An old shed perhaps?)

I've often thought of doing this myself and still may attempt it.

Because sometimes the urge to choke the ever-loving shit out of someone I love is nearly insurmountable.

Trukindog said...

I had a raging temper when I was younger then I got my first Shotgun, I'm not kiddin blastin somethin to pieces with a shotgun is very releasing. Stress and Anger fade with each and evey blast.

Anonymous said...

I only have second-hand experience with anger management classes, but the young man concerned was actually advised to do just exactly what you are doing: vent his anger on cushions, cardboard boxes, stuffed toys etc, so that he could find some safe release from his emotions. Of course, it's good to do a little self-analysis as well, to try to work out why you get so wound up, but beating up toys and walls - especially alone - isn't such a bad thing.

I believe assertiveness training can be a great help. You see, anger is often pure frustration, and assertiveness training can help you get what you want/need without the need for getting angry in the first place.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Okay, you totally brought tears to my eyes on this one. I haven't let myself go where you go because I don't have a place to do that. There is nowhere that I can go where I can beat the shit out of my pillow. I am finally getting two mornings a week, but it is not enough to get that "heat" out.

In all seriousness, can you hang a punching bag in your garage or basement? Then at least you can punch and beat the shit out of it all you want, get exercise at the same time, and save those poor stuffed animals from an ignominious end. Sounds like something to find on FreeCycle so it doesn't cost you any dough.

Anonymous said...

Son2 has anger problems but like you it only hurts himself. I wish I had an answer for both of you. And why is it that Anger Management courses are aimed at company employees, or criminals? If you find a program let me know! Until then, take it out on the toys.

Gypsy said...

I like NATUI's idea of a punching bag.

We all have to get our anger out somehow. {hugs} Mine tends to manifest in tears, so I fling myself on my bed and have a good scream into my pillow and then a cry.

Liz said...

Tempers are hard to deal with. I am glad you are able to take it out on something and no one is hurt in the process. Best of luck!


Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Other Heather - OK. I need to get me some of this Effexor. Seriously.

Avitable - And with me? It's the opposite. The older I get, the worse my temper seems to get.

Tuli - Oh, remember the movie How to Make an American Quilt? How Anne Bancroft's character broke all her figurines and then plastered her laundry room with the pieces? Hmmmm...

Trukindog - OK. Ty-man has firearms. Maybe I just need to go to the gun range on a regular basis.

Jay - You're right. It is pure frustrations. That's usually how I feel when I get that angry.

NATUI - I have thought about a punching bag. I remember my dad going out to the garage to beat the crap out of his bag and he rather enjoyed it. So sorry I nearly made you cry.

MetalMom - I will definitely let you know if I find something for the average non-criminal, non-corporate-type.

Gypsy - Oh, I get the tears, too. Usually after the punching/throwing/kicking. I'm such an infant.

Liz - Thanks, hon!

Unknown said...

I have found that going in the bathroom and throwing things as hard as I could into the bathtub is very rewarding and calming. Noisy though and you may lose a bottle or two of your favorite shampoo.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Sheila - Oooooh, now that's a thought. I do, at times, enjoy chucking the shave cream can in the shower. I'll have to try that.

Molly's Mom said...

I also have a pretty nasty temper, which is probably why I'm married to just about the perfect person - he's very even tempered. I agree with the punching bag idea...it might be a good thing. You know what else? Give acupuncture a try. Seriously. I did it a few years ago for stress relief and it was incredibly relaxing. I would love to find a practitioner around New Place.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Molly's Mom - Ty-man is the same way. He's extremely even-tempered. Acupuncture? Really? I'm ticklish. Would that be a problem?