Temper temper…


I have a bad temper.


Or so I’ve been told. Being told I’m in a bad humour when I’m not kinda makes me angry. Which I guess proves a point to most people., but as they say in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, he will come.”

I’m quite defensive of my bad temper. I wouldn’t say it was a defining thing. I react to things, your honour, which I think is kinda normal. Say something funny and I’ll laugh. Say something which upsets me and, funnily enough, I’ll get upset. Say something or do something which angers me and I’ll get angry. And you will know all of these things.

This is normal yes?

I’m not good at putting a lid on my emotions. I can’t hide my emotions very well. Obviously some situations mean you must, for example, you’re on a crowded tube train and someone clatters you with a bag as they turn around. Do I pull them by the scruff of their neck and stamp on their throat until they apologise? No. But I will say something to them making them aware of what they’ve done. An apology usually comes, and all is golden. Perhaps because, at times, I can look a little scary.

The only times I don’t feel anger are when I’m with my children. Obviously I discipline them if they misbehave, which brings me to the time that I did lose my temper with my son. A time I still feel guilty about.

We went to a local safari park. It was a day when I was going to be with the children, a day which would be fun. Perhaps I had too high expectations but at one point despite several requests to stop doing THAT, T behaved so dreadfully I said that if he did THAT again we’d be going home. And he did THAT again. And so… well. I lost my temper.

In the soft play section of this safari park I shouted at T and told him we were going home RIGHT NOW. I shouted so loudly that this massive room packed full of children and adults suddenly went quiet. I picked up K and T, one on each hip, and we walked out, me with two child panniers walking a bit like John Wayne, and we left the safari park despite T getting upset and telling me he would be good and he wouldn’t do THAT again.

“You had your chance to be good when I asked you to stop doing what you were doing. It’s too late now.”

We walked to the station in silence, waited on the platform in silence, and got on the train in silence. We sat on the train in silence. We walked back to their house in silence and I said goodbye. From the moment I had both T&K on my hips and we were walking out I’ve felt guilty about how I reacted. Perhaps I should’ve given T another chance, but I also felt that I had to carry my words through into meaningful actions. Ignore what I’m asking you to do, repeatedly, and there will be consequences.

T reminded me of this event a couple of weeks ago. We were walking in the park and T told me that good boys and girls get presents from Father Christmas. And he was a good boy. “I wasn’t a good boy at the safari park when we went Daddy, but I’m a good boy now. I’ve been a good boy since then.’

Bless him.

“I know son”. And I kissed him on his head. “I’m proud of you. You are a good boy, but it’s always good to do what people ask you to do, when they ask you to do it. Okay?”

Okay, so it all worked out well in the end. But it doesn’t always. I feel my emotions bubbling away inside me. As well as my head making decisions, plans and thinking things through, I know that my emotions are also capable of taking over at any time. Both things feel valid to me. The careful consideration that goes on up in my headbox, and the massive sweeping emotional waves that take me over from time to time. Both feel valid and honest and true. Yet one is often at odds with the other.

This morning, at about 3ish, I resolved to address a problem which has been pissing me off. Despite me telling myself not to. Rational Spencer says ‘Stay Out’ but Emotional Spencer says ‘You need to say how you feel. You need to say that this is wrong.’ Rational Spencer won this one. And I’m glad he did.

But so often I react to something and then I feel guilty about doing so. I say sorry quickly, and hope all is resolved. I probably say sorry again. And again. And make a big deal out of something which really isn’t, probably. I apologise and apologise but, upon reflection, what I’m actually doing is apologising for my feelings and my reaction to the thing that pissed me off.

That’s fucked up right? That’s not normal?

I’ve spent this post saying how normal it is to react to things, and then what do I do? I constantly invalidate myself by apologising for getting pissed off.

No wonder I’m confused most of the time.

Perhaps I need to take a chill pill. Cool my boots. Relax Max! Whatever Trevor!  Hang loose. Chillax.

But tell me to do any of these things and I’ll fucking rip your head off and shit down the hole.

What are you like? A calm sort or someone spiky and emotional. What sort of things get you riled up and what do you do to calm down? Please let a comment loose in my usual slot.

And thanks for reading.



14 responses to “Temper temper…

  1. Completely relate to the point about reacting quickly, then apologising over and over for it! Oh well, the world would be a boring place without us apologetic hot heads, wouldn’t it?!

    • Indeed. But I wonder if it causes more problems than I need? Maybe I should count to ten before I react.
      1…2…3… oh fuck it.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting. 🙂

  2. One thing four decades has taught me is to try to rationalise instead of rage when people behave hurtfully. Realised that most times either the offence was unintentional or the offender is a twerp and not worth my emotional energy. This wisdom didn’t stop me yelling expletives at the woman driver who blocked my way this afternoon, however! Re your son, you did absolutely right. Kids quickly learn to identify an empty threat and equally quickly recognise a person who means what they say.

    • Thank you. I’ve yet to work out where my emotional energy is best spent. In another four decades I might have a clue.
      And thanks for the comment re: T. I thought I did okay but the guilt… oh the guilt!

  3. I think you have to cut yourself some slack when you lose your temper with kids because they can push and push until you lose your mind. I can think of several times when I really lost my rag with Kraken Junior and then cried in the toilet about it afterwards. And I too have my emotions written al over my face. I’d be a shit poker player.

    This is where my blog comes in. It’s like online therapy. If something enrages me I just spaff it out over the internet and get it off my chest. It sounds silly but it helps me to work though issues even though that’s not immediately obvious from what I write. It’s about coping mechanisms and the blog is mine.

  4. We are human. We react. Kids need to learn that. A couple of things I find useful: he was being naughty, that doesn’t make him a naughty boy. You can do naughty behaviour separately from your identity of being a naughty person. So when using language say things like “behaving naughtily” instead of “naughty boy”. Sounds like you did that but worth really thinking about. I have to consciously think of this!

    Secondly any anger, telling off etc has no bearing on whether you love them. You love them no matter what – so tell them. We have a game “i love you even if…” Which can be serious “i love you even if I’m cross at you” or silly “i love you even if you do a smelly fart!” We play this game most days. What I have learned is most of our screw ups as kids are due to miscalculations of our subconscious that doing x = you don’t love me.

    Hope that helps.

    • Thank you. It does. I have never and would never say T is a naughty boy but it doesn’t stop his mum, others, playgroup from doing so. I get what you mean.
      I always tell and reaffirm to my children that while they might do something we don’t want them to do they are always loved. T understands the concept of disappointment very well, as that’s something his mum would like to work on. You don’t do this and then that’s disappointing, but for me, that word also has it’s negative connotations. Thankfully we back it all up with pride in their achievements, praise when they do well and a big hug and an I love you at the end of the day.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. I’m afraid I laughed at the “John Wayne/children panniers” comment. With kids I do follow through threats and I get angry if I have to. Mucking about near a road, in a car park or on stairs or in bathtub really make me lose it. If I lose it and know I shouldn’t have I will always apologise, or if I think my reaction was over the top. My mum never apologised, I think it’s important.
    Self awareness counts for alot…..you have it.

  6. I am not recommending you try this but I found patience through work … one summer for two weeks I was located in a room with a glass ceiling – it was to all intents and purposes a greenhouse and I have never coped with heat. My task was to sit at a computer and do layout formatting on a very large document – something like 3000 pages of imported text without paragraphs, etc.

    I was boiling over within an hour but I needed the money and more importantly I need to keep in their good book to get the next job after the fortnight was over. I just kept telling myself I would just do the next hour and then I could stop – but of course I didn’t and people kept sticking their heads round the door and saying “I don’t know how you have the patience to sit in this heat an do that”

    I suppose eventually my brain said since I was accepting the kudos of doing it I might as well get something out of it? Sometimes the shi!!y things in life teach us the most?

    For what my opinion is worth I do not think you should beat yourself up over the safari park – you made a statement, you stuck to it and T has learned a lesson that will help him in life and not hinder him. I know you would have preferred to teach that lesson with a kinder/quieter approach – but sometimes that just doesn’t work.

  7. I am emotional, I know I can take things too personally, I feel every emotion going at the drop of a hat and haven’t learned how to control most of them yet. So far I have only got angry towards H once and I still feel guilty about that today but with the the so-called threenager years approaching I have little doubt I will get worse.

  8. I can have a temper, never thought so until I had a child. Brings up a lot. I used to apologize too much then I realized I was trying to control that person’s response to my apology. Once is enough – for sorry, for no, for yes, for any communication. Otherwise it becomes manipulation. I try and restrain pen and tongue. I try. Sometimes I just need to be heard and then I go for it – the rest is out of my control. But I do believe children need to know they will be scolded, that there is good and bad action, that we prefer the good and they understand the repercussions of the bad feel bad for everyone involved. I feel at my worst when I am angry with my son. But he knows the buttons and has been extra good at pushing them of late.

  9. When I read this I wondered about myself a bit …. one of my ‘problems’ with my blog is that I’m not very controversial as I don’t tend to get bent out of shape by much stuff.

    Then the FIL sent hubby a ‘useful’ article on how we should be changing the way our kids sleep and I saw red ;o)

    Kids of course love to press our buttons when we are tired and out of sorts, so my kids see my grumpy side too. But I reckon that way they learn that they can still be loved by someone who is angry with them – a comforting thing to know?

    Just remember that YOU are important, so sometimes those other people or stuff who irritate you aren’t worth the time it takes or the energy. Sometimes of course they are worth having a go at – it’s just about choosing which ones.

  10. Re the ‘threats to kids thing’ (I know your post was about more than that) It’s something i constantly have to remind my DH – ‘don’t threaten what you can’t (or won’t want to) carry out’ and work on escalating threats. “If you do *A* again there will be no icecream” is some thing you can do…”Do *A* again and there will be no TV EVER AGAIN!” is not something you can. I think as soon as you used “we’ll go home” you were on a losing hand. Just my 2p

    Maybe you should work on assertiveness over anger? angry outbursts are scary 😦

    Hugs any way

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