Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Scintilla Project - Bonus Day

Talk about a time when you lost your temper.


I seldom actually lose my temper: I do a slow boil,  a ramp-up that I can usually defuse before it blows because it takes a lot to get me to the breaking point. Sometimes that process involves little pops of emotion that help ease the ramp-up time, but those aren't too volatile and are quickly over. When I truly lose it, I deterioriate into pulsing, red-faced rage, spouting and shouting words that may be laced with obscenities and making little sense, and eventually resulting in hot, angry tears. It leaves me weak, wrung out, and extremely dissatisfied with myself.

One time that stands out happened when Princess #1 was a teenager and dating a guy who was a year older and who was not raised with a lot of limits, far as I could tell, despite the fact that he was a Southern boy and children are usually very respectful towards adults.

He especially did not like that I wanted to know where my daughter was going, what time she'd be home, and other such details. While he was very intelligent, he was not a particularly good conversationalist either, and I thought he coerced R into doing and seeing things that she didn't really want to do -- like watching "Silence of the Lambs," for instance, a rather intense, frightening movie that I knew she would never have willingly watched.

One afternoon -- a Sunday, because I remember I was reading the newspaper -- he was at our house and they were about to go somewhere. I asked my usual questions and got  sullen, terse answers. I remember saying, "Well, be home at ..." whatever time I thought was reasonable and which neither of them, clearly, did..

On their way to the front door, they were talking in undertones, but I distinctly heard him mutter "Bitch."

I held the paper tightly in both hands, breathing hard, and thinking, "I will not react. I will not react. Let it go. I do not need to react."

And then my temper flared into brilliant redness and that little devil said, "The HELL I will..."

I threw the paper down and charged out the door, yelling at him. I don't remember what I said, but I think part of it was about respect, part was about about plain old courtesy, and part was about parenting. He came back to the front porch and we stood there, angry face to angry red face, my body tense and quivering with rage and indignation, and he informed me that he had been raised not to respect anyone who didn't deserve it, and that I didn't, that I was a bitch -- which of course fueled my rage even more.

R was extremely upset by this, watching her mother and her boyfriend yelling and furious, and began crying and begging us to stop fighting, and threatening to drive off in her car to get away from us. (I'm sure it didn't help that it was right in the front yard where anyone in the neighborhood could have seen or heard it...)

I tamped my fury down then, and went to my daughter to try to calm her down, to keep her safe. I remember that the whole fight was never resolved, but for her sake I wasn't going to pursue it further, and the boyfriend had at least shut up and was also trying to calm R down.They left, eventually, and I went back inside to try to deal with my bubbling anger and disgust at the situation, and to try to figure out how to deal with him in the future.

I never liked him, especially after that episode. And I probably lightened up a little on the questions and curfews (which perhaps were a little too stringent). But I was glad when she broke up with him, although it took at least another year, and I never trusted him.

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