Friday, August 25, 2006

Rollercoaster Zen

The people who know me would tell you that I am a pretty emotionally grounded person. I don't lose my temper very easily nor to I cry all of the time (except at sappy stuff). I do tend to get frustrated easily, but that is more from impatience than anything else. If I ask my son D to do something I expect him to do it right away. If I have to tell him to do it 5 times, I start to get frustrated and then I might holler (I have always loved that redneck word) a bit.
I tend to not let things really get to me. Some people might be surprised that people yelling doesn't really bother me. Even kicking something out of frustration doesn't even make me blink twice. Now, if you throw something at me you are toast, but I don't really get upset by displays of emotions.
There is a very good reason for this. My sister Blondie is an extremely emotional person.

Growing up she would lose it for pretty much any reason, even an imagined one. Many years later we found out that she is bi-polar and tends towards the manic side.
Here are two examples:
We grew up in a house with one bathroom. I was taking a bath one day and she wanted to come in and go to the bathroom. I didn't have a problem with that, but she wanted to have her friend come in too so that they could continue to talk. She got angry when I told her that her friend couldn't come in and started screaming at me through the door. She then proceeded to kick the bathroom door down while I was still in the bathtub.
We were sitting down to a dinner of spaghetti and my brother Neal was taunting Blondie. She got so mad that she threw her fork at Neal and it stabbed him in his nose. Neal had to remove it as it didn't just stab and drop. It actually stayed there.
There are so many times that my sister has gone off the deep end that it tends to run together in a blurry haze. Because of this I don't really let people being angry or frustrated affect me in a negative manner.
I was always that one that tried to unsuccesfully reason with Blondie when she would "rage". It could last for a few minutes or continue for hours and hours. I learned that the best course of action was to sit there quietly, let her rage and then when she was calm tell her what I had to say.
There were a few times that she physically assaulted someone (usually my mother) but she never came after me. Probably because I was 5 years younger than she was and she would have wiped the floor with me.
I never really understood why she was unable to control her anger. It never made sense to me why she would flip out at little things and blow everything so out of proportion. At least I never understood until I was pregnant.
I had an unplanned pregnancy when I was 23. At the time I was living at home with my mom and step-father. My mom was VERY supportive and was there for me every step of the way.
My step-sister Meg was living at home as well. She was just divorced and is mildly metally handicapped from a horrible car accident. She has the emotions of a 12 year old.
Meg and I had been having a few problems. Basically I wouldn't coddle her like everyone else did and she didn't like it. She started talking about me behind my back to people who she knew would tell me. It got back to me and I sat down and told her that it bothered me that she was doing this and that if she had anything to say to me that she needed to come to me directly.
A few days later I was in the kitchen making my lunch and I heard my mom tell Meg to stop talking about me behind my back (she was talking to her brother Steve - my step-brother). I heard this and something snapped.
I SAW RED!!!!!
I tore into the living room where they were sitting and started yelling at her. I told her to keep her f*cking mouth shut and that I was tired of her talking about me behind my back.
I then proceeded to call her some not so nice names and told her to stand up so that I could kick her @ss. All this while I was 5 months pregnant.
Steve started getting in to the argument and then I turned on him, insulted him, quesitoned his sexual preference (he was so effeminate I couldn't help it - the man used to french braid his own hair) and continued to yell.
My mother stood in front of me telling me to stop and calm down. She was looking at me like I had grown 3 heads. Later I realized that she was looking at me that way because I was behaving exactly how my sister did. I calmed down and went into the other room and promptly started to cry. I actually felt really bad that I lost my temper to that extent.
Growing up with someone with such a volitile temper has allowed me to develop the ability to deal with other peoples anger or frustration more easily than others. I have a friend who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She asks me on a regular basis how I put up with her.
What she doesn't realize is that I don't even notice 90% of it. I am used to acclimating myself to others and having empathy for their situation makes me want to work hard so that they feel comfortable around me.
I think that I have something to offer anyone going through a difficult time. Whether it be some heartfelt advice, a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Anyone who knows me should never feel like they have to keep everything in. If I can be a help in any way to someone who is struggling it makes my life more worthwhile.


minijonb said...

You could have squeezed more acronyms into that post... OCD, BPD... and where was OPP?
I hate rollercoasters... at amusement parks and in my emotions.

Rachel said...

I don't use too many acronyms when writing. I always assume that some people won't know what they mean so I usually spell them out. That is the part of me that is always trying to be helpful I guess.
You hate rollercoasters? I like them.... Except Shivering Timbers. THAT one freaked me the hell out!!
The do make my stomach upset now that I am not a teenager anymore. But I still like them.

Velvet said...

Um...So, definition of Irony:

"My friend has OCD and she asks me all the time how I deal with her." That is too funny.

Tempers flare. Some are less volatile than others. Me? I'm not so good at holding my tongue either. But Lexapro helps tremendously. Speaking of...I need to refill that puppy.

Erica said...

I am not so good like you, I am quite emotional and when people around me start losing it, at first I am calm, but then I can't help getting involved as well and losing my temper, especially if provoked. But then I am italian, so maybe I am supposed to be quite emotional and temperamental!

Rachel said...

Velvet ~ I used to be on anti-depressants but am no longer on them. Sometimes I wonder if I need to go back on them but then the blues pass and I am OK.
Erica ~ I can lose my temper if I am provoked. My problem is that when I get angry I cry and then no one can understand what I am yelling.
If I get upset or angry I have to calm down, work it out in my own head and then calmly talk to the person that I am upset with.
I just don't get really upset that often.
Irritated- yes. Angry - Not so much.

Funny Girl said...

I can attest to the fact that you are VERY empathetic and VERY caring. You have offered me an ear and a shoulder many times. And you don't yell at me when I use all your soap. Dang OCD!