Tuesday, December 20, 2011

People behaving badly

Raise your hand if you've ever behaved badly . . . okay, there are too many hands. I can't count them all. As I am finally finished with the heaviest workload of any semester I've ever taught, I am now at a point where I can get some sleep, in theory, and I can do a little self-examination of my recent behavior. I am normally a very low-maintenance woman. I'm quiet. I'm laid-back. I'm stoic, not much ruffles my feathers. It takes a loonnnnggg time to get me to lose my temper, but when I do, look out.

So, yes, I have been working way too hard. Yes, I have been getting too little sleep. Yes, anyone who knows me, knows I turn into a major bitch when I don't get enough sleep. That said, the occasional outburst is to be expected, but a long-slow bitchfest that lasts for days, is not acceptable. I am an adult. I do know better. Recently, however, I have been reverting to the petulant child that has lived in me for over four decades. I recognized her the minute she resurfaced, but I couldn't do anything about her. I couldn't when I was little either. I remember very clearly as a child, getting angry or hurt about something, having an outburst, and then holding onto the anger, long after letting it go would have been appropriate, and would have been good for me. I remember being stuck in the anger. Seeing everyone around me moving past the incident, but I couldn't let it go. I couldn't laugh, smile, get over it, I just stayed stuck, with my arms folded, my lower lip stuck out, and pouting, to make sure the whole world knew, I wasn't over this yet, and neither should anyone else be.

I have found myself recently, thinking and feeling negatively about acquaintances. I have had ill thoughts about people's motivations, which is very bitchy, petty, and not like me. I had a particularly mean rant on my son's voice mail for perceived slights and misbehavior, only half of which he was actually guilty of. I didn't pull an Alec Baldwin, or call him any names, but I did call his character into question. Then I mentally beat myself up for days for being a horrible mother. Next "I showed myself." This is an expression I heard often from my mother, while I was growing up. She'd say, "quit showing yourself." Which meant, quit misbehaving, quit showing the world what a little brat you can be, quit drawing attention to your bad behavior.

I showed myself this weekend. I was tired. I was not happy. I didn't feel like doing what I had promised to do. Yet, the adult part of me knew, you don't back out, you don't let a person down, you keep your promise. So I went through the motions, clearly the petulant child, wanting desperately to rush through the obligation, get it over with, and yet again, not slowing down, just wanting to move on to the next task like I'd been doing for months. It took me a good two hours to get over myself. It took me two hours to quit showing myself. In the process, I know I must have hurt a dear friend, and that was never intended. By the time it was all over, I had gone back to my normal self. I had finally relaxed and was enjoying the evening, but at what cost? It's been years since the brat in me has come out so forcefully. Can I blame the hormones of the change for all this? Can I blame overwork and exhaustion? Or am I just human and sometimes, I'm a pain in the ass for no good reason? I'm sorry.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It could be ALL those things you mentioned---Hormones---A Major Culprit sometimes...And overwork and overtired---It certainly can bring out the B**ch in just about anybody...AND as you said, you are human. Maybe you expect too much of yourself, especially under the extreme circumstances, which you described. Hopefully, everyone will forgive you and most of all--You, forgive yourself.

Larena said...

I forgive you ! and those F***Ing hormones are to blame for LOTS on this coast. hug the inner little brat she needs it every now & then (if hugging doesn't work try gaging...;)) must be something in the air or age damn it is prolly the age thing.... so smile thru the tantrum laugh at yourself send a card to the offended and if she is as good a person as I know you are, she too will forgive. Love Hugs & Prayers !
oh and the son thing....sometimes they need us to go off our rocker on them whether they had it coming this time or not ! so stop with the bad mom stuff you ARE a great Mom.

Anonymous said...

Never thought of you as an angry child. But it's ok sometimes you just need to let go. Too much stuff held inside is not good especially someone who is getting up in age :( You know what it did to me. So be nice to your self, and if the offended one is a friend, a card or phone call, just to say I'm sorry goes a long way. Oh and again thank you, for your gifts. Sometimes I forget how truly blessed with people like your self in my life that I am.
Merry Christmas and I love YOU!

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Naomi, she did forgive me. Personally, I think she should have made me grovel for forgiveness, but then she's a better person than me.

Larena, you are the queen of forgiveness. I don't know how you've put up with me for 35 years.

Pat, did you forget the "pouting room" on Liberty St.? Remember ma took out the pantry and put in dark paneling, fish tanks and a rocker? She would often send me in there rather than look at my scowl and jutting lip. Too funny.

Anonymous said...

I did forget the pouting room, I never spent much time there she had way better punishments for me am sure have blocked most of it from my memory banks :) I mostly remember the fish tanks, as they say thanks for the memories :)
Love ya