When anger and frustration is your emotional default setting

I’m back! I missed writing this blog but having a two week vacation was amazing, what a great break. We went on our first family road trip with two kids and went so far we almost ended up in New Brunswick – from where we are, that’s about a seven hour drive. We made a real adventure out it, stopping at the Granby Zoo, Quebec City and ultimately, Riviere-du-Loup where we went whale watching which is a totally life affirming experience, btw.

My memories of being a kid stuck in a car with my parents are some of the happiest and most cringe worthy I have. The cliche of parents yelling, “don’t make me come back there” because my brother and I were fighting, is a very real memory for me and so many other kids born in the 70s and 80s when taking a road trip was the way that people vacationed.

So we struck out on our big Quebec adventure and I honestly wasn’t sure how I would manage my own frustration if the girls started fighting or something went wrong with my perfect planning. I am not a patient person at the best of the times, it’s something that I have been trying to work on for a long time. Some days it feels like two steps forward, one step back. I try to remember to breathe and keep my cool. I’m not going to pretend to be good at it. It’s hard for me. Frustration and anger are the two emotional settings that I can access the easiest when when I get upset or am overwhelmed. When my anxiety is really high, anger is right there at the surface.

I come by anger honestly. It’s an emotional state with which both of my parents were very familiar. And I’ve used that fact to justify not being able to control my temper. So I’m now in my 40s and time’s up on my anger and frustration. I don’t have a good plan to deal with this yet, it’s just the latest in my ongoing process towards good mental health. I’ll let you know how it goes. I think the biggest hurdle I have is knowing my triggers and watching for them. I know one of them is feeling like things aren’t in my control. This is where the anxiety/anger nexus lives.

“If you were raised by a parent like this, that’s trauma inducing, that’s eggshell territory. “

Brene Brown, Super Soul Sunday

And I’m sure that that’s where my parents anger and frustration came from as well. Anxiety, things out of control, feeling overwhelmed. But what’s hard is that for a kid, they don’t understand the anxiety/anger nexus. All they see and hear is anger, frustration and disappointment. Not to mention adults who just can’t seem to keep it together. That’s what I saw as a kid and I’m really hoping that our girls remember more of the whale watching and trips to the zoo and less me getting angry because they’re fighting in the back of the care. Time well tell but at least I know I’m going to try to do something about it, that’s a start. xo Janet

Published by Janet Gwilliam-Wright

Feminist and queer. Professional teller of truths. Slayer of personal demons.

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