Monday, March 24, 2008

do I stand on the rock or the sand?

So anyone who knows me at all knows that I have issues with anger. I was raised in a home where my Mom was pretty much sick all the time. Being sick made her angry. I was the only one close, so all of her anger was taken out on me. (At the time I couldn't see that she was angry because of her sickness. I was a teenager. Hindsight is 20/20, remember?) So I grew up dealing with anger the same way she did: I would get mad, explode on the spot, say things I would regret later just to hurt her in the moment, and then stomp off and brood about it. Later on, we'd both be pleasant to each other and pretend the fight had never happened.

I struggle with this as an adult for so many reasons. It's difficult for me to change, because this is my coping mechanism, and up until I got married and had kids, it pretty much worked for me. Get mad at someone, just stop talking to them. A lot of people did the same thing back to me, so I figured it was how a lot of people handled things.

Boy, how wrong was that. I can't even begin to tell you the heartache my anger has caused me. I don't know where it comes from, or if it will ever go away, but I will tell you at one point I sought therapy for it. I have been on mood altering drugs (by prescription, not illegal, lol) to help control it. I haven't found anything that's worked yet.

This week in my bible study at church, we talked about anger. The chapter in our book that we read was about moms dealing with anger, and I will tell you this: I hear you, Lord. You're coming in loud and clear. I just don't know why I never heard you before.

...oh, wait. Yes, I do: I wasn't listening.

I'm listening now. I can see even now how much my angry outbursts have cost me in my relationship with my children, and it hurts me. I know how my mom's anger hurt me, and how angry I would get with her and the things she said to me, and I do NOT want to repeat the cycle with my girls. I want them to be able to come to me and talk to me about things, like I never felt I could with my mom. I want them to want to be around me when they don't have to, like I never felt with my mom. I'm not saying that my mom was a bad mom; please don't think that I am. She was wonderful, and I couldn't have asked for someone better. She got sick, and being sick made her angry, and it changed her into something that I don't want to be.

I am blogging this because I want someone to hold me accountable for my anger. I feel like a made a huge step in the right direction this week, and even today my heart is lighter and I feel as though a huge weight has been removed from my shoulders. My girls were fighting and saying mean things to each other, and normally this would make me shout all sorts of obscenities and threaten them with a spanking if they didn't shape up. Today, though, I stopped before I could yell, and I prayed. I closed my eyes and folded my hands and prayed for the strength not to get mad and not to say hurtful things that I would feel like dirt for later. And whaddya know, it worked. I was able to talk to them without raising my voice once, which is quite a feat for me. Gracie even asked me what she should do when she feels mad at someone and can't stop feeling that way.

I explained that something happened to me last weekend that made me angry, but instead of letting go of it, I held onto it all week, and it made me miserable. I told her that the only things we can do are to pray about it, and occupy ourselves with other, happier things. Immediately she asked me if reading her Bible would help. I said definitely.

So today was a groundbreaking day in my home. I feel completely blessed that God has seen fit to give me a chance to turn my family towards him and to repair the rift that I was starting to create between me and my children. Our home will definitely be a happier one if I can stay on this path. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but my kids deserve it. I deserve to not be angry for a while, too. I've been angry for far too long. We all deserve a chance to get away from that.

And I know I said I wouldn't be posting pictures anymore, but I'll make an Easter exception and show off my lovelies. I'll delete the photo after a week, so hopefully everyone will have a chance to see it.

Love to you all,

Also, a good way to introduce my kids to worship music: