The fabric of your life is made up of all the threads you choose to hold on to. Every event, every circumstance, every impression produces a thread. Emotions too, including anger. It is important, therefore, to be intentional about the threads you choose to keep.
Rachel definitely kept a record of wrongs.
“Why do you kids keep asking me for things you know you can’t have? You drive me crazy with your constant whining!” Rachel hissed loudly at her children in the grocery store, visibly frustrated and upset.
Ethan and Emily followed behind their mother, with a shared understanding there would be no more “requests” during this shopping trip. If they were lucky, she would be over her anger by the time they got home. Until then, they walked carefully, on guard and watchful of her temper.
Up ahead, Rachel fumed. It was hard enough putting food on the table without these constant demands for more things from the kids. They had no idea what it was like to have to stretch a dollar and keep track of every purchase.
As she neared the checkout line, she looked back to see where the kids were. They were there, trailing behind as usual. Part of her was glad the kids seemed to read her mood and give her lots of space; she felt bad about yelling at them. Part of her wished they would ask for something else, so she could relieve some of the pressure building up. It wasn’t fair she had to hold it all in herself.
This reaction, or overreaction, is often referred to as pushing someone’s buttons. This is the bitter pool that negativity draws from. The deeper the pool, the greater the flood when released. The greater the flood, the more positives it takes to dam up and contain the bitter waters again. The kids’ questions punched Rachel’s button. The result was not good for anyone.
Tomorrow’s Post: How women like Rachel can neutralize negativity.
SOURCE: Chapter 4: “What’s Wrong with Keeping Score?” in Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Your Anger by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.