Last Friday, Every. Single. Possible. Major trigger attacked me in full force.
Lack of sleep? Check.
Hyper, loud kids from the school, no school, school, no school snow routine? Check.
Too much to do? Check.
Lack of exercise? Check.
Cluttered house? Check.
Fight with husband? Check. Actually double, no triple check!
And it was said fight with husband that really put me over the edge. It wasn’t the other triggers because I prepared for them.
I knew within minutes of waking up that the other triggers would be hanging out with me that day, attached to me at the hip, going everywhere with me, taunting me to yell every step of the way. So I prepared for them. I took some Ibuprofen, had a coffee, did some light exercise, picked up one pile to feel accomplished, and told myself “you will get to your to-do list when you can, it isn’t anything urgent, don’t stress.”
And for the most part, these preventative actions and thoughts helped me to fight those triggers and keep them at the back of my mind and not incessantly bothering me as I went through the morning, one of my hardest times of the day. I learned early on in my Challenge that if I can get through the morning without yelling then for the most part I can get through the day without yelling. Conquering the morning gives me confidence that I can succeed and well, confidence and success breeds more confidence and more success.
Anywho, as I came down the stairs last Friday morning, my triggers and my four little munchkins followed me. But so did my growing, but slightly unsteady, confidence so I actually felt okay. I felt I had acknowledged my triggers, dealt with them, and that the morning would be hard, but manageable. I felt that I could indeed choose love over yelling.
And then BAM!
My husband and I started bickering. (Not in front of the children mind you; we are really good about that!) We each said some not so nice things. I cried a lot. As our “chat” continued, my anger grew and grew… a lot. And as our “chat” ended, I realized that my desire to yell had also grown… more than a lot!
As my husband headed out to work, and I stood fuming, probably with smoke coming out of my head, ears, nostrils and every pore in my body, my sweet #2 dared to innocently ask me,
“Mommy, I can’t find my hat. Can you help me?”
I turned around to him, ready to explode and scream, “NO! Go find it yourself! NOW leave me alone. GO! SCOOT!” You see, I hadn’t “come down” yet from the intensity of the fight with my husband and I had no desire to be bothered. Shoot, I had no desire to deal with anything. I just wanted to scream and shout and let it all out. I most certainly didn’t want to look for a hat or deal with the rest of the day for that matter because I knew it would be tough and trigger-full!
As I began to open my mouth, I felt my heart beat rising and my hands sweating. I knew what that meant: a yell was coming. So I did what I needed to do…
I closed my mouth.
I closed my eyes.
I took a few breaths.
And then had a little pep talk with myself, repeating to myself one of my favorite lines that keeps me from yelling,
“Orange Rhino, it’s not him that’s the problem, it’s you. It’s not the missing hat that’s making you want to yell; the fight is making you want to yell. The lack of sleep, the PMS, the dirty house, all of it is making you want to yell. You aren’t mad at your son, you are frustrated with other things. Don’t yell at him. Don’t take out your anger and frustration on him.”
It must have been a long pep talk and a lot of breaths because #2 said to me,
“Mommy, are you sleeping? Wake up. I can’t find my hat!”
So I did what else I needed to do…I woke up.
I woke up and embraced the reality that I needed to let go of the fight (enough) so that I could be present for my kids in the way I wished.
I woke up and embraced the reality that yes, it was going to be a hard day, but that I didn’t want to make it even harder by unnecessarily yelling at my son over a hat.
I woke up and embraced the facts that as much as I let go of the fight, that it would still taunt me that day. And that as much as I knew I didn’t want to yell, that I would still be tempted that day to do so because of all the triggers fighting me.
So after we found the hat – in the exact place it was supposed to be by the way – and we got half the house to school, I did what I needed to do to help set me up for a good-ish day.
I planned for when I could get in a long walk to help relax me and keep the kids out of the house and going crazy.
I called my mom and let my frustration out so that I could distance myself even further from it.
I “indulged” and let #4 watch some extra T.V. so that I could clean and de-clutter and find some inner peace.
And I told myself over and over and over again that,
“I will get through this day. I will get through. I can do this.”
I got through the day without yelling. It was touch and go at a few moments (okay, lots of moments,) but I did it and then I collapsed readily onto the couch with a nice glass of wine and some trashy magazines! I mentally toasted to preparation and how creating a plan to fight my triggers means that my chances of yelling less and loving more go up immensely. Does planning also mean time and energy, both of which I am generally short on every.single.day? Absolutely-frigging-lutely!!! But in order to manage my triggers, I know I need to plan for them. I need to know what they are, when they are alive and desperate to push me, and how to tame them so that I own them, not vice versa.
My triggers used to own me.
It wasn’t fun. It was ugly. It was a brutal existence.
Now that I own them, it is no longer brutal, but a much more beautiful existence because knowing and owning my triggers is the core to a non-yelling existence.
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