Thank you all so much for your comments on my post about anger. I not only learned a lot from your advice, but knowing that I'm not alone really puts things in perspective. Maybe I'm not a crazed monster. Or maybe we all are ;)
There have been times when I have swallowed a potential outburst and let it go. And there have been other times when the little voice in my head said, "don't do it...don't bring that up...it'll start a fight...do NOT do it..." and I still did it. And it started a fight.
But I think what I've learned from those times is to listen to that little voice. I know when something I'm about to say is mean-spirited, yet I used to talk myself into saying it. I'll just say it in a nice voice (ya, right)...he needs to hear it...I'm right. But it was a lie. Now some part of me is looking out for me (and him) by forcing me to face the truth. The voice may have been there all along, but it wasn't until recently that I gave it any credence or turned up its volume.
Since recognizing this voice I have still failed a couple times - the times when ignored it and went ahead with saying whatever it was - but just the simple fact that I now have a warning system in place is an improvement.
Another thing that has helped immensely is a wonderful bit of advice that a fellow blogger, and friend, gave me in a comment on my "Anger" post. Here's an excerpt:
For me I start my day saying EVERYTHING is my job. My husband and I are very traditional so I do all housework and he brings home the bacon. That being said IF he chooses to do something, I'm THANKFUL because that is not his job.
Now, I know not every family keeps the husband and wife roles completely separate. In our house, Ryan helps with some of the housework and he wouldn't have it any other way. But I think this advice can be applied no matter what the situation may be, including outside of marriage as well, with bosses, friends, and extended family. Here's how...
I spend a lot of my day trying to figure how to get out of work. For instance, I hate folding. Eventually my poor husband would find himself tripping over laundry baskets of clean clothes and spend a couple hours on a Sunday night folding every article of clothing we own. I had my excuses: I can't fold while the kids are awake because they plow through my neat piles, I'm too tired at night, I despise folding, I'm too busy with other chores, etc., etc. I hated that he ended up doing it, yet that hatred didn't outweigh my hatred of folding. I secretly hoped he'd fold, that I'd come home from grocery shopping and my clothes would be put away, an empty laundry basket sitting in our room like a beacon of hope.
It would also happen with more in-the-moment chores. I'd smell a dirty diaper and just hope and pray he would notice it and change it first. I'd sometimes do the same when it came to baths, feeding the kids, changing loads of laundry. You name it.
I was constantly trying to outlast him.
I'd even do it when there was no one else around. I'd put things off, trying to figure out how I could explain to myself (myself!) why something didn't need to be done right then.
I was operating on the premise that nothing was my job. Well, nothing other than nursing and cooking. Everything else was up for the taking and if I did it, then good for me.
So here's the thing: If, instead, I start out with the belief that everything is my job, then I can stop trying to get out of things. And, wouldn't you know, that's actually very freeing! I was expending a ton of energy trying to avoid chores, figuring out how I could get Ryan to do them, and thinking about how stressed they were making me. When you go into each day, each task, knowing it's up to you and you alone, you focus all your energy on the actual task at hand. Genius, right? Who knew?!
And, of course, if you do get some help, then it's just icing on the cake. It's an unexpected gift. Which is SO infinitely better than the guilt of watching someone else do a chore that you tricked/whined/begged your way out of.
Yes, Ryan still folds laundry at times, and he sure changed his share of dirty diapers today, but the difference is it wasn't because I outlasted him. It happened when I honestly wasn't expecting it.
I tell myself several times a day that everything is my job. And it actually makes me get off my butt and do whatever it is that I wish I didn't have to do. And guess what? I get it done and then get to sit back down and rest, knowing I did what I needed to do. That rest is so much more relaxing than the time I would have spent sitting and stewing over whatever it was that I had to do.
And now I don't get angry over something not done right, or about how much work I have to do. If I act as if everything is under my job description (even if it's really not), then there's no reason to get angry over someone's generous help that wasn't so helpful, or the fact that they didn't help at all.
It's really how we should face every day of our lives, no matter what our job is. Telling ourselves that everything is our responsibility helps us to focus on serving others and dying to self.
I went through a lot of my life wanting to be served and finding ways to make sure that happened. But that's not what any of us are here for. And it doesn't matter if it's in our job title, if we deserve it, if we work the hardest, if no one helps us - everything is our job and if the person you are working "for" doesn't motivate you, then do it for Christ, because that's who all of our work is really for in the end, anyway.
In my case, of course, I'm extra blessed because my bosses definitely motivate me.
There is much more I want to say about anger (including what I believe is definitely a hormonal component in my case - I was super happy and super energized right before ovulation last week) but I'll save that for another post. Right now my bosses are sound asleep and I have some folding to do.