i lost it the other day. threats, venom and anger. spewed all over my family. damn. i hate the shame of it all. my kids were scared, bawling and ashamed and i was self-righteous, angry and wounded. liam was confused, guilty and defensive. it was a mess. what should have been a wonderful family day together was scarred by some ugly behavior by all of us (well, buck was pretty innocent, but did whine a few times...). the most frustrating thing was this was a re-run of a family day we had in october when we went to the city to spend time together, shopping at thrift stores, eating out and supposedly enjoying each other's company. i lost it that day too.
liam drew the parallels for me and reminded me of a time in our relationship when we had the same argument on the same steps in front of a restaurant in dallas 3 years apart. sometimes things repeat themselves because we don't learn enough from them the first time.
i am so ashamed. my points were valid, my pain real, but the method of my delivery was abusive and scary. i sat in the drivers seat of the parked car and threatened my family that i was never doing this again. the shadows of the october trip did much of the work for me so very little had to be said. my family knew that day (my birthday) was ruined by temper tantrums and passive aggressive behavior - and my ultimatum in the car - for that trip i drove us home the three hours it took in complete silence.
what i failed to realize was the shame that had crept into my day along the way that pushed the buttons that brought us to that place. my daughter acting like trying on clothes (at the thrift store) was akin to child labor in the coal mines, my son's attention span lasting a whole 15 minutes in a store and persistently asking every five minutes when we would be done. my husband not engaging in the day and missing out on conversations and statements made and blowing past things that were important to me. my own frustration and shame at clothes not fitting, cramped dressing rooms and thrift store merchandise. all of it boils into an ugly stew.
by the end of the time i am shredded.
saturday i had found a spring jacket that i thought was so stylish and made me feel beautiful in. it was tailored and expensive - the tag at the thrift store was even asking $17.99. i tried it on to show liam after all of the drama of the change rooms with my daughter and he looked at me like i had vomit on my clothes. he swears it had nothing to do with the price tag and that he had no consciousness of the look on his face, but i was so demoralized i put everything back on the rack and left the store. i tried to calm down in the freezing parking lot, but obviously it wasn't cold enough to cool the boiling rage i felt inside.
when they returned to the car i began. i didn't swear or scream - but i did threaten and abuse the power i had to instill fear and frighten my kids. this isn't the kind of behavior they are usually party to. i usually only bestow on liam. pink will be 12 this spring and i don't think she's seen this more than twice in her life, but i was brutal. damn.
one of the things we have learned is that when emotions get ratcheted up this high there is always something standing behind them. shadows of unresolved issues from the past that are tweaked and buttons pushed that rarely have anything to do with the situation at hand.
bags must be unpacked, closets opened and aired out if we are going to come to the bottom of this to stop it from happening again. i just am not sure where to start.
i know that the passive aggressive behavior my daughter has found as her weapon lately pushed every button i have. alas, this is why she has chosen it. she has learned from the masters. my husband and mother-in-law use this weapon well and when i see it in her i want to crawl inside and root it out of her brain with a spoon.
the shame of the thrift store looms large for all of us. they are usually dirty, the dressing rooms crowded and ill equipped and the lines you have to wait through just to get one are filled with others who really don't want to be there and are living out their own stories of shame and frustration (except of course for the pack of teenagers who are having an absolute ball trying on hats and weird old men coats - they are the most fun to watch at the thrift store - and i miss that part of me).
how can we carry around so much baggage all of the time. damn my hands are tired. i want to put it down and leave it somewhere to rot.
the family meeting is coming, but i want to wait until the raw emotion has some time to settle and liam and i can have a better understanding of why this returned to haunt us. i am tired of living in the shadows.