July ended with Tom being spoken to by the early intervention team in relation to his angry outbursts. Listening to him talk frankly with the worker about anger and frustration got me thinking. I saw so many similarities between us. Did he get it from me? Am I the cause? Is it inherited?
Tom explained that his anger come from frustration and he feels like a stick of dynamite with a very short fuse. His anger results in things being broken. Phones, TVs, laptops, doors, walls. Things get punched; that’s his outlet. It was sad to listen to. Why does my child behave like this? Who is at fault here? Me, his Mam, anyone?
He talked about anger at school and stated that his outbursts do not occur in the classroom but in the schoolyard. Interestingly, his anger doesn’t manifest in my company. Tom said that this is because there is nothing which frustrates him when he is with me but I have a different theory. A theory of consequence and boundaries.
He knows that if he acts up with me he will be told off. There will be consequences for his behaviour. In a classroom of twenty-five children his behaviour is noticed more than in a schoolyard of five hundred children. He can get away with it in the schoolyard and he can, it seems, get away with it at home. He cannot escape notice in the classroom so he may get in trouble. He also gets into trouble if he plays up with me.
Which asks the question. Is this issue with him or with those who allow his behaviour. What boundaries are being set? Is he informed about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. As he works more with professionals to combat his anger issues perhaps these questions shall be answered.
After the difficulty of yesterday, realising there was something wrong, something effecting my mood and behaviour, I did a little bit of soul searching. I’m a fairly rational, logical person and I can normally work out problems. Sometimes it helps to write stuff down. Writing is therapy. Seeing my issues on the ‘page’ rather than keeping them in my head assists in the deconstruction of the problem and allows for me to reach a resolution.
Last night I sat and spoke to Fran about what was going in. She has borne the brunt of my behaviour. I’ve been angry, frustrated, snappy, irritable. What had changed to make me this way? What was the cause of the calamity in my head? On the surface, life couldn’t be sweeter. We have a lovely home, a happy and healthy baby and a good, solid relationship. So why was I hurting her with my words and conduct? She only ever means well and I was pushing her away by the way I was behaving. I didn’t want to do that. Something had to change.
The first step in solving a problem is admitting that there is one. I contacted Talking Changes to ask for help. They called me today and I have arranged an assessment for next month. Services are strapped and I understand there is a wait for help. Between then and now I hope to have dealt with a lot of my issues by myself; or rather with the help of friends and family.
As I was saying; I spoke to Fran last night. I listed what the issues might be and we talked through them.
The issue with my Dad is done. That issue is as dead as him. He died nine years ago this month. I didn’t really know him all that well. He was never there for my formative years. He passed and I was upset but I recovered. Clare is another loss which I have recovered from. That was five years ago. I’ve moved on. I never thought I would love again but I did and I do. I think about her daily but I went through the mill when she passed away and came through. Ellis, Mike, my brothers. There are issues there but when I think about them and what happened to them / between us I’m okay with it. Work? I love my job. When you can skip into work happy to be there you know you have won at life. Money? Yes it’s an issue right now but we are managing and things will recover.
The issue is Tom. My boy. My first born. It’s funny in a non-funny way that the problem was staring me in the face. The timing of events in life and the deterioration in my mental health are obvious to me now. He is the issue. My attitude towards our relationship is the issue. Knowing is good. Now I can work on fixing things. Both our relationship and how I feel about it.
In time I’ll explain…
Recently I have been struggling a little bit. Call it stress, call it anxiety, call it whatever I don’t know but it’s been tough. My mind is not on the ball. I seek the solace of being alone. I’m disengaged, disinterested, distant. It’s taking it’s toll on my relationship and that relationship is the one good thing that keeps me grounded. I cannot allow my issues and insecurities – if that’s what they are – to cause a rift between us. It cannot happen. I need help.
It takes a lot to say that: I need help. I’m a strong person. Relied upon. Depended upon. Maybe that’s the issue.
Last night I had to take myself out of the home as my stress got to the point where I couldn’t cope. I drove just out of town and parked up. The pressure felt physical. Like my skull being compressed. I know she is trying to help but the persistent questioning, querying, asking, just doesn’t help in the slightest. When someone asks ‘what’s wrong’ and you don’t have an answer for them it’s frustrating for both. This morning I opened up a little bit. The problem isn’t her, the problem is me. It’s my issue. It’s things I haven’t dealt with. It could be any of the following or a combination of them or all of them:
Dad – did I deal with his abandonment of me when I was thirteen or his death?
Clare – I didn’t deal with her passing away.
Tom – my relationship with my boy is damaged.
Ellis – my youngest brother is suffering with his mental health and my family is struggling with that!
Mike – my relationship with my closest brother is a struggle.
Work – I enjoy my job but it can be traumatic. Am I dealing with the trauma?
Money – Things are hard at the moment. Debt and the rising cost of living.
Each is an issue – and they’re just the ones I have identified. There could be other things lurking under the surface. I just know that I am struggling to cope with things and I lack healthy coping mechanisms. So I am going to ask for help. I am looking to get help. I am aware that self-help is a huge part of recovery/wellness and this; well, I have always found writing stuff down to be helpful.
This is the start, then, of a series of posts exploring my issues and, hopefully, helping me identify ways to fix them.