Do you get mad? Many of us get the message when we are young that it is not OK to be angry – especially if you are a girl. As with so many of the lessons that we learn as children, it takes us the rest of our lives to unlearn the lesson and realize that it is OK to get mad – actually, it is essential.
Although I am widely regarded as a woman of swagger, I too, feel like I should be nice and accommodating to others – especially men. When I was growing up, I needed to accommodate my brother’s often grumpy moods. My mother reminded me that it was important to do well in school, but that I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, because it might intimidate boys.
Recently I found myself in a relationship in which my partner required lots of attention. I tried and tried to give him the attention he needed. I gradually realized that he was still suffering from lack of love as a child and that no matter how much attention I gave him, it would never be enough – never. It was amazing to me how long I continued to try to give him everything he needed, even when I knew I couldn’t.
A new puppy in my life proved the factor that caused the final blow up. My partner resented any attention I gave to the new dog – including getting out of bed to let the dog out to pee. After a particularly hard discussion about the dog that included the hope that the dog might die from Parvo, I said “enough is enough” and hung up the phone.
All that time of trying to be nice and accommodating caught up with me in a single moment and I exploded. Luckily the most dangerous weapon in my reach was a vacuum cleaner. I put the puppy out and began vacuumming with all my might. Soon, I realized I was saying out loud all the things I wanted to say to my partner for the last several months – and I wasn’t using my nicest voice or my most polite language any more. Soon, my voice was as loud as the vacuum and I could feel myself on the verge of growling. Read more…