Monday, February 11, 2013

How I Cope.

I got a comment on a recent post,
"...can you direct me to a post or two (I'm new here) that maybe talks about how you keep from feeling unbearably put upon or enraged you cope?"
and I'm having a hard time answering. "how you keep from feeling unbearably put upon or enraged"... I don't. I do feel unbearably put upon every day. and as that goes on unchecked, it turns into frustration and anger. They used to rule my life, those emotions. I couldn't get out from under them because life was so unfair! Why do I have to do everything? Where are all of these other people who are supposed to be helping? Why can't the kids do one single thing for themselves!? They treat me like a maid, like my sole purpose on Earth is to serve them. Why does everyone have to be so selfish and so lazy? Why can't they give me a break!? because you know, it's always their fault. their demands. their needs. nothing of my own. Then I heard 2 things that changed everything.
1. I was reminded to check my attitude.

Attitude is a big part of the equation. It's perfectly normal and perfectly ok to have emotions but you need to consider what the emotions are doing for you and to you. Getting a good mad on once in a while, justified anger at the universe in general or a righteous anger that fuels you to do what needs to be done, can be good. But what if that anger is not justified or righteous? What if the anger you are feeling is a bitter poison festering inside you until it's a weapon that can be used on the people around you to make someone pay for the way you are feeling? That's not cool. that's not going to get anything done or help you in any way. It will hurt you and those around you. That anger needs to be dealt with. Stopped in it's tracks by any means necessary.

This is my list of coping with the rage:
  • I hide in the bathroom for a few minutes and cry if I need to.
  • I get my MP3 player. I put it on and turn it up and drown out everyone around me. When I get my MP3 player going, my family knows I'm not in a good place and they need to lay off. I need to not talk to them because if I do, there's a good chance we will both regret what I say. Kids do not need to be in the garage when I'm out there smoking. That is my break time. the few precious seconds I can leave them to fend for themselves while I enjoy peace and quiet. the second hand smoke is just an excuse to get them away from me. as long as they are safe, for this time, I don't need to be at their beck and call.
  • I go to my friends. To the people who know. I find support online.
  • I find some first world problems. Mine or someone else's, it doesn't even matter. Find the problems you can laugh about like your kids throwing 5 lbs of beans or conspiring to make you insane. Find something, anything to laugh at. and then laugh. find the humor in anything you can find the humor in. and appreciate it.
  • Look at the people around you. Really look at them. at their perfection. Ignore the faults and look at what makes them great because, let's be honest, you aren't easy to live with, yourself  ;)
  • Hug them. Tell them you love them. Tell them why. When you see it, when you say it, you will know it and you will feel it.
  • Take lots of pictures. The bad memories are always right there begging to be remembered, the good ones, not so much. In pictures, you remember the bright spots of the day because every day has them, you're just too overwhelmed by the bad to recognise the magical moments.

2. I was reminded to recognise "love" is an action word as much, if not more than, an emotion.

What you feel is only relevant to you. It's what you do that matters with the people around you. You can be angry or hurt and that is fine but watch what you say. Watch the words that come out of your mouth. I'm not talking about cussing or things like that, I mean watch the emotions behind your words, the reasons you say what you say, and the direction your words are being thrown. Be respectful. be direct. Tell them what you think, what you feel, but if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. You can't fully control the way others talk to you but you can set the bar. You can show them what you expect by treating them the way you want to be treated and letting them know when they are not. One key word in doing this successfully is "I". Not, "You are so lazy, you won't even help when I need it!" but, "I am feeling overwhelmed and I really need help." Not, "Why do you have to be such a jerk!? Why do you always have to talk to me like that!?" but, "I'm getting upset right now. I understand that this is a tough topic and I think maybe we should walk away and talk about this when we can be calm." Understand that behavior is separate from the person. You can address the behavior without insulting their character.

This is how I cope with feeling unbearable put upon:
  • I ask someone to do something for me. It doesn't matter that it's so simple I could do it myself or I don't even really need them to do it. I ask anyway. "Walter, can you hand me my coffee, please?" "Goofy, can you see what your brother is doing?" It's something that someone else is doing for me. Not yet another thing I have to do myself. It makes me feel good when they do it and it makes them feel good when I let them know how much I truly appreciate it.
  • I make time for myself. I don't care if the house is a mess, the kids are running wild and supper hasn't been cooked, the second Thursday of every month, I'm going to my support group meeting. In the mornings, I don't care that it looks like a freakin train ran through my house, me and my coffee are sitting right here at the computer and doing what I want to do. I don't care if the kids fight and bicker and tear the house down, Friday nights, I'm getting my freaking bath, a long one. Wednesdays, I don't care what I have to do to find a kid to go with me, we are getting out of the house and going to story time at the library. All of that because I want to. as long as I'm doing everything I can for them, I can do everything I can for me, too.
  • I made chore lists and routine lists and they will do what they can do for themselves no matter how freakin hard I have to bribe them or how often I have to congratulate them on their awesome capabilities.
  • I let go of "my way". If it's done, it's done. If it's not done perfectly, I don't care because they did it for me. They put in some amount of effort to please me, and that pleases me. so I say thank you.
  • I learned that no one is a mind reader and if I want help, I have to ask for it. It doesn't matter how many of them step over that pile of clothes or add another item to the overflowing trash can, no one will know you want them to do something about it until you ask them to with a few simple words. and then, usually, the response is "Ok." and they do it. and I say thank you.  
  • I learned to say "No." I learned to say "I will help you but I will not do it for you." I learned the difference between big deal and little deal.
  • I learned that most times, indignation is a worthless feeling. Sometimes, being upset at the people who are not helping does nothing but drag you down because they don't care. You might as well suck it up and let it go for your own piece of mind. 
  • I learned that when I use please and thank you, I usually get the same in return. even if I have to remind them sometimes.
and this is how I cope with my life... I get angry and I get frustrated. I get overwhelmed and feel like I'm drowning in everyone else's needs. I get to the point that I just can't do this anymore, just can't. It's too hard. Too much. I want to sit down and cry it out and feel sorry for myself... so I do. and then I get up and dry my tears. I seek support when I need to and avoid it when I need to. I try to remember to not lose myself working so hard to put one foot in front of the other, watching my feet so closely that I lose the path. I try to remember to look up once in a while to see where I'm going, but not so long that I forget to watch my footing, to look back and see how far we've come, but not so long that I forget where I'm going. I sit down and I breathe and I relax but not so long that I lose my sense of direction.

and I know that I will fail in the way I treat the people around me, in doing everything I need to do, in putting on foot in front of the other, in watching where I'm going, and keeping track of where I've been... I will stumble, I will fall and at some point, I will bring others down with me. but I will be quick to say I'm sorry, I will mean it when I do and they will know it.

Bec is one very lovely lady that I admire quite a bit with her strong common sense, big heart, direct honesty, and real world answers. She has a couple of posts here that I strongly suggest you read...
Coping Isn't Optional
It's Ok To Forget The Bad Days 


  1. love it! I need to find more me time....i have been lately bc without, I am just mean....have hubby's friend staying here (adult with AS) and that is starting to get me at the end of my rope.....I just keep telling myself, "you're doing the right thing..." this is my new mantra, and I will repeat it until it sinks in ;)

  2. So true that we need to take care of ourselves if we have any hope in caring for others in our lives. You can't give what you do not have!! PEACE from the Laughter, Could be the Missing Piece mum!!

  3. I can't tell you how many times I've "escaped" by listening to my Ipod and totally shutting out everything else. It works! You have a great list of ways to cope in this post.

  4. Mac I loved this post, it's so honest and wise. These tips are so useful, and I just loved this reminder... "What you feel is only relevant to you. It's what you do that matters with the people around you." And thank you for the very kind shout-out!

  5. Thank you. I have to re-read that, maybe more than once, to take it all in. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.