“You can’t keep pain in your body,” my friend observed about me, after I described my part in a family drama a few years ago. I didn’t understand at the time, but now I see a real need for changing my behavior.
I usually want to bolt from conflict, but I also want what I want. I want to control situations, and people understandably don’t like it. I create a bigger scene than necessary to get my way, and usually drama alienates my family. When my husband or sons get angry with me for escalating a problem, I feel like I’m disintegrating.
Recently, I wanted to downsize five boxes of Halloween stuff into two boxes in my cluttered garage. My youngest son was in town, so I asked him to decide what he wanted to keep and toss or donate of his stuff. He didn’t want to get into those boxes, but he did it because I asked him. Before long, we were fighting.
In short, we yelled, and my husband got involved. I got my way, but everybody was upset. They despise the way I got what I wanted. I need to change the way I get my way. Not everyone does life the way I do.
The fight ended, and I tried to listen as the two of them reacted to my manipulating behavior. I wanted to bolt and disintegrate because it felt like they were ganging up on me. That is not true.
I’m the one who escalated the situation. I am bewildered about how I push my family. I want to change my behavior, grow up and communicate in a more positive way. I do not want to be ‘right’ and alienate my family, which is a typical outcome.
I plan to read a red book titled “Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families.” No question that my behavior originated in an alcoholic home. Maybe this book will give me more understanding about what I do.
Do I want to be right, or be happy?
I want to deal with unpleasant emotions and face my manipulating behaviors. I want to understand how my behavior alienates my husband and sons. I may not have been the entire problem in the last fight, but my desire for control played a big part in escalating the argument.
I don’t want to repeat any more negative learned behaviors. I chose to be a sober woman, which changed current family dynamics. Both of my sons were raised by a ‘sober’ mother, but I am not some saint.
I need to learn more healthy ways to express myself. Antiquated family dynamics are instilled in some of my behaviors. I can barely keep confusing pain inside me long enough to fully understand my part. I didn’t cause it all, but accept responsibility for escalating the situation.
My son was able to explain to me the way he understood what happened. I was able to listen as best as I could. I tried to hear him, and we managed to diffuse the negativity.
I want to improve the way I treat my son and husband. Wanting my way isn’t really worth alienation.
Maybe this blog will help somebody else better recognize dysfunctional communication. Perhaps family situations can be further understood by honestly keeping an open mind and finding help.
Heavy, sweetheart. I am lucky to be a close friend, yet stand outside the circle of emotion. Please remember this one thing; these issues exist to varying degrees in all human dynamics. Your background does bring pressure and channels the behavior you exhibit long after the present no longer includes the driving scene. But it is not the Almighty Controller of YOU. Get in touch with your own sweet receptiveness. You are a mother and a wife. You know how to do this. It requires less strength and more surrender than you may think. Love you!
Thank you for this insight. It’s useful to remember our upbringing does not completely define us.
the huge thing here is that you are recognizing your part in the situations, AND wanting to change how you react. willingness is the key. being a person is the position of your husband and son i see both sides now. the conflict has not stopped completely, but over the years we have learned a lot about how to defuse the situation. it takes a lot of practice and patience, and it still doesn’t always work. and, as you say, it takes not needing to always be “right.” each of us have the ability to change how we act and react. give yourself a lot of credit for recognizing your part and working on changing. it’s hard work, and it’s humbling.
I’m hoping that writing about the struggle helps other people to feel like the struggle is worth it. Thank you for your comments.