Losing It

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As you know I am desperately trying to curb my yelling habit and for the most part I am succeeding. I had only yelled once in over eight weeks which in itself is amazing but this weekend I lost it.

It isn’t easy raising teenagers especially those with autism. Andre does everything he can to push my buttons. While incredibly smart he also uses that keen intelligence of his to manipulate those around him and it is draining. This weekend after repeatedly asking him to hang up his clothes he told me, “I don’t have hangers.” I responded by going to his closet and started throwing every hanger he had out saying repeatedly “Here’s a hanger, here’s a hanger” until I had thrown at least 30 into the middle of his room. Then I decided that he could go through all the shirts and get rid of those that no longer fit him and took all those shirts off their hangers and threw them in the middle of his room until his closet was bare. During this time he was intentionally saying “push your button” things that just fueled the fire; the embers rising swift and hot like my temper.

I hate when I lose it with my kids. It makes me feel so small. It makes me beat myself up about not being a parent that my children deserve and certainly not one whose behavior I want them to emulate to their own brood when they become adults. Losing it with my children feels like it diminishes my capacity to be a fully functional human being and that in losing it I also sacrifice part of my own humanity in the process; something I can ill afford. I hate it.

Mindfulness has helped change many of my reactions to situations but what do you do when mindfulness dissipates in the heat of the moment?

I am learning to apologize and pray that the others involved grant me grace. Then I sit in the moment of shame, observe it, then let it go. For they tell me that the only way we can feel diminished is through self-talk in which we berate ourselves for our numerous failures. Frankly, that kind of talk doesn’t get you very far in life and I’ve done enough of it to know. Dispassionate observation of what occurred and pausing to recognize what happened and then letting it go is my only option.  Then I just forge ahead with the belief that I can and will try to do better.Truly it is the only thing I can do.

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