Losing my temper...

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
About a year and a half ago my grandfather died and it was like pulling teeth to get my mom to go see him while he was sick. Apparently this tiny factor never came up between her and her mother and they are now daily phone pals, again.

My grandmother is a major trauma survivor - raped by her brothers, cast out into the streets at 14. If she was never a prostitute, I'd be surprised.

She's also abusive and I have had to make very firm boundaries with her. My mother didn't speak to her much until her dad died for the same reason.

Now that they are chatty, again, however, it has created some tension between my mother and I, because naturally my mom wants to talk shit to me about the crappy things my grandmother says about me and it flips my switch.

The first time it happened, I remained calm and stated that I would rather not hear it.

The second time, I was not nearly as patient.

I remember going on a tirade kinda like this:

Who visited me when I was 13 and down in Southern California after I was dumped off with my father by my super stellar grandparents - you know, my father, that man they repeatedly called a burnout, incapable of raising kids - but he was good enough for me, right? Who came to see me when I graduated high school? Who gave a shit about my life? Yeah, nobody! That's right. No! Now that I am finally doing OK, I am supposed to feel guilt for not visiting this woman who made me out to be a monster to my whole family? I have a life, now. Sorry people change when you abandon them in other states but that's how it worked out this particular time.

Now, I feel guilty of course, even though I indicated that I should not because after all, it was as much negative information about my mother as it was about my grandmother and I was screaming it at my mother who already feels a lot of guilt.

I have talked to her a couple of times since and she either hasn't tried it again or she doesn't have anything negative to report.

I really wish I didn't do shit like this, either way. It just feeds my family image AND I really wasn't trying to hurt my mother's feelings - it just infuriates me what is expected of me in this family.
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
You're allowed to be angry.
You're also allowed to say what you did.
You're also allowed to forgive yourself if you say things you wished you didn't.

For many years, I have asked my parents not to talk to me about certain family members. As they don't want to talk. They don't want to hear what I have to say. They just want sympathy, and to slag off certain family members, and take no responsibility for what they do.
For years, they have consistently refused to stop talking about them in that way. Even when I say "please change the subject it's upsetting me", they ignore it and carry on.
I've worked out that the best way to deal with it is to interrupt and divert the conversation to something else my parents like to talk about (i.e asking a question about their health). This works. And doesn't result in arguments.

It's great you have put your boundary in with your mum and it looks like she is respecting it at the moment?
If she wants a relationship with her mum, then that's for her to decide.
But it's for you to decide what you want to talk about and what relationships you want.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks. That was actually another thing I yelled at her: I'm not a bad person for being angry. I have good reason to be angry.

I stopped talking to my father a few years back because he insisted on telling me any shitty thing my stepmother said about me. I asked him to stop, changed the subject and lost my temper for years before I finally just have up. In retrospect, I am sure my mother triggered these memories.

She does seem to be treading lightly right now but she hates getting yelled at, so I imagine that as long as her memory of me screaming at her is fresh, she'll watch it.

It's easy to say I am not a bad person for getting angry but it's harder for me to really believe it. After all, my mother never loses her temper but she certainly does have other bad habits.

Thanks again. I forget sometimes that people do get mad and that it really is alright. I wasn't being abusive; I was just angry.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
I’m terrible with anger lately, so this doesn’t come form a place of having it figured out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how there are two ways to handle anger - one is a way that increases self respect.

I want to use that kind of anger. How to stay out of the other kind of outburst (or implode) type of anger expression? I don’t know.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
I’ve been thinking a lot about how there are two ways to handle anger - one is a way that increases self respect.

You touched on something important here that I have been unable to verbalize. I often express anger in a way that should increase self-respect but since I have never been allowed to have that - I feel terrible guilt about it. I am trying to work on how to forgive myself for defending myself when it is entirely appropriate but it has been hard. I can defend another person and never think a thing about it but if I show frustration to protect myself, I typically feel that I have done it all wrong, no matter how my actual manner was. I always feel like my internal rage is boiling out and scalding people even when people don't even realize I am angry.

I am sorry you are having trouble with anger. I have been a real joy as of late, myself. Must be 2020.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
Is there a way that you could defend yourself that you would feel proud about?

With other people, sure. With my family, I sort of doubt it. I wish I could explain why but I am not sure I understand it. It's like no matter what I do, if it expresses the slightest displeasure, I am a jerk. No one in my family is allowed the slightest unhappiness with the next member - it's all smiley lies, all the time.
 
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