Saturday, October 25, 2008

My 24-hour Rule, Peace Comes

I have what I call my "24-hour Rule". I have a short-fuse. I attribute that to my life as a kid-- being a victim of physical beatings from my father, and from watching or hearing my mother being smacked around by my dad. I had to suppress my anger at the helplessness of my situation. I could not defend myself against my father-- he was bigger, he had a black belt in karate and he scared me when he was mad. My mother (God rest her soul) was a very willful mom. In other words, she was very controlling. Both of my parents would fly off the handle, and I never knew what would come my way-- a slap, a fist, a belt, a wooden cooking spoon or the dreaded German "Rug Beater" made of reeds.

I have prefaced this explanation, because I believe that this is the root cause of my lack of patience and/or short-fuse. For most of my life, I had an anger management problem. Fortunately, I have been able to control these childhood afflictions about 98% of the time. I give the Glory to God for helping me to control my temper. One of my coping mechanisms, when I feel angry or frustrated, is to enforce my 24-Hour Rule. In other words, if I am feeling angry about something, it's best to leave me alone to sort through it. The next day, my anger has subsided and I can think a lot more rationally. In retrospect, I wish I had discovered this effective tool a long time ago.

Yesterday, I was had reached a boiling point of frustration with my son and his addiction. My blog, from yesterday, reflects how angry I felt. It felt very therapeutic for me to write down how I feel-- to journal my emotions, in the raw (so to speak). They were very real, but I also knew that within 24 hours, my anger would dissipate. That is what I mean by my 24-hour rule-- it means that "this, too, shall pass".

I do believe that there is a time for healthy anger-- I tend to think of Jesus when he got so angry at how the merchants in his Father's temple. Jesus was angry at how sacrificial animals had turned into a profit-making business. Our Lord was angry, for a good reason. To me, my anger (yesterday) was also for good reason. I was angry at Brian's addiction-- the lies, the denial and the betrayals that come with this terrible demon.

Today, I am feeling better. I needed to go to sleep early. I am thankful that the Lord gave me a good night's sleep. My job has been especially stressful and busy. It didn't help that I was watching the students at the high school, where I work. There were several hundred teens watching a student sponsored event. The kid were listening to their music and I realized that this is the same music my son listens to. I noticed a tall, thin teenage boy and I was struck by how much he resembled my son. The tears hit me, with such an unexpected force, that I almost had a meltdown. I had to find a private place to get through the pain I felt. Sometimes, I try too hard to be strong. It takes a lot to make me cry, and I don't like to do that in front of anyone. I think that I cry in private, because my mother was a pro at crying in front of people-- it was her way of trying to manipulate me with guilt.

I am a very strong person, most of the time. I wasn't always that way, though. I believe that I get my strength from my faith and trust in God. I could not have the kind of courage that I need to cope with what my son has been through-- his car jacking, his addiction, he diabetes and his inability to build basic life skills-- without calling on God's promise that he will never leave me nor forsake me. I still marvel at that miracles in answered prayers that God has blessed me with. Every single day, I give glory and thanks to God. My strength is His strength.

So, today, I am feeling a little better than I was yesterday. I just received a phone call from B. Our conversation was short, but maybe there is new hope. B said to me that he's been thinking about the Sober Living Environment home I found out about. It's run by a church, in my area. It's a one-year commitment. Yesterday, B wanted nothing to do with the idea. Today, he said he's considering that this program might just be the answer. Thank you, Jesus!

Of course, I don't know if space is available. If space is available, my son will have to convince the couple (who runs the program) that he is committed to working the program.

B and I talked about a few important matters. I am not ready to share what they were. Suffice it to say, I truly feel as though I am letting my son make his own decisions on what he's going to do. I am not meddling, at all. I haven't called my son-- he's been calling me.

I'm still feeling very tired and in desperate need of some quiet time just for me. When my phone rings, I just don't want to talk about my son. That is why I've started to blog again. It truly is easier for me to express how I am feeling, how I am doing and how B is doing right here.

I feel as though I am sharing this journey with my loved ones, and strangers would might be experiencing what I am. I am also finding therapy in writing how I feel. It's as though I can unload my pain, frustration and anger without lashing out at the people I love.

I have received a few private emails from a few of you. Please know, that your support is also very healing to me.

Thank you.

1 comment:

Deborah W said...

You're an awesome Mom.