Monday, September 3, 2012
***Yes, I had to use this picture for my post.....it reminds me of my own wiener dog fighting with a porcupine last year....lol....tenacious little dogs, aren't they? Lol! :) ***
I actually wrote about this same topic earlier this spring but thought with recent confrontation issues, perhaps it was worth revisiting or re-examining. Professor honed in very early on to my tendency to be aggressive, confrontational, at times condescending when interacting with other people. He has pointed it out to me several times and we have discussed it over and over.....and I've had multiple OTK 'discussions' about this character flaw I seem to have. And he is not the only one to notice it.....my husband didnt care for it either, my older brothers, my other family, my friends, my co-workers.....it is hard not to notice. I even describe my own personality as 'abrasive'.
Anyway, this weekend I had yet another confrontation.....this time with an acquaintance who decided she should critique my parenting because she thought it "militaristic" that my 4yr old son says "ma'am" and "sir" to adults. First of all, who complains that a child uses manners??? Typically when someone complains about a child, it is an annoying behavior they have a problem with....not manners! Ughhh....anyway, I was in a bad mood anyway and was irritated by the fact that this woman with 4 kids of her own (by 3 separate fathers btw) had the audacity to criticize my parenting when her own children are freaking heathens! So we had a verbal sparring match and I was probably a tad bit more aggressive than I should have been, and said a few things I really shouldn't have. I confessed and explained the situation to Professor and he told me to add it to my Punishment List.....that he agreed that I was right, but the way I reacted was wrong.....I know better than to engage in pointless confrontation.
I know Professor is right, I know I over-reacted and at the very least, if I insisted on responding, I didn't need to use the language I chose and I certainly didn't need to do this in front of kids.....I get that and totally understand his point. Even when I feel like I am *not* actively seeking confrontation, I seem to fall into it and even though I know what is the *right* thing to do, I struggle to walk away so...I've been thinking....a lot.....and analyzing (what else is new)....and trying to find a reason, an explanation, a root cause for this. Now dont misunderstand my intentions, I am not trying to find a reason to justify it.....I am just trying to figure out why I am the way I am in this. And with all of my thinking, I think I may have just found the start of the problem......let me explain.
I dont think anyone had a perfect childhood, and I was no exception to that....but I didnt have an overly aggressive adult role model when I was a kid or any one person I can point to as setting the bad example. I have older brothers....so I obviously learned to fight relatively young. My mother, with only positive intention, put me in martial arts when I was 7 so I could learn to defend myself.....not that I needed the help...lol....I was already mean and if my mean wasnt enough, well thats where the older, bigger brothers come in. :) I enjoyed Tae Know Do and actually stayed until I was 20. Anyway, when my mom made this decision, she hoped for two things......#1 I would be able to defend myself because the school I attended wasn't exactly nice, and #2 perhaps I would learn a little something about discipline. I can definitely say #1 was a success......and #2 well I am learning with the help of my Professor.
When I was in middle school I started to get into a lot of trouble.....I mean A LOT. Boys, skipping school, drinking, drugs.....you name it, I did it. The middle of my 7th grade year, I was 13 at the time, I got into a fight at school.....a HUGE fight. My opponent was a girl, Nicole, who had been a good friend of mine.....I couldn't even tell you now what the fight was about, but it was bad. Obviously being trained in martial arts, Nicole was not even close to an equal match for me and I was pissed. Very pissed in fact, and even when I had clearly 'won' the fight, I did not stop hitting her......our principal stepped in, Mr. Meyer. Now, being on this little hell-bent self destructive path I had found myself in over the last year or so, I had absolutely NO respect for authority.....of any kind, and this man was no exception. In fact, I saw him more of a speed bump than a road block. I hit him.......13 yrs old, angry & completely lacking any form of respect.....I punched him in the face.....twice. The scuffle that ensued ended with him being hurt, the police being called and my mother showing up at the school.
I was so angry at this point that I was even cursing the police officers who had responded to the school. My mother was almost speechless. After discussing things with the school and the police, and thank God, no criminal charges being filed.....I was free to leave with my mother. On the way home in the car she started to do what any normal parent would do in the same circumstances.....she told me she was disappointed, asked what I was thinking, etc......I didn't care to hear it.....at all. I yelled at her and told her, "Shut the fuck up." When she got over the shock, she started to threaten consequences for my behavior and I said, "Are you fucking stupid? Did you not see what happened to Nicole & Mr. Meyer? If I were you, I'd shut the fuck up. I'm not a child and I can do whatever the hell I want to do, if you think you're big enough to stop me then go ahead and try....we will see how that works out for you."
That was it......she said nothing else to me. I now, looking back on the entire situation, feel horrible for of all things, the way I spoke to my mother for being a parent and having lost her a few years back, I'd do anything to take back the things I said to her but I cant.
Thinking about my aggression and my confrontational behavior, it all started and continued to get worse from that day forward. I had completely lost my temper and hurt people and then when anyone starting with the principal, following with the police and ending with my mother.....anyone in a position of authority tried to intervene I lashed out at them as well. And.....the most important thing perhaps of this whole story.....they ALL lost, they backed down, they quit. I won. I acted completely inappropriately and I got away with it completely without consequence. Not only did I get away with it, I was rewarded for it. I got suspended from school for 5 days for fighting.......with no academic implications, it was essentially a whole week of vacation for me. The police did not pursue any charges. My mother, either truly scared of what I may do to her or just feeling helpless at the moment, said not another word to me. Absolutely NO CONSEQUENCES.....I WON......I did what I wanted to do, disregarded everyone else, disrespected any hint of authority and I won. From then on, it only seemed to reinforce my behavior.
If I am not happy, upset, feel threatened, get irritated, frustrated, etc.......just about any emotion can be transferred to aggression for me.......it can all manifest into me being extremely confrontational. As I said when I started this post......I am not at all looking to justify my behavior because I know I am wrong.....very wrong. I am simply trying to figure out why I am the way I am in some things. Thinking through this entire situation and the way I have behaved every since then, it makes me wonder.........would I be as confrontational now if that situation had ended differently? If I had consequences then for what I had done, would I have realized that it was not okay? Would I react differently now? If I had been held accountable for my actions then, at 13, would I be as confrontational now at 27?
A lot to think about.......a lot to contemplate.....all kinds of 'what ifs' to run through in my cluttered mind right now. I wonder if I can truly change this character flaw I have.....can I really stop being confrontational? I know I am wrong in the way I interact.....I know I do truly want to change it.....I just wonder if I really can? If only I had the power to rewrite history. *sighs*