2009 07/05

Looking for some new genes

I never talk about my father on here. I rarely talk about my father period. And, when I say my “father”, I am specifically talking about my biological father.

There are a number of reasons why I refrain from talking about him. My parents separated and divorced in my early high school years. That was actually a happy time for me. I’ve never (at least not that I can remember) really gotten along with my father. I resented him for so many things. So, I was openly giddy when my mother finally decided to leave him for good.

In a condensed version of my long drawn-out story, my father is an alcoholic. And he was a mean drunk, at least to us kids. I’m pretty sure that the only reason he wanted to have kids was to insure himself some free slave labor. Oh, so many stories I could share but that is for another time.

I think I’ve always had a bit of a temper and I know I’ve always been a stubborn person. But I think the temper has been magnified since having kids. It could be the limited amount of sleep I get most nights or the wearing that my kids can have on my patience. But it is most definitely something that has been inherited from my father.

You could argue the whole nature vs. nurture thing here but, regardless, my ill temper is a product of my father’s doing. A product of living with that man for so many years. It’s funny because I haven’t really spoken to my father in almost 15 years, aside from two or three very brief conversations, and, yet, I still struggle with this.

I don’t want to have a temper and so I tell myself that this is something I can change, and I try. I treat it like the alcoholism in a lot of ways. I know that alcoholism runs in my veins. I’m very prone to addictions. So, I am very cautious. I drink on rare occasions and I try to be very careful as to how much I drink. I don’t want to become my father.

But how do I apply that same caution to my temper? So far I try to give myself space when I feel my temper flaring up. I quiet myself. I walk away. This works with my kids, most times, but how do I apply that to my husband, with other adults? It’s hard to explain to other adults, when the conversation becomes heated or buttons are pushed, that I need to step away to get my temper in check. I’m not a dangerous person and most people around me know that so it confuses them when I need to leave the conversation. Unlike my kids, they don’t understand.

It’s just an awkward situation. It doesn’t seem like it should be but it is. People understand when I tell them why I’m cautious about drinking but that same understanding doesn’t seem to apply to arguments. I think most people feel like I”m just trying to avoid the conversation or conflict. On the contrary, I’m trying to avoid saying something hurtful, something I will regret.

So, there you have it. I have a temper. A temper that I’m ashamed of. A temper that I battle most days. A temper that most of the people around me don’t understand. A temper that reminds me of my father. A temper that reminds me of the parent I don’t want to become.

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