You of All People …

by Bill Brenner on March 12, 2011

Recent weeks have pounded home the point that I’m seriously lacking in patience. With Duncan’s issues. With Erin’s workload. And more.

Mood music:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjto02iDNZA&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0]

Four words repeatedly ring in my head: “You of all people.”

I of all people should be patient with Duncan. I was a problem child on a much deeper, darker magnitude than him. He’s a good boy. I should be a lot calmer when he has his meltdowns and gets uncooperative. Because I’ve been in his shoes. And yet I’m not patient with him at all.

Erin put up with a lot of grief when I was slowly melting down and needed to find treatment. She has stuck by me through the long, brutal years of therapy, religious conversion, addictive behavior and now she’s having to deal with me at the other extreme — throwing myself into insane levels of activity simply because I can now.

Yet I get impatient over her workload. Starting a freelance business from nothing is hard and sometimes crushing. I’m proud of what she’s accomplished. But the business is like a newborn child, in constant need of attention. Sometimes — more than sometimes, actually — I get jealous of the newborn.

I forget that at one point everything I did revolved around the needs of my job. She stuck it out through all the 12-hour night shifts that left me more than useless during the day. And that was with a toddler and newborn in the house.

She was patient as wave after wave of depression washed away my libido and made me a dark, brooding presence you had to walk past very carefully.

For the most part, I’ve since gotten my shit together, and now it’s time to be patient for them.

But I’m failing to do so. A lot.

You of all people.

I lost my temper with Duncan more than once this past week. We don’t hit our kids, but when we yell, we really yell. When I do, I feel terrible afterward, like the ultimate failure of a father.

When Erin has to focus in on her work or she’s too tired at the end of a long day for anything other than TV, I start to think like an ass (she doesn’t want to be with me. She no longer finds me attractive, etc.). I forget that she stuck with me for years as I failed to meet her needs. And when that point is driven home to me, I feel like the ultimate failure of a husband.

I know I’m not a failure on either of these counts, but when you let anger and uncertainty take over, you start thinking in absolutes. That’s always a bad idea.

So patience is clearly something I need to work on.

Maybe it’s no accident that my therapist asked me when I’ll start doing yoga during my appointment yesterday. I keep telling him I have no patience for yoga.

I’m starting to see the absurdity of my response, even though — truth be told — as I write this I still have no interest in yoga.

However I get there, massive amounts of patience will be required.

I should know how to muster the patience. 

You of all people.

But for whatever reason, I’m not there yet.

But after recent events, finding it has become a big priority.

Wish me luck.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

io_saturnalia March 12, 2011 at 9:41 am

One thing I remember from my days of working at a group home for juvenile offenders and other wards of the state of Maine is that yelling signals a loss of power. But, as a parent (or, in my case many years ago, a residential child care worker) you have the power over the situation and don’t need to enter into a power struggle.

That doesn’t mean seeing your expectations of the moment through will necessarily be pleasant, but you are in control of the situation. And, when you lose your cool, you only hurt yourself (as this blog entry attests).

So … try to identify what it is that’s triggering your negative response and question why that is happening. That will take a lot less time than practicing patience, anyway.

bill roth March 12, 2011 at 9:48 am

Bill,
Buena suerte amigo. Your comments speak for a lot of us. And many of us have been through exactly what you are going thru. Keep focusing, keep praying (if appropriate), and keep striving.

Br

Brian Carty January 8, 2012 at 4:58 am

Good luck. Hang in there.

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