This morning, I woke up half an hour late and she the little girl was a bit late getting to school. I hate being late to anything or being the cause of someone else being late, it’s just how I am so that threw my whole day off.
The wife said that I woke up so angry and that it wasn’t the end of the world if she was late and she’s right but I was annoyed with myself that I fell back asleep after the alarm went off. If I had just gotten out of bed like I usually do, then none of that would have happened.
Later this evening, the wife and I were talking and she told me tonight that when I scream at the kids, it brings back all the memories and reactions she had growing up in a verbal and physically abusive home.
she said that her blood pressure goes up and she has the fight or flight response every time I yell at one of the kids.
I’m not proud that I yell at them and she’s right that it does nothing in terms of changing behavior just like spanking doesn’t either so I need to learn new ways to cope with things and find other ways to redirect them, especially the little girl, who though we have a lot of great moments together, she’s the one who listens the least but there are days when her brothers aren’t far behind.
The wife says that a lot of times, she felt like she was going to be killed when she was growing up. I said "that’s way more than yelling" and she said that, yes, it was the abuse and the drinking, things that I had known about from the beginning. She said that it just took her a while to process everything and figure out why she had those responses to that behavior.
when I was growing up, my dad yelled at us a lot, even yelled at my mom one day when she was crying about something.
when I was in public school for the last year before I went to boarding school, I got into a hell of a lot of trouble, mostly beating up other kids who picked on me for being blind. I even knocked one kid down a flight of stairs after I hit him with my cane.
One day, I came home from after getting a demerit, that’s what they called them when I was in school, instead of a detention, you got a pink slip of paper that your parents had to sign.
The school policy was if you got 10, you were expelled. I got 11 that last year of public school.
after one incident, after I had come home and I was sitting on my bed, probably listening to music like I always did, my dad came into the room, pulled me off the bed by my hair, and started beating my ass with a belt after he pulled my pants down as far as I can remember it. I don’t know how many lashes it was but it must have been a good many.
When Leah was around 2 and a half, maybe 3, a similar thing happened with me and her and if I already told this story, I apologize for the repeat but I spanked her ass with my hand after she willfully peed on the wife’s couch. I asked her why she peed on the couch and she said it was fun. I started spanking her, clothes still on, obviously, and you know how some spankings are, a word with each hit to emphasize the point.
My objective was to imprint into her little mind that it wasn’t fun or acceptable to pee on the couch at all and that’s what I was trying to do.
After the spanking, the wife came in and said "do you know how many times you hit her?" first, she was wrong, that wasn’t hitting, I’ve never used a closed fist on any of the children, it was a spanking and spanking and hitting are two totally different things.
I said "I don’t know, maybe 4 or 5. She said "no, it was 12. I have no words, where do you want to go?" That was her exact question and statement. Not, let’s talk about a better way to handle this, not you need help to deal with your anger, but where do you want to go? That one question spoke volumes and maybe it was a fair question to ask in the middle of emotions but she’s not an emotional person at all.
Sure, she cried when her friend tried to kill himself and a couple of times when she was in the hospital after the little boy, but if anyone is emotional, it’s me and the little girl.
So, I grew up with a dad who yelled a lot and who was emotionally distant and that absolutely does not excuse the yelling. It’s a reason, not an excuse and I know that I’m not the first parent in the world who yells at their kids who doesn’t want to.
On the other hand, and this may sound cold and calculating, but I am not responsible for how she reacts to how I do things and though, sure I can do my best, which is all any of us can do, she has to be the one who owns those feelings and wants to get to a point where she doesn’t have such strong internal reactions and I know, it’s easier said than done but even having said that, I understand and can empathize with all that. Sure, I never felt like I was going to be killed in my sleep but I just don’t know what the answer is.