I try to deal with everything in a reasonable manner. I’m pretty mild-mannered with most things, but will occasionally have a minor disruption in my calm nature when something pisses me off enough.
But over the last few years, I’ve noticed that I tend to get set off more easily. Little things, certain questions being asked of me, my terse responses to something that is innocent… it’s all happening more often. And not only have I become aware of this behavior shift, my fiance has been at the brunt of some of my outbursts, as have a few others that I spend time around. So I decided to go for a bit of a history dig on my actions and responses to see what is triggering them.
Looking Back In Anger
I’ve not really had a hard life, but have had my share of dealing with downturns over the years. One such downturn happened in October 2001. It involved being let go from a good paying job, in the middle of going through a divorce and starting a new relationship. Instantly going from a decent income to nothing was pretty hard. But being the responsible person I am, I found ways to make it work.
For the next 18 months, I did everything from doing various computer-type consulting jobs to a part time gig selling Dish Network. It was never easy, but what I did brought in some money to pay the bills. I wasn’t happy, but I made life what it was. I even started blogging to vent [see all older posts over on Chillywilly.org]
In May 2003, I started work at the place I am now. The starting wage was less than half of what I made 18 months previous, but it was a start back. I kept the consulting on the side, balancing the day job as best as I could. Financial issues were continuous worries and until November of 2005, my wage pretty much stayed the same. Four solid years of trying to work my way back takes a toll on a person, especially when it seems like I’m not making much progress.
A Pattern Develops
I noticed that I became curt in speaking, regardless of what people were talking to me about. Simple questions would get nice responses, but it was all I could do to hold in a snippy response. Phrases like “Fuck you!” or “What the hell do you want now?” were kept inside my head while verbal replies like “Can I help you?” and “Let’s see what we can do” were what everyone else heard. Unfortunately, those I was more comfortable around received versions of the harsh phrases above.
Pinpointing The Cause
In this process of looking back to find the root cause of my anger, it became obvious that the stress and pressure to make things work was eroding at my good nature and patience levels. I become tired of doing the same thing over and over and only producing meager results. I had let all of the pressures get to me, at the expense of managing my anger levels.
Sorry Seems To Be The Calloused Word
I desperately wanted to rid myself of this bad habit. I was still snapping back at others but now would make a last ditch effort with who I was responding to. I would lash out with something harsh and unkind, but then immediately get all remorseful with a barrage of “I’m sorry’s” and several repeats of “I didn’t mean that.” Again, most people didn’t see this side of me and still received kind responses in conversation. It was those that were close to me that got the Jeckyl & Hyde treatment. I was bothered by how I was trying to manage all of this. I really wanted to improve, without adding some bullshit cover-up. I didn’t want to be pegged as some angry S.O.B. that no one wanted to talk to anymore. A change needed to happen.
Work In Progress
So where do I stand today? Anxious to hear about any self-help book to fix this problem? Well, as I am writing this blog entry, I’m yelling at one of the cats who seems to think I’m his full-time servant when he wants outside. So yeah, no self-help book was read and I still have some anger issues going on. I am trying to make a conscious effort to change, taking a moment to think about my response before speaking. That’s a hard thing to do, but it’s what needs to happen in order to start making a habit of less abrasive communication with others. Until then, know that I still like you, even if my replies may be interpreted otherwise.