Saturday, April 10, 2010


funny pictures of cats with captions

I've been thinking about chaos.

There are times that my life has descended into chaos. When I think of these times (and granted, I think of them as little as possible...), I realize that there are commonalities, threads that tie these things together. Agents of chaos. Dealing with a daughter who has untreated bipolar issues, well that's a biggie. Cancer could have been one of those things, but for me, strangely, it wasn't. It was even a clarifying time. Still, it was a time when I wasn't in control of what happened next, and so it was a scary time.

Another 'agent of chaos' (this sounds like an episode of 'Get Smart'. doesn't it?) is angry people. Angry people are great harbingers of chaotic times. Angry people spin on a dime. One second they are fine, the next, spitting mad and you've no idea what provoked it. You've no idea how to stop it. All you know is that they are really, really pissed, and you've no idea why. I come from an angry people. Somebody's always mad at somebody else. Tim was married to an angry woman who continues to be an angry woman to this day. My own ex used to be a very angry person. He's settled down a lot since he married his own angry woman.

Angry people are interesting. They spend a lot of time screaming about how angry you are, that it is your fault. Everything is your fault. Meanwhile, they spend their lives ranting and raving about some damn thing, and it doesn't matter whether you're there or not. They were screaming long before you got there, and they'll be screaming still even if you drop over dead tomorrow.

I'm not a big fan of anger, and I will run from it every time that I see it. I'm not afraid of it really, but the chaos it creates...oh my God...that maelstrom...that lashing, whipping force that sucks all the good out of a world, that leaves you panting and breathless, with no energy to do anything but cling and hold on and wait for it to be over. And when it finally begins to lose its power, you drag yourself out and try to continue on with life but it also makes you leery and cautious. The idea that you might be sucked back in is terrifying. You begin to make safe choices, to avoid the people or the situations where you found yourself nearly drowning before.

I think of the times that I've told my beloved daughter, 'Listen. You cannot bring your chaos into my house. I simply can't do it.' I've stuck to that. I think of how motivated I am to lose weight, afraid of a repeat episode of cancer. I worry about my estrogen producing fat cells and any stray cancer cells that might be lurking about, their little estrogen recepters glomming on to whatever estrogen it can find in my menopausal body. I think about the angry people that I avoid like the plague. I think about Novel Women and her comment yesterday. She may be right. I may have revealed a great insight about myself. Did it actually make me sick inside? I don't know.

But, better safe than sorry.


WhiteStone said...

Sometimes it takes a long time to learn a lesson. I lived with an angry man for 22 years. And then I turned on a dime. I was amazed that it took me so long and I was amazed that the turn was sharp and instant with no looking back. The lesson was a good one, albeit long, and I have never allowed that in my life again. At last I recognize it for what it is ... not my problem, but theirs.

We are a weird species.

quid said...

My ex and I were angry people, too. One of us grew out of it during the course of the marriage, but even though I did, I still found that I couldn't help but resent him for all that chaos. My resentment, and my inability to get out from under it is the primary reason that made our split make sense. I hope he has mellowed with the good woman he is married to.

I loved the "agent of chaos" reference to the old spy thriller. I would love it more if we weren't both thinking about chaos today. I'm going to watch my "Glee" DVD and forget about it.
Hope you do, too.


BUSH BABE said...

How very interesting. You have described clearly EXACTLY what I most dislike... that vortex of fury. I usually shut down a bit when it happens (although there are times when the only thing that makes it leave is an unexpected roar from me). I love peace. Not so much in the global sense (we can all dream I guess) but in the 'my space' sense. Peace around me and mine.

I wish you peace. I wish your children peace.

Bill of Wasilla said...

These are angry times, and irrational. It would help if all the angry people could hold a kitten like the one above three times a day, for at least two minutes at a time.

It would help a lot.

Scotty said...

Yep, been there, done that, Debby; I used to be angry a lot when my marriage was failing. Did some anger management, recognised that some things were my fault, accepted it (and made my apologies where necessary) and moved on - I'm a much better person for it today; in fact, one could argue that I've gone to the other end of spectrum wherein nothing really riles me up anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with anger, provided it's properly managed/controlled/directed - if not, I'm always reminded of a saying I heard years ago...

Anger is a thief that steals away all the good moments.

A Novel Woman said...

I think it really is unhealthy (body and soul) to be around emotional chaos, particularly when we are pulled into situations over which we have no control. The only control we DO have is over our reactions and feelings.

That's not to say all anger is wrong, but you have to choose your battles and express anger in a way that doesn't hurt others, or yourself. Some people let anger become a habit, without any self-awareness whatsoever. I too know people who constantly blow up over the tiniest things, without any warning, and without any consideration about how this affects people around them. The Chaos Causers go on their merry way leaving destruction in their wake with no remorse while we fret about we should have done or said to make things better. Bah. It's exhausting and ultimately futile.

You can get angry as well (which won't change the behavior) or you can ignore it (which only internalizes the stress and makes you feel worse and their bad behavior continues unabated) or you can decide what is acceptable, then confront those who are the cause of the chaos and issue a directive about what you are going to accept.

Then you step back. Without guilt. And that's what you did.

It's called self-preservation. And you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Wow - this makes so much sense to me, and yet I can't seem to form the words to comment how I want to.

Jayne said...

Angry people are angry at themselves and are projecting their feelings of self-loathing towards other people.
Easiest way to shut down an angry person is to keep smiling and talking in a civil tone, keep it light and friendly and pretty soon they learn they can't feed their own inner chaos monster by creating chaos in other people.
That said, undiagnosed bipolar is bloody awful to deal with and you're doing the best thing, Debby (((hugs))).

Lydia said...

I think I learned (through my divorce) that I can only control myself, I cannot control another person. All I need to do is decide how I will respond. What they may think or feel about my response is not my deal, it is theirs.

May I also say that this is much easier said than done.

Hang in there, these things are never easy for a mom to watch as their daughter is pulled into someone else's anger. We want to protect our children and this complicates things quite a bit.

Blessings to you!

Paula said...

I used to geet angry sometimes but I read that cancer can feed off this - which is why we are encouraged to relax, exercise, have massages etc. I don't let things annoy me as much now - compared to the cancer treatment and living in fear that it might come back - nothing is that important to get stressed about.

Hope you have a chilled weekend - P xox

Bob said...

I have enjoyed your recent posts about chaos and anger. About a year ago I wrote about how I don't "do mad" well. But all of us have some anger inside us and at times it's OK -- Jesus himself said, "Be angry but do not sin." That's a paraphrase but it's the general idea.

But on a broad level, anger is debilitating and so much time and energy are wasted with it. My dad was an angry person. I loved him with all my heart but I feared him for a long time, until I finally got to the point where I was able to put up that wall and say, if only figuratively, "no more." My life was better for it and I think he even learned from it.

diane said...

A very interesting if concerning blog. My daughter's brother in law has bipolar and I know the chaos that causes in a family. It is a shame your daughter is that her choice? You seem to have found a solution to the anger around you. I hope you can keep stepping back and not let it into your head. After reading your post and other comments, I realise how lucky I have been to not have experienced a lot of anger in my life. Not to say I haven't felt angry about other's behaviour towards me but I realise it is detrimental to my happiness so I try to block it out of my head.