2 Ways to Deal With the Bitch Inside

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I have a new Monday Sin I’d like to deal with: Anger.

I lost my marbles on the train platform at the Grand Canyon Saturday. Actually a more astute phrase might be “I went batshit crazy” aka “I was channeled by Mega Bitch” (who beds down with Mega Death, but that’s another story.)

I was furious at Henry because I thought he’d made us almost miss the one train out of Dodge that afternoon. I’d been sitting in the train depot waiting for what seemed like hours (maybe 20 minutes) for him to show up with the girls from a quick lunch they grabbed while I was in the Hopi House buying over-priced flinty arrows.

I didn’t use the arrows on Henry when I finally found him and the girls, but I did use the word “fuck.” Twice. Attached variously to “what the…”  and “… you!” I did this loudly. In front of the girls, a compartment full of chortling passengers and one stupefied ticket taker.

The worst part of this story is how good Henry is. I know it must sound like bragging when I say that I don’t know a better person. And here’s the other thing. I don’t think of myself as an angry person. I don’t yell at people. I’m not a name-caller. I don’t hit or throw things. This to me was aberrant behavior.

I’ve since apologized to both Henry and the girls. I also attempted to engage the ticket taker, but he backed away, his eyes pinpoints of terror and ducked into the toilet when I tried to corner him at the buffet.

Last night when we were talking in bed Henry wanted to know what triggered my Jerry Springer moment. I explained, sloooowly and LOUDLY, as though he were deaf, how I thought he made us almost miss the train. But Henry, being annoyingly astute, said there had to be something larger at work.

So I wrote this first list today:

I’m angry that we don’t know what our income will be this year and I blame Henry.

I’m angry that we need to budget.

I’m angry that I have poor business skills and haven’t figured out how to make a better living as a writer.

I’m angry I have such a hard time saying “no” to things I don’t want to do.

I’m angry that I can’t seem to get a handle on my eating, spending and drinking.

I’m angry that I’m angry about these things.

Finally I’m angry at myself for losing my temper at the people I love the most.

Then I wrote a second list to heal and forgive myself a little:

I’m grateful for Henry and my girls.

I’m grateful for our beautiful home.

I’m grateful that we’re all healthy.

I’m grateful we love hanging out together.

I’m grateful we don’t have huge careers right now while our kids are young.

I’m grateful we. have. enough.

I’m grateful for this blog which gives me the chance to process my journey with friends.

I’d love to hear how you deal with anger. (Unless you don’t ever get angry in which case you should lie and say you do. Just make something up. Anything.) Have a wonderful week and expect some vagina humor soon to offset any unintended gravitas.

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47 comments

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  1. Adrienne
    Adrienne 9 April, 2012, 14:00

    I love this idea. I often do this in my head instead of counting to 10.

    Reply this comment
  2. Girl to Mom Heidi
    Girl to Mom Heidi 9 April, 2012, 14:41

    We really have to get together. I so relate.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:31

      hi Heidi — so nice to see your face. We do have to catch up. Food soon??

      Reply this comment
  3. Anne @ The Frump Factor
    Anne @ The Frump Factor 9 April, 2012, 14:57

    I’m weird with anger. I find it difficult to get angry with actual people I know (or can see), because I always figure, “Well, they didn’t MEAN it. So I have no right to be angry.” I’m pretty sure the anger is in there, somewhere, but I suppress it so quickly that I’m not always aware of it.

    Then there’s my anger toward situations, inanimate objects, and people with no faces. Gas pumps that don’t work. Clothes hangers that get tangled up in each other. Piles of papers in my office that WILL NOT SORT THEMSELVES. Unknown people who express opposing political beliefs online. I am often scared by how much rage I can feel toward all of the above. And the results are not always pretty. I like your list idea, but I’m not sure if I could ever figure out what was really bothering me, to be honest~

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:33

      Hi Anne — You are so wonderful not to take your anger out on real people. I think I need to get busy with my clothes hangers. And I’m certainly not always aware of what I’m angry about. Henry somehow is edging me toward becoming a better person. Damn him! (one more thing to get angry about). Oh, and my daughter Clare (who is 9) just informed me she doesn’t like it when I gossip. It’s beneath me. How did I end up with these people with such high moral standards??

      Reply this comment
  4. Sadie Sez
    Sadie Sez 9 April, 2012, 17:03

    Coming from a long line of angry people, I have learned that if I don’t let it out, I will explode into a billion pieces and take those I love down in flames with me. That said, unlike my predecessors, I have learned to direct the anger towards inanimate objects when possible. Failing that, my body goes into some sort of personal St. Vitus’ Dance spasm that immediately sends anyone in the vicinity running for the hills, at least until I calm down enough to politely explain the trigger.

    Lists are lifesavers. Vodka works too!

    Have missed you, dah-link!

    xoxo
    Sadie

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:34

      Oh Sadie I’ve missed you too. Off to visit. I am very impressed with all these inanimate object killers. Perhaps I need a punching bag. Only I’d probably break something. On me.

      Reply this comment
  5. The Good, The Bad, and sometimes The Ugly!
    The Good, The Bad, and sometimes The Ugly! 9 April, 2012, 17:29

    Okay. I loved this. My advice is to ALWAYS remember how Kathy Bates so boldly put it in “Dolores Claiborne”…”SOMETIMES BEING A BITCH IS ALL A WOMAN HAS LEFT IN HER LIFE!”. Well, truth be told, not for my whole life, but I think it is quite healthy for we women to be in touch with our “BITCH” side. We grew humans inside of our bodies, suffered from all day barfing and sickness for the duration of that fabulous 9 months where our hubands injected their male DNA into our bodies, pushed a human (or two) out of our private parts (WHO KNEW!!!),had numerous sleep deprived nights trying to sleep train and provide the food source from our bosoms (which will NEVER be the same), fill diaper genies with feces and urine, sometimes dealt with our king and queen sized beds being feceed and urined in, had no privacy while taking a dump or morning pee (AND STILL DON’T),making lunches, bathing, yelling, loving, hugging, yelling more, hugging more, cleaning up toys, dealing with back talk, and yelling again. SO,you ask how we deal with anger? It is NATURAL! Make your lists, forgive yourself of course…BUT PLEASE OH PLEASE REMEMBER…..WE ARE MOTHERS….MOTHERS OF CHILDREN, MOTHERS OF HUSBANDS (and they are a different breed), MOTHERS TO OUR MOTHERS AND FATHERS, MOTHERS, MOTHERS, MOTHERS. Anger is one of the MANY facets of us. Thank God for it! It is a release. It makes us strong, it makes us get in touch with our BITCH! No matter how thankful we are for health, love, laughter, happiness, support, our children, our mates, our quality of life, and our financial stability, we remain, AS WOMEN AND MOTHERS, entitled to anger and being bitches. We would NOT survive without thos traits. And plus, our mates would be sooooooooo bored otherwise!!!! Keep writing! I love it!!!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:36

      Wait. I needed you on the train platform the other day to support me. I was a bitch on wheels. Why am I feeling suddenly better after reading your comment. Where do you live. I’m coming over. You don’t have to feed me and I’ll bring the vodka.

      Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:39

      Oh I know where you live. Offer still stands. Love you shmugs!

      Reply this comment
  6. Tanya Doyle
    Tanya Doyle 9 April, 2012, 17:51

    Ugh, I hate having to look inward, because the fault is usually mine. It mostly comes down to the way I handle my frustration. And by “handle” I mean “vent”. lol

    Reply this comment
  7. Jamie
    Jamie 9 April, 2012, 18:33

    Good idea! I agree with Tanya, I also hate looking inward! Hah, but it is important. I love this….and the story is hilarious. I know it wasn’t your shining moment, but if it is any consolation- you made me laugh.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:38

      Well that’s something at least. No. Not a shining moment. That was when I sat on the toilet and breastfed Bridget while attempting to evacuate my bowels for the first time after my c-section. Now that was one motherfracking shining moment.

      Reply this comment
  8. Heather
    Heather 9 April, 2012, 19:49

    A couple weeks ago, I got a bit upset with my daughter and my husband about pulling a really loose tooth. The only thing I really remember is yelling, “Just pull the f@#king tooth!” Not my best moment at all. Your lists make me feel better!

    Reply this comment
  9. Shelby Barone
    Shelby Barone 9 April, 2012, 20:05

    Great advice!!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:40

      Shelby, whenever I see your name I think you are a baroness and I want to be invited to your chalet in Gstaad.

      Reply this comment
  10. Shelley Myers
    Shelley Myers 9 April, 2012, 21:15

    Great, honest post, Shan. You are lucky that you can truly say that you don’t know a better person than your husband. You are so right. That is worth all of the money in the world!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:40

      I really don’t know anyone better than my man. But sometimes it sucks to be the jerkier one in a relationship.

      Reply this comment
  11. Shelley Myers
    Shelley Myers 9 April, 2012, 21:18

    Speaking of anger, my daughter had a meltdown tonight in the CVS parking lot and she had the nerve to call me a “freak.” I carried her screaming ass to the car…it was not a pretty sight. When we got down to what was really bothering her, it was that her very first pet died and she didn’t know how to express her pain and we had a great talk :)

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 April, 2012, 22:42

      Shel I love that your 7 year-old uses the word “freak.’ I’m sorry it was directed at you, but it’s just too cute. Bridget and Michelle must meet. Summer’s almost here. I can truck them up to your house. Come to think of it Clare would looooove Hunter.

      Reply this comment
  12. Deborah Stambler
    Deborah Stambler 9 April, 2012, 23:03

    Great post. I have the anger thing down. I’ve managed to hide it from everyone except my family, a certain parking attendant in SF and a couple of my girls’ friends who practically live at our house. So when I explode and little pieces of me are flying around, my hair is standing on end and the dog is hiding under the couch, I just know I’m wrong and going to regret this unfortunate outburst. Why? Because the thing I’m angry about is generally not the thing I’m yelling about. So I end up looking and feeling like an ass. You do have to forgive yourself though. I just wish I could get to the real deal faster, without wreaking havoc. Ah…deep breath. Thanks for sharing dear.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 10 April, 2012, 08:30

      Deborah — I can’t imagine you angry. You have such kind eyes. This makes me feel much better.

      Reply this comment
  13. Maria
    Maria 10 April, 2012, 00:50

    Thank you for sharing! The post made me laugh, of course, but it also made me feel so much better as I loose my temper now and again – and again. I can also share a little story of my own: A couple of years ago my son, who was then maybe 16 or 17 and I had a row. He was standing in the hallway screaming at me “You´re so bitter!”(I had probably asked him to do something or other) and I screamed back (at the top of my voice) “I´m not bitter, I´m furious!”.
    But to get angry like this often gives you bad conscience so it´s really comforting to read other peoples stories and realize that your not alone! It also shows that being a woman i the US and, as in my case Sweden, isn´t that different ;)

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 10 April, 2012, 08:31

      I often hear my neighbors yelling at their kids, then I’ll see them in the street and they’ll look sheepish and asked if I heard them yelling and I always say, “Not at all, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Because I don’t want them to stop. I need to know I’m not alone with my inner bitch.

      Reply this comment
  14. V
    V 10 April, 2012, 06:07

    wow can I relate to this or what. I am angry about soooo many of the things you are. I also lose my cool ALOT… and in front of my kids. I like the idea of you having the list of things you are grateful for. I might have to do the same.

    http://2bestfriendschubbyroadtoskinny.blogspot.com/

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  15. Jadzia@Toddlerisms
    Jadzia@Toddlerisms 10 April, 2012, 06:11

    I think you really ARE lucky, to have a husband who cares enough to notice that it’s something else that is wrong.

    When I get angry, I pretty much hide in my room. It’s one of those families where nobody would listen anyway! And if there’s any way to get me *really* enraged, it’s to make me feel like I’m talking to a wall (or myself) when I’m trying to explain what’s wrong.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 10 April, 2012, 08:32

      Hi Jadzia — In retrospect the thing Henry did wrong was try to justify himself. That makes me absolutely insane. It’s like someone is on fire and you’re pouring gas on top of them. I just need a bucket of cold water on my face. Or maybe a hug. I’m one of those high maintenance women who thinks she’s low maintenance.

      Reply this comment
  16. Kim
    Kim 10 April, 2012, 06:17

    Kundalini yoga has done wonders for me, in addition to just saying what I feel most of the time. If I do that then I very rarely have a big blow up. Just lots of minor ones. :)

    Reply this comment
  17. Melanie
    Melanie 10 April, 2012, 10:54

    LOOOVE this post. I, too, am married to a MUCH better person than myself. I, too, am probably more frustrated by our life/creative energies/general financial chaos than I take the time to admit. But we love each other. We make it by each month. We make up stories together. Life could be worse.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 10 April, 2012, 11:49

      Hi Melanie — You’re right, life could be worse. There is always chocolate after all.

      Reply this comment
  18. Jamie
    Jamie 10 April, 2012, 11:58

    I just read this to my mom and she laughed throughout, and applauded at the end of the post. She said she LOVES your honesty. So heartfelt…it’s clear you have a wonderful heart.

    I’m so happy you are my friend.

    PS – that breastfeeding story is totally a shining moment. I’m serious. It’s mothering moments like that, the unpretty ones, that sometimes show the love and dedication of a mother the most. Plus, it is pretty damn funny.

    Reply this comment
  19. joe webb
    joe webb 10 April, 2012, 13:54

    I have flash rage, and anger and what has helped me is before i tip over into the land of no return, i try to see what my part in the situation is.. if i am angry at the line at the store, well i am in line i am part of the damn problem.. traffic on the freeway, well i am still the problem..line long cause grandma is writing a check, well one day i will be old and feeble so cut her some slack..traffic because of an accident..then grateful its not me..or my wife’s car cause then she may f bomb me.. your a good and funny writer keep it up..
    and if anybody didn’t like my comment well *&^^% you too..LOL

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 10 April, 2012, 14:57

      Joe I love your advice. It reminds me of the Hawaiian Brady Bunch episode where everyone thought the Hawaiian idol was a bad talisman, but at the end Dad Brady explained that all the bad things that happened could have been a lot more tragic. Sweet mother of God I’ve jumped the shark.

      Reply this comment
  20. Caryn B
    Caryn B 10 April, 2012, 17:43

    That’s tough…anger for me is typically something that builds and it very much resembles what happened to you. I may “go off” on something little but the result was something much larger. I find it helpful (when I remember LOL) To talk about things that bother me…rather than letting them build….

    Reply this comment
  21. ghfool
    ghfool 10 April, 2012, 18:55

    I’m angry I don’t have a Vagina! (I don’t need one all the time, just more times a week than I usual!)

    Reply this comment
  22. Jamie
    Jamie 10 April, 2012, 19:53

    Thank you- I meant you breastfeeding story, though! The bowel movement one! Kind of awesome…

    Reply this comment
  23. Claudia
    Claudia 11 April, 2012, 12:55

    I lose it at perfect strangers. I seethe in silence at loved ones, which isn’t a bit healthier. I used to be pretty calm, pretty much a “get along” kind of girl. Then I started working out on a regular basis. I don’t know if it was being tired, sore, or bitchy from lack of salt, but I started to get really angry. Losing it at people in pet stores, getting banned from my local yarn store! (Who does that?!) And just sitting there, thinking mental daggers at my husband, cats, friends.

    Also, I work in HR. I came dangerously close to losing it at my employees. And that was NOT COOL.

    So, once I realized I had an issue, I had no idea what to do with it. So I started working out more. I started thinking of each lift or lunge as a way of getting back at whatever idiot had pissed me off. That seems to help. I don’t think it’s the workouts themselves, but the making my anger something tangible that can be defeated.

    Maybe that’s why lists help. Writing what makes you angry down, makes it real, something you can hold. And, at least for me, I can deal with things I can hold, even if I can’t deal with things I can only feel.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 11 April, 2012, 13:29

      Working out more would definitely exorcise some of my demonic bile, but I have to get better with the in-the-moment anger. Breathing exercises perhaps?

      Reply this comment
  24. Amy
    Amy 23 October, 2012, 15:27

    This is only the second post of yours that I’ve read, but it struck a chord. I wrote my list, and it’s amazing to see how much of it is stuff I could change, how much I really just can’t change, but could recognize as not permanent, or how much of it was the result of some trade-off that I could at least appreciate as such, instead of only focusing on the shitty part.

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  25. Shannon
    Shannon Author 23 October, 2012, 15:51

    Hi Amy — you’re making me go back and dig my list up! Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s good to know there are people out there.

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