Anger brought me here.
There are some particular things that are certain to set me off. Bullies set me off. Injustice sets me off. Republican politics (being honest, right?) set me off.
My sons fighting physically really sets me off.
Tonight I showed a remarkable lack of skill. I could hear them upstairs fighting and hitting each other. This was a full-blown. My 11-year-old came down holding his stomach and crying. I lost it.
I didn’t yell at my 14-year-old. I screamed at him. In his face. I was like a drill sergeant. A 14-year-old might find reasons to cry, but it shouldn’t be his father making it happen.
I cooled down and talked about what I did wrong, and I apologized to him, as well as to my other son.
He’s forgiven me, and I him for getting physically violent with his brother, but I’m having trouble forgiving me. I’m still so young in practice, and in learning to be awake and aware, but I’d let myself be caught up in a poor mood all day long, and rather than skillfully address it, I just let it simmer, so that when something challenging came up, my mind wasn’t prepared for it. I was sleeping.
I don’t think you can behave like that without leaving scars, even little ones. My mother was verbally violent on occasion. Even though she was a great, dedicated mom, those things stick with you. Not so much the damage to the psyche as the picking up of habits. I’m so much like her in that way. I have the chance and the power to break the patterns – to replace anger and violence with gentleness and compassion.
But I didn’t do that today. And I can’t go back. There is only now. Some time on the cushion is needed.
Off to spend some time with my sons first, though. They need me to spend some time with them gently, not hole up by myself.
And I need it too.