Webster’s Dictionary defines revelation as a surprising and previously unknown fact. I’ve been turning a blind eye to some surprising and previously unknown facts about myself because they’re glaringly painful to look at too closely. Quite honestly, it is easier to avoid them (you know, like the fights with your spouse when you manage to stay a room apart, until things cool off). But unfortunately I dwell in every room that I am in. I can’t exactly get away from me. So, myself and these nasty little nagging habits follow me around my imperfect home that I attempt to create.
Enter: Coping Mechanisms
We all have them. Let me just start out with this little disclaimer: This is a 100% a judgement free zone. I am not bringing these habits up to sling mud or to make you feel guilt over your coping mechanisms, I am just being completely transparent about mine and making that risky assumption that I may not be alone here. So here are my coping mechanisms in no particular order.
Oh my heaven! Who doesn’t love a glass of wine after a long hard day? Had a hard day with the kids? Wine. Had a fight with the husband? Wine. Had way too much homework, housework, adulting? Also, wine. Unfortunately, this peaceful little personal Napa Valley of mine started to show some ugly side-effects; like more impatience than I normally have with my children; more frustrations when their sweet little ‘asks’ seemed too big for mama that day. I do still drink wine (because yum). I just don’t drink it quite as regularly, and I try not to do it as a response to stress. For me, it only removes the stress for a moment and sometimes causes more stress and chaos in the end. Inevitably the stress remains afterwards, and surprise, surprise…that glass of wine didn’t fix everything.
Piss me off something fierce, and I will clean your dirty dishes in a fit of glorious, Martha Stewart-like, cleanliness rage. My house is clean, my rage is momentarily settled (or sometimes even forgotten). But alas, as previously mentioned, my problems still follow me around the house (because I don’t want to face myself and the monster that just might be within).
Y’all I am not your traditional shopper, I haven’t bought a new dress in years, but if given the opportunity, I could take a credit card to town on Starbucks alone. We would have a lovely time, just me and my coffee. If I can find a local bookstore nearby … double-bonus points, because coffee and books have to be the best combination ever invented. Fortunately, poor financial management has put the fear of God in me, so that has helped me wrangle this coping mechanism in a bit, but it still taunts me…promising me beauty, glitz and glamour.
Point the finger-
When life gets really messy and all sorts of out-of-control (usually due to over-commitment, failed relationships, inferiority complex, hurt, or my personal favorite – fear), what I really love to do is blame everyone else around me. Oy, I loathe this part of me. I can’t recall who said it, but a speaker with much wisdom said “Most problems could be solved by drawing a circle around yourself.” Amen to that!
Is your vice minimizing your voice, making you a lesser version of yourself?
I am not saying that blaming yourself is always the answer, but is it at least possible that some of the reasons we just adore and coddle our vices is that we, at minimum, can’t bear to face ourselves and some of the weakness we possess?
My husband lovingly apologized tonight. He was being Mr. Nasty because he, too, was struggling with misplaced anger and frustration. He kindly said, “I am sorry, I was frustrated and I was taking it out on you.” Ladies, that is the most handsome, sexy thing that has ever come out of his adorable, full-lipped, luscious mouth because ultimately he was owning his own misplaced frustration and the vice he chose to use in the moment. It takes a man (or woman) of wisdom and maturity to grow beyond themselves and, not only acknowledge weakness, but have the willingness to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, my anger was misplaced.”
I guess what I really want to say is: Before you grab your vice or reach for your favorite coping mechanism, first stop and think about why you want it. Then, turn around and apologize: to yourself, to a friend, to your spouse … for offering anyone (self included) the very worst parts of you. So often it is those who we hold so dear to our hearts who get the brunt of our anger.
If anger really is a secondary emotion, than let’s face the first emotion that caused that anger and move forward from there.