T is for ticked off

That seems fairly obvious doesn’t it? I mean, do I really need to spell out what being ticked off looks like?

The small child in the grocery store. The tantrum thrower, lying on the vinyl flooring, arms waving and feet kicking. Unintelligible shrieks and sobbing noises come from the flailing body. We pretend not to see them and confine our comments to internal dialogue. “Oh, my yes. That’s a tantrum.” And we somehow manage to pat ourselves on the back for being far more evolved than that.

But are we? Okay, I won’t throw you under the bus. Am I?

As soon as I picked the acronym P.T.S.D., I knew the “t” stood for ticked off. A large part of my journey with my husband through the dark and intrepid waters of PTSD has involved anger. My anger. At him. At the world. At life. And yet, now that I’m sitting here, I don’t want to write about it. I didn’t kick and scream in the candy isle because my mommy wouldn’t buy me a chocolate bar. Because that’s absurd. But there was much shrieking and flailing internally. And really, what’s the difference?

 I got angry. “Why do I have to deal with this? This isn’t what I signed up for.”

And then I would hear it. That little sarcastic voice in my head that thinks it’s okay to parent me. “So when you said, ‘For better or for worse, in sickness and in heath,’ there were qualifiers to those statements?”

To which I repied, “Well no. But he isn’t living up to his end of the bargain.”

“So you are mad at him for being human?”

And then I would get angry at that internal voice for being right. Yes, my husband had some things that he needed to deal with. But my response, my internal kicking and screaming demonstrated that I had some things to deal with too. We are both human.

Shortly after our son was born, I started taking him to the park. Normal right? And I would get a call from my husband. Still normal.

“How’s it going?”

“Good.”

“Where are you?”

“We are at the park.” Wait for it.

“Are you watching Isaac?”

Seriously?

“Nope, I dropped him off. Since he can walk on his own now and I thought I would run across the street to the 7-11 for a Slurpy. I’m mad thirsty today.”

That’s what I wanted to say.

It ticked me off that he would have the audacity to believe that I would be that irresponsible with our son. I’m not looking for mom of the year here but a little credit would be nice. What was intended as concern came across more as gigantic votes of no confidence.

I saw enough to realize that he meant well. So I ignored it. Or at least I thought I did.

Anger is like cheese. It doesn’t turn fuzzy and green overnight. But eventually, it does turn fuzzy and green.

And here is the irony. I was mad at him. He was the one ruining our family. It was his behavior that caused me to feel the way I did. He was making me so angry.

And then that exasperating voice, “No one can make you angry just like no one can make you love. They are both choices.”

Blah!

I could choose to be angry or let it go. But that wasn’t the choice I wanted to make. I was ticked off and I thought the choice in front of me was “Should I stay? Or should I go?”

But I’ll save that for next week. When you can read “S is for should I stay?”


3 Responses to “T is for ticked off”

  • Victoria Newman Says:

    Another great post, Rebecca. I get ticked off at my husband and he doesn’t have PTSD! Looking forward to S…

  • Susan Says:

    OH MY! How well I am relating to your journey with PTSD! Yep, I too have lived in a perpetual state of ticked off, why me, why us, why now when we are supposed to be in the best years with just us and retirement! And for me, I didn’t want to share it with anyone! Until that time when I had to, when I had to take Butch to the VA because he hit bottom. That phone call to my sister who had to call our kids because I just didn’t know what to say! Wow, WE have come a long way since then, inhouse treatment for Butch, much counseling for both of us and WAY too much reading on PTSD. But God has been faithful, thru all my doubts and being ticked off, and we are managing! I say WE because I have come to believe PTSD is not a singular affectation, it involves the whole family and especially those of us who live with it (him) 24/7. So, now I say WE are a PTSD family. Ok, have gotten off track here, but wanted to you know I totally get the TICKED OFF part, (still hits me a lot!) and am looking forward to what comes next in “should I stay”……

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