Emotionally, I am a firecracker. Out of nowhere, a strong emotion will come bursting out, provide a large display, and fizzle back into the dark. That strong emotion can be anything from extreme joy to terrible darkness, not unlike Anne of Green Gables.
Others close to me, like my husband, are emotional sponges. They absorb whatever emotion they are soaked in. Believe me, I can provide quite the soaking.
I have learned that few people mind a happy fireworks display. But for a sensitive sponge, a negative display produces an emotional funk that can last hours. Over time, I have learned to control the unhappy fireworks. I try to limit those displays to whipper snappers, or maybe a bottle rocket.
The majority of my emotional control was gained as an adult. I guess that is just a part of growing up.
A trip with my youngest brother into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness tested that control. I found that in the presence of my brother, I reverted back to old habits, childish habits.
This trip, like all trips, had its share of trials. On the last portage of the first day, I carried two packs. One was on my back, and the other was on my front. Hence, I could not see my feet but had to look ahead and memorize the ground to be able to safely place my feet among the roots and rocks.
My brother was behind me and we were chatting. At one point, he asked what time it was. I looked down at my watch, told him the time, took a step, and fell down. I had placed my foot incorrectly, felt my ankle was not right, and fell instead of putting more weight on the twisted ankle.
The fall was my own fault. Carrying a pack on your front so that you can’t see your feet is a bad idea. Many canoe experts outlaw it on their own trips. I knew this.
But I still lashed out at my brother. I made him feel like it was his fault. To make things worse, he is a more sensitive sponge than my husband.
That was wrong and completely inappropriate of me.
I repeated my emotional sin on the last day. I wanted help at a portage, but everyone had left, including my bother. I was mad. I let him know it when I reached the other end of the portage.
My husband saw what was going on. He used his vast understanding of me to talk me out of my anger. Through that conversation, I realized that I had reverted back to my childhood habits in the presence of my little brother. I was not exercising appropriate emotional control.
To everyone on that trip, I am sorry for my behavior. I promise to work harder to be a more pleasant person to be around.
When have you reverted back to childhood ways? What was the outcome? Share in the comments below.
*Photo credit for fireworks: Raúl Ochoa (Creative Commons)
*Photo credit for yelling child: Amy McTigue (Creative Commons)
Laura M says
Have I ever told you about the family vacation a couple years ago (the first time Corey met my entire family) where my brother (42 years old) and I got into a screaming match in the jiffy store parking lot and I ended up throwing my slushie at him? It was a LONG 6 hour car ride home…
Astrid Bryce says
Thanks for your story. That is exactly the type of thing that I was referring to in this post. Isn’t it funny how normally well behaved adults will do retarded things in the presence of their siblings? I’m still laughing about your story. Thanks.
Yes, my own behaviour in the the presence of my family mortifies me. At 36, there’s absolutely to reason for the excessive eye-rolling and audible sighs. After a decade of living in the mountains (4000km away from the family in Quebec), I have not an iota of patience for their eastern materialism and social-class garbage. But that’s no reason to act like an asshole. Thank-god I’m not the only one.
Astrid Bryce says
At least your inappropriate behavior is somewhat quiet. Good luck dealing with your family in the future. Who knows, maybe they’ll outgrow materialism and strict social classes.