O smoldering fire
How easily quick-provoked
Hot, you exhaust me
It’s wearying, this quick-hot anger, burning in words, in tone, in the hitting of things.
Dear little one, I know that you don’t like to clean up. I know you wanted hamburgers instead of just ground beef. I know you were unhappy because choosing to play at the library meant not being able to play at home. I know you don’t like to nap.
I know you currently want me to pretend to be Randy Stonehill 24/7. I know it doesn’t occur to you how wearying it is to adopt another persona, especially with another gender, for so long. I know you want me to cry and be sad while you play the mean stepmother, and you’re not really aware of how unfun it is to be a mean person’s victim even in fiction.
I know you think you should be the only person allowed to have and express any strong emotions like anger and sadness.
I know that no matter how many things you enjoy, how many things you get to control, how many you get to choose, how many good times you have, they don’t matter to you in the heat of a moment of disappointment. Just like all the angry moments seem easily enough forgotten in the midst of the pleasant moments.
I wonder if, in the heat of the moment, you really believe that you will never stay in your bed, never go to your room (even while you do so), never be calm or happy again. I’m not at all sure you’re capable of not hitting things when you’re angry. I guess it’s better than hitting people — it does seem it’s been a while since you’ve hit us. Someday maybe you’ll be able to progress to hitting soft things like a pillow, instead of walls and doors and throwing things.
You seem to often believe that graciously offering someone else a choice, or asking for something politely, guarantees that the someone else will choose what you want them to choose, or that you’ll automatically get what you ask for.
I know you need to metabolize your experience, including your feelings, and that’s part of what you’re doing when you play the mean stepmother and when you express your upsets. I am not sure you need to argue and complain and contradict; maybe, maybe not. I’m sure there’s something driving those things, and perhaps there’s a way I could help you deal with the something in better ways than in arguing, complaining, and contradicting.
I know that by the end of the day — sometimes by the end of the first minute of the day — I am often worn out, wrung out, by your intensity. As much as I try to let things roll off my back, to not take things personally, it’s still rather a pummeling, and the effect is cumulative. All the many many little flames you flare up all day, that seem to be gone from you the instant you’re calm again, seem to store themselves up in me.
(Lord, teach me, show me, how to stop, or manage, or prevent, or metabolize, this cumulative pummeling.)
I am glad that your anger doesn’t seem to be especially deep-seated — I don’t think you are deeply troubled. I sure hope and pray that you will never have a deep-seated trouble, that whatever hurts you endure you will be able to metabolize, with nothing left festering. I hope and pray that we will be parents you can trust, that you can come to us to talk things out, that talking with us (along with trusted others) will be helpful, encouraging, supporting, comforting.