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Frayed Around the Edges. Wednesday August 17, 2016

If you have to throw a book at somebody (literally, not figuratively), then I suppose it shows rather more class if the book is "The Collected Essays of Francis Bacon" rather than say, "50 Shades"...

Yes, that was me. I threw a book at Tom. And not in a funning way either. It didn't hit him of course – that wasn't the point – and he has quite forgiven me (we were laughing about it just last night), but I was deeply, deeply ashamed of myself at the time; Francis Bacon or not.

The last occasion I threw something at anybody it was in 1995, so you can see I don't exactly make a habit of it.

I once saw a wall hanging. It said, "I've got one nerve left; and you're getting on it!" Tom just said the wrong thing at the wrong time and I snapped.

What do you do when you are at the end of your tether? What is your recourse when things just become too much? Some people shout, some people storm out and slam doors, some retreat into stony silence. Some people throw things.

It's been a tough old time for my family and loved ones over the last couple of months and all too often I have felt that I am the one at the eye of the storm, keeping everyone together; calming people down, smoothing over hurt feelings, explaining people to other people, bolstering confidence and keeping confidences.

It's taken its toll and I have nowhere and no one to run to because my normal harbours are now part of the storm.

Many of us, when that happens, wish to retreat into solitude; into a blissful calm and an order over which we are in entire charge.

Yesterday was like that for me.

My husband and young children have gone to Snowdonia and for a whole day I was alone. A whole day in which the house was tidy. I could eat what I wanted when I wanted. I could take a nap or read a book without someone shouting "Mummy – have you seen…?" It was wonderful.

Then Tom and Jenny and our young German friend Jan arrived, bringing chaos in their wake.

Oh, it's a lovely kind of chaos and I would rather have their messiness with them, than my own order without.

But it was nice to have that order and calm – just for one day.

I know it's not possible to arrange this for many of us. All too many of us have responsibilities we cannot lay down, where even the prospect of an hour's respite is something tantalisingly out of reach.

But, if you can ask for help, to create some space for yourself, just for one day, it does all the good in the world.

Today I am refreshed and ready for the chaos again, ready to hold the centre together.

And Francis Bacon is safely back on his shelf.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Duma Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 1:47am

I cuaght up with an 'brother' of mine the other day. A veteran (Spec-War) type, no name, no pack drill, but he is a (rather severe PTSD) little frayed around the edges. like all veterans, he is a martial artist and having not seen me in slightly over a decade, wanted to spar. As always, he went full tilt while I defended... ...only problem - he has a LITERAL black dog. Lovely big thing called Nala (despite being a dog, not a bitch (Girl's name - see The Lion King.)) who is very peaceable. I thought that we were having a dominance contest. Maybe he was, but a confused dog is an unhappy dog and I was teaching, so was temporarily 'Alpha' over her master... ...long story short I have two soft-restriant bite mark, one on each hand and my friend has about six or seven. Once I has let him (my friend, not the dog) get it out of his system, which took an hour, the handsome Nala sat on my feet all night, while we did some damage to a bottle of Grants. It was just like 'back in the day' for my friend. He needed a heavy bag, bearing whisky. Good night. Sometimes you need to get it out of your system, sometimes, you need to be on the receiving end. Cheers, Duma.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 8:55am

absolutely. I do not envy your need for release, but that you have martial arts skills - that I do envy. And - lovely dog!

Duma Thu, Aug 18th 2016 @ 3:09pm

One word - practice. Thank you for the compliment about the dog, I mean.

Sue Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 8:14am

0h Mary, how I recognise and identify with your yearning for a little space, just a short time not to hear the demand 'mummy'. I used to be like that too .. but now, aged 72, I yearn differently. To have a house full of people, friends dropping in, a child to need me. It all changes, as indeed life must. If only we could derive more joy on the day, from what is happening. Instead of thinking of it years later, and wishing we had loved it more. so it goes ...... :-)

Hopeful One Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 8:24am

Hi Mary- such a smooth flowing blog. So you lost your temper and became angry. Yesterday Penny spoke about her thoughts and how ,by naming them as her Pixies, she somehow was able to control them rather than her Pixies controlling her. The same can be said about our feelings. One could simply acknowledge that one was angry and allow that emotion to pass through before it gained traction and made one do something one would regret later. I call this ability equanimity.One treats triumph and disaster as two impostors just the same.Curiously this is one aspect of mindfulness one hardly hears anyone mention. Yet this is exactly what happens. Try it.

The Joke Squadron came across this one....

There was a terrible bus accident. Unfortunately, no one survived the accident except a monkey on board. There were no witnesses. The police started investigating. They gesture to the monkey and he seems to respond with gestures. Seeing that, they start asking the questions. The police chief gestures , "What were the people doing on the bus?" The monkey shakes his head starts dancing around having. The chief says with gestures " What else were they doing?". The monkey uses his hand and takes it to his mouth as if holding a bottle. The chief says, "I see they were drinking!" The chief then makes a driving gesture " who was driving ?" The monkey cheerfully swings his arms and points at his chest.

LillyPet Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 8:31am

At home with my two young adults 23 and 17 touch wood we get along really well maybe we communicate well and are all on the same side. It was different when their father was here many moons ago and I wont even go there!
I'm having a tough time with family at the moment. I'm furious that I'm being forced to work with a sister in law who I cant abide! Whats worse is that my siblings and mother refuse to acknowledge my feelings or show any understanding. Any discussion end up in horrible rows, a highly emotional subject. I very quickly loose it and shout my angry point of view, frustrated that they cant or wont listen.
My way of dealing with stuff like this is to bury it and try to ignore and forget about it as it's something that I cant change. Explode into a row shouting it all out at once, then blocking the person out of my life as much as is possible.
Thankfully my son who is very level headed and mature for his young years can understand how it must be for me. I rarely discuss it but when recently I did it was like heaven to be heard and understood and to feel like I'm not a bad person for wanting my own space and own life.
Throwing generally isnt my thing, though I did throw half a cuppa at a wall in the eighties and the tea stain stubbournly remained as a reminder for ages afterwards!
Yellings my thing if I loose it and it's always around that time of the month :(
Brighter things ahead today though! No family dramas, sunshine and the freedom to do whatever I want! Yay! :)
Peace and love to all. LP xx

Jul Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 11:09am

Hi Lillypet. My son is wonderful too. He totally gets me and although he lives away from home now, I know I can contact him any time and he will say the right thing to make me feel sane again.(I try not to worry him or contact him much about problems as my mother did that to me throughout her life) I hope your issues resolve themselves soon but this has been going on for a while now I think? Don't put up with it much longer if possible. Julxx

Moonlight Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 5:31pm

This is for. lillypet, Hello my name is Moonlight. I think I have very similar things going on in my life. When I read your reply I could totally relate. xx

LillyPet Thu, Aug 18th 2016 @ 9:48am

Thank you Jul and Moonlight. It means so much to me to have support on this. Yes it's been going on for ages and getting worse as she get's more involved with my work and we have to attend the same meetings. It feels hopeless, I really want to do something about it to stop it, but dont think it will be possible. All I can do is hope that somehow the universe will present a possible solution for me. Thanks again. Xxx

DAVE Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 8:31am

When in 'pent up' irritable or angry mode, I would take the car out somewhere and literally shout and scream, until exhausted, the release was wonderful, other times I would put a golf ball with the imaginary face upon it, put it upon its tee, take a good swipe shout and use all sorts of language calling and saying and watch it sail off into to oblivion.

Once though p, it backfired as the the next driving tee was shielded by only a couple of trees and the 'foursome heard every word...slightly embarrassed, I volunteered that it was my boss, it caused a lot of laughter....but did the trick.

Often if not careful we become weary in well doing, I strive to teach others including my children and now my grandchildren to stand on their own feet and govern themselves.

My young grandson Henry age 4 continues to pester his mum every time he comes to stay, every minute of the day. Last week when staying here with my daughter, he shouted mum, mum, mum, can you put my socks on, can you put my shoes on....and so on.

I said to Henry, that he could put his own socks and shoes on if he tried. Surely I said you're not going to let your brother Josh, be the only one to be able to do these tasks, but then you're still a baby, Henry and I can see why you need mum all the time for these tasks that Josh can easily do.

So Henry how are you going to get your socks and shoes on ? ?

He looked at me, I said I think you're not going to manage it, and when you get home, you'll be able to watch your brother puts his socks and shoes on ! !

He looked at me and started to put his sock on, I stood over him, without touching him, saying, good Henry, twist the sock around so as the heel is at the back of your foot, within a few minutes he had got both socks on, "well done Henry", but you're going to find the shoes much more difficult, to put on....the determination in his countenance was picturesque...he achieved it...running up to his mum, who was astounded ! Josh will not believe you when you get home, I said....Yes he will I will show him...

Make time an hour at the most to do your own thing, shout, test drive a vehicle, go for a walk, anything, just walk away from a potential contentious situation, give YOURSELF these precious moments of rest bite....see the difference, when you're in control, and NO ONE else ! !

Love your blog always Mary.


Salt Water Mum Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 9:15am

Good morning Mary, Good morning Moodscopers,

Oh I hear you Mary! - 'It's taken its toll and I have nowhere and no one to run to because my normal harbours are now part of the storm.'

I feel trapped like that too sometimes. Just needing a place to run to, to calm my troubled mind, to say or shout 'Stop. Just for ten minutes can everyone stop asking me to do stuff, to get stuff and to pay for it!!'. Deep breaths - I got that off my chest!

It's all so busy and my mind can't manage it sometimes. I call it 'racy head' where my brain is trying to catch up with the world and the 'to do' lists and the demands of my kids and work and family and friends and I know I'm in trouble when the 'nice, fun stuff' even becomes overwhelming and I can't distinguish between the tasks that are laborious and those that are nice so it all becomes stressy and angsty and .... ahhh I explode. That's the throwing/ shouting / screaming / pleading/ crying bit!

I heard myself say to my kids the other day 'I am a person too you know. I'm not a robot. So, I'll do that for you after I've eaten okay?' The look of 'eh... we sorta know you're not a robot mum' was hilarious!

I have taken time out this summer from work (being a short term contract worker this is possible but also scary) to spend time with my kids. And it's been super. The usual demands yes but I am here, I am present with them. We are spending a lot of time on the beach, splashing and swimming and kayaking. And eating and pottering about shops. And yes, I still fret and worry and get anxious but the sadness (as I call it) has stayed away for the last month. And for that, I am grateful.

Having just read your comment Sue, I am even more grateful for having spent that time with my kids. A lovely lady I know was 80 recently and she sent me a card to thank me for the little present. And her words struck me 'I cannot believe I am 80. Promise me that you will enjoy your life no matter what it throws at you - trust me, it goes so fast. Much much too fast.'

I'm working on it!


Andrew Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 9:48am

Great blog, again Mary. I know that feeling only too well. I know now, with the benefit of hindsight, that as a child I had only a very limited palette of emotions.... I could do happy, and I could do angry. With not a whole lot in between!

Mealtimes were dominated by my (older) twin brothers teasing me mercilessly, being rude to my mother, and getting ticked off by my authoritative father. More often than not, I would become the butt of my brothers' 'jokes' at that point, be teased and mocked to distraction, and end up saying or doing something 'inappropriate' in my defence, attracting yet more parental ire. At this point, and I remember it so clearly, I would storm from the room, slam the door as hard as I possibly could, and shout 'WHAT MATTERS!' at the top of my voice, before crying into my pillow on my bed feeling unloved and out of control....

And that feeling of wanting to SLAM A DOOR is still with me, 50+ years on! Does it help? No....Does it feel good?? not really....Is it followed by remorse, guilt, regret etc??? Always. Does it leave a 'stain' (as Lillypet's thrown cuppa above did) - yes...

However, unlike you, I hate being alone. When I am at the end of my tether, when that last nerve is being stood on, I need someone there, to tell me that it's not my fault, and give me the hug that my tear-stained pillow could not give me all those years ago....which is probably one of the reasons I don't really enjoy being alone now....(I feel another blog coming on!)

Take care x

Jul Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 11:05am

Hi Andrew. Our families and how we were brought up, our siblings etc have a lot to answer for don't they? Jul x

Andrew Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 2:34pm

Oh they so do !

Dympna Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 9:39pm

Andrew, I also had twin brothers, 15 months older than I and they made my life miserable teasing and physical stuff. Even today , forty years later, I doubt I could be the same room with just the two of them for very long. Mealtimes were horrible, your blog had so much resonance for me...Dympna

Andrew Thu, Aug 18th 2016 @ 2:47pm

Hi Dympna - twins can be a force to be reckoned with...and have made my entire life both miserable and wonderful at different times....material for another blog here I feel

The Gardener Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 12:58pm

Dave, your grand-son Henry may be pestering the life out of his Mum, but one can hope that sooner or later he will put his own shoes and socks on. My nagging 'child' is permanent, no hope of light at end of tunnel. End of tether I have been known to throw things - useless because as my aim is so bad I usually break something else, probably a window, then more work. My usual remedy is to walk away, sit somewhere quietly and hope everybody has calmed down in my absence. Worst scenario is when they don't notice you've gone and continue rowing with somebody else! During this week-end I've walked out in tears twice - Mr G goes straight to neighbours and says I've left him. They are lovely and understanding BUT there are three children, 11, 8 and 5. Normally, due to my various occupations I am an instant extra Grannie. I don't want these kids to think they are living opposite a miserable old English couple who are always being picked up by daddy and Mummy. Will try and introduce some normality with an apero at end of week. HO, your jokes! I prized the 'Stellar' ones, as they confirmed that the Yanks are a mad and dangerous race. I was looking idly at a French Almanac for 1929 (year before Mr G born) and might have stumbled across the start of the 'suing' society. Well-dressed motorist is faced with a peasant woman, handkerchief to eyes in one hand, dead chicken in the other. Motorist 'how much do I owe you for running over your chicken'. Instant reply, 80 francs. Motorist gasps. 'How much was it worth when it was alive'. 40 francs says Madame. 'Why double the money now, motorist. 'The other 40 francs is for my sufferings'. What is it now, punitive damages?

The Gardener Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 1:06pm

Mary, asking for help is vital - but so many of us find it difficult. As things worsen I ask myself more and more if I am cruel, intolerant, lack patience, understanding of the malady. then yesterday afternoon when I fetched Mr G from respite he started being foul as soon I entered the room. My existence seems to infuriate him though he wants me beside him all the time. So, we move into new discussions - any more help? Financial avenues to be explored? If loving kindness can help it increases by the day.

Dympna Wed, Aug 17th 2016 @ 9:33pm

Good blog, Mary, I sympathise. If I lose it in my house my partner is secretly pleased. He feels he has won, I will have to apologise, I'm the one who can't control my feelings etc

Mary Wednesday Thu, Aug 18th 2016 @ 9:43am

So sorry not to reply to everyone yesterday. My WiFi was playing up. Thank you all for your comments.

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