Good morning, WordPressers (and people who read this blog without that much awareness of their surroundings)!
It’s time for the Post-Birthday Wrap-up Blog!
It’s going to be short one, so let’s look at the highlights, shall we?
As I wrote a couple of days ago (in this post), I knew there might be disappointments during the anniversary of my birth. Here’s a quote from that post:
As much as I love and look forward to my birthday, I’ve been disappointed, during some birthdays past. I’ve expected too much, and gotten too little. So, perhaps, I’m afraid of a repeat of those disappointments, this year.
And, yes, there was a point during the day when it looked like I was NOT going to get the attention, fuss, excitement, awareness of my birthday that I expected, wanted, yearned for.
So what happened?
I got mad, and I started to talk to myself, as follows:
Arrrghh! This sucks! Why do I even get excited about my birthday, anyway? People think I’m doing all sorts of exciting things, but I’m doing NOTHING! And I’m all ALONE right now! Where are the people who are SUPPOSED to be here?!? Geesh! Maybe people are planning a successful surprise party for me, for the first time in my friggin’ six decades?!! AS IF!!! No sirree, people who know me are all just living their lives, assuming that I’m getting what I want on this day … AND I’M NOT!!
Well, sports fans (or observers, in general), what would you say was going on, during that portion of yesterday’s game?
Here’s my analysis:
I was having a tantrum.
That is, I was focusing on assumptions and expectations of what the day should be like, plus memories of old disappointments, and the result was this: anger, in a child-like way.
Now, I didn’t scream, hit, break anything, or hold my breath until I turned blue. I didn’t even yell (although that would have been okay). I just allowed myself to feel the feelings. And I did speak my thoughts out loud, including this one:
This is what I want for my birthday. Just to feel my anger and express it, without judgment.
And I felt better.
Soon after that, I was able to contact my son’s father, and arrange to pick up my son. Since spending time with my son was one of the gifts I was expecting on my birthday, I felt better.
On my way driving there, I still allowed myself to feel all my feelings, including my disappointment and annoyance. And while I didn’t want to be late, I allowed myself to stop and take this photo:
And thought, “So what if this makes me a little bit late?!! Screw them!”
And I felt better.
When I got to my son’s father’s girlfriend’s home, and I was waiting for my son to get ready to go, my ex said something to me that …. pissed me off. I got annoyed and defensive. So I said to him, “You know what? Today is my birthday, and this is what I want for my birthday: I want to be able to get mad at people and not worry about the result. And I’m mad right now!”
So I said more about that, to my ex. And I had a “tone” — an angry tone (which I’ve caught hell for using, in the past). But my ex actually seemed okay with that. He just listened.
And I kept going. As a matter of fact, I kind of had a little tantrum — but in an adult way. What do I mean by that? Well, I followed some rules, for interpersonal effectiveness, even while I was expressing my anger.
- Use “I” statements whenever possible, describing my personal experience of thoughts and feelings.
- Explain the context of my reaction.
- Use adult skills, including logic and self-awareness.
I DID NOT:
- Call names, make threats of any kind, or appear unduly frightening.
- Use “You” statements, which put other people on the defensive.
Because I was following these rules, and my ex was just listening, this actually became a little bit …
So when my ex’s girlfriend came into the room, soon after followed by my son, I informed them what was going on, like so:
It’s my birthday today, and I’ve decided what I want. I want that to be a day when I’m allowed to get angry at anybody I want to. Like now!
And everybody was okay with it, amazingly.
As a result, I felt much better. And there were even smiles and some laughing, in the room.
And from then on, my birthday was great. Really and truly, one of the best birthdays, ever. Because, not only did I get these gifts:
- Having my own anger, without consequence, and
- Spending time with my son and my inamorato 1
… I got these great gifts, too:
And the last (but not least) gift I’m going to show here ….
Thanks to my family, my friends, all those people who can express and/or hear anger in an effective way, and to you — of course!! — for reading today.
- Thanks to fellow blogger, babsje, who suggested this title for my boyfriend/studmuffin/honey/sweetheart/whatever-you-want-to-call-him, Michael.