Those of you who are not new readers know I have an internal nemesis named Tantrum. For the newbies out there, I'll break it down real quick like. Ever have those days where one thing after another goes wrong and you get so angry you start to take it out on everything and everyone around you? Yes, well, maybe not. Anyhow, I do, and I call this phenomenon Tantrum. I find Tantrum is easier to combat when personified.
Tantrum struck hard this weekend. I can't really go into the details, unfortunately, as I feel obligated to respect the privacy of those I was with this weekend who might read this and find it otherwise distasteful. I digress...
tantrum struck hard. I was not at home. I had no "go-to" sanctuary to calm my mind and fight the battle. so I fought Tantrum, in the open, in my mind, and fought so hard I was in tears for hours. You might ask me "Andrew, why would you put yourself through this?"
Glad you asked.
You see, this was about choosing my battles. I feel that I was rightly angry. So why not just unleash Tantrum and let him win? Because I was among family. Not only my wife and daughters, but extended family. Not fighting Tantrum would have meant fighting them. I have talked with a few people after the fact and my mind has been eased somewhat; as it turns out there was more to the situation, regarding the individual who provoked me. I was right to reign in my anger and do my best to accept blame upon myself, where it had been placed to begin with, and wipe the slate clean. I feel like others frequently visited by Tantrum could benefit to keep their circumstances in mind before giving in.
A few thoughts on choosing your battles.
Will it make you feel better, win or lose, to have fought the battle? Gratification is often the first thing we look for in fighting a battle, and the most common prize missing from the battlefield by the time all is said and done.
In my situation, it would not. There was no win, even if I was in the right. In other words, no one was going to benefit, and I was just going to feel like more of an ass than I was already made to feel. Being an ass is something I am accustomed to, but there's no reason to ask for more.
This brings me to another thought.
Is this battle with your emotions brought on by external circumstances or internal circumstances? I've learned it is rarely a good idea to give in to my anger as a result of the actions of others. For me, an argument, fight, or debate with anyone else, right or wrong, rarely comes to fruition. I have a hard enough time understanding my own thoughts and emotions to try to justify them to someone else.
In other circumstances, however, I have learned to focus Tantrum to benefit my own needs and desires. I am a runner, and the best run comes when I'm angry. On a bad day, if I can't get a hold of myself, I'll strap on my running shoes and beat my anger into the pavement or trail until I'm falling down tired, and there's nothing left. It's like the cigarette after sex. All the work, and the resulting satisfaction, are so much greater than any anger I could hold onto.
The situation I found myself in was due to someone else giving into their emotions during a time it did not stand to benefit anyone, including that person. To validate that by responding in kind would be just as bad. Anything other than an awkward apology would have only made matters worse. I simply apologized for my unsatisfactory actions, speaking to a lack of realization that I had been in the wrong, and left it at that. but inside, I was roiling. As it turned out I did the right thing. After talking to some of my other family, this was not a singular event, but rather something ongoing, and more serious than I realized. I still find myself fighting the urge to vent the whole situation in detail, as there is still that lingering grudge that, as many with ADHD often do, I will hold onto, like it or not, for some time.
Understand that dealing with ADHD, Depression, Anger Management, Anxiety... comes with a price that we have to pay almost endlessly. What so many people don't realize is that the emotional bank account through which we pay that price is actually endless. We so often assume it's empty without looking. I guarantee that you have the power to pay the price of your "affliction". Don't ever give up, and always do your best to do what's right by those who could benefit from your forgiveness.