Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yesterday, I lost my temper.

"Why?" you ask.

"George bought the wrong chicken stock," I reply.

I can count on one hand the number of dishes I have made in the last six to eight months. So, when I cook, I cook so that I can freeze the dish and eat it later. Over the weekend, George went to the grocery store which I am not currently able to do and have not been able to do since late Autumn 2010-almost a year. As usual, I gave him a detailed typed list and always write next to questionable items "check ingredients' because I have many food sensitivities and triggers.

Yesterday, I was excited I felt well enough to cook and so I made a huge batch of white chicken chili. When I picked up the empty box of chicken stock to throw it in the recycling bin, out of curiosity, I read the label and found that it was not organic and had ingredients I could not eat, thus making my dish uneatable. Two hours of spoons down the drain making a meal I could not eat.

Should I have looked at the label *before* I added it to the dish? Of course.

Did I? No.

Why not? Because I trusted George. He has always call me from the store when there was anything questionable on a food label before he bought it. George knows how important it is that I don't eat these ingredients and is the one person aside from myself that I trust when it comes to my food.

Who's fault was it that I now could not eat the chili? Completely mine. But that did not stop me from losing my temper.

With steam pouring out of my ears, I dialed George's work number. I can see my gentle husband pick up the phone, not having a clue that a train of ruthless words and anger was about to hit him.

I am ashamed at how I acted, how I yelled, how I cried, how I said some nasty things that I wish I could take back.

It took thirty minutes after I had hung up the phone for me to cool down, be convicted of how wrong I was in how I had treated my loving George and to call to apologize.

After much thought, I realized that the anger I had was not because George bought the wrong chicken stock. The anger I unleashed was anger surrounding emotions that have a hold of me. This little event triggered how upset I feel about my situation of being disabled, debilitated and needing to rely so heavily on others. It is difficult it is to face the reality that I am so reliant on George for so many things...help to the bathroom, support in the shower, walking back to bed, pulling me up off the floor when I have a Meniere's drop attack (which is frequent these days), shopping for groceries, doing household chores, driving me everywhere. The list is long. For a woman who by nature is independent and driven, a life of so much dependence and extreme limitations is a very cruel way to live.

My anger had nothing to do with chicken stock or George and everything to do with the disabling, debilitating nature of my chronic illnesses. And I'm sure as I was getting it all out, my anger about the daily severe pain I experience fueled the fire too.

I know I'm not alone in wrongly accosting someone with pain-driven anger because I have had others take out their anger on me. How often do we take our anger out on someone who did not deserve it? Someone who was just trying to help? Someone who loves us dearly? Someone who takes care of us when we cannot?

So many people bail when times get tough. Let's not hurt the ones that stick around.


  1. Kelly, I totally understand where you are coming from on this. But you did right by calling him back and apologizing, and I am sure he knows that you didn't mean to do what you did. We are all human, and we all get angry and we all lash out sometimes. It's forgivable, and I hope you are not beating yourself up over this.

    Once, a couple of months ago, I got incredibly angry at Jeremy. Honestly, he didn't even do anything - I just lost my temper and treated him with, "Shut up and leave me alone!" I think he was pretty shocked because I normally don't behave that way. But being ill pushes us and our buttons in the wrong way sometimes...We have to adapt to a new normal and sometimes the snipe comes out. But as long as you recognize your behavior and apologize afterwards...well, you are a beautiful person anyway and I know George gets it.

  2. Ah, yes, my dear, when the human temper rears its ugly head, it can seem as though we are not sane by the harsh words we speak to others who remain when times are rough. Although I have never had the pleasure to meet Geo, I know you well (as does he)which means we stick with you no matter the situation. So, don't berate yourself for the occasional temper flare.(Remember, my dear, George (and you) accept the vows "in sickness and health" fully. :)<3

  3. Kelly, I completely understand lashing out at the closest person to you. I know that I sometimes (truth be told, I'm much more irritable these days) lose my temper and react in a mean way to Jeremy. Like you, it's not about whatever it is that I'm venting about. Rather, it's about the situation, and the daily build-up of frustration with the pain and limitations. I'm glad that you apologized to George, and that you felt comfortable sharing it on your blog. Thank you for reminding me to not push away the few people that have continued to support me and be a constant presence in my life of chronic pain.

  4. I haven't been reading or commenting as much as I'd like lately (I have been reading most of your posts, but haven't said much, not because I don't have something to say...just not the energy at the time.)

    It's funny, a friend of mine and I were talking just today about how lucky we are to have husbands like we do. We both are disabled, can't drive, need help often...
    we would take joy in being able to do the things most people take for granted...or even hate doing...like scrub the toilet...oh how I want to scrub out toilet!
    Hubby will do it, way past my thought that it needs it, and he'll forget and use some chemical..as environmentally conscious as he is, he still likes to use bleach. It kills me..the smell..oh my goodness...

    I used to get much more angry at him than I do now. I used to pout and get upset...because, dang-it, he knows I can't do it, so why didn't he. (ummm, maybe because he is exhausted, he goofed...he's human) but I was just taking out my frustrations that I couldn't. Not that he didn't.

    Therapy has been helping me to keep that under control. Talk nicer, and even feel better about the things I can't do. trying to find little ways to help Stuart not wear himself down to a nub.

    Remember, you are human too. And sometimes, after things like this, and the discussions afterward, you can feel closer. More understanding between you two.

    and as my doctor and therapist have said to me, "give yourself a break!"

    hugs to you and George,
    you are dealing with a lot...I know all too well...
    you are not alone.

    and if he ever wants to chat with a fellow husband caregiver, he can always reach out to Stuart. I really think he needs more mental support...and understanding.

    (I think a lot of our "friends" just think he's whipped and will do whatever I say. that's sad. He does for me because he loves me and I can't do for myself. I hope their spouse would do the same...but sometimes I wonder.)

    you are a good person.
    don't forget that.

  5. Heather,
    Thanks my friend. You are sweet. No, I'm not beating myself up over it. However, I did feel like it was something important to share because it has happened to me many times and I know it is common. I felt like it is important for people to know they are not alone in the mistakes they make. It is part of this life we live.

  6. Ladybug,
    You are kind sweetie. I am sure we understand "in sickness" part more than most. I was already "sick" when we got married, and my voice broke when I said that line. I certainly do not take it for granted that he has stuck by my side as I know some that don't for lesser reasons than health issues!

  7. Jamie,
    I feel more irritable these days too! Thanks for sharing that you have experienced this too. Hugs to you.