There is another very unusual situation that provokes my anger. Actually, it’s a few situations that involve overlap. One involves the kitchen. It tends to affect me more strongly in the morning than at other times. We all use the kitchen to prepare meals. That’s its main purpose after all. When you live with others, the chances are you’re going to be in the kitchen together occasionally. My issue is that the majority of the time I can’t stand someone else joining me in the kitchen. If the purpose would be to help someone cook a meal that is one thing. However, when I’m using the kitchen to make my own meals I have to be alone, especially in the morning. If I am making something to eat and someone comes into the kitchen to do the same, I get so irritated sometimes that I have to leave the kitchen and wait for the person to finish using it before going back to finish making my meal. It’s convenient I do not cook many things that require constant attention or I might be trapped if someone pops in. I also can’t help but make my displeasure known by giving a loud sigh and sarcastically mumbling something like “wonderful” under my breath.
The second situation that overlaps with this is when a particular person seems to want to join me every time she hears my movements in the home. When I am in my room she rarely bothers me. If she knocks on the door and needs to tell or ask me something once in a while I don’t mind. However, if after speaking to me she comes back moments later knocking on the door again because she forgot to mention something, I start to get a little irritated. The first time, I answer the knock with a pleasant, “Come in.” But, most subsequent times my response becomes an exasperated, “Yeah?”
But, the real trouble comes when I leave my room. If I go downstairs she can undoubtedly hear the squeaking of the steps from her room. A few moments after I’m downstairs, coincidentally, I hear her footsteps as she descends the stairs. Her purpose is usually not to come tell me something, but my assumption is it’s to be in closer proximity to me. It’s rather unusual that I would go downstairs to grab something from the kitchen and seconds later she feels it’s time to start making coffee or get a refill. It occurs with a bit too much frequency to be a coincidence. If I move over to the living room she seems to find something she must do in the living room, too.
You’re probably wondering why any of this would bother me if she is a dearly loved one. She appears to be trying to spend a little time with me. Why don’t I appreciate it? The thing is I do appreciate it, even though I don’t show it. I’m very grateful she wants to spend time with me. I know all of this. And yet in the moment it occurs I mostly feel irritation and not joy. The best I can do at the moment is to not voice these feelings. If you can’t say something nice, especially to a nice person, don’t say anything at all. So, I usually remain quiet for the sake of us both. This is another situation I’m working to improve. The problem, again, is the root cause hasn’t become evident to me.
Another situation that overlaps with this, in the sense that it involves the same person, is the way she closes things. Specifically, how she closes the various doors in the home. She doesn’t consciously slam them shut as if she was angry, but they seem to get slammed out of haste or habit. Her every arrival or departure is marked by a door slam that can be felt throughout the home. In an attempt to resolve the issue, I made a sign and put it on the inside of the door next to the knob stating, “Don’t Slam Door,” but it was ignored. After several reminders, some polite, some not, all forgotten or ignored, I decided to give up trying to stop it from happening and find a way to reduce my reaction to it. Sure, it still bothers me. However, headphones and slow, deep breaths are great ways to help keep me level. A similar tactic helps when I’m a passenger in a car she’s driving. Her occasional moments of uncertainty on the road and reactions to them can really frustrate me and have led to me yelling about it once in a while in the car, even though I am not completely immune to such driving behavior myself. Watching a funny internet video on my phone or listening to music while closing my eyes are great ways to curb that. The least I owe this woman is to do whatever I possibly can to show her my love and not anger.
I realize you can’t make people behave in ways that will never upset you, but you can change how you react when it inevitably happens. Besides, if you can’t be patient with those dearest to you, how can you expect to be patient with your enemies? It’s tempting, at least for me, to chalk it up to the notion that familiarity breeds contempt, but as this one counselor asks, does it? I’m working on this and will continue to do so. You may or may not be thinking this has been quite a number of posts on the topic of anger, but I intend to wrap it up in the next post and then switch gears.