Herself can be Loud. I know this may surprise you.
When she was a child, Herself was quite quiet. She toed the line, did what she was told, tried hard not to complain. Her needs and desires came second to the directives she had been given. She learned: don't cry, don't overreact. Such a stifled child.
As an adult, Herself has gradually -- slowly, painfully -- learned that it is OK sometimes to give voice when she is upset. She is not very good at it.
Take this morning, for example. The dogs were, yet again, all clamoring at her, barking and growling and clawing her ankles. She was Done. She yelled at them. And she irritated other household members in the process.
Retrospectively, it is easy to see why Herself had reached the end of her rope. The moment was, in fact, the culmination of over a day's worth of minor irritations, piling up one atop the other like the grains in an anthill. There was work: while mercifully present, there were unexpected time constraints on certain projects that made things a bit tricky. Taekwondo class involved unexpected sparring (albeit "non-contact" sparring - which means that while she was spared most blows, the ones that accidentally landed hurt more) followed by the pressure of performing forms individually in front of the class. An hour and a half was spent roaming the party store among hoi polloi with Offspring the Third, who desired a costume and yet was uncertain as to what he would like (and who ultimately ended up deciding to wear a costume he already had at home). The guinea pigs were nibbling incessantly and noisily on their cage, begging for treats. The shreds of a tissue were spread upon the carpet she had just vacuumed.
And more: a conversation with a distant relative who put a negative spin on every single subject raised; the migraine that started at 3 AM and kept her awake for two hours last night, and the residual headache and nausea that greeted her when the alarm clock rang; the noise of the kitchen fan and the smell of the oil in the air while the eggs were being cooked; the multiple e-mails requiring immediate attention. The dishes. The laundry. The bills to be paid today.
And, the very last straw, the barking and the clawing.
Even as she scolded the dogs, she was aware that she was loud. Like Offspring the Third, when Herself is upset, she lacks a volume control. She had reached a point beyond her ability to reel herself back, and even pointing out her difficulties would not have helped her to regain her equanimity. It was A Moment.
She wishes she could do better.
What to do? Herself knows that she clearly needs to learn to walk away from that last straw that is poking her. Or better yet, to request assistance. Yet we know how abysmal she is at asking for help.
Have patience, gentle souls, when she is loud. See whether you can remain quiet and collected when it is clear that she cannot. Step to her aid, even unasked, or even inquire what you can do to help.
She will be quieted -- and she will be grateful.
4 days ago