Last night Greg flew into a rage over our oldest [teenage] son’s teenage-ness. The son was having two friends stay over, one of which has been in some rather serious trouble. The kid in trouble is a good kid who has made some crappy choices. His father called me and was very, very nervous about letting him stay anywhere overnight and I assured him we’d text back and forth and that I completely understand his hesitation.
Kid comes over and, of course, teenage son decides to change plans and heads out to an unknown mutual friend’s house with another friend of theirs. Greg goes from zero to 60 and starts to text teenage son with authoritarian demands. Greg stormed around the house, franticly pacing from room to room, slamming things (including cleaning up the bit of mess in the kitchen that I had not while he was gone all day). At one point, I asked him to please let me handle it since I was involved from the beginning. On his stormy way out to the yard he said “Sure. Handle it.” [heavy sarcasm, anger, slammed door. whatever.] He then proceeded to barrage teenage son with texts and demands and when I went outside to fill him in on my exchanges with the other parent, I saw what he was doing and explained that we were going in different directions which is confusing. [Common problem here. He flies off in action without getting facts and reacts rather than thinks first.]
Momentum kills; especially in conflict situations.
Screaming and yelling kills; people shut down and cannot hear what is being said – let alone think rationally.
Of course my calm reaction fueled Greg’s fire and I recognize this is his problem not mine. I was sufficiently grounded from his emotions to the extent that once his anger was turned on me with disparaging and sarcastic remarks, I reacted rationally. I asked him “What are you doing right now? Are you attacking me?” This seemed to stop him but I really didn’t care as I gathered my things and left the room to call the teenager. He followed me outside and sat down to listen to my conversation with our son and then got up in disgust [because he didn’t like the way I was handling it], went inside and slammed the bedroom door which rocked the house. I was unaffected and went inside and said “Did you just slam the door?” He stormed into the water closet because he was in full rage and I left the room shrugging my shoulders.
The kids eventually made it to my house and all was fine. I explained to them all that the dad contingency was merely worried and they worry because they love them, that’s all. Of course my teenager thinks any parental controls are stupid, but that’s to be expected.
Greg came out of the bedroom about a half an hour later and went outside for a smoke. I floated out there a few minutes later and we sat there in silence. I was perfectly fine with the silence. I was centered. Greg wasn’t getting any attention from me as he put his head into his hands. I recognized that as a fairly typical tactic to reel me in where I feel like I have to make him feel better about his rage, but I didn’t take the bait. I quietly went back into the house and chatted with the boys as they made coffee. [Yes, coffee at nearly 12:30 a.m. ugh]
The rest of the night was uneventful. I didn’t ask him what was wrong. I didn’t feed his anger. I simply let him have his anger, if that’s what he wanted.
We haven’t discussed anything related to his outbursts this morning and I won’t bring it up. I am choosing not to let it affect me.