I don’t like conflict.

I don’t like yelling.

This may come as a surprise, because we all know that I love a good argument.  I have no problem picking a side and defending its merits.  Those of you who have heard my tales of customer service experiences would also wonder about the above statement, since I’ve told a story or three about dealing with customer service. (truth- my daughter thinks that every call center around the world has my number and picture with a big line crossed through it, and that  their free time is spent throwing darts at it)

But as a rule, I don’t like to yell at people.

You also know that I don’t discuss politics on my blog.  What you may not know it that I also refuse to discuss politics in real life (there are only about 3 people I will ever talk politics with) I am of the belief that everyone has an opinion that they are entitled to, but I also strongly believe that people don’t want to have a discussion, they want to get you to change your mind.  Obviously this is my opinion, which I am entitled to.

But anyway.

Everyone in my real life knows that I do not like discussing politics, especially at an event such as Father’s Day (see- you knew this would become topical).  Most of my youth was spent sitting around the dining room table on holidays, with people yelling at one another (the common refrain was – ‘we’re Italian- it’s not yelling- it’s how we talk- and my Mother adds facebook comments in ALL CAPS BECAUSE SHE JUST CAN’T HELP HERSELF) So my goal was to have holidays with the least amount of verbal conflict possible.  I did not want my daughter to feel like I did growing up.

My Father in Law knows that I do not like discussing politics.  I have said this to him about a thousand times.  No- make that a million.  My husband knows that I do not like discussing politics in an open forum.  Let me make this clear- if you know me, you know I do not discuss politics.

So naturally, on Fathers Day my FIL sat at the table and asked my daughter about politics.  And my daughter blew off the question the first five times because she knows that I don’t like political discussion at the dinner table.  So, the conversation went like this:

FIL (to daughter) What do you think of X?

Daughter: Can you pass the potatoes?

The above was repeated about five different times with my daughter varying her answers slightly

FIL- well you must have an opinion

Daughter: Actually, the past month has been crazy with tests and year end stuff.  The only things I’ve been reading are about school, and trying to get an internship for the summer, and pre season tennis practice.  I haven’t read a paper or watched the news.  I’m not informed enough to discuss X.

FIL- but don’t you think it’s wrong?

Daughter- I don’t know

FIL- makes ridiculous statement

Husband- makes opposite position ridiculous statement

My Father- alternate ridiculous statement

Father and Husband yelling at one another

Me: Hands slam the table saying in my loud, authoritative bond trading floor voice that I haven’t used in 18 years: “AND THE DISCUSSION OF POLITICS IS NOW OVER

FIL: (stands up from table) = “Oh, I guess your house, your rules.”

Me: (looking directly at him) You bet your ass.  My house,  My rules. (me staring him down till he sat back down at the table.

See- this is why I don’t like discussing politics, or yelling.  Because the fierce side of my personality comes out- the person who doesn’t put up with shit.  The person who takes control of the situation.  And normally this part of my personality is my friend- this part of my personality has gotten me through life.

But I don’t want to do it at the holiday table.

I don’t want yelling at the table.

I don’t want to yell at my Father.

And I was mad at myself for yelling.  I was annoyed that my FIL and Husband have so little respect for my one wish that politics are not discussed ( to be clear, my Husband engaged the conversation with the stupidest comment ever). But mostly I was mad at myself for yelling at my Father.  My Father is 80.  Thought there no imminent threat to his health, he has about a thousand issues.  I don’t know if I get another Father’s Day with him.  I did not want my last Father’s Day memory to be of yelling about politics, of all stupid things, and me losing my shit.

Yet, that is what happened.

I so want to blame everyone at the table.  But in the end I must take responsibility for my actions. But I can’t take back what I said, or what happened.

And I need to live with that.

 

58 thoughts on “The Day I Lost My Cool

  1. I agree, you are responsible for yourself and your actions, but… don’t we all have that point that we break, especially when someone, or multiple folks around us, have disrespectfully pursued a topic (beaten it to death perhaps) that they seriously know will cause discord, yet do it anyway right to your face? I might imagine that while you can and have taken responsibility for your part in blowing up (and I would have as well), the two men may never own up? That would be enough to set me off again, rather they be family, a holiday celebration, or anything else.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh….my fil will never own up, but when everyone left I asked my husband if that was a fun night, and he actually said that I was right. I should have recorded him saying those words….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Its not unreasonable to expect civility at the dinner table. You said everyone knew you don’t talk politics. So you brought out the big guns (metaphorically speaking) to stop it. Hurrah for you. You did good. Take it from a life long whiner-people appreciate directness. Now in previous coloums you mentioned parents and in-laws coming all I thought was”oh boy,duck and cover”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good for your daughter and for you for trying to maintain radio silence on politics. Your FIL embodies in this story that kind of provocation that politics fuels. Some people really enjoy creating tension and strife in conversations.

    I sympathize with your desire to curb your own anger because you don’t like what it does to you.

    In this essay, I especially like the “ridiculous statement” and “opposite position ridiculous statement.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you…because both sides were saying outlandish things….
      But you’re right…some people just want to create strife and tension, and he was clearly goading the situation. It’s not a position anyone should need to be in, especially in a social setting

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, I understand how you feel. However, those are 2 grown ass men who know how you feel, and they didn’t have enough respect for your one rule in your own house to follow it, so you had to stand up for yourself (and your one rule to protect your daughter from having to grow up the way you did). You were being assertive, rather than aggressive.

    What’s the difference between aggressive and assertive? Well, assertive sets boundaries, while aggressive bulldozes right over them.

    That probably doesn’t make you feel any better right now, but I’m hoping you will stick to your pattern and really marinate in it for a while😉

    (((hugs)))

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I am not a fan of yelling either, though I too enjoy a good debate…lol. I also have an explosive personality (i.e. I can take only so much before the devil side comes out). I was also a tech theatre major, which means I fully developed speaking from my diaphragm. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I’ve been there. It sucks.

    But, I bet everyone will think twice before bringing up politics next dinner.

    I am a firm believer that sometimes you gotta let the crazy out to play to get your point across. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right? Sometimes nothing gets your point across like a little excess….and I really love to debate, but just about things that people can actually converse rationally about…..I like new ideas…I don’t want to hear someone regurgitate what a pundit said….

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sure your father loves you and wouldn’t want you to act like anyone other than who you are just because he’s elderly. Your family is still “making memories,” and that’s a good thing. Someday you will look back at that day and smile!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m 💯 with you on handling customer service calls/complaints. It’s not that I enjoy making those calls but I am not going to let things go when they are wrong. If I am being charged for something I didn’t buy or the product is damaged, am I supposed to just let it slide?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. He probably knows you didn’t mean to yell at him. Just hug him tell him you love him and apologize for yelling. I dont talk about politics either. Not worth the fight and opinions wont change bcause someone says what they believe. Dont worry. Everyone has there breaking point.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Sometimes, the inner b*tch needs to surface…that part of your personality was developed for a reason. I wouldn’t beat myself up over a surfacing, as there was cause for the emergence, and she quietly went back to dormancy after the ‘show’ was over.

    In my world, there are 2 subjects never to be brought into a polite conversation – religion and politics. Both these subjects, by their very nature, breed disrespect and argument, which are the very opposite of a polite anything. I’d probably have done the exact same thing you did.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. So at your table any political discussion is prix fixe zero sum. And that includes first principals served broadly, cold, and thinly sliced. e.g.

        FIL (to daughter) Given successful republics were historically small, both in area and population, has our nation become, just to large to manage?

        FIL (to daughter) If a large and economically mobile middle class is necessary for a viable nation/state democracy, does that remain possible in an emergent and growing global market.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. It is very complex: the political times we live in. I know people who were not comfortable and lost out on government jobs in the past because of differing politics and now some other people lost their government jobs as they are not of the today’s politics and voiced their opinions. If you wait long enough, I guess everyone’s day arrives. I did enjoy when I was in France the 3 hour lunches discussing politics in the late 80’s. I am not sure how that worked out for them as things really changed from those times. The only thing we can do is hold on. Sometimes it is best just to keep quiet.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You’re a lady after my own heart, my WordPress is 98% Politics free and I refuse to discuss at work because well no one wins and at least one person will get upset. I have a feeling call centres also throw darts at a picture of my mum God bless her!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I seem to be the person with the adverse opinions, today mine is: your father needed yelling at and so did your husband. I would have LOVED my mother to have done such a thing. Many of our family meals were ruined by these kind of discussions. And in the end, all it is, is the participants taking out their inner turmoil on eachother – the subject doesn’t even matter. If boundaries are not set straight away, this will fire up even worse the next time. Imagine it were kids, and not your dad; the whole situation would be obvious and you would not feel bad but feel like a good mom protecting everybodies peace of mind and digestion. That is what you did. By the way you write it, I think you did very well. 🙂 Keep it up! Without the damage to your own digestion obviously 😉
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My feminist heart is a little surprised and saddened to find so many women here expressing difficulty with standing up for themselves or feeling sorry when they do. Again: what you did was reset the inequality, balance things out, if anybody should appologize it is your FIL and your SO. They know the rules. This is what comes from breaking them. Simple. If they do not want to be treated like a 4 year old they should not behave like a 4 year old. If nobody tells bullies to stop determining the atmosphere they will continue. Well, yeah a bit like I’m banging this drum now 😉
      You have a right and also a duty to yourself to protect yourself and set an example for your daughter that rudeness like this is not to be tolerated.
      If guys like your SIL were to say “I am really having a hard time because of X, it pains me, I feel unsafe and I do not know how to deal.” there would be a conversation, something humane, but they never do. They take a standpoint, transform their fear and powerlesness into rage and they fire it off into the crowd. Men need to learn to feel and converse, not battle their own darkness in word wars with others.
      Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. 😉
      xx, Feeling

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you as always for your well thought out and awesome comments. I don’t mind blowing up…I’m all for it…I was just mad that I did it in this particular situation because now when I think of this particular Father’s Day, it’s all I’ll think of…xo

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t understand why anyone thinks discord and fighting is the proper way to have a family meal. We should be trying to find our commalities instead of directing differences

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My husband and his now deceased BIL had huge, loud but friendly political discussions at family get togethers. About a quarter of the family would feel increasingly uncomfortable over time, and in recent years before he died, I was one of those.

    You hit it on the nail: the spouses and other family members know how we feel, yet they continue anyway. Where is the respect?

    He’s actually said to me he needs to be respected too. I said, go ahead and discuss your topic at will together, but why at the dinner table when clearly many of us are uncomfortable?

    Go fishing together and sink the boat is what I was really thinking…😉🙃

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Yes you yelled but you were only triggered to by their yelling and disrespect for your wishes and ruining a nice family meal. But I am similar. My husband is a bot of a ranter and it doesn’t seem to faze him too much when he loses his cool. I on the other hand am the placid one who holds it all together….until the odd complete lose it moment which seems to shock everyone and leaves me feeling angry at myself and ashamed. I guess we care and have a conscience 😘😘

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I think you are very wise not to discuss politics and I agree with your reasons completely. We don’t discuss politics with extended family. Sometimes the subject comes up and hubby and I say something intelligent like “oh uh hah” and then change the subject. But our family members don’t push it the way your FIL did. Sounds like FIL was trying to push buttons. I can totally understand getting upset. You could tell your father at some point that, while you still think politics is not an appropriate topic, you are sorry for yelling. And then be done with feeling bad about it. Honestly part of me was thinking “Oh good for her!” when I read what you did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! And you’re right…he was trying to push buttons and have things “his” way. Just shows that age does not always equal wisdom

      Like

  16. I’m the lone liberal in most of my friend groups, so when the talk turns to politics over dinner or drinks, usually in the form of pointed questions directed my way, I either deflect and smile or just smile. I refuse to talk (be badgered by) politics during my social time. I’d be delighted if the host or hostess put his/her foot down if need be. You had the right to halt the discussion. So, you got a little hot. They got your point. Don’t beat yourself up.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t think you should feel guilty, although I understand why you do. It’s hard not to feel guilty when we do something we don’t want to do. But it seems to me that the only one who respected your wishes not to discuss politics was your daughter, so they shouldn’t have been surprised at your reaction.
    I also hate discussing politics, for the same reasons you do. People don’t discuss them at all, they just spout off their own beliefs and try to convince you to believe the same way. Or ridicule you because you don’t. Either way, nothing is gained and a lot of trust is lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what drives me crazy about political “discussions”…the lack of respect for the opposing view, the thought that if they don’t agree with me they must be stupid. This type of thinking is really the most evident when discussing politics…it’s an all or nothing game…

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Don’t be so hard on yourself, holidays are the worst time to be with family, somehow the fact that it is an holiday makes everyone feel they should be enjoying themselves, putting pressure on people to enjoy themselves. When all that really happens is we get uptight and things start to annoy us more. The fact that people know you don’t talk politics and then insisted on talking politics should be taking some of the blame

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s completely understandable that you got so angry. You had one simple request that was deliberately disregarded. Sometimes our family knows exactly what to do to get under our skin. My brother does that for me. Something I try to keep in mind is Colossians 4:6 which says, “Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” We’re all imperfect so when we do slip up we make efforts to apologize, make peace and move on. I’m sure your father understands and loves you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

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