Blame: feel or declare that (someone or something) is responsible for a fault or wrong.
2016 was meant to be a tad more positive than 2015 was for me, but several days in and I already doubt whether that’s even possible. Not because of my situation or circumstance, but because of the general anger that appears to be gripping the majority of people I come into contact with.
I’ve been noticing it building for a while. There have been more incidents of unnecessary road rage. Politeness is becoming a fast declining quality. People everywhere seem to begrudge everything and lack any kind of empathy for anyone other than themselves. I know everyone has stresses in their lives, but that doesn’t justify taking it out on some poor unsuspecting person who undoubtedly has their own crap going on. But how did we get here? How did everyone end up so angry?
Maybe the culture of blame, which has been developing over many years, is an important part of how this has happened. The media and its scaremongering propaganda feed on blame. There’s always someone or something to blame for the atrocities the world is facing. No responsibility. No justification for the blame, but blame nonetheless. Making people feel hard done by, put upon, unlucky. Confirmation bias then bonds people through mutual annoyance. Who even cares what they are annoyed about or why they were annoyed in the first place? It’s not their fault they are annoyed. They are not in charge of their own destiny. Hell no. And then, pretty soon, bad things become expected. Looked for even. And worse case – you end up having no one to blame but yourself.
I listened to the news on the radio last week, to a piece about the sex attacks in Cologne. Women, it would seem, are expected to prepare for such things mentally as if they are a given and destined to happen. It was implied that in a crowded place where everyone is fuelled by alcohol what more could these women have expected? Of course they were going to be assaulted and if they cannot deal with that then it was their fault for not being prepared mentally for such an event. And if they were then affected by being assaulted it’s their fault for not having expected it. Or the fault of the government who, the news are reporting, have let the men into the country as asylum seekers. And whom do they blame? The culture they were brought up in where rape is committed and not talked about. Or the bombers who have destroyed their once safe home.
There are more examples of blame in the news – the gender pay gap makes you depressed, it’s what you get for being a woman and having children. Magazines on shelves and celebrity DVDs blame you, yes you, for being fat and unhealthy. The government is to blame for education being messed up and the NHS being on the brink of collapse – ok, I’ll give you that one, you’re perfectly entitled to be enraged by both of those things. But I bet you still blame the government. Right?
Blame isn’t healthy. When you blame you hold on to emotions and feelings that are never positive. Of course you may think that if you blame another it absolves you of all guilt, but it will eat away at you nonetheless. Blame serves no purpose and – back to my original paragraph – makes people angry. And angry people make other people angry. It’s a vicious cycle.
And yes…yes there are some things in life that will make you angry. And justifiably so. I’m still pissed off my dad died when I was twenty-two, and I am fuming that two of my children will have to live their lives blighted by an incurable genetic illness, but if I let that anger absorb me then it would destroy me and many others along the way. Life is too short. There are some circumstances where you can choose to be angry, or choose to see things in an alternative light. It’s not as hard as it sounds to make a change. It could be something simple, it just requires a change of mindset. What is harder is accepting the things that we can’t change and have no control over. In those cases anger is an understandable emotion, but it doesn’t have to be a way of life.
I’ve learnt that the hard way…and in all fairness…who can blame me?
Goalposts: The structure of a goal can vary widely from sport to sport. In sports where goals are the sole method of scoring, the goal is often a rectangular structure that is placed at each end of the playing surface. Each structure usually consists of two vertical posts, called the goal posts, supporting a horizontal crossbar.
Ah the joys of the pre teen. Last week I was sat, in my lounge, at home and alone with all three of my children whilst my husband was (still) at work.
Earlier in the evening my 12 year old daughter was upstairs in her room throwing everything she could find, firmly and loudly, after having left a trail of destruction and debris on her way there. The four year old was asking what was happening and the toddler was trying to fly by jumping off the sofa and laughing when I said ‘no!’ Oh, and I’d just discovered that I’d washed a nappy containing toddler poo with a load of clothes in my washing machine. The day was going well, I was kicking parenting’s ass.
Now I’ve mentioned my feisty daughter many times on my blog before, and have been very honest about the challenges parenting a pre-teen has brought me so far. About how at this age for me, it’s not easy letting go, letting her have more freedom and hoping that I’ve taught her to make ‘informed’ and ‘good’ decisions. My daughter has a lot of common sense, she is quick witted and has an inherent need for attention. She is stubborn, dramatic, emotional. She will argue that black is white, fiercely believing it to be if it means she can get something out of the debate; and she’s sadly growing up in a world where some people feel they are owed everything and that ‘I want’ should mean ‘I get.’ She thinks she’s invincible, she thinks she is wronged daily, misunderstood, and blamed for everything. She’s also beautiful, thoughtful, and caring. Talented, confident and determined. She is a blend of many magical and wonderful things, however sadly, at the moment, she is predominantly anger personified.
I’m not sure how many of my readers are aware that our family is a ‘blended’ one. My daughter has a different father to my sons, who I have had with my husband. She’s had a lot to deal with in her little life and has faced a lot of changes. First, and from the very beginning it was just the two of us, living in a beautiful flat in Bristol together for 6 years. We were surrounded by friends and tragically, when my daughter was 6 years old, a close friend of mine who we’d known for years and who used to look after my daughter one day a week after school, died from breast cancer. My daughter already knew about death as she understood that my father had passed away before she was born, but this was her first experience of it in person. And it wasn’t easy on any of us. Shortly after this we then moved just outside of Bristol with my now husband; another change. A different school, new friends and routines and a very different ethos to the inner city school she’d previously attended. Then my first son came along, my husband and I got married, her father had a baby, I had another baby, I got very ill with PND, her father got married. Change after change after change. Always honestly talked about with her, always addressed and never ignored or brushed over, but uncontrollable endless changes nevertheless.
I often wonder what impact all of this has had on her and whether it’s added to her anger and fuelled her indignation at so many things. Being twelve these days is by no means easy. As a girl, and a short ginger one at that, she’s subjected daily to teasing and p*** taking. Already she’s asked me what a ‘ginger fanny’ is and has been called a bitch in the dinner hall. The boys in her year reportedly describe her as ‘small but feisty.’ So it’s no wonder she’s always got her defences up. When you’re twelve you’re developing your identity, where you fit in the world, what your beliefs are and so much more, yet peer pressures and the latest trends and fads undoubtedly impact on this. Not to mention the delight of hormones which, at the ripe old age of 36, I still haven’t mastered myself yet. It’s a tough time and I wouldn’t want to be there again for love nor money. Yet what I do want is to be able to put myself in my daughter’s shoes and see things from her perspective. And I desperately want to help her manage her anger so a repeat of what happened the other day is not on the cards.
Wanting to put myself in her shoes led to both of us digging out my old diaries this weekend.
Diaries that I started writing when I was just 11 years old and stopped, for no particular reason other than lack of time, when I was about 30. Written every year; covering my first period, my first kiss and oh so much more. We started reading my diary from 1989 together and couldn’t help but laugh at what I’d written (that’s a whole other blog post!) and what struck both of us immediately is how much younger than twelve I seem in the diary. I’m still enjoying building sandcastles on the beach and playing in the park. I’m not bothered by make-up or clothes or boys. There were no mobile phones, no internet or Facebook, and the tv had a measly four channels, none of which showing provocative singers parading around in their underwear. Children were undoubtedly able to be children, with very different expectations made of them. My homework at twelve, for example, was simply colouring in. Oh how different the goalposts were then, in many ways.
We all know that parenting certainly has it’s challenges, and for me it hasn’t got any easier the older my daughter has got, the challenges have simply changed. Parenting a pre-teen in this day and age isn’t straightforward, and neither it would seem, is actually being a pre-teen in 2013…and I think it’s something we’re going to have to work out together.
To be continued…
Battle: Generally, a battle is a conceptual component in the hierarchy of combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. A war sometimes consists of many battles. Battles generally are well defined in duration, area and force commitment.
Constant, heated battles,
Angry with me most days,
You want to shout out loud, be heard
Determined to do things your way.
You feel you’re so grown up now,
Yet you’re not quite old enough,
To do the things you’d like to do.
You’re finding it so tough.
You challenge every sentence.
You feel wronged in every way.
You get frustrated, get grumpy,
From one mood to the next you sway.
You say I make you angry,
That I’m cross all of the time.
You answer back because you,
Think you haven’t done the crime.
You’re quick to think the worst,
To think I’m constantly having a go.
You think I’m always saddened by you,
The seeds of doubt begin to sow.
Is this the beginning of teenagdom?
Is there worse to come?
Am I doing something wrong?
Am I not being a good mum?
Our bond is a very strong one,
Sometimes we’re just too close.
Too similar, we’re just the same.
She is like me the most.
We’re stubborn, always think we’re right.
Self doubt sometimes sneaks in.
Attacking the best form of defence,
Not stopping until we win.
She’s fiery, gorgeous, passionate and strong,
Confident and wild.
My gorgeous tween, my crazy girl,
My beautiful first child.
I try to stay calm when the whirlwind starts,
Hope the anger doesn’t last.
Take deep breaths and say to myself,
Don’t worry, this too shall pass.
Irritability: Irritability is an excessive response to stimuli. The term is used for both the physiological reaction to stimuli and for the pathological, abnormal or excessive sensitivity to stimuli; It is usually used to refer to anger or frustration.
Wound up, cross.
Can’t help this feeling,
Drive me insane.
Nothing’s the same.
Tiredness kicks in,
Reaching new heights.
Deep breathing helps,
To clear troubled mind.
Close the door,
Sink under bubbles.
A nice warm bath,
Soothes all my troubles.
Move on once more.
Anger no more.