T heoretically, being on Wellbutrin should have prevented this from happening. Nonetheless, I spent two days in an absolute rage and now, at day 3 (this is being written on Monday July 16), I still have some residual anger.
It started, as all A.D.D. rage episodes seem to do, with the smallest of triggers, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back (do camel’s really eat straw?). This past Friday I got chewed out by both my business associate and my wife. In both cases, I’m the front-man who interacts with the public and the both of them remain in the background. That is, they let me do all the talking. Nonetheless, if I make a misstep, they are sure to let me know about it. In both cases, the issues were resolved.
On Saturday morning, I told my wife that I would do some gardening chores for about 1 hour (this occurred at 9:30am…my oldest daughter had to be somewhere at 11am so that meant these chores had to come to an end). Next Saturday we are having a large party here at the house so my wife said to me, “You’ll have to cut it again [i.e., the lawn] next week so why do it today?” I said back to her, in a somewhat snotty whiny voice, “When next week? I’ve got wall-to-wall meetings Wednesday and Thursday and Friday the tent is being delivered and set up.” My wife responded by saying something like “What’s with your tone?” At that remark, I snapped. I left the house for about 1 hour (I went to get some food…any excuse to do some eating works for me). When I passed by the house at the end of the hour I noticed my wife was gone. I went into the house, got a book, and left. I didn’t return home till about 4pm. Each time I thought about returning home the rage came back in full force. All I kept thinking about was all the things that I have to do, all the accomplishments I’ve made (I’m finally paying bills on time, etc.) and the ONLY thing she can thing of doing is telling me about my tone! What’s next? My punctuation? My use of the passive? Too much pluperfect?
Well…we didn’t speak for almost the entire weekend. I tried to channel the rage – and make it dissipate – by focusing on something that required physical activity. So, Saturday night I did what I wanted to do that morning…at 7pm I cut the lawn. Sunday morning I still had that rage. I decided that today would be the day to clean out the weeds around the shrubbery on one side of the house and put in some nice trim. Well, after 6 hours of pure labor, the rage finally started to subside (a bit) and, at least, there was nice clean and freshly mulched shrubs.
The length and intensity of the rage surprised me because I had thought that that kind of rage was behind me. (The amount of pure physical labor necessary to make the rage dissipate also surprised me.) All I kept hearing in my head was “My tone? My f**king tone? With all the things that need to be done, with all of the changes that I’ve made in my own behavior, my tone was a problem?” It was as if, no matter what, there would be something to pick on.
So, I’m not sure there is a happy ending here. My wife asked me this morning (it is now Monday), if we were going to talk this week. I said yes and said in a sarcastic manner “And I’ll watch my tone.” I think she got the hint. And I’m going to have to watch the rage.
I think there might be a limit to how much “stuff” you can take before you explode. On Friday I got dumped on by both my business associate and my wife. In both cases I became angry but then I “ate it.” But the weekend of rage shows that I didn’t necessarily “eat it,” that that was an illusion. What I thought was resolved was resolved in the sense that I stopped being angry…but the anger just stayed inside and awaited an outlet.
I feel that what also contributed to my rage is that my older daughter’s 16th birthday is next week and I was working so hard to be that good Dad to make sure things are all prepared for the big day. The “watch your tone” comment just seemed like a way to undermine that. Even if that was not the intent that is certainly the way I took it and that certainly contributed to the rage. Finally, I worry about what both my girls see in terms of a dysfunctional marriage…what effect all of this will have on their own lives.