By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | September 26, 2012
A wise and funny man, Dr. Laurence J. Peter once said, “Speak when you are angry—and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” Not only was he wise, he was right. No matter whom you are angry with— children, spouse, boss, a clerk, even your government— it doesn’t pay to unload your anger when you are white-hot mad.
Adrenaline and hormones are the main culprits for cloudy thinking and in many cases— loosening our words. The fight or flight response kicks in for a threat to our safety, authority or territory, whether real or imagined. When we drive down the road and are cut off in traffic or a car wedges in front of our car we may see it as a challenge or an outright insult then fingers and words begin to fly.
I’ve heard the term “loose cannon” but here we call a verbal onslaught “flushing the toilet.” That is when one of us lets loose with all the saved up anger and it spews forth verbally— imagine a volcano. There could be many outside influences that play into an eruption like dealing with traffic, an office politics incident or even a thoughtless clerk. With children it might be chores, or homework not done, the appearance of laziness, clutter and sloppiness or an item misplaced or lost. Then there is an added pressure of time or an expense. Any one thing and the ‘flush’ is set into motion and this is where it gets ugly. Everything comes out; all your anger, your rage, misinterpretations, your thoughts and your feelings— all of it. Out it comes until the flush is finished and everything begins to settle.
We can put safeguards in place to depressurize situations or to give ourselves time to gather our thoughts, calm down and formulate a plan to address the situation or issues. Addressing issues as they arise allows all concerned to share information and troubleshoot for solutions so there is less stress or pressure to vent in a not-so-friendly manner.
Holding a family meeting on a regular basis is an excellent way for everyone to have an opportunity to speak and listen. A compromise or decision can be made to solve any problems in a more amiable atmosphere when there is open communication with respect and safety.
Have you ever ‘flushed the toilet’ at your house?
Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.
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