A Short Temper
… was simply part of my personality… or so I thought. And, unfortunately, everyone suffered the brunt of that short temper on a daily basis.
I’d always been one of the most short-tempered people you’d want to meet. Seriously, I’d just as soon bite your head off as look at you. I’d snap at anyone and everyone around me.
Even big brothers… which was sometimes a big mistake and little sisters with nails… always a big mistake.
One day when I was in 30’s, my Mom casually mentioned that I’d always been the type that had to have my alone time and that I got extremely cranky if I didn’t get it.
What an epiphany!
I never realized that about myself. Or… let me rephrase that… I did know but I’d always assumed it was abnormal. That it was something I should hide behind excuses… you know “I have a headache so I need to stay in bed and, oh, while I’m here I may as well read this totally awesome novel.” Before then, I’d never once attributed my short temper to my lack of alone time.
Albeit belatedly, it was nice to get that eye-opening “That’s just the type of person you are” insight even though I was already a grown woman with 4 kids at that time.
Looking Back: The Cause of My Short Temper?
I grew up in a house with 6 full-blooded brothers and sisters and it was difficult to find a place where I could be alone so I simply stayed cranky most of the time. Then, when I was 14, I gained 9 step-siblings… all of whom were grown but, still, it added to the crowd and (probably) to the short temper.
I love all 15 dearly now… as I did then… still finding time away from everyone was just very very hard.
My mother was not someone who needed space and time by herself, so I guess she didn’t exactly know how to deal with me other than send me to my room. This was actually not punishment… especially if the 3 sisters I shared the room with weren’t in there.
I went straight from that environment to being a stay-at-home mom.
Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Of course, I did learn… as all Moms do… how to get that time by myself– even when I (still) felt abnormal doing so.
Back then (early – mid 80’s) I didn’t have cable, I spent my days with a toddler and an infant, and the need for–and healthiness of–time alone was just NOT talked about like it is today. Still, trust me, it is quite normal and healthy.
Check out this article from Oprah Winfrey’s site titled “Why You Must Have Time Alone.”
I would have felt so much more “Normal” had I known then what I know now. As a matter of fact nothing but good can come about if you can manage to get off by yourself more often. Here’s an article that outlines 6 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Alone.
Fast Forward: The Years Following That Epiphany My Short Temper Slowly Abated
Because once I realized I was just “the type of person who needed space” I paid more attention to my own need for solitude and… even more important… I accepted and respected it. I learned to manage my time so that I was nearly always able to give myself at least enough me time to tide me over.
Best of all… I learned to accept that it’s absolutely, positively, 100% healthy and normal to want that time away from spouse and kids.
This is the first post in my “Home Time Management and Alone Time” series.
So… do you think this may be the cause of your short temper?
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Go back to the “Home Time Management and Alone Time” series.
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Mary Segers B.S., MSW
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