• Annie Dear: Needing a better plan for tackling frustration

  • How, dear reader, do you handle frustration?

    I’m positively awful at it, and I would be interested to hear your brilliant assertions.

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  • How, dear reader, do you handle frustration?
    I’m positively awful at it, and I would be interested to hear your brilliant assertions.
    I’m a crier. I hate to admit it, after all these years, but I just can’t help it. In the end I’m reduced to a sniveling mess, nose running, hiccupping sentences, red eyes – you know the drill – which of course renders me less than useful in an argument, my debatee attacking this failing as a terrier would latch on to a sick ferret. In fact, I don’t think I unnerve the arguer at all, most being completely immune to feminine tears, I just add kerosene-doused fuel to their fire. And really, I am not trying to gain sympathy, and I would love to be imbued with that steely glare, but as my dear departed mother would say, my steely glare has morphed into the look of oysters in buckets of blood (a good Irishwoman, my mum), so bloodshot are my peepers.
    And what does that do? I’ll tell you what that does, it increases my frustration, that’s what, and so I become more of a blithering idiot.
    I think it’s because my brain is working triple time, and my mouth is working not at all. The ardent, or heartfelt, or venomous words just get lodged in my throat and won’t come out, and I end up like a 4-year old on the verge of a good Wal-Mart tantrum.
    I did some research, and came up with an 8-point plan – with premature thanks to Life With Confidence. I will try it – really I will – but I can see it’s doomed.
    Number One: “Ask yourself, ‘What is working in this situation?’” Well that’s all very good fine and dandy, but in the heat of the moment the only answer would be my mucous and lachrymal glands.
    Number Two: “Keep an Accomplishment Log.” Again, all very nice, but what are you going to do mid-flight? Rush off and find your diary, all the while gritting of teeth and runny of nose? I think not.
    Number Three: “Focus on what you want to happen.” Well, Cyril, that’s the whole point. I know what I want to happen, I just can’t get my point across before Niagara Falls fills my head.
    Number Four: “Remove the noise and simplify.” Oh it’s perfectly simple – I am the noise, hear me roar.
    Number Five: “Multiple Solutions.” In my case these would be in order: blow nose, wipe eyes, try to repair now rivuleting mascara, take a breath, break down again.
    Number Six: “Take Action.” Well, nimrod, see number five.
    Number Seven: “Visualize a positive outcome to the situation.” I try to – I try to imagine my antagonist breaking down in tears, giving me a big hug, telling me I’m the best thing since sliced bread, and whatever I wanted I can have along with a set of steak knives and Rhode Island. But midway through my visualizing, I get lost and blub.
    Page 2 of 2 - Number Eight: “Stay Positive.” Oh, I stay positive all right. After so many years of practice, I know I’ve got this right. I will weep. End of story.
    I will admit to my everlasting joy that I have learned somewhat to deal with any frustration with my darling Sir.
    In the beginning, I must confess I was in shock, having my first taste of the Italian-Croatian mode of argument. But after years of trial and error, I have alighted on the perfect solution. Stay still, remain quiet, and say nothing – but if you have to say anything, say it as softly as Sir is bellowing. This tends to take the wind out of his sails, and while we may spend some time thereafter in complete silence, I know I can also break that by being the first to apologize – even if I am not at fault. This opens the door to face-saving, and all becomes well with the world again. A little humble pie never hurt anyone, especially in the case of maintaining a happy home.
    I have no doubt this next bit will cause a modicum of Italo-Croat stress, so I will be brief.
    I also discovered another way of handling frustration.
    Sir was golfing the other day and came home in full harrumph-mode. He gave up after the 11th – unheard of – threw his club on the ground, and let forth a string of words which I am sure made the entire San Diego Naval Base blush. During which, his teeth flew out. He maintains he is still brushing grass stains out of them.
    Thank God, I have my own gnashers.
    Annie Dear lives in the Lakewood area of Lee’s Summit. Email anniedearkc@hotmail.com or write in care of The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty St., Independence, MO 64050.

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