Saturday, February 19, 2011

Had An Adult Breakdown Today...But Recovered

I can't believe it. I actually had a meltdown today. In public. With my son, who had started a meltdown phase himself. We both made a scene. The good news is, I realized what was happening and removed us from public view quickly. I'm just so shocked and appalled at myself! But I'm glad we "recovered" quickly.

The long version:

My son and I were playing at the fountain today. He loves the fountain in our swanky new mall. We usually sit there for about 20-30 minutes while he splashes around. Free entertainment.

Well, the weather was warm so there were a lot of people there today. That was problem number one.

Both of us were overtired-were up too late last night. That was problem number two.

But I had promised him the fountain and even though circumstances led to us being a couple hours later than I wanted (problem number 3) he insisted I hold to my promise

I should have just driven us home. I felt like we were quickly approaching our respective edges and when road construction had me detour for over half an hour I was too through. Note to self: a disappointed toddler's tantrum at home is better than both of you having one in public. Next time you feel like you should go home... GO HOME... thus problem #4 is listening to a toddler rather than to my gut.

There were lots of people around so I had to greatly restrict his splashing but we adjusted and had a good time. In fact, we had too good of a time because I eventually forgot that I was a) a grown woman and b) a senior manager in my new job and was soon running around the fountain like a toddler, playing with my son. It was lots of fun, and I don't really regret that but lots of people were there, including some in my organization and the raised eyebrows were probably not worth it.

We had fun though. Sometimes my son and I get lost in each other and I just have to remember how it looks to other people!!*

But THEN I saw Mr. Man. He and his buddies were looking at me, shaking their heads (my mind interpreted it as disgust and ascribed the thoughts "look at her making a fool of herself" even though IRL I have no clue what they were thinking...they could have been discussing the dinner they just had for all I know). I toned down my "playing" both because I was getting weird stares from other people and mostly because I really, really, wanted Mr. Man to come say hi. He's a bit of a gansta type, and it occurred to me that it was not "cool" for his girl to be acting that way. Not that I'm his girl anymore. Sigh. And I didn't care what anyone though of us til he showed up.

My son was getting testy- talking back, being willfully disobedient, getting more and more belligerent about my splashing restrictions. Really he was tired and I should have took him home. But now that Mr. Man showed up, I was rooted to the spot and spent the next 5-7 minutes watching him out the corner of my eye, trying to be slick since I had sunglasses on. He stopped watching us and left. That was the straw that broke the camels back.

He wasn't supposed to do that! He was supposed to walk over, apologize for breaking up with me, and scoop me up in his arms. My hurt, anger, and frustration came pouring out the next time my son said something rude to me and I lost it. The good news is, as soon as I started yelling at him, I realized I was overreacting and quickly removed us to a vending booth no longer being used.

I made him sit down for a few minutes while I paced around, pretending to be on my cell phone, calming down. Then we made our way to the car. He was upset but I told him, look we are both acting mean. That means we are wound up and need to calm down. When we get like this, we need to go to our rooms and calm down because it's not nice for us to be like this around other people. If you are not calm by time we get home, you will go to your room and finish calming down. And if mommy is not calm, she will go to her room.

We came home and both promptly fell asleep. I'm still stunned that I lost control like that today in public, but I'm at least glad I got us out of there before I could do something that might make my boss regret giving me this new job. Usually, when I feel myself losing control I hurry home so I can try and calm down before it happens. Or, if I still lose it, I'm at least at home in my private place.

If any of my readers don't mind commenting... I'd love to hear how you know a meltdown is coming on and what you do to prevent/deal with it.

** We're getting better about our public appearance though, with rules like "we can blow milk bubbles at home, and we can make IIIAA faces at home, but not out in public because other people will think we're weird."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear the day didn't go as you would've liked. (((hugs))) I've had meltdowns like that's not pretty. I do as you do, I start yelling and then I have to pace to calm myself. What I try to do is sense when they're coming on....once it's happening it's so hard to stop it but if I can be aware beforehand, I can relax myself before I say something I might regret.

Basically, I tell myself (either by thinking or whispering to myself) to take deep breaths, b/c I sometimes forget to breathe when I get upset. Then I say (repeating) "This is not a big deal...this is NOT a big deal...Let it go..." Every muscle in my body has tightened up at this point, so I continue by deliberately telling myself to unclench my fists all while breathing deeply. I also pray intermittently during this time.

And then if I can I go off on my own. I run upstairs to my computer, or I take a bath or go for a car ride - anything to get some alone time.

Hope this helps!