On Facebook someone recently posted a link to a video in which a woman is talking about how she is not as calm as people think she is and in actual fact she 'loses her shit' all of the time. She makes a funny presentation which I think is largely the point. The poster commented, along with sharing this post, that she thinks anyone who says they don't do this is lying.
Can you hear my eyeballs rolling? That justifcation for our own behaviour-oh everyone does it and if they say they don't they are liars- is ridiculous. I rarely 'lose my shit' if ever. I just don't. It's not how I am. And while it's true that I only had one child and one annoying husband, I was also an elementary school teacher with a classroom full of children. I do not react to frustration by 'losing my shit'. I do not yell. I do not get angry easily. while I won't say never, as I can recall times when I have, it's easy to recall those times not because they happened yesterday but because they were so rare they can probably be counted on one hand. My mother is also like this. As a parent she was a firm disciplinarian but she did not yell and she did not hit randomly or with things. Yes we were spanked, a practice she no longer believes in and which I did not use on my own child. The spankings of my childhood were never dealt in anger, and they were rare. They were private, deliberate, and dealt with a bare hand on a bare bottom because my mother believed she should always be able to feel how hard she was hitting. I come from calm and rational people. We do not 'lose our shit' and that's no lie.
In case you are wondering, none of us are perfect, however calm we may be. What I suspect is a truth is that everyone has their own way of dealing with overload. I also suspect some people choose to have
My struggle is that I am a binge eater. No purging is involved, just guilt and shame. There are ways of managing this tendency and the best one I know is to only stock ingredients in my kitchen and not snack food. By ingredients I mean, generally meat, dairy, produce and uncooked grains although I eat very little of the latter. Condiments, tomato sauce or soup stock is also a kitchen staple. If there are cookies, crackers, candies, ice cream, chips, bread or even boxed cereal that is what I will eat and I will eat too much. If feeling overwhelmed, tired, emotional or bored that is the food I will turn to. I eat those things only when I have bought them as a treat in a small quantity. Until recently I would have told you that this is my strategy because I haven't got willpower. It is interesting to note that recent studies by psychologists are beginning to suggest will power may be a myth.
How is will power a myth? The idea is that people who claim or seem to utilise will power are actually doing something else. They are either using a strategy like mine or they do not feel the typical urge in the first place. For example, my mother tells me she rarely actually feels hunger. If I let myself get too hungry it gets difficult to control and the urge for a quick hit of carbohydrate takes over and if I let myself have it I do not stop at enough. My mother rarely gets this feeling of hunger and is much more able to deal with a bit of hunger by eating a carrot stick. Current research is apparently suggesting that this difference between my mother and myself may be something we cannot change, therefore my strategy for managing it is the best solution and that what Mum is doing is not will power, it is just the way she is. Mum also does not like chocolate, which seems to be a rare attitude but not eating the chocolate candy sitting in a bowl in front of her would not be about will power. It would be as easy for her as it would for me to ignore a bowl of mints.
As I write this I am beginning to think that my mother may be one of the rare people who has very little difficulty with any impulse control because she does not seem to feel any impulses. I suspect that isn't true but she may possibly be someone with fewer of them or the type that are less readily triggered in daily life.
I do not get angry easily at all, I do not yell, I do not typically lose my patience and I am not lying but I don't think that's anything to brag about but I dislike the inaccuracy of the suggestion that if I make that claim I must be lying. If there is a tub of ice cream in my freezer I will consume the whole thing in as short a time as I possibly can. Depending on the size of that tub this will probably happen in a 24 hour period. If you do not do this, have never done this and cannot even conceive of doing this, I do not call you a liar.