Is it OK to feel annoyed?

Or is it just my hormones talking? 

Our elder helps a letter writer who feels that she isn’t being heard.


Dear EWC

I say to my mom while in an excellent humor, “The kids bring insight and fun laughs, a real blessing,” to which my mom responds, “Well people have faults but you just need to learn to be positive and they just might come out okay.. .they are a work in progress after all.” 

I thought she may have misunderstood so I communicated again how proud I was of my family, to which she said, “Just be encouraged it’s going to work out okay, hang in there.”

Why did I find that annoying? Or I observe that my mom visits all of my three siblings except me (she lives in Tennessee and has visited California, Florida, etc. and I live in Michigan and have almost never received a visit from her since I was sent away to boarding school at age 13… I’m 45 now and can count three times she visited me (Time 1 = The dean said I was in trouble while at boarding school for not being in bed on time during lights out when I was up giving a listening ear to a suicidal schoolmate. Parents came to reprimand me. Time 2 = she came to watch my first child being born. Time 3 = she came to watch my second child being born). 

Why do I feel bothered by that? She does other mommy stuff like send money or write letters, so why am I fixated on the above? Meanwhile, I say to hubby, “I spoke to my parents and they’re traveling and doing well,” to which he says, “It’s nice to finally see them do it together.” To which I said in surprise, “They’ve been doing it together, they’re going on 50 years of marriage.” Why did I find that annoying? 

I talked to my brother and he said he thought I wasn’t due until next year, several months away, when I’m due to give birth in less than three to five weeks! He further wanted to know if I was coming to the Thanksgiving family get together when this will fall exactly during my due date window. Why did I find that annoying? While chatting with a friend, I shared how I reflected on having 30-year-old foster kids, am currently raising a teenager, and now have a newborn on the way for round three of childrearing. My friend replies, “But are you still even in touch with the foster kids?” To which I reply ‘no’ accompanied by an explanation. Why did I find that annoying? 

My in-laws have been verbally and physically abusive to my kids and me in the past which has caused me to go low/no contact in an attempt to keep the peace and protect us. Progressively, they have withdrawn warmth from me by changing from using my nickname to addressing me formally, reducing conversations to “How’s the weather”, signing brief emails with their first names instead of Mom and Dad, etc. I actually understand and find reasonable their reciprocal distancing as a logical match to the distance they perceive from me. This is confused with unexpected gifts at times that completely don’t match the treatment I have had with them. Although, technically even when I was attempting the warm and loving daughter-in-law thing earlier on in the marriage, I always still felt like I was ‘kept in my place’ as second fiddle to hubby and the rest of their family. I actually hate that attempting closeness with them could and has resulted in emotional harm and boundary violations to me and my children so it is what it is. Yet, why do I find that annoying? Are the above incidents examples of things that should roll off my back as par for the course, or am I being unreasonably hormonal due to pregnancy, or is there another reasonable explanation for why the above bothers me? What’s your take? And could you offer suggestions for how to process incidents like the above going forward to promote my internal peace and tranquility more effectively? Thank you in advance.


Deidre replies

I will have to say that it actually sounds to me that you really do have it together. By that I mean that I hear you asking questions that are delving into yourself and the situations around you. You are open enough that you want assistance in trying to figure things out.

I can speak from a personal standpoint and say, “Yes, we do become annoyed with the actions of others,” while at the same time asking “Why?” I think the big question is actually, “What am I missing here? Is there something that actually is wrong or am I just perceiving it to be that way?”

It sounds as though there are some deep-seated emotions that are triggering you. What I believe I am hearing you actually say is: “Nobody is hearing me.” I, too, have struggled most of my life with the notion that my voice just doesn’t count because nobody really hears, or more accurately understands what I am saying. After years of struggle, I finally realized I had to deal with the emotion that was created as a young child by the experience and belief that my voice (and I) was not important. It hasn’t solved the issue that people don’t understand me, but it has helped me to release the deep-seated belief that I didn’t matter. Now when I feel annoyed or upset that I am not being heard, I can relax into it and not be emotionally triggered to be frustrated or have a reaction. I can more easily accept what is going on.

What really helped me was a book by Mary O’Malley. The title is What’s in the Way Is the Way. It helped me to realize that I have created stories around my childhood beliefs and how much impact they have had on me over the years.

You are doing well. You can’t solve the issues of not being listened to, the unattached mother, brother, friend, in-laws… Those are issues that may always be present, but how you perceive and feel about yourself in the situation can change. You can find the inner peace and tranquility that is already within you waiting for a chance to be felt. And I might add, that it is okay to feel the emotion of annoyance. It is simply an emotion. You can feel it, recognize it, give it space and then let it pass.

I wish you the best. I know that this time of pregnancy does throw off the balance a bit, but even though the hormones rage, you can find the inner peace that you seek.

Please let me know if there is anything more I can do.

Article #: 413533

Category: Other

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