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The Rage Within

So I am sitting at my computer and  I’m typing so hard the screen is flickering.  It could be because my laptop is nine years old.  Or maybe it’s because I just had a ‘you feel lucky, punk’ moment with my middle son. It's a feeling I'm all too familiar with.

It is the rage within.

Not the cool, collected, Clint Eastwood style rage. Mine is the raving-lunatic-surely-this-person-is-related-to-the-anti-christ kind of moment.

What makes me blow my stack?  I hate it about me.  I would never dream of unleashing on someone else the way I unload on my kids or my wife.  I’ve had people do MUCH more and receive MUCH less from me in the fury department.

But I’m finding out some things about myself – as a dad….and as a man.  Lack of control is a killer for me.  If I’m in a situation where I feel out of control, I either control it or find something else to control.

For instance – as I write this, I’m in the middle of a job change.  I’m moving cross country in a month with my newly graduated high school senior, my impending junior and soon-to-be freshman.  I can’t control that.  We’re moving.  It’s hard on the boys.  It’s an unknown for the entire family.  Our son is heading off into a completely new stage of life.  We haven’t found a place to live yet.  Yesterday, the dog chewed up my favorite pair of pajamas.

All out of my control.

Not long ago, it came to my attention that when things feel out of hand to me, mostly I turn to food.  (Look at my profile pic – you’ll see I’m rarely in control.)  In our small group, we’re doing a study on cutting things from our lives.  So for the past seven days, I’ve cut out seven comfort foods….no ice cream, soda, cereal.  Not even coffee.

I’ve also realized that when I don’t numb those feelings of helplessness with something, anger is the replacement.  It’s the stunt-double emotion for everything I’m feeling.  It’s my Clint Eastwood moment with the deepest parts of me…but Clint usually takes a bullet in this episode.

So I sit here as the dawn of who I really am comes up over the horizon.  I’m not yelling at my kids for fighting in the back seat and being more sassy than they should be (but every bit as sassy as I have trained them to be.)  I’m yelling at them because I want anger to mask my insecurity.  I’m raging because I cannot tolerate a hint of fear.  I’m controlling because to be out of control is just too painful and reminiscent of a childhood I’ve tried hard to leave behind me.

I wonder if that’s what my boys will do with their insecurities...

What will your kids do with theirs?

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