I hated myself …
“Can we watch cartoon?” my two children asked. “Five more minutes, after I’ve finished,“ I replied. Most of the time, I would just let them take over the remote control and go read my newspaper. But I’d been trying to catch the ending of this show for quite some time, and it happened to be on after dinner that day. Obediently, they sat on the sofa, handling the remote control playfully. Just about when the show was to end, the channel changed.
“HEY!” I shouted, frustrated, stood up, went over to my six-years old boy, gave him a slap on the leg, stared at him angrily for two seconds and snatched the remote control from him.
My little boy was stunned. Not from the pain of my slap (it wasn’t the hardest slap that I’ve given him, neither was it painless), but from my sudden and unexpected violent outburst. As I sat there watching the rest of the show, my heartbeat started to hasten. Hatred grew within me. The boy sat quietly, and uncomfortably. He kept shifting his hands and stared blankly at the TV, not knowing how to react. Sensing his fear, uneasiness, helplessness and being at a loss, my hatred grew even stronger, and anger was starting to rise. Being a parent, I had a very strong urge to give him a hug and tell him it’s okay. But I did not. Frustration emerged.
After the show finished, I threw the remote control toward them. They yelled happily, and watched their cartoons, as though nothing had happened. I went into my room and read my newspaper. My heart was still beating fast.
My snapping at the moment the TV channel changed, was what gave rise to the hatred and anger within me, towards myself. So were the ease with which I let rage blind me, and the eruption that followed. Why did I snap? Was it the eagerness to finish the show? Was it their disobedience? Was it the disappointment that they fail to respect my simple request, yet again? Maybe there are better way to react under this circumstance?
As much as I’m vague about the reason behind the outburst, I’m also uncertain as to why I refrained myself from giving him a hug. Ego? Was it that I want him to learn the lesson? Was it this time round, it was me being agitated, better to be on the receiving end from me than others? Should I have comforted him then and explain things to him, again?
Not sure.As rare as I would use violence, or show the violent side of me to the children, I doubt that will be the last time. And mind you, it’s not the first time either. For facts, I know they’ll always be playful, disobedient at times, and testing boundaries most of the times, and I’ll have things that I wanted to do which needed their understanding and following my instruction. These being facts of life, the occurrence of another agitation and another outburst are very probable indeed.
But, perhaps, at times I could be more than “just human” for my kids?
But at that point of time, I hated myself.