Family Life Personal

Confessions of a serial shouter

Domestic sound and fury signify only my inability to cope like a proper Dad

So we are walking and we are walking, my tail-wagging hounds and I. Towards the sea and away from happiness.

Long, black, sponge-pawed Lily out front, and Bella’s dainty black and white paw-steps padding perfect pace a metre behind.

My two huskies are moving to my silent “Mush”, as I control the two leads with one hand, getting good at this, tangling and untangling swiftly as they sniff across each other every now and again.

We walk and we walk, up, up the Skerries Road rise to Loughshinny Cross, across and down, down the sea road until we step out onto the picture-book harbour of delight.

On and up the wooden steps for the cliff walk around past the Martello Tower, visible on the far side from Rush’s North Beach.

We stop for a break near the cliff edge, on a deep patch of emerald grass as lush and deep as the stuff you see in the Pampas. There is a perfect sitting spot splayed by previous trekkers.

The dogs’ tongues are working over-time, their little chests beating with the effort, and glad of the rest. Lily, lovely affectionate Lily, her shiny, warm torso pressed against my left thigh. Bella just behind my back.

This is some trek and I have a lot to think about.

After a moment I reach back to draw my tousled terrier Bella to me … only she isn’t there.

I look behind me and there is only the line of her lead stretching up and over the cliff top … over the top, over the edge.

Up like I have heard a gunshot and I scramble to the edge.

“Bella … Bella?”

The thick grass lines the face of the cliff all the way down to the beach thirty feet below … and way down there, scrambling through a large tuft I can just see Bella’s little black ears and the top of her spiky head.

She is okay. But now to get her back up?

Bella is great climber I know as on many the walk she has skipped up hillocks and up and down rock faces with the dexterity of a mountain goat.

This cliff face is fairly sheer though, but I call out to her, summoning her.

And sure enough, she hops and she heaves, and she darts and she strives, and soon that tiny grizzled face, like a Jim Henson Muppet character, appears over the cliff edge.

Back from the brink.

Like I so badly want to be. Which no amount of talking can achieve, without my own resolve and efforts to change.

See this is more than a walk along the beach and up around a cliff face, it is a journey into my very way of being. A voyage of exploration and regeneration.

No way back from it until I have plotted and established a new direction.

I had left the house that afternoon after a previous evening of rancour, confrontation, and shouting that had thoroughly shattered an already shaky family equilibrium.

I have to couch what I say carefully to not break any confidentialities, but also to focus on my central part in the evening’s conflagration.

I was angry … not angry … I was raging … and I need time now to look long and hard at that anger … to finally stop focusing on the justness of my fury, and seek out newer outlets … gathering fuel for this immolating fire within.

It has to stop.

What has me on that cliff edge anyway, and made me finally go over the top … without knowing or caring whether the cliff face down to the swirling foam was lined with the softest pampas grass, or jagged, lacerating rock? Too far gone to care.

Here’s a few precipitating factors.

One, I was tired … physically tired from doing things that would not tire a younger man so much.

And older dad with teenage kids, up first thing every morning to take care of the dogs … last to bed every night after sorting said hounds.

And so much in between … working, blogging, linky corresponding and reciprocating, writing, cooking, cleaning, hoovering, dealing with the kids …. arguing with our strong-willed daughter a fair bit.

I work evening shifts in the newspaper, often home after midnight … just tired, so tired.

Then there was the rejection letter from the Irish Blogging Awards for 2018 I had entered. At the behest of someone else, initially, but then gung-ho as I entered under the Best Post category.

Was long-listed … then shortlisted. Delighted, and happy to add the Shortlisted logo to my blog Home page.

I had had some gorgeous feedback about the post, You’ve got to take the rough with the smoothie, and comments, and was actually very proud of it.

You know when you read something you wrote after a while, and you are reading it like a reader. And you think, “Yay, this is really good, actually!” Such an exalted feeling.

Then the email. Informing me I had not made it through to the next round, ie the finalists.

And the line: “We encourage you to support your peers and to not take this as a defeat as the overall standard this year was extremely high”

What, support the people they are telling me had reached a higher standard than me!

I was annoyed with myself for being so disappointed. And I was angry at these faceless judges, who were telling me how good, but not that good, my piece was? The bastards, you patronising bastards, I thought, you are so wrong … that post was really good, I am so proud of it, and now you are telling me …

And all the while thinking, yeah, they were right, what was I thinking, believing I would have made the finalists list, even? … It was crap, I’m crap … crap, just crap.

And this was there, simmering away, as I got on to my son about his football a couple of mornings ago. I believed I was framing it positively, but still, as 13-year-old O saw it, I was accusing him of shirking, and not putting in everything he had into his football, to make the most of what is a very real talent.

Thing is his team are really struggling in their league, certain to be relegated, and this has affected O’s football. He has shown great character, but the struggling team has brought them all down.

He is no longer being chosen for his league representative squad either, the Dublin District Schoolboy League (DDSL), and does not want to talk about it.

He’s like that you see, we have to dig deep to find out what’s really going on in that beautiful blond head of his.

I feel the league team have not picked him because he has been playing too conservatively, afraid of making mistakes, rather than putting himself out there and imposing himself, with all that ability and sheer guts that he has.

But it’s not easy as this is a thing more enlightened coaches are trying to fight in Irish underage football, finally taking on this ingrained emphasis on winning and trophies, to the detriment of skills and proper development.

So it doesn’t take Freud to work out that my anger at being dropped by the DDSL … I mean the Irish Blogging Awards squad … had impacted on my reaction to O’s footballing travails. I might be rejected, but no way will my son be …

Only it came out all wrong, and he went bananas, swore at me, and called me a retard …

So I got really annoyed and shouted at him. Looked to my wife for support, to tackle this undermining of my parental authority … this swearing and the word “retard”! And she was annoyed at me for being so annoyed, shouting. So I shouted even more, and louder.

That was row number one.

Still simmering and no rapprochement made, the next morning O and his Mom drove to his game, and big, mature Dad, stropped at home. Itching to have been there.

Then that evening, there was the family dinner … which we struggle to get our daughter to sit down to usually, or to stay the courses.

Dad and son go at it again, and this time, it is screaming and shouting … and me, the adult, the parent, the dad, is screaming and shouting loudest.

It is horrendous, and it even gets physical … which is all I will say …

So we are walking and we are walking, my tail-wagging hounds and I. Me the one with my tail between my legs.

On the cliff face, staring out to sea and considering going over the top, over the edge, or stepping back. Climbing down.

Being a man, not an angry caricature.

The man my kids and my wife need me to be.

Lucy At Home

Mission Mindfulness

Lucy At Home UK parenting bloggerDIY Daddy

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58 comments on “Confessions of a serial shouter

  1. It’s funny how when we’re angry at something else, we too often take it out on our loved ones. I have been there. Yelled at my kids when it wasn’t them I was mad at. Picked a fight with them over something else I had no control of so I tried to control my kids, in a sense. Of course I didn’t know that at the time. I had to take a hike – literally – in order to calm down and clear my head. Then I go back and apologize for my behavior because I know the part I played in the argument. You’re not the only parent who does this. I hope that is some consolation to you. You’re human and you make mistakes. Sometimes our teenagers need to be reminded of that fact. That we are human and we do make mistakes. I hope things better in your household. #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I find myself in that situation way too often. It’s good to hear someone else say it (as I’m sure is was good for you to vent it out).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, it’s better than keeping it all in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my, you terrified me with the thought of Bella going over the cliff, then you go on to scare me with Dad anger. It’s natural though, we all get this way sometimes. I have to confess I had a strop myself with my eldest two of mine just a couple of weeks ago which had me jumping in the car (I have no licence as I’m being assessed medically, just a letter saying I can drive if I feel well enough, and I didn’t feel well at all.) I didn’t get very far, just far enough. And I watched a huge moon move across the sky until my anger abated. I can’t even remember what the argument was about but I hate losing my temper. We all do it.
    I am so sorry you didn’t make it to the finals of the blog awards though, I know saying you did well just to get shortlisted doesn’t always cut it, or maybe it just wasn’t your year. This things happen though and they fade in time. I was finalist in a major blog awards three times but never won. I tried not to let the disappointment get to me, but in all honestly I did lack belief in myself. Your time will come, I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you for saying so … I genuinely would have been happy to make the final … but I was a bit surprised at how deflated it made me feel. I was angry and about to start going through every one of the finalists, to get annoyed at how could mine be seen as inferior to this one, and this one … but I didnt even look at one. I saw reason and let it go… just not as much as I thought!!


  5. Daydreamer mum

    Ah Enda this is such an honest post . I was way too smug with the two eldest … Little Miss I’ve never raised my voice at my children on her high horse !!
    Then teen girl came along and the shouting has happened before my stupid brain can tell me to stop being such an idiot , then she responds and slanging matches happen and never ever does anything positive come from it . Sucks about the awards though , your blog is genuinely a fave of mine !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How lovely of you to say that, Kelly. Genuinely, I wasn’t fussed about winning, but was surprisingly deflated by not making it further! And you are so right, nothing good comes out of the madness of shouting and roaring, with dignity and everything else lost!


  6. Better to let off steam than keeping it in and boiling over #,dreamteam@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A powerful post, I can feel your rage coming through. I’m sorry your post didn’t get any further in the awards, but that doesn’t make it any less good than you thought it was: it just means that the judges are retards! It’s clear that you know how you let this affect you and your family, and I’m sure you’ll be able to convert that understanding into a suitable solution. No one ever said parenting teenagers should be easy, and there is no such thing as a perfect adult or parent either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and consider my post Clive. The awards thing really was about much more … it was merely a handy vehicle for the underlying anger and frustration to rear its ugly head. It could just as easily be something else. It’s the anger that I have to tackle, that all too easy fulmination and giving out. Bad for me, my wife, and the kids. Don’t get me wrong, the kids especially give me ample reason for frustration, but shouting back is not the way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As the song says, you always hurt the one you love. Especially true in a family context, where every little thing becomes magnified. You’ll get there, I’m sure!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Clive. Like with the alcoholic or addict nothing moves until the admission there is a problem and the excuses, downplaying and justifications stop.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely right. It was exactly like that for me when I had to admit to myself that I had a problem, which turned out to be depression. I wish you well 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Clive. You too

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Such honesty and objectivity in this post. I’m sure your situation is echoed on many families but that won’t make it any easier. I don’t always feel the best writers win these contests TBH so easy for me to say but don’t take it to heart. I’ve told you before that I love your writing and I always seek out your posts in linkies! #mixitup


    • Thank you so much Catie … my reasonable, logical side knows you are right … but try telling that to Mr Self-Doubt inside me!!!


  9. What wonderful writing! It spirits me away into your world and I feel every emotion. A beautiful read #triumphanttales


  10. A very thought provoking post – I have to remind myself that I am only human and when I lose my shit with my kids that being able to say sorry sincerely is one of the greatest gifts I have developed as a parent – hope amends have been made and things are back on track 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are amazingly open and honest in your blog about your perceived shortcomings/parenting errors. Basically you are human like the rest of us and adulting is hard. Sometimes (quite often), I find my son being the more mature of the two of us!. I openly recognise my ‘tantrum’ to him along with the reason it manifested. Openness and honesty. He knows I mean well and do my best, but also I am human and can overreact, misjudge and be far from perfect!
    Love your blog xx


  12. I am sorry to hear you weren’t picked for the finals Enda, really they must have had some poor excuse! I feel exactly the same as you, I didn’t expect to get through and yet felt unreasonably disappointed and annoyed. I wanted to ask the judges the reasons why they thought my blog was not good enough! It must be a very subjective judging process, in my opinion . 🙂
    I think it’s a universal battle to not allow our anger to impact on others, and especially the ones we love the most. But acknowledging the problem, and asking for forgiveness, is half the batte won. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well of course it is subjective, Liberty!! No issue with that. Just to be deemed unworthy of progressing farther stung. Because of deeper rooted stuff, which feeds into stuff that makes me overeact sometimes. And that has to stop. Is stopping. But like the addict, it’s one day at a time. Thanks Liberty

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    I shout so much! I feel bad about it but after asking nicely 3 times or more I just lose my patience. Congratulations on getting to the shortlist, it’s something I can only ever dream of! 😥 Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Never easy when you lose your temper with your kids actually I have just done it this morning some days the incessant moaning just gets to you always say sorry afterwards for all of that no excuse great read mate Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Its great that you can reflect and realise that something isn’t right and needs to be addressed. It’s amazing how we take things out on those nearest and dearest to us!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!


    • It did need to be addressed … and improvement has taken place, and a good week been had since. Thanks for commenting


  16. You really do know how to create a picture in the mind of the reader. Great and honest post as always. Thanks for bringing it to the #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Aww Enda, I feel like I got to know you much better in this post and I really admire your honesty and willingness to acknowledge the part you played in the family row. Parenting is blooming tough isn’t it?! And tiredness can really take its toll. It sounds like your walks with the dogs (though stressful when they go on their escapades) are good for you to get some perspective and have time to reflect. You are very self-aware to see the connection between the football and blogging comp. knockbacks. I hope you’ve had a more peaceful few days in your household this week. #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hayley, it really was a wake up call, and even though old habits don’t die easily, things are improving. A lot. I just walk away when things get heated, but more importantly, am learning to frame things more positively. It’s funny the dogs are giving me more hassle then anything coming from the kids recently, especially our newer one Lily, who is still only seven months old. She is utterly headstrong and strongly resisting toilet training. She holds on, but we have to try and get her out the door, catch her and put her on the leash; otherwise she pees inside the door with excitement: a Catch 22 if ever there was one. She also goes at other dogs, so has to be on the leash at all times!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    popping back from #thatfridaylinky


  19. Daydreamer mum

    Waving hi from #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: BlogCrush Week 86 - 5th October 2018 — Lucy At Home

  21. Pingback: BlogCrush week 86 – October 5th 2018 | daydreams of a mum

  22. Oh Enda, this is so heartbreaking. Turmoil is a part of family relationships, but knowing that never feels better when in the trenches. I hope you can find some peace and calm, to retrieve your equilibrium. As far as those awards, I’ve long given up on them as I cannot seem to understand how certain blogs get celebrated… they are not impartial judges and it leaves me feeling bitter. So ignore your ‘defeat’ and focus on how much people love your blog – you are a gifted wordsmith! #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hi Heather. It’s work in progress. But I have been putting in a serious effort not to respond in an emotive, emotional way to things, especially things the two teenage kids throw at us! And things are definitely better. But they have to stay better! The wards thing is only indicative of a certain dissatisfaction with myself which was coining out in my dealings with them sometimes. And I just have to be bigger than that. Thanks for your lovely thoughtful comments. And your compliments!!!!


  24. Our loved ones are often the brunt of our frustrations. We all do it. You are all doing it in your house. I hope you can find a resolve and decrease the anger. Honestly written and I love the description. Sorry you didn’t get to the finals. You’re a great writer. #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are working on it, and things are much improved in that department!! But old ways do find it hard to die. Thank you for your very kind comments — and compliments!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Such an honest post. Life is so frustrating at times. All these things can simmer away chipping away at us for so long, until suddenly it all bursts through and woe betide anyone who is in the firing line. Which is usually our nearest and dearest. I hope you can all sit down and discuss your frustrations with life. Ps. I wish I had a tenth of your word crafting skills!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jo. Yes, we have been working on things … and they are a lot better. But we have to stay with it. Thank you for your comment and your lovely compliment

      Liked by 1 person

  26. This post has been an eye opener. I guess we don’t realise how much you do something negative and can impact the ones you love unless we truly look at ourselves from the outside in. Thank you for opening my eyes! Now it’s time to change the record #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is amazing how far we can go before even admitting there is an issue that needs to be addessed. Once we do, however, the road to change opens up. But only then. Thanks for your comment and good luck


  27. Yep I feel you and been there. Some times taking a breaking and stopping helped me even if it just for an hour doing nothing when I feel like everything gets too much. Does the world of good X

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, the best thing to do most of the time is to do just that, stop, and take your time to assess and reassess calmly before going back to deal with the situation calmly – and rationally!! Thanks so much for your comment

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Lucy At Home

    Enda you write so well. The emotions are so expertly painted and feel so familiar. “Angry walking” is one of my coping mechanisms too. I’m sorry you’re feeling so stretched at the moment. I hope you’ve had a better week this week. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hi Lucy that was written two weeks ago and things have improved a lot since. Our boy still has issues with the social side of things in school and that is a work in progress. Thank you for your interest and for taking the trouble to comment. Much appreciated


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