Irritable behaviour

As a child I was never consciously aware, or even understood why when someone said something to me it was like a time-bomb going off.

I was irritable at everyone. I can’t remember what exactly irritated me, but being blamed for things that I know clearly weren’t my fault, made me irritated. Looking back now I can see the pattern of events that contributed to my behaviour. I wasn’t the best.

Now looking back although I was clearly responsible for my behaviour, the ultimate responsibility lay firmly at the door of my parents, who failed to see that I was struggling emotionally and physically. I was sinking.

This is exactly how we behave when we have or live with anxiety or stress, what we have to deal with and what we may have to continually deal with. It’s our way of saying all is not well. When we cope with our lives, we are likely to be irritable. Unless it’s pointed out to us though, I’m not sure how much we recognise these traits in ourselves.

Of course I was constantly being told off for my behaviour, that no one took the time to understand why. I know in my case my thoughts saved me. Although I found it hard to change, there wasn’t a day go by where I wasn’t in deep thought.

The environment I grew up in didn’t lend itself to me changing my behaviour as a child, but through my spiritual beliefs and finally becoming independent, I slowly began to change the way I saw my life and that made it easier for me to change.

I believe anyone can change their outlook, even if they do emulate this kind of behaviour. We just have to want to find a way.


8 Oct, 2014

10 thoughts on “Irritable behaviour

  1. This blog is so accurate in my experience. This is exactly how it was in my house while growing up.

    My father was very unhappy with his ‘lot’ as his sister was the golden child in their parents’ eyes and my brother was and still is extremely irritable with his siblings.

    Unfortunately neither of these were ever addressed and this behaviour continued. Looking back I knew the atmosphere in the house was not nice and I spent lots of time at friends’ houses, but rarely invited them back to mine. I ran away from home on a number of occasions and left permanently at the first opportunity.

    I agree we are responsible for our own behaviour, but how many of us will actually own up to that responsibility and change things?

    1. As a child I didn’t equate my behaviour with my problems, so didn’t understand my behaviour traits in the same way I do now, so didn’t own up. I agree with you that not many people will own up. I have come across that in my lifetime too.

      As you correctly say in your response, your father had a problem with his parents and that even if we do recognise these traits in ourselves, without others owning up to their responsibility, in your father’s case, his parents and in your brother’s case your parents, I think it unlikely that we will too.

      I believe it lessons the burden for us and helps us feel better about things, when the primary person who has responsibility for the way we turn out, takes responsibility and allows us to relinquish some responsibility. As a fully fledged adult though, we do have to take control for ourselves regardless of what’s passed.

      Even without someone else taking responsibility for their part, as the adult we must begin to take some of that responsibility back regardless, but first must unlearn our behaviour in order to change things and that is the part most of us find difficult.

      You could see and understand your environment from a very early age and worked round your life pretty well, although you will have missed out on all the usual family connections and that’s sad, but perhaps your father and brother never made that connection. Some of us never really do.

      Sad but true that what you describe is many people’s reality. Same emotional character traits, different circumstances.

  2. The point is, we have to want to change.

    When I’m irritable, I shut down and am usually quiet. I can attribute most of my behavior on stress and right now I’m experiencing a lot due to my daughter’s problems.

    Now when she gets irritable EVERYONE knows it!

    1. Thanks Lisa… you’re absolutely right we do have to want to change. I hope the stress you have now calms down for you soon. Take care.

  3. Irritability is a natural response to stress. To ask our selves to not respond to stimuli is just not reasonable.

    I think the best action we can take is to first acknowledge our irritability and then try to find a way to calm the mind. A temporary environmental change, or just associating with different people usually helps me.

    1. Thanks Tim. It would be many years for me when my circumstances changed. I agree with your thoughts.

      An environmental change, even if it is temporary and/or associating ourselves with different, more positive people will and does help.

  4. Yes that is usually a sign there is something wrong but if you have parents who won’t take the time to find out what it is, you’re labelled as a “bad seed!”

    Most of the time I felt like I could stand in front of them being on fire and they still wouldn’t get what the problem was. Acting out never did much of anything, so eventually you do give up.

    I had to disconnect from my feelings so I could survive the hellish nightmares that we lived through! I’m having to learn how to deal with my feelings now when most of the time I don’t know what they really are.

    It just makes me wonder why some people bother having children if they’re not able to take care of them!

    1. Thanks Randy. I can resonate with you and completely understand your frustrations, because they were my frustrations too. I also disconnected from the world, although at the time I didn’t equate that is what I was doing.

      I was irritable and must have been a nightmare to be around. That said, any initial problems a child has lays firmly with the parents.

      All children rely on their parents to do and put things right for them in their childhood. Unfortunately though, parents tend to learn on the job, as they go, but they should at least try to get some things right, regardless of what they’ve had to deal with.

      Unfortunately it’s their past that let’s them down and without them changing anything, the children become the victims. I’m pleased you’re now trying to work on your feelings. You take care.

  5. Wow are you sure we didn’t meet as kids Ilana? I don’t remember being irritated all the time (because it isn’t my nature to be so) but feeling misunderstood by family is one of the hardest.

    Mom was patient to a point and so was dad, but being taunted by my sister because I couldn’t do certain things. Sometimes the mockery is what will tip someone in our shoes, over the edge. In my case, my mom would speak up and say something to support me so other’s would not push me.

    As an adult, I explain why I can’t do physical activities and I sometimes get looked at like it’s an excuse not to do it. I stand and walk funny isn’t that enough evidence? Then again we shouldn’t and don’t need to prove ourselves to anyone. If they don’t understand, that’s their problem not ours!

    1. Thanks Bonnie, yes we could have been! I couldn’t agree more and am pleased you had some support from your parents.

      I don’t remember being taunted as a child, but know it happens in school, society and can also happen in families. It’s a shame your sister wasn’t brought to task over her behaviour towards you, but perhaps she sees it know she’s all grown up.

      I think there is still so much ignorance around disability, brought about by a lack of understanding. We’re still not in a world where disability is readily acceptable. Behaviour starts with family of course. With the right foundations in place, children will always learn how to behave around people and disability.

      This didn’t apply to my situation, as my physical problems weren’t addressed. It’s as though it didn’t exist, apart through my mandatory hospital and physiotherapy appointments which couldn’t be ignored.

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