Saturday, 4 April 2009

Breaking Point

One of the columnists I read regularly, who has some important stuff to say, is Stephanie Dowrick. She is a writer and interfaith minister and I suppose the columns I read could be described as short lessons in personal development.
Today, Ms Dowrick described a scene where a mother who generally feels undervalued by her family has had a long working day followed by a trip to the supermarket. On arriving home she asks her son for some help unloading the groceries. He is sending a text and asks her to wait a moment, she feels that her request is being ignored. Being already overstretched she reaches her breaking point and has a bit of a screaming fit (my words there). The son is bamboozled by Mum's outburst and feels that he is expected to jump at her every whim, leading to his own screaming fit.
It happens in every family, doesn't it?
Ms Dowrick goes on to suggest that when faced with these situations we should examine our own actions and reactions from the other's point of view. She suggests that the more difficult it is to follow this process the more important it is that we do.

It got me to thinking about my own trigger points. One is at dinner time. I can be cooking, I ask for the table to be set, a little later I ask again, as I begin to serve I ask again. By the time the meal is on the table the table might be ready or it might not. I might have to add cutlery or sauce or salt....
Depending how I'm travelling on the day I might be quite wound up by now.
It might or might not bother me when I personally carry all six plates to the table while every one watches.
It will test me to the limit when I am hungry and the food is going cold and someone is still playing the PSP, someone else is on the computer, someone else gets up to get a glass of wine, someone else is just getting out of the shower and another has disappeared into thin air.
It will tick me right off when I have bought the food, prepared it, served it and no-one can be bothered to be there to eat it.
I don't expect help, I don't expect compliments and I don't expect thanks. I just expect to eat hot food. Together.

Do you have a never fail snapping point?


  1. Going along with my current theme, I would say my breaking point is always two days into my trip to Texas, when the MIL refuses to let us open the windows in the car and we're trapped in the back like rats in a warm and humid cage. It happens without fail, every year. I can't shriek, so I have to content myself with muttering under my breath until Sarge gives me the elbow.

  2. I'm not sure if it's a breaking point but rather a severe irritation; but I hate having just arrived at a location (work or home) and before I have even set my things down, orders are being barked out as to what has to be done.

    Now barring someone engulfed in flames and a request for some water, I generally prefer a simple "Hi" before I start receiving orders as to how the next phase of my day will go.

  3. Hi Kyles!

    Ahem.. - Barack Obama???

    Your girls looked great going for their disco. See, I am late getting here again. Can't keep up with you:)

    Oh you are so right about it happening in every family- countless times! My breaking point is when i have ironed and folded a mountain of clothes and deposit then into sons' rooms for them to put away- but of course they don't and 2 days later the clean stuff is all over the floor, mixed up with the dirty stuff. Grrrr... (My eldest son has the cleanest carpet in the house because it's never seen the light of day!)

    I have bought them a huge laundry basket each to put the dirty stuff in, but its tough going I can tell you- I think some animals are easier to train!

    I have decided I am wasting too much time ironing ( I mean it is cutting into valuable blogging time, after all)- so I have made a decision. No ironing (except for work shirts). My sister doesn't iron and you could never tell. I'm going for the grunge look your daughter is favouring!

  4. PS I know you are probably not into these 'awards' that go around, but I have bestowed upon you the 'kind blogger award'- for being such a kind person! You can collect it from my sidebar :)

  5. On the roads. I get so angry at other drivers sometimes, I scare myself!

  6. leah
    theres a bit of a joke that says the aussie mans idea of foreplay is an elbow in the ribs :)

  7. brian,
    i've missed you.
    you refer to the five minute rule. always allow a person five minutes to settle before hitting them with anything.

    i worked with a woman who would often be in the car park and start talking to me the minute i stepped out of the car. we worked as a pair so she would then talk ALL day. i really needed that walk alone through the car park and i wasn't happy to lose it


  8. cinnamon
    yes! barack obama

    you dont get it?

    i couldnt overstate how lovely i think he is. i say it ad nauseum.

    ironing is so bad for the planet. if you can't give it up for the sake of yourself do it for us!!!!

    thanks much for the award. dont know how i manage to fool you all

    take care

  9. megs
    other drivers dont understand, do they?


  10. Kylie, I read the Stephanie Dowrick column last night the ist of hers after a long absence. I must say a lot of our women folk, you included, who suffer this sort of treatment must be counted in multiple millions across the world. I think Ms Dowrick has been too easy and excuse ridden on behalf of the people giving the women this sort of crap! The balances are not level in this "measurement" process.

    Incidentally our Stephanie is NZ born and bred!

  11. Just as i have served the dinner Mark has a habit of disappearing. Usually decides to go to the toilet or to change out of his work clothes. Helen has got the idea that when i say dinner is ready she's off the computer and ready. I think I've spat the dummy enough to give her a fright.
    I've paid the deposit for the french trip. The parents at the information evening didn't seem very enthusiastic. That was the vibes i got.Helen said only about five or six she knows of said they were going and they need 10 to make it worthwhile.

  12. Leah must be one muddle class USA citizen not having air conditioning in her car. If she did she could freeze out the M-I-L Who'd want to go to Texas when people like George W. Bush and Lance Armstrong come from there.

    Leah there's a town in Queensland called Texas would you believe!

  13. hi jo,
    i hope the trip happens for helen but i can imagine why it might not. france is a very long way and people dont want to spend, even if they have the money.........

    God Bless

  14. Breaking points . . . we all have them. The trick is finding a way to bind them up in constructive change. I fought the dinner-time battle before it erupted. Mealtimes aren't sacred around here, just dearly held . . . the mouthwatering scent of cooking victuals seems to draw them from all corners in eager anticipation. Onion and garlic become my dearest friends some days. : D


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