I have a close family member who makes almost every situation stressful. My entire family dreads coming home at the end of a long day because you never know what kind of mood he will be in. He might happily greet you at the door, or be screaming at you the second you walk in. Being around him is like walking on eggshells, you never know when he’s gonna crack.
Around a year ago, I came to a realization – as soon as I am in the same room as him I become extremely stressed and tense. Driving in the car is the worst and one night is a prime example of why – I brought him along with me to my friends’ house to help cheer him up. While we were there he suddenly grabbed my arm and said that we needed to leave immediately because he knew he was going to have a freak out. I politely told my friends we had to leave and that I would see them all later. We were driving home when suddenly he punched the dash board and began screaming. I stopped the car, terrified. He was in tears and got out of the vehicle, proceeding to walk down the street. We were in a neighbourhood he is unfamiliar with, so I followed him close behind. He then began screaming at me to leave him alone so I drove back to my friends’ house as it was closer than my own. I called my mom and asked what I should do. She said to go back and try and pick him up to bring him home. But I was scared to get back into the car with him. It was lucky that we were still in the subdivision when he first began freaking out as no one was around and I could safely stop the car. Had we been on a main road an accident was likely to occur. I decided to just drive home. My mom of course then had to go back and pick him up. He got home and yelled at me for leaving him on the side of the road, even though he was the one who told me to leave him alone.
Over the years I have learned the best way to cope with living in the same house as him. It’s important to stay calm when speaking with him and not to approach him without first observing what his mood is like, which can often be determined quite instantly through his body language and tone. By sticking to this approach, I have been able to avoid being the target of his anger in numerous situations and can only hope that this will continue in the future.