Sunday was a doozy.
Everything had started out wonderfully. The kids were playing. I had just finished my yoga practice, and my wife was sleeping in.
Then all hell broke loose.
The boys began fighting about something, as they are prone to do. Their fights these days are not the cute horseplay they used to be. Now they grab, pinch, punch, and scratch.
Their toddler days are over and now they’re little boys.
While we feel entirely thankful that they’ve had each other these past 12 months of 24-7 quarantine, the unintended consequence is that they only have each other on whom to displace their anger.
And when that anger spikes, it’s downright scary.
Like last Sunday.
Following that altercation, after lot of tears, physical separation, toys and privileges taken away, the whole thing morphed into a full-blown family fight. Our four-person unit—our love trapezoid—was out of sync the rest of the day.
Who was to blame?
It was a classic case of pent up anger, then a lit match thrown into the tinder, then the reactions, over-reactions, and subsequent aftershocks once everyone’s rage was stoked.
So, where did that rage come from? Inside of me. How is that rage properly processed? Often it isn’t.
Remember: we men have an uncanny ability to bottle it up, let it age, distill it, then when we’re ready, it comes out as fire water.
That’s toxic masculinity.
And for a man with sons, last week’s terrible end to the weekend reminded me that letting go of the anger that bubbles under the surface is a healthy practice, just like the yoga, or anything else we do daily.
We must siphon it off. Expunge it. Shred it into bits and recycle it somehow.
Otherwise, the result is toxic waste dump that our kids inherit.