Frustration Management Hacks (That Actually Work!)

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Grandma — my mom’s mom — used to live about a mile away from us in an apartment complex. 


When LaToya and I were young, maybe 6 and 5 years of age, we used to go to Grandma’s house all the time. While there was always a big Christmas Eve gathering of all Grandma’s kids (Mom has 3 brothers) and the grandkids — me, LaToya, and our cousins — Mom would go over there all the time where it would be just Grandma, Mom, LaToya and me. 


Mom and Grandma would sit in the kitchen and talk in quiet tones while LaToya and I played or watched TV in the living room. I don’t know what they talked about, and I was raised in the era where kids didn’t get into grown folks’ business. When Mom was ready, she’d gather us and we’d walk home along Mansfield avenue. 


One particular visit resulted in what I assume was a very contentious conversation between Grandma and Mom. 


While I didn’t hear any of the talk between Mom and Grandma, I could read Mom’s energy on the walk home. We always held Mom’s hands while walking, and her grip tightened when she was tense or angry. She also walked a lot faster. Though Mom didn’t say it, LaToya and I could sense that it would be smart to walk home in silence, rather than the usual banter of elementary aged kids. 


If you grew up like me, you always enjoyed going to Grandma’s house. A generation removed from being a parent herself and thus unburdened with being a disciplinarian, Grandma had license to be the Good Cop. To us, Grandma focused exclusively on supplying happiness, candy and money. She’d always give LaToya and me $1 or $2 when we gathered to leave her apartment. 


On the walk home on this particular day, though, Grandma must have really pissed Mom off. Because when we were about one block away from Grandma’s place, Mom turned to address me, and then LaToya, without breaking her (very) brisk stride. 


“Give me that money.” 


Mom confiscated our $2 gifts from Grandma. I don’t know what she did with it. Maybe the convo with Grandma was over money, and this was her way of handling it. 


This was thirty-plus years ago and I still don’t know. What really concerns me is that I never got my $2 back.


Unfortunately, my podcast didn’t exist in the 1980, but I would have sent Mom to episode #1572: How To Manage Your Frustrations And Direct Your Energy Strategically. 


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