How to survive the BLAST...
By Cinse Bonino
There's a bomb about to go off. Somebody needs to do something. Thousands of people could be killed. There isn't enough time to call the bomb squad. You're there. They want you to try and disarm the bomb. It's simple. Just cut the right wire, and the bomb will stop ticking.
But which wire is it? The yellow one? The blue one? Surely not the red one... Do you take a chance? Do you pick a wire and cut it? If you don't, you and all the people around you are goners. If you do... well, maybe you'll save them all and maybe the bomb will explode anyway!
Sounds like a movie, doesn't it?
Yes, but it also sounds like real life. If you're talking about emotional bombs that is. People around us, even people who care deeply for us, can go off without warning.
There's no bomb squad for YOU to call! So what can you do?
The first thing to remember is that bombers are usually pretty unhappy about something in their lives that has nothing to do with YOU. That's nice to know, but it doesn't do much to protect you from an explosion!
So, what's a girl to do!?
Here's the MOST important thing to remember -- other people's explosions usually ARE NOT about you!
Can You Sniff Out A Bomb?
Phoebe can ALWAYS tell when her mom's about to go off. She starts to talk faster and she acts really nervous and then -- KABOOM!!!
Jen's mom doesn't give her any warning at all. Everything seems just fine, just great. Then WHAM, yelling, screaming, sometimes things even get thrown!
Emily's Dad fusses and broods ALL day long. She can tell that the explosion is coming; she's just not exactly sure when it will be. It drives her CRAZY waiting for it to happen... But if she tries to leave, he says, "Where do you think you're going young lady? Can't you see that I'm talking to you?"
Who Planted This Bomb Anyway?
Phoebe and Emily's moms just EXPLODE. They don't seem to be upset about anything in particular. They're just ANGRY. Jen's dad on the other hand, complains about one little thing after another. It seems that he is upset about EVERYTHING!
But guess what? Grown-ups don't want YOU to EXPLODE, yell or scream when YOU communicate, AND they shouldn't either!!! Exploding is a sign that someone is having trouble handling their feelings.
Here's the MOST important thing to remember -- other people's explosions usually ARE NOT about you! Your mom, your dad, a friend, even a crush, can have emotional bombs inside of them ticking, ticking, ticking, waiting to go off. You say or do something that really isn't that big of a deal and they EXPLODE! They probably would have exploded no matter what you did.
They might truly NOT like what you did; maybe you WERE rude; or maybe you DID say something that wasn't exactly kind, BUT it probably wasn't something BIG ENOUGH to cause someone to EXPLODE!
So check out you OWN behavior first. Apologize for whatever you did wrong or not nice, but don't feel horrible about yourself just because someone explodes at you.
This is not good.
If Nothing Else Works -- Should You Run?
Jen and Phoebe have tried EVERYTHING! They're good friends and they talk about how NOTHING works. They've listened respectfully, shouted back, tried to talk reasonably and explain what's really happening, cried, and stomped up to their rooms or out of the house. The explosions still KEEP coming!
Why Not Just LIVE In A Bomb Shelter?
Emily felt that she just couldn't handlewalking on eggshells anymore. She's lively and silly and fun when she's around her friends, but at home she's totally quiet. She avoids her dad as much as she can. She never talks to him first. She answers his questions with one or two words. She is AFRAID to get close to her dad. Why shouldn't she be... he could EXPLODE at ANY time!
So How Can You Survive The BLAST?
Want to survive the blast? Here are a few things that might help...
People REALLY DO say things that they DON'T mean when they are angry!
Remember that the blast is MOSTLY NOT about you. Your parent, friend, or crush probably cares for you BIG TIME, but is caught up in their own stuff. Don't assume that they really mean what they are saying!
Even if someone EXPLODES at you -- you CAN still choose another way to communicate.
Choose to speak softly, talk calmly, or write your thoughts down and give them to the exploder later when they are calmer.
Be sure that YOUR words are not blaming or mean. Talk more about how YOU feel LESS about how they act. An example would be: Mom, (or Dad), I feel like you stop loving me while you're yelling at me and that maybe you don't think that I love you either. BUT, I DO love you. I'm sorry for the things that I do that upset you. Please help me to understand what those things are. Is there something that you and I can do differently so that we can talk more gently with each other?
Some grown-ups are YOUNGER than their children (in certain ways...).
Just because someone is grown-up doesn't automatically mean that they have learned all they need to know. They can be really good at being a carpenter, an accountant, or even at saving someone's life, but they might not be very good at handling their own fears or other uncomfortable emotions yet. It takes some people a lifetime to learn to communicate without BLAMING OTHERS. Be patient with your parents (and with your friends). We're ALL on a journey through life. We need to love and care for each other BEFORE we're perfect!
Sometimes there REALLY is not much that you can do.
If parents or friends don't hear you when you try to tell them that yelling at you over and over simply doesn't solve anything, REMEMBER that YOU are not failing. YOU are not responsible for THEIR behavior. YOU ARE responsible for YOUR own behavior. ACT THE WAY YOU WISH that they would act. It's not easy for you or for them. Just do your best. It's all anyone can ask. Even YOU.
Here's some advice from Girl Zone viewer Karen about how to be good friends with your dad:
I love my dad with all my heart but we are similar in a lot of ways which makes a lot of situations explosive. I always feel awful when we fight and I know he does too. My mother is the one who came up with the idea to help us stop an argument once it starts.
When we start to argue one of us sets our watches, it sounds silly but believe me it works, even as angry as we are. The watch is set for a minute and when it goes off one person has to say two good and positive things about the other. After he or she is done the other one has to do the same thing.
I was totally blown away when my dad told me he admired the way I tried hard at something but never gave up even if I failed. I was speechless and told him how much that meant to me. I then told him that I was that way because he taught me by actions that you should never give up on yourself
We ended up talking for a long time and completely forgot our argument. This really does work and I know we will argue again and probably again, but now we don't hurt each other for a long time and we think before we say. I hope it works for others!
GREAT ADVICE!!! Thanks Karen