Assrats tend to spread quickly in this house; one grumpy person tends to become four incredibly grouchy people rather fast if we don't watch out for ourselves. We spread it to each other, and it usually ends up infecting all of us before too long, no matter who started it. Too often, it's me, because I don't take my medications like I should and have a very short temper. My fuse is probably shorter than the amount of time you have to throw a grenade after pulling the pin, except the damage caused is rarely physical. The spread of said assrat doesn't help; those things antagonize one another as they go on, and once one rears its ugly head you know the next person who is bitten is going to be ten times worse - until the circle finishes itself off and you're left with basically nothing but a few shells of formerly angry people who are just too tired to finish their fights anymore.
These vicious creatures are dangerous, frightening, and strike unseen. You never feel their bite and typically don't even know you've been infested until it's beyond too late, and their spawn have manifested. They crawl through your entire body, munching bits of you until you start to explode like everybody else who has been infected. And by the time it's over, you're all physically and mentally exhausted, so much so that the assrats can't even continue to bite one of you and reinfest.
You've probably had an assrat before, even if you don't know where you got it from and didn't recognize the symptoms. Those of us with a uterus, depending on the time of the month, often pass it off as a hormonal imbalance and grab our sappy movies and comfort foods and continue on with our lives. But when there's no other reason for getting grouchy - when you're angry and you just can't figure out why, and it came so quickly you never saw it hit you - you know the assrat has made his mark.
The worst part is that it's really hard to avoid letting the assrat's pissy serum get to you. You typically don't lash out until it's too late, and up until then you didn't even know you'd been bitten. What on earth is a person to do?
Well, I don't have any answers for how to avoid it, or how to recognize when you've been bitten. I'm still working on those things myself. But I do know that I've begun to realize the virtues of staying calm and patient, even when faced with frustration (especially when the basis of said frustration happens to be one of the offspring). Our kids depend on us to show them how to react properly to new situations, and for consistence in reacting to things they're already familiar with. They look to us to see how quickly they should be getting upset or frustrated with something, and how they should react to said frustration - so if we immediately freak out and throw something or yell, it quickly becomes a learned response for them to do the same. It explains why when we yell, the kids yell back - or why A's immediate response to having something taken away is to become excessively angry and throw or hit something. Mind you, we don't beat our children, but we've used spanking previously and they tend to funnel our feelings and spit them out at twice the volume - so what he does makes perfect sense.
It's a matter now of learning what to do in order to stop this circle of angry and make the whole process into something useful. Not easy when dealing with a toddler and a preschooler, but it's possible if we're patient enough and willing to work for it.