It can happen that we go out of our hinges, that we go wild, that we see red, that we enter into a black anger, that we scream, in short “I’m mad”… If we will always be crossed by the emotion of anger, to suffer her anger is not inevitable! Here is the testimony of a mother who has learned little by little not to be overcome by anger, to understand it, even to use it. Caroline, mother of Sid (16 years old), Noah (10 years old) and Isis (7 years old) explains her progress and her tips.
“I felt like I was still angry!”
I who had dreamed of myself as an ideal mother, calm and serene, I discovered myself impatient, aggressive, tense … Sometimes on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I thought I aspired to the simple happiness of the family, to the joy of sharing special moments with my children. And I felt like I was always at the end of the line, going peanut for a toothbrush, annoying myself waiting for someone to get dressed or jump at their throats for a toy that dragged. I was angry. Between guilt, dissatisfaction and sadness, it was not far from leading me on a path of depression, even of burn out familial.
Yet by dint of work on me, meditation and gratitude, I managed to find a balance and even to see this anger deflate like a balloon or at least to feel it arrive before being overwhelmed. Even if I have the impression of having made good progress, I admit that there are still times when the emotion exceeds me and the explosion occurs.
It’s the journey of a lifetime, I’m not the Zen mom of my dreams, but all these small steps are already real victories and daily changes !
Anger: an emotion, not a temper
The first thing to know about anger is that there is no such thing as an angry temper. In fact, anger is an emotion that, like all emotions, is there to give us a message. Its role is to give us the means and the energy to defend ourselves. It allows us to say Stop, to set our limits, or to take action to get out of a situation that does not suit us.
The problem is that, while necessary, anger can be both toxic and dangerous. In terms of health, it increases the risk of heart attack, and at the relational level, it can estrange our loved ones or establish a tense and not always pleasant relationship.
Anger, or even rage in the most extreme form, physically generates an influx of cortisol into our nervous system. And a few seconds of anger will take several hours to be eliminated from our blood. This explains why, despite our good will and our potential breathing exercises or other, the return to calm is also a question of physiology.
Then, how to learn not to let ourselves be overcome by our anger, to release tension and avoid seeing our anger turn into destructive fury? Several tools are at our disposal: some can be used cold, to understand, analyze and prevent anger from rising with a pressure cooker effect. Others will be able to come to our help “on the spot”.
Solution 1: “I’m angry”: look for the thought that precedes the emotion
“Loulou didn’t put his shoes on, he really doesn’t care about me!” “What [email protected]*! this driver! He could have killed me. ” “What have I done so that you never do what I ask you? I’m not your maid! ”
In fact, when you take the time to look, it’s not really a situation that makes you angry, but the thought that it preceded it. When we take a few moments to look at past anger, we quickly realize that it is not because our child did not put on his shoes that we went crazy, but because we have the impression that ‘he disrespects us or he doesn’t like us. Whereas another parent in the same circumstances might not have been angry. He would have seen a child very concentrated building his tower in kapla, and he would perhaps have put on his shoes himself. Likewise, if a driver cuts us off, some will tend to shrug their shoulders while others will want to get out of the car to smash their fists in the face. So we are responsible for our own anger, so this is GOOD NEWS since we have power over it!
The key question to defuse this reaction is to ask “is the thought that comes to me true, or is my own interpretation?”.
Solution 2: And behind the thought, discover the unmet need
Behind the anger there is often an unmet need.
For example, I get angry because is don’t feel respected, because I’m tired and that jneed calm. See the list of the main needs taken from the book Emotions, survey and instructions d’Artmella.
Thus, to prevent after the fact that this emotion of anger does not reappear identically in a similar situation, we can identify:
👉 Either the story I am telling myself, and the incorrect interpretation I make of the situation (see “solution 1”)
👉 Either my unmet need and seek to fill it.
We can do this whole journey alone, or accompanied. See the precious SOS Anger program.
In the heat of the anger, try to limit the damage
When the cup is full, it is often difficult not to react violently physically or verbally, but not infeasible. It takes one thing: training, to gradually become aware rather than that one is getting angry, and to practice as much as possible not to attack the other.
So we can / must leave the room (yes, we can lock ourselves in the toilet 😉) to let the anger fall a little. And there, we take out our breathing equipment, meditation, contemplation of our photo gallery of our dear and tender, on the smartphone (to reconnect with our love for him)….
In addition to avoiding falling on him (humiliating him, demeaning him, assaulting him), it allows him set the example that we can manage our anger without turning it on the other.
“I’m angry”: I cracked and I (again) screamed!
When anger rises, I often experience it as a tidal wave. And I find myself with my feet in the water before I even have time to turn around. 🌊 I realize that I must try to avoid attacking the other, because he is not responsible for my feelings.
Once the emotion subsides, I try to apologize and clarify what has played out in me, without necessarily going into details. For my children, I try to phrase something like “I’m sorry I got upset earlier. It makes me angry when I feel like I’m being disrespected, even though I realize it wasn’t your intention. I feel like I’m on edge and need to rest, but you’re not responsible for my reaction. I love you very much.”
To be accompanied to overcome your anger
Anger is often lurking somewhere deep inside us: some of us have access to it easily (too much for my liking), while other people are afraid to let it out for fear of doing harm. However, to understand this emotion, being accompanied is sometimes a step sometimes necessary. This can be done with a therapist, and parents following the Cool Boost today see a big change in their level of annoyance on a daily basis. I let you discover their inspiring testimonials at the bottom of this page.
I will end as I started. By telling you again that anger is not inevitable, but simply an emotion that pushes us to listen to ourselves! There is no rule: it sometimes takes time or can go very quickly… The only certainty, as the saying goes, is that “If you don’t change anything, nothing will change.”