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Mindful Parenting Book Club Part IV - Page 2

post #21 of 207
I'll have to disagree with you a little here Breathe, but please offer insight.

I don't think all anger is masked fear or hurt.

When I feel angry that my connection keeps getting lost, I'm not fearful of anything, or maybe I am fearful I'll miss something on MDC? For me it's true anger, but now that I sit and write that, perhaps there is something UNDER the anger....
post #22 of 207
Hee, hee . . . Welcome, DiaperDiva! We would be honored to have you join us!

And yes, the ever-present, ever-patient, ever-probing Gary Zukov would say that maybe you're afraid that if you can't post, you'll get left out of the discussion, which might lead to you feeling isolated. Food for thought!

Can we think of other examples where anger is just anger?
post #23 of 207
well refering back to my original post about anger being fear, we could narrow it down to the 5 or 6 basic fears i mentioned...

in this case, the potential isolation would be rejection. OR, it could be fear of failure (of making the computer doing what is it supposed to?)

not to say they aren't or are rejecting us, and many times we set up our own fears to make it a reality.

it's all about owning our power, and not allowing people or things hurt us. that we have a choice in how we respond emotionally.

and hey, it's a concept. something i'll be working on for the rest of my life to be sure....

while i think i'd have to be Jesus to master that concept, bearing it in mind makes the little things seem less, and the bigger things seem smaller.
post #24 of 207
it's all about owning our power, and not allowing people or things hurt us.
This is true in so much of my life. I would love to get past this.

I see that I get angry(frustrated) when things don't go as planned, if someone throws a wrench into my day, and many other instances.

How can I dig past this outer emotional crust into whats really bothering me and fix it?

BTW, I hope to be getting this book soon!

PS~ its ont the message board, just the computer connection in general LOL!
post #25 of 207
I thought about this a lot before writing this post, because I want to be sure I'm being as honest with myself as possible here, but it is actually pretty rare that I get angry. It's not that I swallow the anger, or that I lash out in other ways, I think it's mostly that I know I have serious issues with fear and control, and I almost always figure that one of the two is at the root of my emotion at the time.

For instance: ds has been playing with the bottom kitchen drawer lately. It contains pots and pans and - his favorite! - lids to those pots and pans. I bought some of those baby-proofing drawer latches because I didn't want him to hurt himself (we have been trying to redirect him to a DIFFERENT low drawer, this one with lids from Tofutti containers, etc, but you know how it goes...). Anyhow, dh and I were arguing about putting the latch on the drawers (dh didn't want them there because it would "ruin" the drawer) and then - you guessed it! - ds slammed his finger between a couple of pots and I got really angry - at myself for not insisting that we put the latches on, and at dh for not wanting to do so.

But, I realized almost instantly, it wasn't about being angry, it was about my sense of losing control. I could not control ds's actions enough to prevent it from happening (dh was in the kitchen with him, so I thought all was well), I could not control dh's parenting style and choice not to redirect ds, and I could not force dh to allow me to put the latches on the drawer. So I seethed for about five seconds as I ran to pick up ds, then tried to figure out what to do next. But that anger was a pretty unusual reaction from me, so I know it must have been a big emotion.

What I usually feel is frustration - and there, again, it's usually about not being in control of a situation (see El's neighbor kids and the car - I used to get totally frustrated about our next-door neighbor's dog, who would invariably be let out to bark every night when I was trying to get ds down to sleep).

So, I think that ideally, we should at least be able to recognize what is underneath the anger and name the demon (still stuck on that sermon - naming the demon was thought to give one power over it). Does this make sense?
post #26 of 207
totally made sense! your insight on that is amazing to me. i have to work so hard to get beneath my anger.

i just pulled out my book from my meditation class to recall the major fears and it said a person usually has 5 or 6 fears of their own and the most common are:


some other fears that aren't as common, but near the top of the list were:

and poverty

my dd did a report on phobias, and the list of documented phobias could have rivaled a unabridged dictionary, so the possibilities are endless, but these evidently dominate.

just thought it interesting. your sense of losing control i think many would relate to. i know i do for myself which i related to the powerlessness.

i don't think it is to say that people should never be angry because in certain situations, anger is a healthy response to protect yourself or others. (thinking of some kind of physical threat to yourself or your family).

but i do think it relates to mindfulness, especially for the everyday events that can set most people off when a deeper insight is possible.
post #27 of 207
Hmmm . . . not feeling very inspired by the Breathing chapter . . . and I like this anger discussion more anyway, so please proceed.
post #28 of 207
me again.

read the breathing chapter again last night and it suddenly hit me how this might help.

talking about how busy our minds are, and how many thoughts pass without even realizing it, the breathing is keeping us in body instead of in our heads.

i like that it is a tool to help us "practice" mindfulness besides meditation which i only do once a day. but as the books says, it is is simple but not always easy. it's a matter of remembering to do it!

so a mindful moment:

yesterday coming home from my afternoon work out of the home, i told myself that i would not see anything buy my ds who would be happy to see me too. it isn't easy for me to walk in the house and not start making a mental list of the tasks needing to be done before bed and immediately want to finish them- which is pulling me out of the moment and into my head and a "as soon as i get this done, THEN i can relax..." kind of thinking.

it was easier than i thought. when i had "seen" my ds until we were looking for something to do together, we were suddenly tacking the chores together in a way that made it feel like were still playing together.

so in the end, i accomplished all that i wanted, but no one or thing really had to be put off!

and i wasn't being afraid of failing at completing my tasks, and more important i wasn't being afraid of not spending quality time with my ds- which usually is a fear that i am struggling with, which in turn causes me to either fail at one or both of them. make sense?

anyone else have a mindful moment success story of the day or week?

am i talking too much? just kidding.
post #29 of 207
[walks into the room] "there you all are"

I was waiting for the ezboard to begin. I like the idea of dissecting our anger and I would say that rejection, fear and powerlessness are most of my triggers. I don't know if there is anger outside of these, which someone questioned, but think that the fears themselves have a lot to tell us (rather than just being in our head) and that we need to think how to respond to them.

so as momcat mentioned I have some moments of anger where I'm just feeling a lack of control about how dh is handling Finn. That's something to just let go as I need to honor dh's sovereignty to make his own parenting decisions (tho I do lobby a bit). I also have a lot of anger about this potential war, which might be a fear of powerlessness pr the fear of injustice or senseless death, but that's a fear to listen to and to act upon. It's an example where I feel the sovereignty of many is at risk. So there's some complicated calculus that distinguishes the two, no?

[walks out of the room in deeper thought]

post #30 of 207
This is all so powerful!

do you ever notice a connection between when you are angry and "mindlessness"?

here is why I ask - I find that I get the most irritated and consequently angry and punitive with ds when I am not really thinking, but just going through the motions.

For example: Yesterday I was trying to get ds dressed and he was screwing around. I find this to be very irritating because I had an agenda - i was not in the moment - I was in the upcoming moments of things to be done. Then DD, who is 2 months old starts to cry and the panic begins. DS continues to struggle against me, trying to play games - to do anything but sit quietly and get dressed. Things are spiraling and I am ready to start knocking heads because I am not getting what I want. That is when I start getting rougher with ds and yelling.

Later it occurred to me how completely silly and mindless the whole encounter was. I wasn't helping anyone and was only making matters worse.

had I just stopped, breathed - let Tyler know that I needed his cooperation, gone and got the baby, nursed her while talking to ds and then "mindfully" set out to help ds get dressed - all could have gone on smoothly.

I have really focussed on stopping when I start to feel out of control, fearful, angry, whatever and just ask myself - "what do I need and what does he need?"

So powerful!

And about anger - there are times that I am angry and it is pure anger - and I'm sure that it can be traced back to a fear of some sort - but sometimes it is just about the injustice of life - like when I hear about child abuse.
post #31 of 207

Well, I was disecting my angeer on Friday. I was supposed to go to a friends house ffor some fun and I waas waiting for DH to come home. I was expecting him any minute (he is ALWAYS late). And DD was not with the program either. She was running away from the diaper changing and pajama putting on. I am getting more and more angry and I am about to lose it. When I lose it, I will just manhandle DD and proceed with my program. Totally onappropriate adn exactly what my mom used to do. I may yell too. (Please don't judge me, since I am aware of the problem and indeed working on it)
Then I realised that I was also in the upsoming moments of being able to leave. I was fearful that DH would interrupt the bedtime routine and DD would not sleep untill later which usually means she doesn't sleep as well. I was feeling exasperated with having to change a toddler into their nightclothes and lets not forget my eternal power struggle of tooth brushing (more another time maybe). And I was always hoping that the next moment is the moment that DH would walk into the door. After a half hour of this I was going nuts, and just about to lose it.
Yet everyone was doing their thing that they do. DD was being a toddler. DH was late. And I took three deep breaths and realised, that this moment was not so bad. Not the moment I wanted since I wanted to be in the car on my way to my friends house, but not in itself bad. And I realised my fears, but also that I can't let them ruin my moment because these things may not come to pass, and they are irrelevant anyway.
My anger was totally diffused. Usually I would get pissy with DH if he is late, but I didn't. I just let it go. He is after all always late. He is simply unable to be on time. I should just plan my life around it.

This is the first time that has ever really happened. I have been working with my anger for a while now. On my own. And it is working!!! I am very happy. So I had a perfect mindful moment and I am making progress. I think it takes a while of intending to see it, and analysing after the event of anger has occured to suddenly be able to see it before it happens. And I don't doubt that I will still get angry, butI am making progress.

I don't think that Buddha wold expect people not to get angry, but if we were all enlightenend and perfectly mindfull at all times, wwe would never have the need to get angry. I will have to think about htis some mmore. Obviosly I am not typing well right now.

PS. Funny story about DH being late. I once told him that if I could get back all the time I spent waitng for him, I would have a two week vacation in Hawaii. He said to me~"Don't always yell at me for being late. You are late sometimes too."
I said "Yeah? Name one time!"
DH replies "you were late to our wedding." (it did start late)
I pointed out that we actually had to wait for his mom to show up! Then I asked him how long he had been waiting to use the late wedding card and he said since our honeymoon!!

Poor guy, you should have seen the look on his face. It was worth it to wait in 90 degree humid indoor heat waiting for his mom to see that look.
post #32 of 207
Hey, Jacqueline, good for you for recognizing that moment! Doesn't it feel grand? I think it's all about recognizing what our options are and, in the heat of the moment, that is something that needs to be practiced - it doesn't come along by itself. It's another way of "naming the demon..."

And, by the way, I, too, feel angry about things like child abuse, domestic abuse, war in Iraq, etc... but I do think it comes back to feeling a loss of power in those situations. My first thought is always, "What can I do to help?" That's the key, I think - figure out how to regain some control of our surroundings in instances like that - volunteer at a domestic abuse shelter, call your representative, or just write a check to a children's advocacy organization, and I always feel at least a little bit better.

I also struggle with parenting differences with dh and trying to allow myself to honor his sovereignty (while still getting my way - LOL!). That's among my toughest issues right now.

And we're playing the "you WILL NOT brush my teeth" game at our house, too! Grrrr... (is not brushing his teeth honoring his sovereignty? I'll pretend it is for tonight...)
post #33 of 207
And get this! While I was peeing this morning and in a mad rush to get to work, DD gets on her stepstool and starts to brush her teeth!!!!
And she was doing a nice job of it too. THen I couldn't drag her away from the bathroom.
Ha, life is full of ironie. TOnight it will be hell to do it again.

And it did feel powerful to recognize the moment. I ahve been working on my anger for a long long time too. Just so everyone realizes this is not a victory easily gained.
post #34 of 207
"I also struggle with parenting differences with dh and trying to allow myself to honor his sovereignty (while still getting my way - LOL!). That's among my toughest issues right now."

This is an issue in my house. I do all the reading and trying to find different routes than the ones my parents used. DH is open to hearing things, but if it doesn't work the first time, dh wants to resort to punitive tactics, just like our parents did.

I try to not tell him that he is "doing things wrong" but it is so hard when I see it affecting our child. And then there are times when I'm holding the baby and ds is getting out of control and I have to ask DH for help and he does it his way. I just have to accept that his way is his way and if I want help, I may not get exactly what I want.

Ahhhh, teeth brushing. Once a day I let ds brush his way and once a day I insist on me getting a good cleaning in. I do it as gently as possible and if he resists too much I let it go. I also let ds play with his toothbrush and the non flouride toothpaste a lot during the day - so hopefully the 2-3 times that a brush is actually in his mouth, something is getting cleaned.
post #35 of 207
What gets me about DH is that he doesn't do any reading on parenting. And if he disagrees with me he polls his friends to see what they do. But who says theya re doing the right thing? Sometimes it is like I have two kids in the house I swear!
But I try to let it pass. TV is the big disagrement we have. I think no TV is a good amount, but DH would have it on 24/7 if I let him. We don't have cable, and DH wants to get it, but he is too disorganised to call for it. THey would have to dig and install the hookup and everything so it requires two calls, the electrician (because we live in a weird house, stuff liek this is better installed by people who are experts at these kindsof houses) and the cable company. Meanwhile I quote the research and we are both scientist so you would think that would work. No luck. After taking care of DD for two hours he is in front of the TV. "she's not really watching" he says. And it is a totally inappropriate thing for kids too - the news
I swear, if something ends my mariage, the TV is going to be it.
I have not gotten through to him at all. In fact, maybe this would be an issue for some other place at MDC.
But anyway, there are lots of things that bug me aobut how DH relates to DD. He tends to use sarcastic downputtin humor, which I keep explaining that DD doesn't get it and it is going to sound hurtfull to her. Again, if I can't let him have his sovereignty, then how can I let DD have hers. I just wish he would understand life from a more compassionate and mindfull place (where I am trying to be).
post #36 of 207

Words from your weak-a$$ "leader"

Hi All,

Heather is going to be SO disappointed in me when she gets back! I apologize for falling down on the job this week . . . I have a few reasons for being so absent. First, the breathing chapter just did nothing for me (at the time I first read it) and it seemed like you all were doing fine without me struggling to find something to say. But maybe more importantly, I realized last weekend that I have been using MDC to avoid dh . . . it's been like I would rather talk to you guys than him, and I would think of you all FIRST when I had something serious or thought-provoking to discuss. Not good. Not good at all.

I mean, this is a fabulous invention, and you all have taught me SO much, but I gotta re-channel my energy to my marriage. I know you KWIM. So, inspired by Heather the Brave, I have not turned on the TV once this week (okay, I would have watched West Wing but had a headache), have not surfed the net once, and have instead been enjoying my evenings just talking with dh. It feels good to get back to my roots! (He's working late tonite, so here I am!) So this will probably be my new pattern -- checking in only once or twice a week.

Regarding breathing, one of you up there talked about how breathing takes you out of your head and into your body -- so true. And yesterday I used my breathing and some visualization to take me even further . . . actually out of the room . . . to remove me from a struggle w/ds. He was fighting nap time, as he so often does, and I was getting increasingly worked up, as I so often do, and was feeling like I was going to put a little boa constrictor action on his tiny butt! (you know, SQUEEZE him to sleep!!!!) Instead, I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing (still rocking him in my arms) and imagined I was looking down on us from the ceiling. I then did this cool visualization where I rose higher and higher, looking down on our house, then our street, then our neighborhood, etc etc, until I was seeing the earth from space. This did two things for me: 1) made me realize that I was just one little mama with one little wiggly boy and the whole rest of the world was spinning and functioning w/out any knowledge of us. It made the whole "crisis" seem insignificant. and 2) it totally relaxed me and took me out that room -- I was removed from ds and his internal struggle with sleep -- and when I came "back" (maybe 2-3 min later?), he was OUT. Just LIMP in my arms.

So it was good for me to see that in fact it can be GOOD for me (and him) for me to get some space from him. It's not healthy for either of us for me to always be in his face (literally or spiritually).

Oh, and tried to focus on my breathing again tonite while putting ds to bed and realized it was the FIRST deep breath I had taken all day. I walk around taking these shallow little breaths. Gotta work on that.

Hope everyone'e well! (It's ok if I watch ER tonite, right?!?)
post #37 of 207
It IS a lot easier to breathe while I am not running around at home with DD. You may have noticed that I do only check in once or twice a week, usually when I am at work.

This morning I got up and meditated. 15 minutes. I am soooo proud of myself. I did it before doing anything else. Because I can do anything for 15 minutes.
post #38 of 207
Thread Starter 
I'm here and forever changed! My seven day retreat is over tomorrow. I haven't had a chance to closely read or digest your thoughts but I am glad you spent time pondering anger b/c our week went great except for two big mistakes: we did not stick to the plan of yoga and meditating together everyday and we did not remember to breathe today. The reason I am here now is cuz dh and I got into a huge disagreement today and we may be seperating for awhile. We've been pretty good at working through stuff up until now and neither one of us wants to budge. He's here visiting ds and will leave soon. Maybe tomorrow we will feel different about our decision but right now we are being very stubborn. After a week of trying to get our communication and sort out some stuff we are going thru I wonder if we waited too many months to take time for our relationship. And I also believe if at least I would have meditated this morning I could have remembered to breathe instead of letting our disagreement take us to this definate unhappy place we are at in this moment.

And I, too, am guilty of ignoring dh and ds and getting on-line instead. But it started out as a way to feel good and avoid my feelings of anger and sadness at dh for choosing TV over being w/ me when ds went to bed. I was sooo angry today I cut the TV cord.

I'll let you know what happens. I'm not sure when I will be back. I hope mamakarata will lead us to the group to the next chapter on Sunday. I miss you all very much and hope you know I wish you all much happiness and "mindfulness!" I'm sorry if you are disappointed in me and how my week ended.
post #39 of 207
oh heather. your email sounds so sad.

i am so sorry things have turned this way for you and dh. i am sure it will turn around, and that this time together was a long over due opportunity to hash out things that have been building up, and that you two need more time.

just give it some more time and keep talking through this.

i will be here next week to lead us through the next chapter, and of course to lend an ear.

do hang in there.

we are all thinking about you.

post #40 of 207
Heather, How could we ever be disappointed in you for taking the huge risk you just took?!? You and your dh are brave, brave people, and I agree w/mamakarata that this is most likely just an important step toward improving your marriage. Sometimes things have to get much worse before they get better.

Hang in there and keep your eye on the prize: that precious little bundle who is one VERY good example of why you and dh were meant to be together!

We love you!!!
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