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Why are we so angry? - Page 2

post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowMom View Post
But what I wanted to say is that I think that anger is a natural human reaction to the situations we're in with children..
That's what I think as well.

We're all going about our day, trying to get things accomplished, and here are these little people who make it their mission in life to make everything in the universe come to a halt so that all of the focus is on them. It's a set up for frustration.

I'd be exponentially more pissed off if an adult was getting in my way all the time like that.
post #22 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2abigail View Post
makes us feel like we must 'control' or teach our children to behave, when they ARE behaving just as a 2, 3, 4, or 5 ,year old should! ....because we are putting our children in situations that they will most likely fail, we are stressing our because of what others think or do, all this is contributing to anger and rage......Anger is a secondary emotion, meaning is usually stem from something else, like fear.

For me, I fear that "If dd does this, then she's going to grow up to be a spoiled brat and it will be MY fault because I wanted to do GD/AP methods instead of conventional methods of child rearing." alot. That runs through my head all the time. I feel like since I am the only one who really really wants this for dd, it lays on my shoulders to produce good children who turn into good adults, and any shortcomings are a sign of failur on my part. When I re read this I know it sounds silly, but there it is.
I recently had a brief chat with a hospital therapist because my dd was in hospital, and I tried to explain my parenting style for her. One aspect is that I'm a firm believer in modelling, that my dd will behave the way she sees me behave. She very astutely said "but thats very hard on you isn't it - if your daughter ever 'misbehaves' or 'does the wrong thing', then it's entirely down to you and *your* behaviour". I agreed with her completely lol, it's what I believe, but it did make me see how much pressure I was putting on myself - and also how in a way I was denying my dd the right to be an individual and - say - be grumpy and badly behaved if thats how she feels today

I agree also with this thing of expecting too much from our children developmentally, it's sooo easy to forget and start doing that. And our society is just NOT child friendly.

A lot of the triggers mentioned are the same for me, lack of sleep, lack of time for myself, lack of the right environment, not flowing with dd and her pace. But isn't this all just about management, getting it all right in the first place so that there's nothing to get angry about anyway? I'd like to feel confident that *whatever* the day (or my dd ) might throw at me, I will be able to handle it with grace and humour.

I'm interested in anger being a secondary emotion, I need to ponder that some more. Is it always from fear do you think? As much as I am preoccupied with my parenting technique I don't really feel *afraid* of being judged on it, I'm far too arrogant for that I may well be in denial here though.....hmm.

The thing I'm actually struggling with, is not to get angry with dd's biting and extreme clinginess (both of which started during the hospital stay I mentioned above). 99% of the time I can stay calm, but just occasionally, and as it's gone on longer, my temper is now starting to rise, which of course makes it all just worse - I don't act on my temper but dd knows it's there. If an adult behaved like dd it would be *appropriate* for me to get angry, I think whats happening in these moments is that I am expecting adult behaviour from my dd. I *know* she's been through a lot, and is only trying to deal with it.....but I get as angry as if she *were* an adult, and after it's stopped I'm miserable and I almost expect her to apologise and explain to me why she did it. She can't talk yet

Hey, I feel I'm getting somewhere here
*walks away muttering....she's only a baby, you're the adult, she's only a baby.....*
post #23 of 79
Speaking as someone who used to be very angry, I think it was a choice. Certainly my parents parented their children with anger and are still very angry people, so I inherited that from them. One day I just realised that it was pointless. It's just a complete waste of energy. I realised that I got angry with DD because I wanted her to cooperate or I thought by yelling I could feel better by displacing the anger outside of myself. Actually, she didn't cooperate any better when I was angry and I didn't feel better after yelling, I felt worse. Guilty! Which made me angry with myself all over again....vicious circle.

I try and think about compassion when i feel the signs of angry. Compassion for myself, compassion for DD. I also tell myself that it's okay if we're late/it's raining/I can't stand the whining/whatever.

And I've let go of my anger towards my parents. I finally realised it wasn't going to disappear of it's own accord, I had to just force myself to move on. I think of myself as having grown up a lot. But it's taken a hard 3 years to get here.
post #24 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by WinterStar View Post
I recently had a brief chat with a hospital therapist because my dd was in hospital, and I tried to explain my parenting style for her. One aspect is that I'm a firm believer in modelling, that my dd will behave the way she sees me behave. She very astutely said "but thats very hard on you isn't it - if your daughter ever 'misbehaves' or 'does the wrong thing', then it's entirely down to you and *your* behaviour". I agreed with her completely lol, it's what I believe, but it did make me see how much pressure I was putting on myself - and also how in a way I was denying my dd the right to be an individual and - say - be grumpy and badly behaved if thats how she feels today
Oh yeah, for sure. I have the same belief. The thing I mutter to myself is 'compassion, compassion" ha ha.

Very true about society. Was on the bus yesterday with parents and a 3 year old, who was kicking the seat in front of him, acting up, you know. He has a newborn sib so that was probably why. Anyway, could see the parents were getting so stressed out by his behaviour (and the judgemental silence of people on the bus) so I finally said I had a 3 yaer old too, how I was empathising with them, and they just completely relaxed and started smiling.
post #25 of 79
subbing so I can come back to this. I need this thread.
post #26 of 79
Ah, yes! I do tend to see my kids behavior as a reflection on me. So if they are rowdy, then *I* am lacking the inner peace that I work so hard to have - how silly when you point that out, huh?! Conversely, I probably take too much credit for their good behavior And I have been guilty of constantly trying to figure out *who* they got their behavior traits from. I'll tell dh "do you know what *your* daughter has done?!" Good therapist!
post #27 of 79
I love all the responses in this thread. Yes especially to all of our expectations of ourselves and our children. I think one big thing that helps me stay (or get) calm is to remember that it is perfectly normal for a child to cry and scream and that it's not something I need to FIX. I get the maddest when my ds is crying and I just keep saying "WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT???". I have to stop myself in these moments and just be near him. Anger is so normal and really can be useful and even healthy if it's recognized, contemplated and let go. I don't think anyone should ever feel shamed or less than for feeling this emotion and for sure it should not be "put away" for our children. What matters is what you're doing with this anger and that you're not crossing other people's boundaries in expressing your anger (physical/verbal abuse).

Wendi
post #28 of 79
I wonder if it's a pre-historic "hold-over." ?? I definitely believe that anger is a masking emotion for fear, and I wonder if our "mama bear" instincts don't have the release that they once did.

Like, dangerous situations in our history used to involve serious predators. So if our young wandered off into a situation where they were being preyed upon, we would likely need to fend off the predator in a pretty aggressive manner. All that adrenaline would be have a useful direction--a recipient, if you will, who we could lash out at and, in turn, protect our offspring.

Now, we're still trying to protect our offspring from dangers, but where is that fear/anger/adrenaline channeled? There's no saber tooth tiger to scream at and chase away until we're spent, you know? But, that fear of injury and death is still pretty real--toddler wandering toward the road, playing with an outlet, etc. Maybe we unleash on the kid b/c s/he's the only thing right there. Yelling at the outlet and throwing the lamp across the room would seem pretty silly.

I don't know....just another thought.

I definitely think the isolation and intense mama-on-kid(s) thing is waaaaay new and stressful and a HUGE part of the equation.

And how many of us were taught (or not) to deal with big emotions.
post #29 of 79
I don't think I'm angry because I was spanked as a child.

I absolutely agree with the OP: back in the day, families came together to raise children. Nowdays, it doesn't usually work out that way. Too much is on the shoulders of parents... especially in this fast pace world when we're suppose to have "superkids" and such.

I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that many of us set aside the things that are stress-relievers. We sacrifice the things that calm us down, the time, the book, the bath, the hair styling, whatever it is...

And therefore we keep going and going without taking time for ourselves.
post #30 of 79
Mommy2abigal I totally relate to your post....and so many others.

My trigger is 100% violence. When Dd hauls off and hits me or her brother or her father...it makes me see double. I yelled at DD so badly today...b/c she threw her toy stroller at me then pushed her brother to the ground.
I have spoken to her over and over about how to handle her anger. she is allowed to stomp off to her room and yell and slam the door but she can not hit another person...
Yet she continues to do it...sometimes I see her make the deliberate decision to do it and my head spins.
I think my anger stems from perfectionism...which is from my mother. we had to be perfect little girls my sister and I. anything that wasn't perfect was hidden.
My sister fought against it..being the rebel. I was the "good girl".
after reading Alice Miller I do believe I have to reconcile my past...
I don't really now how to do that though.
I wish I lived in neighborhood with kids. I get lonely and wish for a friend to pop over with her kids and have coffee with me while the kids play.
As it is I live in an apartment complex with mostly old people and the young couples move out to raise families.
The only friend with kids my kids ages lives 40 minutes away and she does come over about every other week..for coffee
I feel pressure to do everything right b/c I am bucking the system...I get so scared sometimes.
post #31 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom22girls View Post
Also, for me, it is hard to have come from a place where I was "in charge" (my work life) and be in a family environment where I'm not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hubris View Post
It's hard to parent according to a different model when I was told explicitly that philosophies like Alfie Kohn's are permissive and wrong, and that the adults should "be in charge".
I suspect you would both actually agree with this, but imo parents should be "in charge". Interpreting that statement in a loving and respectful way is sometimes a problem. Being in charge shouldn't be about bossing, ordering, using force.....it's about being the boss but in a wholly respectful manner. This is very subtle, hard to express - hard to live at times lol, and sometimes I do waver on this.

*I* decide that dd cannot climb on the kitchen worktop because it's too high for my comfort zone wrt safety. I decide that dd is going to get dressed "now" as we are going out - but I build in a large 30 minute margin for "now". lol. I decide what time meals are and I expect everyone to sit at the table. If dd doesn't want to eat her green beans but does want to eat her dessert, she is free to decide that If she wants to get down before the meal is finished she's free to go wander, but I'm not going with her until I've finished my meal.......no matter *how* hard she yanks my arm

Feeling like I'm not in charge is definitely an anger trigger for me but one I find not too hard to avoid - most of the time lol. I *am* in charge, and so long as I am remembering that this doesn't give me the right to bully or force, then I know I can relax into it and just direct things the way *I* want them to go. With kindness, smiles, connection, and a very loose timetable
post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendizbaby View Post
Anger is so normal and really can be useful and even healthy if it's recognized, contemplated and let go. I don't think anyone should ever feel shamed or less than for feeling this emotion and for sure it should not be "put away" for our children. What matters is what you're doing with this anger and that you're not crossing other people's boundaries in expressing your anger (physical/verbal abuse).

Wendi
:
post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by WinterStar View Post
I feel that if I could understand fully *why* I get angry then I would be better equipped to learn how not to. I know mums who *never* get angry - irritated yes but not angry. If you're one of those mums, what do you think is different about you? Why don't you get angry?

I want to understand my anger so I can stop it even happening in the first place, and I'm sure I can't do that until I understand what brought it into my personality.
I think you sound like a terrific mother and a good person. Good on you for thinking so deeply, noticing so much and wanting to understand yourself better. My children are 17, 13 & 9, so I have some opportunity to "step back" and observe a bit. I see what you've been seeing, too.

I think the biggest contributing factor to "general parenting anger" is taking the child's behavior so deeply personally. I think our society has an unstated but ingrained idea of parenting = personal fulfillment. It's not anything we *intend* but I think it's what happens psychologically. We do get deep satisfaction and self esteem from our children and that has slipped improperly into needing our children (or perhaps subconsciously expecting?) to contribute to our satisfaction and self esteem. It's such a subtle difference and it's not anything we DO on purpose, it just sorts of slips. Because of this accidental dependence upon our children for our own inner feelings, our children's bad behavior creates very bad feelings within us including anger. Parents are emotionally worn out with their children because we so deeply internalize their behavior.

Mindfulness is such a HUGE help for this. Stepping back and recognizing that when the child flushes a can of shaving cream I DO feel angry but don't have to BE angry or behave in an angry fashion. Kids will be kids and I do have a job to do (as parent) but it isn't about ME in the end. Even when you're sitting on the curb outside a shop holding a screaming, kicking child who is biting your shoulder until it bleeds because the shop didn't have the book she wanted. (Can you tell I've been there? LOL!) I have to try to meet my own needs and fulfill my own sense of self and not inadvertantly allow it to be effected by my children. Often I have to "do" Good Mother when I don't feel like her at all!! Our society isn't so good at separating those things, I think.

About 15 years ago I had a terrible hormonal problem after a miscarriage and I felt I was very angry all the time. I used to pray (or meditate if it's better for you) on a "little window" of opportunity. A "little window" between the anger I felt and the anger I expressed. Little by little that window became bigger and opened a lot sooner. At first, I'd recognize the window after the tyrade ("What am I doing? Deep Breath. Ok, I can stop now.") but with lots of prayer/meditation I recognized it sooner and sooner. Soon, truly, I rarely FELT that jolt of anger. Irritation, frustration, peeved, exasperation, etc. Oh yes! But not that toxic jolt of anger... you know what I mean. I do think mindfulness is the answer. We're a very unmindful society - we live in a time of almost drowning in every emotion or sensation we feel, every thought that pops in our heads is "valid" and not tried, tested, discarded.

I hope that makes sense and I hope you can hear the admiration I have for you. I think you're on your way to conquering your anger with such a teachable attitude. I'll be thinking about you! I wish you well!
post #34 of 79
I think others have said this, but I've realized that most of the time when I'm angry at my kids, I'm really angry at myself. Because if I were a better mom then they wouldn't bite each other or spit on each other or what have you. Angry that I didn't step in sooner, angry that I can't figure out how to change it, angry that I've let the house get so messy that they got hurt, angry that I feel that I need time to myself- 'cause isn't total self-sacrifice the goal? : , etc.

I also know that a lot of my anger issues do come from my childhood. Because we weren't taught to recognize and work through our feelings, just to stuff them and hope they went away. But they didn't go away and eventually they would all come out like a steaming volcano that we couldn't control. And I got the idea that everyone else's happiness was my responsibility, but my own happiness didn't matter- so when I see my kids upset my first response used to be to get on the defensive and get angry, because I couldn't understand what *I* did to make them feel that way. Thankfully I now recognize these feelings and am getting much better at allowing and working through my own feelings and helping my children with theirs.

When trying to figure out "why" I'm angry, sometimes it helps to say to myself "I'm actually happy right now" or "I could choose to be happy even though x has happened" and then listen to the thoughts that come into my head, the ones that are justifying why I feel the way I do. It's interesting, if not sometimes disturbing, to hear. But it gives me a deeper understanding and a new place to work from, which helps me grow more towards the peaceful mama I want to be! (Who can remain calm and rational even when angry That's my goal, and I am getting closer- not that I'll ever get there totally, but it helps to know what I want!)
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2abigail View Post
For me, I fear that "If dd does this, then she's going to grow up to be a spoiled brat and it will be MY fault because I wanted to do GD/AP methods instead of conventional methods of child rearing." alot. That runs through my head all the time. I feel like since I am the only one who really really wants this for dd, it lays on my shoulders to produce good children who turn into good adults, and any shortcomings are a sign of failur on my part. When I re read this I know it sounds silly, but there it is. To find the source of your anger, I would find the source of your fear. HTH
That does not sound sound silly, and it's quite how how I feel a lot of the time. I am the one who wants to do GD. My SIL does modified GD, although it's really more permissive, and her kids are not how I'd like mine to turn out, so I have that weighing on me, too. I totally get what you're saying.

My anger often stems from control issues, too, as others have said. When I get pissed, either DD is doing something I don't want her to do, or I am not getting to do something I want to do, like read a book or just not have a toddler hanging from my legs. Control and anger go hand-in-hand for me, both in my parenting and my marriage. I am still trying to figure out how to deal with that. I struggle a lot with trying to be GD and not trying to control my child, which is what I always thought people needed to do with their kids.
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by freerangemum View Post
I think you sound like a terrific mother and a good person. Good on you for thinking so deeply, noticing so much and wanting to understand yourself better. My children are 17, 13 & 9, so I have some opportunity to "step back" and observe a bit. I see what you've been seeing, too.

I think the biggest contributing factor to "general parenting anger" is taking the child's behavior so deeply personally. I think our society has an unstated but ingrained idea of parenting = personal fulfillment. It's not anything we *intend* but I think it's what happens psychologically. We do get deep satisfaction and self esteem from our children and that has slipped improperly into needing our children (or perhaps subconsciously expecting?) to contribute to our satisfaction and self esteem. It's such a subtle difference and it's not anything we DO on purpose, it just sorts of slips. Because of this accidental dependence upon our children for our own inner feelings, our children's bad behavior creates very bad feelings within us including anger. Parents are emotionally worn out with their children because we so deeply internalize their behavior.

Mindfulness is such a HUGE help for this. Stepping back and recognizing that when the child flushes a can of shaving cream I DO feel angry but don't have to BE angry or behave in an angry fashion. Kids will be kids and I do have a job to do (as parent) but it isn't about ME in the end. Even when you're sitting on the curb outside a shop holding a screaming, kicking child who is biting your shoulder until it bleeds because the shop didn't have the book she wanted. (Can you tell I've been there? LOL!) I have to try to meet my own needs and fulfill my own sense of self and not inadvertantly allow it to be effected by my children. Often I have to "do" Good Mother when I don't feel like her at all!! Our society isn't so good at separating those things, I think.

About 15 years ago I had a terrible hormonal problem after a miscarriage and I felt I was very angry all the time. I used to pray (or meditate if it's better for you) on a "little window" of opportunity. A "little window" between the anger I felt and the anger I expressed. Little by little that window became bigger and opened a lot sooner. At first, I'd recognize the window after the tyrade ("What am I doing? Deep Breath. Ok, I can stop now.") but with lots of prayer/meditation I recognized it sooner and sooner. Soon, truly, I rarely FELT that jolt of anger. Irritation, frustration, peeved, exasperation, etc. Oh yes! But not that toxic jolt of anger... you know what I mean. I do think mindfulness is the answer. We're a very unmindful society - we live in a time of almost drowning in every emotion or sensation we feel, every thought that pops in our heads is "valid" and not tried, tested, discarded.

I hope that makes sense and I hope you can hear the admiration I have for you. I think you're on your way to conquering your anger with such a teachable attitude. I'll be thinking about you! I wish you well!
Thank you so much for this post! I'm currently reading Parenting From the Inside Out, which is about how our early relationships actually shape our brain, and how the only way to overcome and reshape these syntaxes is through mindfulness. It's great. I really agreed with your whole post.

I also think, and some of the OPs have kind of touched on this, that we have this idea that EVERY MOMENT COUNTS!

God forbid we aren't enjoying, savoring, and scrapbooking every important moment and milestone of our children's lives. For example, I've heard many a rant on here about the terrible, inattentive mothers who (gasp!) talk on their cell phones while their children are at the park.

Why? Why can't we admit that it can be very, very boring to spend the whole day with people with very limited intellect and social skills? Sure, they're our children and we love them more than anyone in the world, but do we really have to be ecstatically waiting at the bottom of the slide every time they come down?
post #37 of 79
For me, I need to remember that:
1. What DC is doing is age-appropriate behavior, even if it's undersirable behavior.
2. Changing DC's behavior will take time and a lot of effort. No discipline method will result in an immediate change.
3. Often, DC's undesirable behavior is the result of something I have or have not done -- I didn't put DC to bed on time last night, and today DC is acting out.
post #38 of 79
I see quite a bit I agree with on here so far.

For me, primarily - lack of sleep, TOO MUCH PRESSURE, no time to myself, not enough help, and thinking I have to control situations, and a natural body reaction that is overactive.

When my DH steps in sometimes and deals with one of the children when they are being more difficult, that helps. Almost every wave in the family breaks on my shore. It is RELENTLESS. Even when I'm doing NOTHING, I'm still on call. Even in my sleep I don't get a break.

Under pressure, I am the best person to have on your side. In an emergency I am the best person to have around. I'm calm. The world slows down for me. I see it all clearly.

But my adrenal system kicks something fierce under emotional situations. I can actually feel myself losing sanity, and then I get an extra adrenal kick because I know that I am about to start making bad decisions with a compromised brain. I hate it. I ****HATE***** it.
post #39 of 79
Great thread.
The main trigger for my anger:

- lack of support, absolutely. I don't just mean having other mothers or extended family around, but a real tribe where we are all coming from a similar place, where we are not judging one another or in competition.

When I feel supoorted and my kids are in a positive social situation my frustration and anger just doesn't come up. Half the time the anger or frustration I do feel is more at our situation than anything a 2 or 5 yr old could possibly be responsible for.

I read recently about a village in Africa where when villagers see a mother about to lose her temper with her child they immediately step in, take the child and have the mother go indoors and calm herself. I'm sure most traditional cultures functioned in this way originally. I do not believe we are supposed to be doing this on our own the way that we are. Takes a village and all that...

Other triggers:

- lack of fresh air/exercise
- too much sugar
- lack of sleep
- expecting too much of myself
- other stressors (financial, marital, etc)
- when I haven't taken care of my own needs and am feeling resentful.

I think all of the above would be erased in a supportive community.

Anger is a completely healthy and even useful emotion if we know how to handle it; I see parenting as giving me the perfect means to pratice working with that! Mindfulness meditation is the best way I know how and has worked wonders for me. On top of that, humour. Though it's hard for me to get to that point without the meditation.
post #40 of 79
I have not read all the responses so I appologize if I am repeating something. I am a stay at home mom to a 2.9 year old and 4 month old twins. I lose it everyday and I hate the anger I feel. I usually drop everything and go to my bathroom and cool down at least once a day.

I have noticed that if I can get out and do something (playground, walk the mall, library) no matter how hard it is to get everybody packed up and going, I don't get as aggravated. I also think it is easier with somebody else around. The days my husband stays home, I never lose control of my anger.

sorry again if I repeated anything
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