Anger and losing temper - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-23-2009, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm a first-time mom with a six month old, and I have been battling ppd for about two months now. I was offered Buspar by my NP, but did not take it because some of the natural remedies I tried seemed to be working (EPO, fish oils, eating healthy, etc.). But there is a lingering issue that I've been very hesitant to post about - that is, fear of hurting the baby.

It seems that it's mentioned in all "textbook scenarios" but very few mothers admit to it in their posts, personal stories, etc. My biggest problem has been losing my temper and having extreme anger well up - almost always when my LO is crying and I can't soothe her. I often lose it, especially when I am sleep deprived. I have not hurt her yet, but I have squeezed her a little too hard a few times or made her cry by shouting. If that was not bad enough, the urge to go even further and slap or spank her is so strong during these moments that sometimes I have to hit something else, like the bed or a pillow, to get the anger out. Following these episodes, when I finally do get back to sleep after crying with guilt, I often have violent dreams where I am hitting and lashing out at my DH and others with anger.

After hitting a real low a few weeks ago, My DH has been doing better about taking over during the times I am most likely to have these issues, but there have been times when he could not wake up and respond as quickly as I needed him to. And as a result my anger is many times really with him, but I have this impulse to take it out on baby.

I am very, very embarrassed and guilty about this. And it makes it worse that I can't seem to find anyone that has a similar problem - again, I find it mentioned in your typical ppd descriptions but find NO ONE who will talk about it personally. And that makes me wonder if it's just me, one step away from those people you read about that actually go through and do terrible things to their children.

Anyhow, again, please don't take this as some urgent call for help. Yes, I need help and am looking for support, but I do not think my baby is at risk at this moment. My DH is aware, my parents are aware, and even a few friends - although they don't have kids so I still have not found a person with a similar experience. I am a normal, mature person in a healthy relationship and have no history of violence, short tempers, or anything. And I had a natural, positive birth and no problems whatsoever, besides some fatigue, in the first few months. I certainly never expected that I would be one of "those" people...

Angela, loving wife and mother of DD, born 8/6/2008.
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#2 of 13 Old 01-23-2009, 02:33 PM
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These intrusive thoughts are a normal part of PPD called PP-OCD. They are not thoughts that you would ever act on, but they keep popping up. It's normal, it's common, and it's treatable.

First, you have to find yourself a therapist experienced in PPD. That can be done by going to and searching the resources section.

Next, you need to see about a psychiatrist (can be referred to one through your OB or therapist) about medication that helps OCD. Zoloft is one of the best for this, and thankfully, it's also THE best for nursing moms. VERY safe, none or hardly any of it gets into milk.

The book, Change you Brain, Change your Life. By Daniel Amen, has helped me a lot to make peace with taking meds. I HATED the idea at first, but it has helped me tremendously.

Also, the book, Beyond the Blues, has a section about exactly what you are experiencing, and it may help you a lot to read about how very NORMAL what you are feeling really is.

Don't despair. There is lots of help out there. Just reach a hand out and ask for it, and you will be on the road to feeling so much better.

Mom to two beautiful boys, now in school to be a therapist and help other women with PPD.  

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#3 of 13 Old 01-23-2009, 03:54 PM
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I don't have much time because I have a fussy baby, but I wanted to reply & tell you you're not alone. I have a healthy 1 year old, healthy relationships, never had anger issues before, but I've really struggled with it with him. The first 6-7 months were the worst, especially with the sleep deprivation. I truly felt like I was turning evil at times, and think that Hitler & serial killers may not have become evil if they'd had good nighttime sleep. Diet definitely makes a huge difference for me too, and also Bach flower remedies. Rescue remedy has never done much for me, but i believe it's Walnut (something about feeling burdened by responsibility in the description) that I find helpful.

I had a rough birth, with 43 hours of labor ending with a c-section and in a lot of ways I felt cheated, because I wanted so much to have a natural birth. So I wonder if that may be some part of why my child is so high needs? and why i have difficulty dealing with him sometimes? He also has reflux, which is like colic on steroids. It's much better now that I've completely eliminated dairy from both our diets (still nursing).

No one ever tells you how hard it is to have a baby, much less a fussy one. I don't think anyone really could make you understand until you have one yourself. I've been completely caught off guard by my own response. A lot of it has to do with not being able to soothe him. Not being able to figure out what's wrong, and just feeling angry and cheated out of the life that I thought I was getting. I love my son with all my heart, but he drives me bonkers, and not in the funny make-fun-of-parents kind of way portrayed in the media.

Sometimes you just have to put the baby down in his/her crib & leave the room. Sometimes that's the only thing you can do. I've put him down & left the room to scream, throw something, hit the wall, anything to just release some of that anger & frustration. I've scared him a few times, and I feel so guilty for that. When he was younger I would have daydreams about anything to stop the crying. You just reach a point when you can't hear it anymore and that's when you call in the reinforcements. My mom didn't get it at first, but she finally came around & started really helping me. Luckily my husband has been wonderful. If it weren't for them, I think I would've descended into the ranks of those who hurt their children. I never understood abuse. Now I understand how it can happen & it hurts my soul just to think about it.

So thank you for having the courage to write. & no, you're not alone, people just don't want to admit they have these feelings, and those with them probably don't have much time to write about it & express it. We'll get through it with healthy happy babies, we just have to take care of ourselves too & to use our support systems.
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#4 of 13 Old 01-23-2009, 10:49 PM
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I have some of the same issues. I have a 3 year old and an 8 month old, and most of the time my anger is directed at the older one. But I remember when DS1 was an infant that I did feel like throwing him against a wall, at times. I never did, of course. I think feelings like that are normal, to a certain extent. But I don't like feeling so out of control.
I'm taking Zoloft for PPD and it is helping SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much with my anger. I'm on 100mg a day and since uping to that dose I haven't lashed out against my toddler at all. If you need to talk to someone, feel free to PM me.
Good luck!

Dalila, mom to two boys, 7 and 5


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#5 of 13 Old 01-30-2009, 01:17 AM
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I had fussy babies too. To say the least. They both brought things out in me that I did not know existed.
They both had colic and both were born (to my utter sadness) by c-section.
I couldn't soothe either of them. That was such an assault on my confidence as a mom. And it's scary when you are the last house on the block and you don't have the &*%$ answer.
When your nerves are just RAW and you are physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, it makes sense that we would begin to think irrationally. Everything is upside down.
And, for me, when it IS, I don't even know it, because I'm usually up to my elbows in child care that I have lost all perspective.
You know when you take a walk outside and you go- Oh. I AM a mess, because there is LIFE out here? Have you done that lately?

One time, when my son was 8 months old, I could not get him to take his nap and he had kept me up all night (for the 8th month in a row). AS we walked past my 2 year old's room, he let out a loud cry. I was terrified he'd wake my son and I was EXHAUSTED. So I put my hand over his mouth. He cried again and I squeezed him. When we got downstairs I saw blood coming out of his mouth. I almost fainted, thinking I'd hurt him badly. He coughed from my squeeze. The guilt made me drop to my knees and cry, with him in my arms, crying a scared cry. He looked at me through his thick teary eyes, like 'Why?' and like 'Am I okay here with you?' (The blood was just from his lip getting pinched on a tooth.)
When I was done crying, believing I was the worst mom in the universe and that I should call someone to rescue my children from ME, I got my phone book and called the first therapist I could focus my eyes on in the yellow pages. I saw her the next day.
THANKFULLY, she had 2 young twins recently. THANKfully she is a child development prof. on the side. She understood and she told me I was not the devil.
I told her I could not bare to "lose it" again and she gave me an assignment. She said- KNOW your high risk situations. When are they? Then get help or have a PLAN.
Know your high risk situations. and Have a PLAN.

I did that. I followed directions because I was scared I would hurt my precious babies. They need to trust their mom and I couldn't trust myself.

I had to stop when I felt the anger rise. It was hard, because at first, I would wait too long and then I couldn't catch it. It's like a runaway train. And it feels necessary to RELEASE it.
Or I would THINK I could hold it together THIS time, so I'd just stay in the game myself.
Or sometimes I think I even felt a little justified. (Just warped thinking.)
Eventually, it's like I GAVE UP. IN a good way. And said, okay. I got a little anger problem right now. I'm tired. I'm hurting. I'm healing. So let me lean on someone else for now, for the sake of my boys. And me.
Let me find someone who is fresh. Let me hand him over to fresher arms, a fresher mind.

I had my husband help at night more. It was hard because it felt selfish and felt weak. But it was the right and the best thing to do.
And I, eventually, hired a babysitter during the day so I could have free time. I can sleep or I can write or I can go to the coffee shop or whatever and it is the best thing I've ever done for our whole family.

That was suggested by so many people with my first son, but somehow I think I didn't believe I could rightfully wear my gold mom star if I needed and then took help. So I grinded it out.
I have come to see that the LEAST selfish, MOST loving thing a mom can do, is GET help when she's tired.
No. They won't do it like you. But it's really okay.

No. You are not alone.

And even with help, anger crops up. Of course. We are dealing with human beings who have a will and desires of their own. No matter what we need or want.
But the difference now is, I have a reserve tank that I've built up by accepting help. I can take a breath and dig around in my trick bag when I have some reserve. Without it, something happens, and I have no tricks, so I just lash out like an animal trying to protect her emotional space.
Does it help to realize that it's your instincts to protect yourself (what YOU need) kind of going haywire? That helped me. It's not that I'm a BAD person. I just have BASIC needs that aren't being met. Anger protects us.
(But, obviously, it doesn't do us any good with a baby, or children.)
I learned that it's okay to have anger. And it's even okay to EXPRESS it. IN a safe way.

I have to get to bed now because my youngest will be up twice tonight (if I'm lucky) and not getting in bed by 10 always creates high risk tomorrow .

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#6 of 13 Old 03-08-2014, 02:28 AM
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Thank you so much for sharing this post.
I have a 3 year old boy and 6 month old girl two beautiful little ones. I have not been diagnosed with ppd or anything but I am having the same issue. I cried when I read your post because I know how you feel.
I am a stay at home mum and my OH works long shifts and could go 5/6 days when I would be here on my own with the children. I don't have a lot of support my family are not close. I find I get so angry and I lose it really easy. I take a lot of it out on my son. I swear everyday today I will keep it together but at some point during the day I always lose it with him and il pull him or shout at him. He is constantly saying sorry mommy and asking me not to shout. I am destroyed with guilt. My baby girl has started teething and is not sleeping, she crys a lot at night and the sound of her crys are like nails running down a black board. Last night I completely lost it and almost like blacked out, I pulled her out of the cot and squeezed her a little to tight which made her worse, I almost threw her on the bed and shouted at her to shut up. I could tell she was terrified and didn't know what was happening. When I calmed down I couldn't believe what I had done. I spend the rest of the night crying. I am feeling so disgusted with myself and guilty. It's so so hard. I feel not so alone reading these posts so thank you for sharing. I wish more mothers would talk honestly so we could support each other more. X
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#7 of 13 Old 03-08-2014, 07:29 AM
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Hi, Im sorry you're suffering with this.  I had ppd/ppa and was so resistant to trying meds, I did every alternative method I could get my hands on, researched all of the time.  And basically I kept slowly sinking into a deep hole.  After a year and a half of suffering, I was in a bad place.  I got help with meds because I was out of options, and am slowly starting to feel some relief.  I just want to share my story, sometimes alternative methods work but if they don't, please don't feel ashamed to ask for help.  I never thought I would need to do this.  Take care.

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#8 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 04:02 PM
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I had to go back and read what I wrote. My kids are 6 and 8 now. I have tears in my eyes. I miss those days very much. I don't even remember the hard days very well...only the good parts. And there were HARD parts. You mentioned throwing someone on a bed, almost. I did that to my older son. I am NOT a bad mom. I'm very loving and adore my kids. But when they were young there were many moments I'm not proud of. It wasnt the real me responding. I was a shell of a woman many days. We are not supposed to do thus alone. I don't care how easy some may have it look. It's excruciating at times to care for 2 children this close in age, that needy, all day without a break. Please don't think poorly of yourself. Know you are being asked to do more than you have. I used to tell my kids "i had a tantrum" and I'm sorry. I love you but I'm so tired. Today we laugh about it. I tell them how I'd lose it and I just recently told my 8 year old that I on more than one occasion dragged him by his arm into his room. He laughed. We were genuinely laughing about it. Because it was only a few times and it was never a pattern, no one was damaged and its humorous now that they are older.
I wish I had asked for more help. I wish I had used a babysitter more. I only did that for about a month. But I totally remember how I felt afterward. Like a new person. Able to handle things again, for a while.
I found a girl in college. She just came between classes twice a week. Could u try that?
My heart goes out to you. Those were the hardest moments in my life. I'd feel so hopeless. When our tanks are empty, they are empty. The many problems we have to solve each day seem sooooooo hard to handle. I know.
When your daughter stops TEETHING!!! It WILL be easier. Teething always threw me over the edge like the straw that broke the camels back. You need sleep too . Period.
BEST years of my whole life. Hardest years of my whole life.
In thinking of you. Really.
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#9 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 07:29 PM
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Ps. I CLEARLY remember yelling at my son when he was 6 months old to SHUT UP!!!! I can see, 7 years later, the whole scene, clearly. Afterward I hit the floor, head in hands and sobbed. He kept crying. So you take a deep breathe, pick yourself up and try again. And hold them. They feel your surrender. And they relax too.
Then the other child comes along. Stay calm. Have a sense of giving up about it all and let yourself relax. You don't have to DO anything in these moments. Just surrender. Get down on the floor. Sit there. And just relax and know there are at least 1000 other moms in that very moment enduring the exact same thing.
I hope that makes sense because I suffered sooooo much when I tried to fight the reality. I still do.
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#10 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 09:20 PM
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This is the best thread I have ever read here. Thank you! I am crying reading this. I finally know I'm not alone!

Wife to one amazing husband superhero.gif, SAHM to DS bouncy.gif 10/09, DS babyboy.gif 10/19,  one furbaby dog2.gif, and lots of chicken3.gif!


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#11 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 10:32 PM
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I wrote this (below) in this FORUM when my kids were babies. Oh wow. NOW my memory is coming back. It made me cry. It was just so hard. But good too.
I wanted to thank you for bringing this thread back. I have been praying for something. Never thought it would come. I think this is it. Oh My.

Just wanted to let you know that I feel your pain. I wish I had some great advice, but I'm always looking for a way to stay calm myself. My son is 2 years, 2months old and my new baby boy is 3 months old. I guess my baby is what people call high needs. I spend so much time trying to get him to sleep during the day with my toddler stalking me. Often, when I finally get him to sleep, he'll make a big noise and blow it all. Also needs LOTS of holding, which leaves me no arms. And I need my arms.
I know how time flies and I need to make the most of even these hard times so I can look back and be grateful and feel proud of myself.
Yelling at him so much wouldn't allow me to do that. So I vowed to just QUIT. NO MATTER HOW FRUSTRATED I GOT.
If I need to go in a closet and say 3 curse worse, I do it. Sometimes I scream the word and throw whatever I see, perhaps a hanger. Then I take deep breathes, say a prayer, and come out as refreshed as I can. He knows I'm frazzled, but at least I didn't have my tantrum in front of him.
I've made it 4 days with my new plan and I'm loving the fact that 1 I don't have the guilt and 2 my son feels he can trust me again.
I know it's hard. At least I get SOME sleep at night. Baby wakes 2-3 times, but I can sleep in between. It's so hard when your fuse is short for lack of sleep. It's easy to snap.
If I sound at all like I know what I'm doing in this department, I can assure you I don't. But I knew I had to do something because yelling was unacceptable. It felt bad to me for a reason. I never even did it until ds was born 3 months ago. I had much more patience because that's all I had to tend to, one kiddo.
Another thing that keeps me motivated, is the belief that the way I handle my frustration i front of my son really matters. I try to always keep that in mind. I know he'll learn from me how to handle chaos and I don't want him yelling too. I kind of am feeling like, right now, for me, how I handle myself when I'm losing it is the most important thing I do all day. I feel like I'm showing my son how it's done. And boy is he ever learning.
My days feel like a continual set of impossible situations that I have no choice but to find solutions to. And when I dodge the bullets, there is no time to rest and pat myself on the back because either something else is around the corner or I need to switch gears and play lovingly with my son.
I hope this makes sense. Just sounded like we were on the same page.
Also, I FORCE myself to walk around the block in the evening. Even just once. And I just breathe.
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#12 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 10:44 PM
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Okay, now I'm just having a conversation with myself... But this is sooooooo funny!!!!
I did this! I used to go into a closet and just throw s?$t around and scream. It was upstairs where the kids couldn't hear me!! Then I'd come back. I swear it (kind of) works!! My husband had this row of belts and ties on stupid flimsy hooks. I would make them all fall and make a bunch of noise.
Oh my gosh. I forgot!!!!! And I'd run around my house once. And throw pillows.
Anything they couldn't see/hear. 😂
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#13 of 13 Old 08-16-2014, 04:35 PM
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thank you so much marge&rooster. the part where you talk about discussing it with your older kids makes me feel a little better. not that its okay to be angry and a little rough (i hate to admit that i really really reallllllly do) but knowing that your kids aren't permanently scared gives me a little bit of relief because part of my guilt and worry in all this anger is that I'm permanently scarring them forever.
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