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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trying to get my anger under control and I was hoping to get some ideas from you ladies and gentlemen. I feel like I am really crazy sometimes and I just don't want to do this anymore with my kids.

My dds are almost 3 and almost 7 months. Toddler stage is full of boundery issues and power issues, but sometimes I know I get out of control and I just don't want to do anything that can hurt my babies.

Sometimes when my toddler is esp. defiant, runs and hides, (like at Whole Foods), or hurts her sister or me I get so angry I hit her on the bottom, or I manhandle her, like pulling her roughly from under the table. I don't want to. I don't want to be out of control. It happens maybe once every 3 days.

It scares her, and scares me. I really need help, but I feel scared to tell anyone that is directly realted to us, for fear they will always see me as a bad mom and hate me for hurting my baby.

In all other ways I feel like I am a really good mom. I breastfeed, I limit TV. I cook mostly nutrious meals and the like, but I need to get this stuff out of my system and don't quite know how.

Thanks for any help...

Karen
 

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Sometimes the same issues keep coming up!

Here are two threads that talk about the same thing anger (my post in there has another link)

I truely believe the way we protect our children from our anger is by accepting and figuring out ways to express it- not by trying to remain calm and paitent. There is more in those threads.
 

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A couple of things that have helped me.....

Know your limits and know the situations that push your anger buttons.

If, for example, your toddler is running away in the whole foods store she *must* ride in the cart until you feel ready to give her another chance (this might be a few weeks or a year or two it's your choice.)

Keep the situation such that she doesn't get the *opportunity* to push your anger buttons by running away.

Don't give her the chance to hurt her sister.

I *must* take time outs to get my wits about me....you might want to create the environment that allows you to retreat when you feel overwhelmed.

Anger is usually something else. For me it's feeling trapped and powerless. If I don't feel trapped and impotent I can deal with my circumstances.

DB
 

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Try working on the deeper issues of why you are angry and so quick to snap. For me it's my abusive childhood. I've had to really work within myself to let it go. It's taken years and still comes up. Seeing that look on dd's face once when I lost it and screamed in front of her at dh helped motivate me real fast to grow up and be and adult. I don't want her having the same insecurities I did, don't want to screw her up the way I was. KWIM?

Maybe get some counseling, or read some good books on anger management. Most cities offer free anger mananagement classes. Yeah, you might be taking the classes with wife beaters but they can probalby give you some good tools for how to handle it. I know that tense, about-to-blow feeling very well. I try to put on some sing-along type music at home when I feel like that, tell dh to be extra nice to me because I'm feeling cranky, and just remind myself not to take dd's behavior personally. After all she's 2, and I'm almost 30.

Darshani
 

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Been there with that anger thing.

I'm a firm believer in allowing the feelings to pass thru, anger is energy, energy wants to move.
BUT, it doesn't move towards the little ones, so....
I take MYSELF out of the room, I stamp and cry and scream into the pillow, I pound and shake and let it all go. Ds would cry (esp. when he was around 2 y/o), when I would do this, but, I had to get it out, and not onto him.

When at the grocery store, if there are behaviors I don't want to deal with coming from ds, I give myself the option to leave that totally filled cart and leave the store.
I give ds two options, 4 y/o is still about boundaries/limits (yikes!), and if both of those options don't pan out, we leave. 'You can either sit inside the cart while we shop (yeah, yeah, it's a no-no), or you can sit in the seat and have a small snack'.
Playing in the groovy girl area is sometimes an option, with a 2 min. limit, and when those two min. are up and ds gets upset, I say, we'll let's go home then. No treats, no this, no that. Probably sounds more harsh than I intend to sound, but shopping is business, man, it's a part of life, let's do it!

I agree that anger is usually something else, as well. Powerlessness, lonliness, loss of control (esp, if 3 y/o is hurting your 7 month old). My most helpful tool for me is to remind myself what I'd like to be modeling for ds. Honesty, tenderness, compassion, generosity~when I'm most mindful and tender with myself, I can remember to be that way with ds.

Do you get breaks? Are you working? Is dh around?
 

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OMG I think sleep is a factor for me, and feeling overwhelmed. That age was so hard for me but it is certainly much better now. Although I still snap unexpectedly once in a while. I don't spank Josef but I really scare him when I yell or stomp my foot. And I am such a peaceful person by nature, this frustration overload really feels unnatural, to myself, as well as when I see it from my kids perspective. I rarely ever even take both of them in a grocery store, I just wait til the weekend and go when dh can watch them. My other big trigger is trying to get out the door on time. So I bribe ds1 with a (No food coloring ) jellybean for each shoe he puts on (he would whine and fuss for me to do it and pester me and I would explode and it didn't make anyone happy) I figure this is less damaging than being afraid of an unstable Mama. I pack snack and the diaper bag during their breakfast and try to get them dressed as soon as possible after they wake up. And I give up on my looks, unless I do get an extra minute somewhere. And I try to mentally remind myself that the day won't be ruined if we're 15 minutes late, especially if we do it happy.
 

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First, I want to say how much I admire the courage it took to write this, and the wisdom it took to admit you have a problem.

I think the obvious first answer is that you must deal with your anger. You have to "own" it, which means understanding where it comes from, what triggers it, and how to deal with it in a healthy way that doesn't involve your kids.

I would like to recommend a really good book "Giving the Love that Heals: a guide for parents" by Harville Hendrix. He talks about how we come into parenting with our own issues, that often get passed on to our kids. He teaches that the trigger points usually happen when our kids hit buttons that were issues for us when we were kids. I think you would find the book really helpful. If you can afford counselling, you might also want to look up an Imago Therapist (based on Harville Hendrix's work). Their website is www.imagotherapy.com
 

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I have been in counseling for a few months for PPD and in the process of that...have been really sorting through my own anger issues. It is absolutely true that anger is always an emotion that is masking another, deeper emotion. Sadness, loneliness, exhaustion, etc. I have also been learning about the anger continuoum. Basically, learning what your triggers are and identifying them throughout the course of the day...in order to diffuse yourself before you let everything explode onto your little ones.
I know my couselor is very solution-oriented...we don't necessarily delve into all the deeper issues going on...I am trying to do that on my own. BUT, I have to say that just after 3 months, I see such progress in myself.
So, I guess this is my long-winded way to say that whether you choose counseling, a book, more time for yourself...or a combination of all of these...hang in there...and be proud of yourself for your courage and honesty.
Our children help us see all of those parts of ourselves that we spend so much energy trying to avoid.
 

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to you!

I am going through this very same issue of anger with myself, but I only have 1 child! I can't imagine dealing with 2 little ones.

In retrospect, I think a lot of my falling apart had to do with sleep deprivation (but yes, there are things from the past in there too) and a very demanding, high-needs child. She is now 18mon. and I can see that my threshold for frustration and anger has increased just a little bit, thank God!

Recognizing the earlier signs of anger has helped me identify/clue-in to my feelings sooner and express this more appropriately. I highly recommend the previous threads dealing with anger.

Wishing you strength
 

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Another seemingly-minor-yet-major piece of advice: Hang around the Gentle Discipline board here at MDC. There are a lot of mamas there who've BTDT and have a wealth of experience and advice to offer.

Helped me hugely.

 

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I don't have a three year old yet so I don't know how bad it's going to get... is it going to be that much worse than my 20 month now?

Definitely get counselling, definitely don't ignore it... also, I just set a boundary for myself with dd when I first had her, no spanking, no hitting, no physical manhandling at all in order to discipline ( or for any other reason either) It's a boundary I cannot cross, it's an absolute. There have been one or two times when I thought I was going to pass that boundary and I had to put her in the crib and get out of the room until I cooled down.

But I do have an issue spouting off and that is just as bad. I think raising my voice at her when I blow it is not good at all and shows that I have an anger issue.

I like the woman who had the option of walking away from whatever was happening - full basket - whatever - having that option just to end the moment that is going to make everything blow up. I think our outbursts are cumulative and we need to see it coming before it happens and back away.

Good luck - I know it ain't easy! I hope you don't have to spank anymore though! Maybe spank a pillow of the counter or something instead?

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all so much for your replies!

I have been owning my anger lately and I think it is helping a great deal. I am usually not angry at my little one, but my life in general, feeling helpless, out of control, which are major issue for me and can trigger depression if I don't deal. My hubby has been working lots and you all know how hard it is to find time off from 2 kids...

I am looking into counseling, and will check out those books. I am just trying to see things from toddler perspective, and it really makes all the difference.

Thanks again

Karen

typing with a wiggly 7 month old...
 

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Coming out of lurkdom to say you've gotten some great advice. I have similar issues--I've always been a fiery Gemini hothead and motherhood has given me a pressing reason to work on that. THe large majority of the time I am either a loving and patient mother or doing a passable imitation of one, which is sometimes the most I can muster.
: But sometimes I lose it and my frustration seems to take me to another plane where I feel violent and out of control and I, yes, want to throttle this person who is keeping me sleep deprived/ throwing sippy cups at my head/ drawing with markers all over my papers/melting down at the store/ what have you.

First, I've set a rule for myself that I DO NOT TOUCH DD IN ANGER and I will do anything, even in the throes of frustration, to keep myself from spanking, pulling, pushing, or grabbing her roughly. It is simply NOT an option and I say to myself: "You'll hate yourself later. It's not worth it. Walk away." Another thing I do--not because I think it's such a great thing to do, but because it helps, is talk to her about how I'm feeling: "W, I'm angry right now. I need you to give me some space for a while."As someone else mentioned, I own the problem. If I'm upset because dd spilled uncooked beans all over the kitchen floor, that's my problem. I try to address whose needs aren't being met and how we can fix it without blaming or punishing anyone.

And the old standby, punching a pillow, really does have its useful moments.

Another book I'd recommend: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, by Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn. Lovely book that will make you want to get through those moments without anger. Also Playful Parenting, by Lawrence Cohen.
 

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I was just getting ready to post about a similar problem I have. I too have anger issues, and I am very good at finding the root of them. My problem is that, while I've never been angry with ds, he *always* responds negatively to my anger. I get more than slightly annoyed about something, and he'll wake from a sound sleep (even if I don't raise my voice) and just scream. And I'm sure you all know, the last thing you want to hear when you're already upset about something is a crying baby.
Worse still, if I get closer to him and try to comfort him, he only gets more upset.
I have to completely bury my emotions to take care of him sometimes. I feel like I've been swallowing anger now for 11 months and I'd really love a chance to scream, break things, beat up walls with pillows, but if I even allow myself to feel it, ds gets *hysterical*.


There have been times when I've handed the baby to dh and walked out the door, but I still don't get to scream (which is often all I want!) just a short break. I think one of these days I'm going to explode, and I'm terrified that I will hurt ds (emotionally, psychically, physically, whatever) when it happens.
I need a "Shrieking Shack" somewhere, I think. But what do I do until I can find one?
 
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