How to Make Friends With Your Anger

mom yelling her son

Anger. We love to hate it. Yet we all practice it as one of the ways to get what we want. Even if we get the result we seek, we loose something in the process. Anger tends to push people away rather than “connect” with them. We may get compliance but we don’t get the relationship we most cherish. How can we see anger in a different, perhaps even a positive way?

After years of working with parents, I’ve come to the conclusion that we as parents become furious at times with our kids. We are taught from a young age not to be angry, that anger is a negative thing. As a result, as adults, we are uncomfortable being angry or admitting it to others.

But it’s perfectly normal! It’s a part of who we are and what it means to be human. When your child refuses to do what you ask, it’s natural to be frustrated.

Many parenting experts, points us in a different direction in helping to learn the language of behavior and anger. I think, it’s so important for parents to make friends with their anger so that they can transform their anger rather than suppress it until they explode.  “Cradle your anger like a mother holding her newborn”. I wonder if we can teach our children this method to transform their anger rather than suppressing and exploding as well?

You don’t want a child’s anger to trigger your own fear, which will only escalate the situation. See the fear, not the anger. This cannot be over-emphasized

How To Control Your Anger At Your Child?

If you want to keep the anger out of it, you’ll need to change your thinking.  Actually, it’s not the anger that’s the problem; it’s the thinking that creates the anger.  The anger is actually a good warning system that alerts us to our needs. It’s like the light on our car dashboard that tells us the fuel is low, or the engine is overheating. We would want to know if these things were happening, right?  So anger can be a useful signal to look deeper.

If anger arises, it is because there is “should” thinking in the mind.  The anger is not a result of what happened; it is a result of what we think about what happened.  What happened may be a stimulus for our anger, but it is never the cause.  Our “should” thinking is the direct cause of our anger:

  • “He shouldn’t have spoken to me that way.”
  • “She should listen when I tell her something.”

Read also: When Did I Become The Angry Mum?

Transforming anger into something useful

If we can replace the “should” thinking with something else, we can calm the anger and transform it into something more useful: a realization of the unmet wishes, wants, and needs beneath our anger.

If we can translate “He shouldn’t have spoken to me that way” into “I really love it when I’m spoken to in a respectful tone” or “I value talking to each other with care and consideration” then we can focus on what it is we are yearning for instead of what the other person is doing wrong.

“She should listen when I tell her something” could become “I really value cooperation and ease” or “I like it when I feel heard and understood.”  Take the focus off the “wrongness” of the other person and on to the “rightness” of what you wish, want, or need.

When we shift our focus from the other person (and what they are doing wrong) to our own wishes, wants, or needs, the anger tends to dissipate and we are better able to ask for what we need (in a non-reactive way the other person can hear)…or set the limits we need to set in a loving way.

Of course this is hard to do in the moment. It’s good to practice looking at your wishes, wants and needs during less intense emotions so that you’ve laid down some new neural pathways for when anger arises.

Why parents get angry with their child

Our children irritate us because they are our offspring. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as “ghosts in the nursery,” in which our children elicit profound feelings from our own childhoods, and we unknowingly reenact the past that is inscribed like forgotten hieroglyphics deep within our psyches.

The association between a parent’s early, often harsh or painful experiences of how they were reared and their own parenting style is referred to as this idea. When children who have been abused by their parents grow up to become parents, they may display similar behaviors. They may not recall the abuse, or it may be what they assume to be “normal” due of their upbringing.

These “ghosts” might recur throughout generations, perpetuating the abuse cycle. Even as adults, our childhood fears and wrath are potent and can overwhelm us. It might be quite difficult to put these ghosts to rest.

How to calm your anger

Anger, you know it by heart and it’s exhausting. It grips you, holds you down and imprisons you, to the point where your words or actions overwhelm your thoughts. In the face of stress, though, we only need a fraction of a second to unhinge. We can also show that we are impetuous, apprehensive, or highly sensitive in certain situations.

People who have a “hot” temper may believe they have little or no control over the anger. This is completely untrue. It is possible to learn to express your emotions in a non-harmful manner. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also be more effective at meeting your needs. Anger control is a skill that, like any other sport, requires practice. The more you practice, the more proficient you’ll become.  And it’s well worth the effort.

It’s time to figure out how to manage your anger, which all too frequently takes over and sends you spinning out of control.
You can choose to be angry or not, just as you can choose to be angry. You can solve your problems in the same way, if not better, without letting your wrath get the best of you. Learning to control your anger and expressing it appropriately can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals and live a life more in line with your values.

Read also: Breathing Exercises to Reduce Anxiety and Calm Yourself Down

Recognize early signs of anger

Try to recognize the signals that your anger is starting to creep up on you. Recognize symptoms such as muscle tension, quick breathing, a burning sensation, a faster heartbeat, and so on. You’ll be able to act more swiftly to calm yourself and prevent powerful emotions from escalating. It is simpler to diffuse anger if you are conscious that it is building up.

One of the first things to do, if you have the opportunity, when the body signals appear is to get some fresh air. Escaping from a situation that makes us angry to do something else (walk, breathe, run, shout, etc.) allows us to tame our anger, to calm down, to play it down and to come back more serene.

Understand what triggers your anger

Do you know what makes you angry? Do you know what irritates you? What can’t you handle? Observe your reaction to everything that happens to you for the rest of the day. Write down the source of your irritability or anger and add it to your list. Try to come up with as many anger triggers as possible. This will make you aware of triggers that you may not have been aware of previously, and that can occur at any time. Things that don’t necessarily make you upset, but irritate or frustrate you nonetheless.

Beyond that, you will also discover deeper triggers that you are very ticklish about. Some people or situations that can make you instantly angry, because they are contrary to your values. Such as not putting up with hypocritical/false people in a discussion, or people who are always late.

Making this list allows you to recognize the things that make you angry, especially those that are against your highest values. It allows you to anticipate situations that would make you angry, so you can deal with them more conscientiously.

Release your anger

It’s essential to find outlets for your rage, or else it’ll grow. Then you may burst, usually in negative ways that harm your relationships with others. People have a tendency to rehash the tale (vent) and become upset all over again, often with greater intensity, if it is not done well. In this situation, you’re practicing your rage rather than letting it out. To move forward, you must develop skills that will allow you to express your anger in ways that will reduce your stress and communicate successfully with the individuals with whom you are furious.

If your fury has already reached boiling point, the most important thing to do now is to accept responsibility for your actions. Don’t give in to the desire to blame your outburst on your child. You may feel compelled to apologize to your children for getting angry, but don’t. Everyone gets upset at some point in their lives, therefore you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Explain that you let your emotions get the better of you this time, and that you’ll be more careful next time. Then there’s the actual challenge: ensuring that you do.

 

Kara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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