My 6 Year Old Is Out Of Control At Home Why Am I So Damn Angry?

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Why Am I So Damn Angry?

Anger? Most of us get angry from time to time, but some of us struggle to keep our anger under control. It can rear its ugly head far too often than is considered appropriate – not only by other people, but by our own standards as well.

I don’t consider myself an angry person and yet recently I have noticed that my fuse is getting shorter and shorter. What really bothered me though was my attitude towards my 6 year old daughter at night.

For some reason instead of being the loving, caring and nurturing mother I am proud to be, at night I become some kind of devil and my fuse is not short, it is not at all.

The other night my daughter had a nightmare. After being up twice already at 12:30am and 1:00am it was now 2:00am and to be honest I wasn’t buying the nightmare excuse.

I suppose the cry and scream of ‘mummy’ should have confirmed that nightmare, but for some reason I didn’t feel sympathy.

At first I tried to calm her down by hugging and covering her back up, but all hell broke loose when I started going back to bed. She started screaming and crying that she couldn’t close her eyes because her dream was coming back.

With my 17 year old son-in-law downstairs sleeping, I was doing my best to stop my daughter from waking him, as he had an HSC exam the next day. No amount of reasoning was calming my daughter down now and I was officially ‘losing it’!

Every time I tried to leave her room the screams would get louder and more desperate… Now from me not her. I never hit my daughter and yet I felt so close to him, it scared me.

In the morning I was very sorry for the way I accepted it and vowed to be more patient and understanding if this should happen again.

But why am I so angry?

Several of my clients have been telling me that anger is one of the big issues in their relationships. Sometimes the anger is directed into the relationship and sometimes the anger is directed outside of it.

What is interesting is that both seem to have the same negative effect.

Anger is a primitive emotion, useful for keeping enemies at bay. He also has the ability to manipulate and deny the less ‘angry’ and is often described as a power.

Studies have even shown that anger can increase one’s perceived social status by showing importance.

Little wonder then, that many of us think that getting angry is the only way to be heard. We find it hard to accept anger as something more powerful, more knowledgeable and better and we are more likely to give in to someone who is angry with us.

This anger may be caused by underlying feelings of frustration, confusion, hurt, anxiety, shame or fear and anger is the way these feelings are expressed.

The problem with anger is that it is not able to fix an issue without causing more negative feelings.

Anger happens when we feel that something has been ‘done to us’. It is an emotion that usually has an external component. Even when we are angry with ourselves, the anger starts after something makes us angry.

The real problem with anger is that if it is not managed properly it can negatively affect personal and professional relationships.

People with anger-management issues are more likely to get into verbal or physical fights, suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety or depression and alcohol or substance abuse problems.

The strange thing about anger is that not everyone shows it the same way.

Some people express it aggressively. Shouting, screaming, destroying property, bullying, threatening, showing off, ignoring other people’s needs and being violent are all examples of this.

On the other hand, anger can be expressed in a passive way. Being evasive, giving the ‘cold shoulder’, using psychological manipulation, being secretive, withdrawing or blaming yourself are all forms of anger.

This may not be the stereotypical ‘movie’ type of rage we are used to seeing in the media, but that doesn’t make it any less appropriate or dangerous.

Actually I think these can sometimes be worse as they often last much longer than the aggressive type of violence.

OK, so how should you (and I) handle anger?

As with everything, different people are going to find different strategies that work for them. The most important thing to do is to pay attention to the warning signs and take action immediately so that you don’t escalate the anger and get out of control.

If you feel your temperature rising, your face flushes, sweaty palms, dry mouth, tension in your muscles or you can’t hear what is being said correctly, there are likely warning signs of anger. on you

When you are in an angry state you may become irrational, ignorant, impulsive, frustrated or out of control. This is when your decision-making processes are disrupted, you are more likely to participate in risky behavior and violence whether it comes passively or aggressively.

Here are a few simple tips to ease your anger when these warning signs appear:

  1. Take a deep breath in and count to 20. Close your eyes if possible and then breathe out slowly. Repeat this a couple of times and if someone in front of you still wants to be confrontational explain to them what you are doing.
  2. Take a ‘time-out’. Removing yourself from the situation can immediately reduce your anger. Give yourself time to lower your heart rate. You need at least 20 minutes to do this so go for a walk, read a book or watch a movie. Remember to take deep breaths to get your blood flowing again.
  3. Try to create a ‘happy place’. It helps for some people to have a place they love to build a memory of when the weather turns bad. It is best to photograph somewhere where you feel comfortable, safe, but even a place that is fun is useful. I love snowboarding, so that’s always my happy place. Go there in your mind and suddenly the situation in front of you is not as bad as you thought.
  4. Use a script to control your thinking. When you feel your temperature rising start a positive self-talk conversation with yourself. Say something like “This might bother me but I can handle it”, “I am calm and in control” or “I have power over my emotions”, over and over in your head until will you believe it and regain your control.
  5. Communicate differently. Instead of blaming the other person or the situation try to find the cause of your anger before moving on. If you have to take a few minutes to do that then so be it. Ask yourself what do you feel besides anger? Is it frustration, loneliness or sadness. Then figure out what need is in you that is not being met? This will give you time to calm down and you will be able to articulate what you are angry about, rather than just being angry.

Your ongoing anger management may benefit from doing some of the following:

  1. Give meditation. This age old practice has been used for centuries to calm the mind and heal the body and is as relevant today as ever. Our fast-paced lives do not leave much time for quiet reflection and we are often just so busy ‘doing’ that we forget about ‘life’. There are lots of great online programs for meditation and if you can access a live class that would definitely be an advantage.
  2. Write down everything that makes you angry or upset. Some people like to keep a journal to read again about their feelings and some like to take the piece of paper and burn it. I’m a journal keeper, but I can totally see the benefits of getting those feelings out in writing. My clients who use that method often say they felt an immediate sense of relief and the ability to let go of what was bothering them. Do both and see what works best for you.
  3. Increase your exercise or take up contact sports. I have to admit that there is nothing more satisfying than punching the life out of a punching bag, especially when you are angry. When I was going through a very rough boxing, boxing was my savior. Twice a week I would take my anger and frustration out on the bags and gloves. However, simply getting outside and going for a walk, jog, bike ride, horse riding, surfing, swimming or anything you enjoy will help flood your brain with positive hormones and make you feel better about your life in general. Plus you’ll be too tired to be angry. Big bonus there!
  4. Learn to communicate more effectively. Sometimes the reason we get angry is because we feel misunderstood. I know I get frustrated and very angry with my daughter when I feel that I don’t feel. Learning to communicate using non-violent communication has helped us a lot. We talk about our feelings, our needs and our requests from each other and although it can be drawn out sometimes, it will be more effective in the long run.
  5. Learn to relax. This may sound simple, but yet so many of us have an inability to relax. With smartphones, tablets, laptops and the internet in our faces, switching off 24/7 is becoming a real problem. Find something you enjoy doing or better yet, try doing nothing at all. I realized about a year ago that I missed dancing, not just any dancing but ballet. So I found an adult class and started again once a week. I love it! This is my time out from my duties and I’m so busy trying to remember the choreography I completely forget what’s waiting for me when I get back home or to the office.

So the next time my daughter wakes up in the middle of the night and I start to lose my temper I know I have tools in my belt to handle it. I will take a deep breath and remember that I am a loving, caring mother.

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