Anger - it sounds like a dirty word, but the more we try to avoid it, the more we feel it. Is anger so bad? Is there a positive way we Moms can learn from our anger and model productive ways to express feelings?
Firstly, there is nothing wrong with anger. Anger, like all emotions, is merely a messenger. Anger is there to alert you to something wrong in your environment. Perhaps you've been ignoring your feelings of frustration, annoyance, or burden far too long. Anger is likely to be the result. Psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott once said that "Humans can be a little nicer than they feel, but not a lot." I agree with that statement! So if you feel anger welling up, what can you do to avoid exploding, especially on someone nearby?
1- Leave the situation
As soon as possible, take your leave for a moment. Explain to the person you're with that you need a moment, but don't ask for their permission. Walk away. If the person you're talking to is a very small child, you might not be able to leave them alone, but you can turn around and remove your attention for a moment.
While you're having your "timeout", do something productive. Practice deep breathing exercises. Pray. Rehearse what your next words will be so you have more control over your response. Don't just dwell on your negative feelings, find something positive you can do to restore your emotional balance.
2- Try laughter
Humor can diffuse a situation like nothing else. So if you are steaming, think of something amusing. Your favorite line from a funny movie, something silly your child did, whatever it is. Laughter helps put things into perspective and can turn around your mood quickly.
3- Decide on your response ahead of time
It's helpful to decide ahead of time what you'll do when you feel yourself getting angry. If you're a yeller, make a pact with yourself that you'll whisper when you get angry. If you're dealing with a manipulative person, rehearse a phrase like: "That deserves consideration. I'll think about it and get back to you on that."
Or write your feelings in a note. This works really well with children. For example, if your teen promised to clean the kitchen but never got around to it, tape a note to the fridge that says: "A Dirty Kitchen Makes Mom Start Witchin" Signed, The Management
Be determined to focus on the behavior that triggers your anger, not the person, and inform them what they can do to make things right with you.
Instead of saying: "You lazy, greedy brat!" try "I am so angry that you decided to play video games instead of clean up your room. In the future, I expect you to keep your promises to me. When will you be starting on this room?"
4- Analyze your anger
If you lose it and blow up, try to explore what led to it. It might be helpful to write down what was happening in the hours leading up to the explosion. Was someone really pushing your buttons and instead of setting a boundary, you let them continue? Has it been way too long since you've had some time to yourself? Had it been many hours since you had eaten? What could you do differently next time?
Every parent loses their temper from time to time. It's not helpful to wallow in guilt or beat yourself up. Anger isn't an unacceptable emotion. What's unacceptable is how it's sometimes expressed. Hopefully these tips will you learn to express your anger in a way you and your family can live with.
Carrie Lauth is the host of http://www.NaturalMomsTalkRadio.com, a free talk radio show and podcast for Moms who parent naturally. Come have a listen!