I would say all my clients at some point on the journey speak to the experience of anger as a parent. And when they do there is usually feelings of shame & fear about getting angry.
Personally, I too have had my own journey with anger and have definitely learnt more about it since becoming a parent & experienced a lot more of it too!
Particularly during this year that has included Covid & Lockdowns!
In my 20s I was probably one of those people that said, ‘I don’t really get angry, it’s not an emotion I know!’
As a child I think I learned that it was not an acceptable emotion to display or show so I pushed it down.
As parents I think that is one of the reasons, we often have deep shame about our anger & showing it to our kids because it wasn’t welcomed when we were children.
And of course, it does not serve our children for us to be ‘losing it’ all the time and when we have lost it, we know we are no longer parenting mindfully, consciously etc…
But I don’t think it helps as parents for us to sit with so much negativity about anger consciously & unconsciously.
And part of being a parent and our own wellness is facing how we deeply feel about our anger.
Glennon Doyle says “anger delivers important information about where one of our boundaries has been crossed. When we answer the door an accept that delivery, we begin to know ourselves better. When we restore the boundary that was violated, we honour ourselves’.
So, no wonder anger is part of the territory as a parent as its often a time when boundaries are challenged & honouring ourselves gets overlooked.
Here are some things you can do to grow with your anger:
1. Ask yourself how you relate to your own anger - do you deny it? Are you ashamed of it? Are you afraid of it?
2. Get curious & honestly ask yourself what beliefs do you sit with about it?
3. Reflect & remember what did you learn about anger as a child?
4. Get good at naming it & calibrating it… I’m angry it’s a 4 out of 10 right now’.
5. Become an expert in knowing exactly how it shows up in your body whatever the level.
6. And when it does show up, welcome it, relax & soften into it. Trust there is a message there for you.
7. We know how important repair is after rupture but sometimes I think we might be missing a step in between for ourselves. Maybe sometimes we are too quick to repair we don’t reflect and get clear on:
What important information is my anger showing me?
What boundary has been crossed?
What do I value?
What do I need…. then repair
Try this next time you have a rupture as a parent.
Give yourself a little more space & time around your experience of anger and see what you notice & learn.