"If you don't stop yelling at your kids now," she said, "they won't even hear you when they're older." Some of the best advice I ever got from a dear friend when my kiddos were small. She didn't even know I had *fury* issues. And it was a fury. When you fly into a tantrum screaming at your kiddos, them scared to death and crying up a storm. Yet, you can't reel it in.
She was definitely right about the "not hearing you when they're older" part, too. My mom was a screamer. She'd yell and yell and yell. Sometimes she was angry, sometimes not - but she yelled. A lot. And all us kids did get to the point where we just tuned her out. "Mom's yellin' again." La la la la la .... as we went about our business. Oh, we'd do whatever she was fussing over ....
When someone has lost their temper, the fury or tantrum that ensues is only a symptom of the real issue. Like a cough could indicate many other issues - allergies, sore throat, pneumonia, plain ol' cold, etc, etc. The anger masks a bevy of emotions: sadness, embarrassment, frustration, grief, shame, the list goes on and on.
I vowed to make a change. It took about a year, really. But it did happen. A slew of things changed in my life to accomplish this modification to my behavior: increased activity, weight loss, friendships, spiritual growth, more children, better communication, accepting help, and more. In the midst of it all, I faithfully prayed for God to supernaturally grow patience and self-control in me. He did. I had three children age three and under, I had plenty of reason to be completely undone pretty much all the time.
The video camera was my accountability partner. I wouldn't lose my cool on tape! I was the patient, loving mom I wanted to be. I wasn't faking it. I was training myself. I would invite people over. I also wouldn't lose it in front of others. Let's face it, we're nicer to our children and our spouse when there's an audience. It wasn't long before I could let go of those safety-nets. I was a quick learner.
Now, don't get me wrong, I still lose it - I'm human. Today, I'm in better control of my emotions and take steps to stop the anger spiral. I would love to share my story with you.
I speak regularly on Anger Management. Connect with me - I'd love to meet your group.