Anger Masking Fear and Shame

Just one of those days… why does it always seem to happen on a Sunday afternoon or evening? Especially when you relax during the early part of the day, you are aware of a heightened state of anxiety and there’s been a recent history of anger getting the best of us. Have to love those weekends!

What kills me is when someone makes some errors in judgment, and feels as a result of you having to take control of certain aspects of their life they have the right to stop you from doing what you are supposed to do in your normal, daily activities.

I don’t remember as a child punishing my parents in that manner or to that degree. Sure we may have had some standoffs, but I also knew when I couldn’t push the issue anymore. I was well aware of the fact that I needed my parents not just for the basic three meals, a warm bed to sleep in and a hot shower to stay clean- but I needed them to teach me right from wrong and also give me the skills to successfully live on my own.

The toughest aspect to deal with is we have two daughters who want to handle issues two distinct ways. Both are classic models of the fight or flight model. Instinctively it’s easier for many humans to run away from their problems, while others want to fight anything in their path. We as parents spend a lot of time processing anger and getting to the root of the issue- usually a mixture of fear and shame that comes flooding from the past.

It may take a few minutes, a few hours or even a few months to get to the bottom of a challenge- but what I love most about my daughters is their resiliency and ability to rebound from the situations placed before them. As they grow older they are realizing that they have strength in areas they never knew really existed. Maybe it’s because they’ve had to spend so much time in duck and cover protective mode- with their emotions, with their feelings, with their lives- but as a result they’ve gained a sense of street smarts that I don’t see in many other children their age.

Understand that if people in your life have deep seated anger- it’s not going to be resolved in one day. Years and years of built up frustration takes equally the same amount of time to work on, process, recover from, and distance yourself safely. There may be times where their words gain venom and end up being lashed in your direction- so prepare for this in advance and know when it’s acceptable to retreat or call a truce for another day.

Therapy is not a bad thing- along with the appropriate medication. Sometimes even natural remedies can do wonders for the mind and body also. Do not be afraid to seek out help. There’s no shame in becoming a better person as a result of showing you need to keep yourself and others safe.

It’s okay to empathize as well as sympathize with your family members and friends. Often they don’t want your words: they want to feel important and they want your undivided attention. Be there for them- as I’m sure you would want the same in your time of need. And be patient- it takes time to step away from anger and get to the real root of the issue at hand.

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