My Anger is My Responsibility (not my child's)
Anger is an interesting emotion. It tells me something about myself and about my perspective of the events occurring around me.
One of the things I try to keep in my mind and I reiterate to my kids is that MY anger is about ME and MY perspective of the situation. It is so much less about what they are doing than about how I am perceiving and being triggered by their actions.
This is important because I want them to know that they don’t control my feelings.
My anger is mine and mine alone.
It is not their job to fix my anger.
I must increase my awareness of my anger by asking myself a question, “What does my anger tell me about myself?”
Anger tells me that I want this specific moment to be different and I feel helpless or powerless to change it.
This fear of being powerless then comes out in the form of anger. Anger is my attempt to change the behavior of those around me.
At best this teaches people in my life that it is their job to manage my anger rather than my job to manage myself. This leads to an endless cycle of blaming and attacking.
I have to own the fact that my anger continues these cycles because it is based in resistance of the moment rather than acceptance. This is why I would never recommend to a parent to use anger as a motivational tool (although I definitely slip into this too often).
The problem with using anger as a motivational tool is that it doesn’t invite connection or cooperation. Typically, anger leads to resistance and isolation.
The next time you get angry I encourage you to notice whether you want to pull away or move in closer to those you love. Specifically, watch this with your children.
I find it almost impossible to want to lovingly connect to my kids when I allow anger to be my guiding force. Over time, anger can really wear out the connection with my children, and it is that connection that gives them the motivation and the confidence to make effective change.