A recent conversation about parenting:
Husband: I’m not used to being filled with hate and anger
Wife: Any other father would be yelling and hitting by now
Husband: The Dalai Lama wouldn’t be hitting
Wife: Any normal father
Husband: I’m not trying to be normal, I’m trying to be exceptional
Recently, I’ve been finding myself being “really mad” at one of my kids. Worse, I have been carrying my anger around and wrapping it in self-pity. This is a crappy habit to create!
To turn things around, I tried a 14-day cleanse…
Monica laughed as my cleanse was light weight in a Boulder sense… huge salad for dinner and no booze. I didn’t notice any difference physically but the anger has started lifting.
Here’s what I’ve been doing to cope.
Own It – when I’m angry, I notice the anger. I try to create some space by breathing and noticing “wow, I’m angry.” When I can pull this off, I don’t act on my anger.
Not acting on anger is a win, even when angry.
Identity – I remind myself that I’m not always the role that is making me angry:
- Employee of difficult boss
- Parent of difficult kid
- Customer of difficult company
I discovered my painful identity when I was hiking (alone) feeling sorry for myself. I reframed my self pity into “a guy who can go for a hike.”
This helped until I became “guy who’s calf blew out on a hike!” At least my calf trouble got me swimming again and I noticed that problems in my body don’t make me angry.
Communicate – My anger doesn’t like anyone to know about it. So I have been introducing my anger to my wife, my friends and, now, you. Getting the emotion in the open creates space. Space is good.
Share Goodness – when I’m happy or enjoying myself… I send a little bit of that happiness to the object of my anger.
Breathing in – this is a good moment
Breathing out – I send her some goodness
The Rational Mind – I think of myself as being calm and rational. It’s everyone else that runs on autopilot.
Persistent irrational emotions point out that I’m merely OK in “my world” but have trouble with “the World.”
I want to apply evil intent on my kids but, looking deeply, the only possible intent is love and inclusion. Until I can experience that reality:
- Keep breathing
- Keep trying
- Let go of the emotional warfare
Today’s my youngest’s birthday. She’s one. It took me five years to become comfortable with babies and now they are gone!
Hopefully, I can up-skill with preschoolers before 2018.