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Anger issues

Andrew
Community Member

I’m an older dad of 9 year old twin boys with a wonderful younger wife. My father was an angry man and I was determined not to emulate that. It seems I’ve failed plus it appears I’m worse. I’m on a lot of meds: depression, blood pressure, epilepsy and arthritis. My wife and I are not in the best place emotionally and physically which also doesn’t help. To be honest I think the anger issue really kicked in when the boys were born, which is so not fair on anyone. 
I’ve tried to set up online counseling but the organisations never get back to me. Help!

5 Replies 5

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

I feel for you so much as you and your family face such an incredibly challenging time. While mental well being is one thing, to be managing a number of physical challenges (such as with arthritis, epilepsy and more) definitely adds to the load.

 

I think while part of the challenge can come down to not repeating certain behaviours our parents displayed, what's not so obvious at times is the lack of skills that led to those behaviours from our parents. For example, while your dad may have managed a lot through anger, like getting his kids to do as they were told, he possibly didn't manage through the skill of reasoning with them. While he may have managed too much noise in the household through anger (perhaps yelling at people to 'SHUT UP!'), he may not have managed through the skill of creating greater calm  or sense of peace. And perhaps while dictating angrily what he would and wouldn't settle for, he maybe didn't mange to employ the skills of negotiation and compromise. So, the question can become 'What are all the skills for parenting my dad have and therefor didn't teach me?'. He didn't just raise his kids, he was raising young people who needed to be taught skills in parenting, for when they became parents at a later stage in their life.

 

As a mum to an 18yo guy and 21yo gal, I can easily say parenting has not always a breeze for me, that's for sure. While I've taken some of the skills from my own parents' style of parenting, developing new skills along with those has been a mind altering experience, in a productive way. My parents never gave me skills they were never taught themselves. Neither of them were raised to be intensely fearless people or major risk takers or highly adventurous people or even real socialites for that matter. I can be a somewhat fearful person, a safe player, not terribly adventurous and I'd declare myself a bit of an introvert with a degree of social anxiety. As I'm now (at 53) working on developing the skills I've lacked for so long, I'm consciously developing them with my kids. We're kind of raising each other to be more fearless etc.

 

I suppose some challenges in parenting can come down to how to develop the skills we wish we'd been raised with, such as self control, emotional regulation, an open mind, a willingness to learn from our kids, the ability to communicate productively etc etc. With kids, no one every truly prepares you for all the skills you need, such as skills in patience, skills in acceptance in being challenged or questioned by our kids (in constructive ways that develop us), skills in tolerance, open mindedness and more. Life is never the same the day they're born. While we can be fully convinced we're raising them, I've found the fact of the matter is our kids are also raising us, challenging us to evolve beyond old behaviours, ways of thinking, beliefs and more. If patience is lacking, then patience is the skill to be developed. If open mindedness is lacking, then open mindedness is the skill to be developed. If greater self understanding in the way of emotion is lacking, the skills worth developing in this area can be almost never ending. It's sounds like you've stepped foot upon this path of greater self understanding.

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Guest_51502682,

 

Thank you so much for reaching out. It's great that you've acknowledged that this is something that you'd like to work on, that's a brilliant first step.

 

Therising has done a fantastic job offering advice from the parental side. I'm not a parent (only several years into adulthood) but I may able to provide some insight from the anger side of things, as somebody who's struggled with emotional regulation for a long time.

 

Unfortunately, we can tend to emulate a lot of the behaviours that we've seen growing up, whether we realise or not. As I've said, it's good that you're acknowledging that you've observed these behaviours within yourself, and that you know where they've come from, and even that you'd like to make steps to avoid enacting them as you're aware of the effect that they can have on people. Just with this acknowledgement, you've already made strides in changing these behaviours, even if you don't realise it. 

 

Journaling has always been a great technique for me, I'll forever be an advocate for it. It can really help to express all of your thoughts and emotions, everything that's been building up for days, weeks, or even years. Anger tends to be a go-to response to adverse situations for me, and journaling really helps me reign it in and rationalise things. 

 

Stressballs (or anything you can fidget with) are another good one for emotional regulation, particularly when anger and stress pay a visit. 

 

Patterns of breathing can also be useful to remember during times when you feel yourself getting angry. Closing your eyes and breathing in for four seconds, holding for four, exhaling for four and holding for another four is a classic one known as "squared breathing". 

 

Going through anger management strategies with a therapist, counsellor, or psychologist can also be helpful, as they'll teach you similar techniques that may even be more specific where you find yourself struggling with anger the most.

 

I hope this helps, and feel free to continue chatting with us if you'd like, we're here to support you.

 

All the best, SB

Thank you so much for just responding, let alone offering so much. It’s a great relief to know that I’m not running solo.

I think with the advent of YouTube and Smart TVs , bringing up kids was going to be more challenging. YouTube having shortened most kids attention span to a few minutes at best.
That said, I now know that I have a good ‘listener’ in you and that really helps.

Next stage for me is to book in to a specialist. I’ve tried several and non of them have really hit the mark. Here’s hoping for better luck.

Thank you again. 😎

For someone who has recently entered adulthood you sure have some great words of wisdom. I’ve tried journaling before and it does help, as does early morning exercise, which I was doing regularly until I twisted my ankle at a swimming pool. Go figure. I’ve always loved sport: cycling to and from work, running and rowing for Melbourne that is until a taxi ended my motorcycling days. 
That said, if I take it very slow I can get back into the groove as endorphins are mother nature’s way of relaxation which obviously helps when it comes to anger issues.

big thanks for your words and especially for taking the time to respond.

Andrew,

 

Thank you, that means a lot. I'm glad to hear that our words are helping, even if it's a little bit.

 

An injury is always so difficult to navigate if you love sport. You're right, endorphins are great for releasing built-up emotions and bringing you into a good headspace. Even if there are small ways to get back into exercising regularly, it may make a world of difference. There are always upper body workouts, if the ankle's still causing you some trouble.