That's Not Why I'm Mad

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That's Not Why I'm Mad
« on: May 17, 2018, 12:31:08 AM »
This morning I lost my temper with my children ages 2 and 4.

The toddler snatched one of two pieces of toast with peanut butter and honey off the preschooler's plate and ran into the living room with it. Preschooler ran after and the two began a tug-a-war over said drippy toast on my sofa.

I tried to intervene calmly. Tried reasoning with older child. Said I'd make more toast. Tried to coax back to table, etc. but they were too amped up, completely oblivious to me.

As my temper rose it came out in a roar. I shouted and screamed and threatened until both children looked up at me in terror. They meekly returned to the table and ate their damn breakfast.

At moments like these I feel great shame. I sound like my mother.

A parent's number one job is not to lose their cool (or so I read somewhere). But I lose my cool several times a week. I have a two year old after all.

I worry that my children will stop speaking to me someday the way I went NC with my parents.

But then I remember that that's not why I'm mad. I'm not mad at my mother because she lost her cool when my brother and I fought. Or because we got blackberry jam on her favorite pants. Or because we broke her Tiffany lamp. Or because we smashed the French doors. Or because we let the dog sleep in our beds.

I'm not mad at her for getting mad at us for all those things.

Parents are not superhuman and having children in your house can be a serious mind fuck.

I'm not mad at my parents for not being perfect.

Nobody's perfect.

It occurs to me that my husband loses his temper occasionally too but unlike me he doesn't fret that it means he's failed as a parent.

I think that it's part of the straw man argument that I have internalized. The one where my mom argues that no parent is perfect and she shouldn't be held accountable and that that stuff happened years ago why can't I put it to rest? And your kids will hate you too.

It's where my mother pretends that her seriously abusive behavior fell in the normal range of frustrated parents everywhere and for a moment I believe her.

It's just another place where my past relationship with her continues to undermine me.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 12:33:44 AM by MargaritaBulgakov »



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Re: That's Not Why I'm Mad
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 06:50:38 AM »
...and for a moment I believe her.

I am really proud of you. Self-aware is difference number 1 between you and her. After that, as you say, the differences continue. For yes, there is a difference between ordinary losing of cool, and abusiveness.

This post will help many who have same reactions but don't see them so clearly.

Keep being so strong! Keep getting stronger!
Healing From Family Rifts, by Mark Sichel
Stop Walking on Egshells, by Paul Mason
Self-Compassion: the Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristen Neff
Mindful Self-Compassion classes (look them up)
Mindfulness, by Mark Williams
Life on the Mississippi, by Mark Twain