the nothing

I was once (and likely still am) quite enthralled with the enchanting movie The Neverending Story. The magic tale of a boy overcoming his fears in the land of imagination and impossibility with contagious characters was somewhat of a constant through my days as a girl. Those rock biters and that amazingly soft dragon that flew through the air and laughed in such a way that your eyes crinkle up just at the sound of it were something to envy to say the least. Am I alone here?

Well, now that I am all grown and whatnot, and have some little ones overcoming these fears of their own I am finally. starting. to learn a thing or two. I think. I hope.

Of the late, and probably of the ever and ever, I have been up for the challenge of tackling my frustrations and quick temper. I have tried all the regulars you know… laugh at it. count to ten. deep breaths. Sure, they work ok but I want to FIX this thing that happens deep within my inner being when my son kicks me for the fortieth time when I am trying to help him put his pajamas on, or when my youngest head butts me directly in the nose, or when my dog takes a giant dump on the floor. again. I want to learn to feel ok. I am sure this is something laughter is made of. I know I should just face the reality and know I am human and that sure, everyone has a snapping point. That is something I full well know is true and shall always be so. But, still I would love love love to feel like I can breathe with ease and am in absolute control of all that I do and say always.

So I did what all you all do and I googled it.  That is right.  I googled, “how to not be so tense”.  You would be quite amazed at all the resources available (unless you have already done this and if you have fess up!  I want to know I am not alone in this here struggle!).  After some sorting and clicking I came across something I could live with. I wrote it down. I tacked it to my wall and it goes something like this:

When you are feeling angry and out of control…

1. Separate yourself from the situation. Go sit at the table. Alone. Make sure babies are safe. Forget the dog. (just kidding that last sentence didn’t make the cut)

2. Take a giant huge deep breath. Bigger than you could imagine. And then do it again.

3. Figure out what anger feels like. Is it hot? Is it in your shoulders? Your jaw? I write it down. This helps me.

4. Visualize you are now outside of your anger.  You and it and are now a world apart.  Its true.  When you can name it, it is not you.

5.  See what it is you are scared of.  Anger is fear. Write this down too.

6.  When calm, return to the victim (I mean subject of your fear/anger)

7.  Explain in three quiet calm sentences (write them down first so you don’t surpass the three) what it is that you are angry about.  Then let it pass.

8.  Come up with a plan to attempt to stop said situation from occurring again.  Write it down too! Then try it.

Woah.  Are you with me?  Have I lost my mind all together?  Yes.  Yes I have.  But trust me when you feel that blinding light of frustration shooting through your limbs when your two-year old has smashed a pb & j into the disc drive of your computer this will work.  You will be one iota more under control than you thought.  I promise.

Buck up Bastian!  Channel your inner Atreyu.  Jump off that high dive.

I am aware that my advice is similar to that of a crazy person.  Feel free to disregard and chuckle and my battiness.     

4 thoughts on “the nothing

  1. this topic is always on my mind & is something I work with my shrink on a lot. 🙂 One thing to keep in mind though- is that anger/irritation/frustration is a normal & somewhat healthy emotion- in moderation. A lot of the times it’s just how we deal with it that isn’t the best.
    And I think a lot of what angers us as parents is our own doing- for me it’s when I’m a tidge lazy with my kids or they are off schedule, or I forget to bring a snack (for them & me) that I just get tense, short & eventually angry. But, it seems like your steps above pretty much say the same thing. Hell, GET ANGRY sometimes- I don’t trust those people that are always content and I don’t think it’s healthy to shield your children from all anger- they need to know what it is & how to deal with it. According to my shrink, kids that are taught anger isn’t healthy or ‘normal’ have A LOT of issues when they are older- things like bottling up anger & fear until it explodes etc.. I totally agree though, controlling how you express anger is such an important thing to try to get a handle on.

    Another interesting factoid from my shrink- in a huge study of men that abused women they ALL reported a very real time delay where they chose to hit or not. Basically meaning, there is that brief blip of time in all of us where we have a choice in how we react. One of the most important things we can learn is how to make the ‘right’ choice- to take the blip of time & extend it just a bit so our more rational side can come out.

    • that is all so incredibly true beth. really good information. i have been working really hard on teaching miles how to deal with anger. we do a lot of breathing exercises (pretend your arms are a cloud of rain and breath in…. then breath out and let the rain fall down acting it out) corny but it has been working. you are absolutely right about forgetting a drink or not having something readily available in the car or whatever that usually sets me off too. the hardest ones for me are the irrational tired tantrums. thanks for the awesome input. keep it coming its like free therapy haha! i can just make you ask your shrink all my questions:)

  2. This is exactly what I needed to read today…just one of those days. Although, I was mostly the one with irrational tantrums. Ugh!

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