You see this is why I write this blog! To learn.
Thank you for your comments last week. They made me aware I was setting the shouting diet challenge in the usual masculine, gung-ho, set-up-to-fail way that so many of us trip into.
We humans are designed to need connection and love. It is how we survive and how we thrive. The real reason shouting from anger is so painful and we see it as so ‘bad’ is because it is a moment where we lose connection with our child – and more painfully with ourselves.
Life is not something you can ‘fail’ at. What a set-up. Everything that happens in our life is always, always helping us learn to love ourselves more deeply. So if you are angry, depressed, anxious, numb, all it means is that there’s a part of yourself calling for your attention, calling for your connection – a part of you that has, during your lifetime, been lost or pushed aside and that now wants to come home to you.
We just have to learn to listen.
The way to deal with yourself post-anger is the same way you would deal with your frightened, hurt child in your most tender and proud parenting moments. THAT loving tenderness is what this ‘diet’ journey is about for me.
I don’t want to beat myself up, get firm with myself or set goals at which I know I will fail. That’s just more of the usual self-sabotage. It’s another excuse to stay small and not shine my greatest light. It’s a way to say, “Oh see, I tried and tried and yet I failed. Clearly I’m not good enough. I’d better just stop trying stuff and live below the radar.”
This world gets better each time one of us lets our light shine, fully and without apology. How many times has your anger erupted because you kept quiet for too long and then went pop? Why do you keep quiet until you can’t bear it anymore? Why are you afraid you are unimportant?
You are not.
This journey is about connection. Life is about remembering who you are in essence – a radiant, richly gifted and beautiful being. It’s true – don’t snort at me! Regardless of what you may have fooled yourself into believing, whatever things were said to you when you were young…
Don’t believe me?
You know those moments when your child wants something from you and you really don’t want to, or you get angry about being asked and you make them feel bad for existing? Well do you actually think that’s about them? No it’s not. It’s about how you are feeling, what you are going through. That’s why you feel bad after – because it wasn’t about them at all and you know it.
Now take it from the other side. When your parents or siblings or teachers said or did stuff that made you feel bad about yourself in any way – THAT WASN’T ABOUT YOU. It was their stuff that made them react like that.
So shouting for example, is something we do when we are emotionally stirred up – excited, scared, etc. Our voice naturally rises. But there is never a need to shout when we are angry. There are always other ways of getting our point across that won’t hurt anyone else (unless they don’t like what we’re saying, but then again, that’s their stuff not due to anything you did to them). So our shouting is never about them, it is always about what got stirred up in us.
Whatever message people gave you about yourself, that was damaging to your self-belief and your self-esteem – WAS ABOUT THEM.
Whenever we get stirred up it brings us back to moments in our lives where we BELIEVED A LIE – that we are worthless, not important, not good enough… The task of being stirred up is to undo those lies within ourselves. We can only do that with loving connection. “I love you no matter what”. That’s what we all long to know.
THAT is what this shouting diet is about. It’s not about the children. It is to see the moments in which you forget that you are a precious, amazing, love-filled, light being – and then remember it.
The Diet Process Report:
Seven days into the shouting diet. It’s gone quite well. Twice this week I noticed my voice starting to get louder and I’ve shut up, walked away and come back talking quietly. It’s still crisis management though – I’m not conscious enough yet in those moments to do actual healing work. That’ll come.
Writing this post has shifted how I’m going to approach it from here on though. Not will-power but self-love.
How’s it going for you?
Three great resources for helping the no-shouting along:
Orange Rhino – a whole blog about learning how not to shout
AHA Parenting – Managing anger at your child
Pass this on to others who may be interested or need to be reminded of love. Let’s spread the love and healing.
This is just awesome!This diet by the way is a challenge yet i am on it! yay! self love is all it is!!I love these blogs!! thanks so much!! If it was all just love we had and nothing else this world would ‘nt be the mess it is! Rather outta love! than outta fear!! Thank you for these! i look forward to monday ‘s!! Bless you!
Kylie your excitement is totally contagious! So glad to have you along for the ride.
Love this! Nothing else to say. Says it all 😉
Loved it, very well said. I love the humor added 🙂
Hi Eirelyn. Thanks so much. So glad you enjoyed it.
Going ok… managing not to raise my voice some of the times i normally would. Discovered that kids often WAIT for me to shout before they actually respond to me. Grrrr…. Not distanced enough to figure it out, though assume it’s about getting more attention from me…
Oh well done sister! Isn’t it interesting to see what information starts to emerge?
It may be worth your while to try some funny joking ways to get them going where they normally expect you to shout. Growl like a scary bear for example (because that’s actually how you feel) and chase them around or something. Shrieks of anxious laughter is a way for them and you to release pent up emotions around what would usually be a scary situation for them. Oh please do it and let us know how it goes?
My boy tried to provoke me this week so he could get a bean and I had so much fun saying, “Ha! I know what you are up to and you’re not getting a bean out of meeee!” Well not today anyway.
Still loving this article, thank you! It really encapsculated for me where I feel I am at.
In contrast, I just read this http://www.allparenting.com/my-family/articles/969899/how-im-teaching-my-kids-to-manage-their-emotions.
While I really like Laura Markham a lot, all this focus on the “damage” caused to kids by anger just got translated in my head into another stick to beat myself up with.
I gravitated towards someone else, as I needed to learn:
(a) releasing my need to stay in non-anger all the time (this was REALLY really hard and challenging to get my head around)
(b) someone who would get ‘down and dirty’ with me in the hugely difficult task of loving myself through anger, through rage, through dis-regulation; ironically, this intense work was/is the only thing that helped me actually come to regulate and let go of the anger.
It’s such a spiritual paradox…. I am still not totally non-attached to emotional states and have a preference for being with my kids in a peaceful non-angry way…. but am learning to embrace whatever is arising in me and in them.
Olivia I just checked out that article and I feel the same way as you about it. It might be the editing though as I have Dr Markham’s book and find it good – not punitive like this article which is telling us we are damaging our child in so many ways.
A woman came to tell me something profound after one of my talks. She said during the talk she had realised that she was focusing more on not messing the kids up than on raising them to thrive.
Let’s focus on how we are growing, learning and thriving. Then our children will see how it’s done and will gain the skills and tools to manage our imperfections and their results anyway.
Oh yes, and life will be worth living! Dammit!
Wow, that just totally hit home. I try to be a really conscious mother but I have an immense stick with which I learned to beat myself many many many moons ago. In fact, I’m a professional beater-upper. Which sucks. And I now see my beautiful soul of an elder daughter seeming to do the same. Gasp. I can barely breathe when I see it and then of course begins the cycle of hating myself for doing this to her…
So thank you for the illumination: I have been raising my girls with more focus on how I’m screwing them up than on how I can raise them up to thrive. Thank you, thank you.
Anne you are also saying here that you focus more on how YOU screw up than how you can thrive. Turn your light ON honey and turn to it. You are seeing and acknowledging your role and responsibility with your daughters. How lucky they are. THAT’S what they are learning from you. How lucky the world is!
Hey – i shall have to come and read this again when i have kids! but im sure it applies to many relationships with other people.
So what do you recommend if a parent has shouted – apart from looking at themselves – forgiving themselves and taking a moment to look at why this is raising their own issues – how can they then interact with the child to avoid them feeling what they felt when people shouted at them? How do you say to the child – its not you – its me? and still maintain “authority”?
Hi Clea. Thanks for dropping by :). Yes this approach does actually apply to any relationship – I think every difficulty in our life is offering us the gift of remembering who we truly are. At some point I will write about that separately from parenting – I do give talks, for example, on How To Use Your Business To heal And Grow Yourself.
What a great question you ask – because in that old paradigm of power and greater/lesser-than we get scared that if we show our vulnerable parts to someone it gives them power over us. That is up to us. We choose whether or not we keep our authority in ANY situation.
So first of all, when we take ownership of our behaviour by saying “Sorry I shouted” we are already changing the game. Our child already has a different experience of being shouted at than we did. We are affirming what we teach them – talk nicely, you don’t have to shout. And we also affirm that s/he is relevant and important as a person because we acknowledge how our behaviour must have affected him/her – not something most of our shouty parents did which is why we now lean to believing the scary lie that we are not important.
In owning our behaviour we are also teaching the most important lesson in the most powerful way – we are responsible for our actions. We create our reality with our choices. As parents know it, understand it and are teaching them about it. That IS our authority. Taking responsibility IS our power.
In those moments you can buy into the shame thing and see it as making yourself small and weak in front of your child OR you can see it as stepping into your true power and earning their respect by living truly and honestly – and teaching them to do the same – again not something many of our shouty parents managed to do for us.
I don’t know about you but when I have seen people genuinely owning something shameful that they have done, even if I am angry or repulsed, I also feel respect and admiration for their courage to own it. I experience that moment as powerful not weak. And I trust them a bit more.
What do you think?
Omg, that last paragraph is SO true. I recently had a friend behave really badly, realize and send me this weak ‘apology’ where their wrongdoing was implied more than acknowledged. They could totally have redeemed their actions by saying, ‘I was an arsehole and I’m really sorry.’ I’m very forgiving like that. Instead, I thought, wow. How cowardly was that. And no, you are right – I don’t trust them anymore. Interesting!! Now I must stop reading you and get to work! 🙂
Yes we really get ‘seen’ in how we deal with conflict hey? That’s one reason our children get to ‘see’ us in all our nitty-gritty.
Now back to work you go :D!