Do you struggle with anger? I never knew how angry I was until I had kids. Where on earth was it coming from? Anger isn’t always bad. It tells us a story that something isn’t right. It’s good to pay attention to anger and get curious about what’s underneath. When I’m angry I know I need to take some time on my own to calm down and look to see what the other emotion I’m feeling is: scared? Out of control? Frustrated? Feeling misunderstood? Sad? Often these feelings and experiences show up as anger.
Making sense of our story is the best thing we can do to bring our emotions out of chaos and bring peace into our hearts, which then translates into our home. As I began to journal I discovered why I was always yelling at my husband and kids.
I didn’t feel heard.
Growing up in the 80’s emotions were not something talked about or welcomed. I was a sensitive child with lots of emotions. I was told to hide my sadness, take my anger to my room, and, “For heavens sakes stop drawing attention to yourself with your loud excitement!” Emotions were something I experienced but never learned to process.
I’m going to tell you the greatest thing every single person on the planet needs in order to get a grip on their emotions. Your partner needs this, your kids need this, your coworker needs this, YOU need this. Are you ready?
Everyone needs to FEEL understood.
When we are not understood emotions go WILD. We become someone we don’t recognize. We say hurtful things we don’t mean, we scare those closest to us, we traumatize our children with our wild rage. But when we are UNDERSTOOD, peace floods our soul, we feel surrounded like a warm blanket and we become who we WANT to be.
Digging deeper, it wasn’t just that I didn’t feel heard, I didn’t feel understood. Who did I not feel understood by? My husband. This brought out my UGLY. The deep sadness I felt got buried replaced by a raging anger. I felt out of control. I couldn’t just “turn it off”.
What can YOU do to stop the anger in your home? Check out these three steps and what my husband did:
Work on how to communicate what emotion is under your anger
It’s important for you to discover what’s underneath your anger. There are other emotions at play. What are you really feeling? scared? Out of control? Frustrated? Feeling misunderstood? Sad? When you take a moment to uncover this, you can then communicate with your loved ones, “I know I appear really angry right now but what I really feel is _________________”
This really helps everyone with the next step.
Learn the art of empathy
Empathy is being able to put yourself in other’s shoes. It’s hard to be empathetic towards someone losing their mind in rage. When you can identify what’s really going on underneath your anger and communicate it, your loved ones will find it easier to show you compassion and empathy. We have to help our loved ones understand us, which means we have to seek to understand ourselves first.
You can’t BE understood if you don’t even understand yourself.
Discover how to apologize without saying “sorry”
I would flip out even more when my husband or kids would say “sorry”. It felt to me like their “get out of jail free card”, like they were using it just to shut me up. Their apologies caused me to rage even more when their sorry added a “but”.
“I’m sorry, but _________________”
That “but” took whatever anger I was feeling and multiplied it one hundred times.
I remember one day my husband empathized with me instead of saying sorry. “I can imagine how frustrating that felt”. Wait, what just happened? All my rage began to cease like the sun coming out after a storm. Instead of frustration from another “sorry” I felt UNDERSTOOD, seen, and heard. I felt valued. This is powerful.
“Sorry without action is manipulation” – Dr Caroline Leaf. Empathy puts action to the word “sorry”.
If you want to disarm someone in their rage, avoid the word “sorry” at all costs and just stick to step one and two. And a beautiful thing happens when you empathize: you gain compassion for the other person which leads to a sincere sorry later.
I want you to experience freedom in your relationships
HOW do you experience this kind of freedom?
HOW do you begin to understand yourself, your emotions, be able to communicate them, and empathize?
That is all in my new online course, Take Back Your life.
In this course I explain:
- what boundaries are and aren’t
- how we create them (which is different than you’d expect!)
- foundations for building and creating boundaries that are different than walls
- how to have relationships that feel fulfilling
This isn’t easy for many so I want to help. Along with the course, I am offering personal coaching on creating and keeping boundaries.
If this is you, I want you to know there’s hope for meaningful relationships just waiting for you. Your marriage can thrive, your friendships can be meaningful, and your connection with your kids can be strong. Secure your spot in the course by clicking here if you’re needing that right now in your life and let’s do this together.
Keep being brave,