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Co-parenting for Domestic Violence Class 29
Online Co-parenting for Domestic Violence Class Twenty-nine
Anger “Management” for Nurturing Parenting and Healthy Expression
by Yvonne Sinclair M.A., LMFT
The way you express your anger has multiple levels of effect on your child. Your child models his/her behavior after yours. The way you express your anger can keep communication open or close down that avenue. As a co-parent it is imperative you manage your anger in a healthy appropriate manner. This chapter will assist you in that effort. If you are already an appropriate mad person, use this chapter to find any additional tools that will help.
“Management” to some people may mean keeping their anger inside, holding anger in or “stuffing” it. This form of “management” is like blowing a little air into a balloon each time you are frustrated, angry, mad, irritated, or annoyed. Each time you “stuff” your anger you fill the balloon with a little more air. Finally, the balloon will burst just as you may explode with anger or rage. Suddenly you may be expressing anger in a way that hurts others and gets you into trouble. The anger comes out somewhere even when we think we are “controlling” it. It may express itself with physical sickness or emotional pain.
Is anger bad? Anger feels bad! Anger can raise your stress and affect your health, especially when you “manage” your anger by keeping it to yourself. When you “stuff” your angry feelings you are not managing them, this form of anger “management” can jeopardize your health and well-being.
The way you express your anger is learned in your family of origin where you grew up. Do you stuff, or explode, or slam doors, or use your words….these methods are learned from the people who were in charge of modeling anger expression for you when you were growing up. Now, as an adult, you are modeling anger expression for another generation. You are showing the children how to express anger. You can change their anger management by changing your own way of expressing anger.
Some times do you avoid expressing your anger out of need to take care of others? Do you “stuff” your anger or avoid open, honest communication because you feel it will upset the other person? In a later chapter you will learn this behavior is called co-dependent behavior and is not healthy for yourself or others in your relationship. Anger finds a way to come out no matter. It may express itself in a physical illness. It may come out all at once in a rage or angry explosion. Some way anger will find a way to express itself. It can be healthy or unhealthy, you are the one to choose.
Learning to express anger in a way that will be positive for your relationship with your child, new partner, with your ex-partner, and others around you. Learning to make healthy choices about anger expression will not only be good for you, but will also protect the people around you. If you stuff anger, others may sense something is wrong and this may set you up to be avoided or misunderstood. The other people around you only have their imagination to decide why you are upset. This applies expecially to the children. The truth is usually a lot less frightening than what they can imagine.
Sometimes anger expression is avoided for other reasons, like fear of losing control, fear of hurting or offending another person, fear you will be disliked or rejected, fear your partner will no longer like you. Perhaps fear it will be used against you in court.
*Anger is not a bad emotion. Anger is a “normal” emotion.
*Anger feelings are normal. Everyone feels angry at one time or another
*Anger can be controlled. It is easier to control early. You can learn ways to control your anger.
*Ignoring your anger is like blowing air into a balloon. The angry feeling build and build until it explodes.
*Even after you are angry you can control your anger. You can learn to calm down and learn to avoid anger triggers for you.
Anger is a bad feeling emotion. The fact is anger is just an emotion. Anger is not bad or good. Anger just is….emotions are always there. Emotions are like weather they are always present. Sometimes emotions are calm and we don’t notice they are a part of US. Sometimes emotions are like a hurricane and impossible to ignore. Emotions are also our barometer to what is going on around us. Happy….”hey something is going on you like.” Mad….”hey something is going on you do not like.” So if we listen to our emotions we can discover what is going on in our world and what affect the event is having on us.
You can use your anger energy for a positive response. You can notice our anger early and express in a healthy way. This anger “management” allows your body to be clear and then anger does not have a negative effect on your health. If in your family of origin angry meant violence followed. Your partner’s anger belongs to your partner. Remember you are not in charge of making it okay. You do not have to “fix” it. It is not in your basket of issues. You can CARE, you can be there for them, but it is not under your control. As a partner you will want to be there for them, hear them, allow them to express, and if the anger is about your relationship-communicate about resolution. This applies to the children also. Your job as a parent is not to make their life wonderful, it is to give them a safe place to express their emotions. When a child is angry, sad, upset, frustrated, or disappointed it is not your job to remedy that. Allow them their emotions. When you express your emotions in an appropriate healthy manner, including your saddnes, it gives them permission to feel theirs.
Men are sometimes given the message, as they grow up, that the male person in a relationship is responsible for everything….responsible for making sure all works well. Men are sometimes given the message they are responsible for everything running smoothly - The kids, the car, the yard, the house, the finances, and the relationship, etc etc…this is an impossible job for one person. If you were given these messages, male or female, and feel you need to be the one to “fix” everything, your partners anger may be especially troubling for you.
If you “gotta” fix it you will not want to hear about anything you cannot fix. This prevents you from being able to just be there for your partner if they are upset and just need to talk. I would like to suggest you change your personal message to a realistic message. One person cannot and should not be in charge of making everything right for anyone else. So, when you go to the “I gotta fix it” place, tell yourself “I dont't gotta fix anything.” This will help you be there for your partner when they are experiencing anger. Allow them to express without needing to “fix” the situation for them. Even if the anger is about your relationship you do not “gotta” fix it…only be there to communicate about resolution.
Webster defines anger as a noun and meaning a feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment, opposition, and usually showing itself in a desire to fight back at the supposed cause of this feeling.
Anger is not bad….it tells us something is happening that is not good for us. You can learn to use this energy to keep yourself safe or resolve what is not right with your world. When you need to express anger around relationship issues use the communication skills in Co-parenting class-One to keep your discussion on track, calm, and focused.
I have included a quick anger management program for your convenience. Some of the statements may be a review of previous material.
How to cool your jets in seven easy steps. Anger Management made easy.
Anger management designed to help you keep your power and stay cool. “Anger management” to some people may mean keeping his/her anger inside by holding that anger in or “stuffing” it. This form of “management” is like blowing a little air into a balloon each time you are frustrated, angry, mad, irritated, or annoyed. Each time you “stuff” your anger, you fill the balloon with a little more air. Finally, the balloon will burst just as you may explode with anger or rage. Suddenly, you may be expressing anger in a way that hurts others and gets you into trouble. The anger comes out somewhere even when we think we are “controlling” it. It may express itself with physical sickness or emotional pain.
Is anger bad? Anger feels bad! Anger can raise your stress and affect your health, especially when you “manage” your anger by keeping it to yourself. When you “stuff” your angry feelings, you are not managing them. This form of anger “management” can jeopardize your health and well-being. Expressing your anger in a way that does not hurt others, yourself, or get you into trouble is a healthy form anger “management.”
Anger is a bad feeling emotion. The fact is anger is just an emotion. Anger is not bad or good -- anger just is. Emotions are always there. Emotions are like weather; they are always present. Sometimes emotions are calm, and we don’t notice they are a part of us. Sometimes emotions are like a hurricane and impossible to ignore. Emotions are also our barometer to what is going on around us. Happy feelings tell us, "Hey, something you like is going on.” Mad feelings say, "Be aware something is going on, and it is not good for you.” So if we listen to our emotions, we can discover what is going on in our world and what kind of affect the event is having on us.
We have the potential to channel our anger energy into a positive response. We can notice our anger early and express in a healthy way. This anger “management” allows our body to be clear, and then anger does not have a negative effect on our health.
1. Step one to healthy anger management/expression:
Notice your negative emotions. Keep track of each time you are frustrated, angry, mad, annoyed, or irritated. There is no good or bad amount. Again, these feelings just are. The good part is the noticing.
2. Step two to healthy anger management/expression:
Expressing that negative emotion is an important aspect of healthy anger expression. When you begin to notice each time you are having negative feeling that may lead to anger, then you can choose to express those feelings. You can express before you are at the exploding stage. Step two is to express each time you notice a feeling of anger, frustration, or annoyance. Express yourself out loud in some way.
3. Step three to healthy anger management/expression:
A “Time-out” has rules. When we are feeling our anger raise to a point that it will interfere with our communication or calm thinking, taking a "time-out" is a responsible thing to do. Time-out does not mean walking out the door and slamming it behind you, leaving your partner to wonder where you are going and if you are coming back. There is a specific formula or “rules” for time-out so that the time can be a positive action. Time-outs help to establish trust between the partners.
*State you need a time out.
*Make an appointment to return.
*Each partner does something to reduce angry feelings and increase his/her ability to communicate in a productive manner when he/she returns.
*At the appointed time, resolution is attempted again. If one of the partners is not ready, then another appointment time is agreed upon.
4. Step four to healthy anger management/expression:
A healthy way to "manage" your anger is to get physical in order to calm your angry feelings before they build to an explosion. Develop self-soothing plans. Try out different physical activities that help you reduce stress and decide which ones work best for you. Here are a few suggestions:
*Count slowly. Start at ten and count back to one.
5. Step five to healthy anger management/expression:
Physical activity will help us to lower our stress level and reduce the feelings of anger. During the physical activity, what we tell our selves is an important part of reducing the anger. This is our “self-talk.” Keep your self-talk positive and real.
Make a list of positive self-talk statements. Here are some suggestions:
*I don’t need to be right.
*I cannot control anything in the world except myself.
*I have the right to be wrong.
*I have the right to make mistakes.
*Is it time for a time-out?
If your self-talk increases your anger, then it is not working for you. It is not “positive” self talk. Some of the time, self-talk is not based on reality.Sometimes our self-statements can trigger us to continue our anger, so we need to be sure we use the right kind of self-talk.
6 Step six to healthy anger management/expression:
Anger is not wrong. Anger can actually be “good” anger. It is our indicator something is not right in our world. We can use our anger to make changes in our world. Sometimes our anger is justified. Direct your anger towards the right place. When you express your anger directly at the problem, then you can make changes, especially for yourself. Communicate assertively. Keep trying different words and tones until your statements sound and feel the way you would be able to hear them.
7. Step seven to healthy anger management/expression: “Triggers” can increase your vulnerability to becoming angry.
Does coming home to a mess just get you going? Does traffic make you hot? Make a list of the things that “bug” you. Then try to avoid these or make a self-talk list to be more positive for these times. For example, if traffic gets you upset, and it cannot be avoided, then think of the time as your time to listen to your favorite music. Use your trigger situations to take care of yourself.
Remember how old you are is how many years you have been expressing your anger in the old way. Learning new behaviors is hard. So, hang in there. Change will happen. If you put your new tools for anger management in the tool box, then they will not help you change. Get them out and use them. These tools will help make the changes happen. Changing your behaviors will model good behaviors for your children, and give them the message they can change also.
Copyright 2011. All material contained herein is owned and protected. Any attempts to reproduce this information without the express written consent from the owner will be prosecuted.
Congratulations, you are finished with the 29th lesson on domestic violence and co-parenting.
When you complete the four questions for Lesson 29 Quiz you will be automatically given Lesson 30.
LESSON Twenty-nine QUIZ