Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Anger Managment

As a kid, I felt angry at my parents almost all the time.
Mostly, I felt angry about their anger. So, I guess you could say I blamed them.
Now that I have kids, I am angry at them most of the time. I say, in this blaming way, "You make me so angry!" Usually I'm angry about their fights.
So, I think about that and draw a few possible conclusions.
Maybe it's really not anyone else: maybe it's ME. Maybe I am an angry person, and my parents and my kids are not the problem.
Or, perhaps things skip a generation. Maybe I had infuriating people above and below me on the family tree.
Or, maybe we're all alike, my folks, myself, my kids. We're fighters.
Or maybe I'm a wimp, and I need to suck it up, get over myself.
I can accept any of those truths, because I haven't got a clue. I don't know where the anger begins and ends. I know that I feel like I'm losing my mind. I know I want it to stop.
When anger makes me angry, it's the epitome of a vicious cycle.
I know that autism at our house means rage. If you took the anger out of our autism equation -- if my son never screamed and howled and attacked and raged -- we wouldn't have much diagnosis left. We'd spend a lot less time in therapies. We'd have an elementary schools and summer camps willing to take us. The rooster came out of my womb pissed off, and at that moment things came full circle for me -- born into an angry family, raising an angry family.
I am not my parents. My father, an alcoholic, cheated and scammed poor people, cheated and scammed my mother, defrauded the government, and ran for the border. He was a mean drunk. I don't drink, I hate cheating, I over conform to rules, I give to the poor, I do not drink.
My mother was a co-dependent, self-loathing, bitter woman scorned the first 18 years I knew her. I married a kind mind whose only addictions are James Bond films and me.
My parents believed in spanking to teach a lesson, and I believe that hitting your child teachers your child to hit.
So why is it my home today reminds me of the home I fled growing up? It's loud, it's full of conflict, and it makes me angry.
When I was a kid, everyone I knew seemed to have a nicer family than I had. Now that I have kids, everyone I know seems to have happier, sweeter children than I do. That's not a pity party talking. That's my fury. Right now, I'm seething.
Seething makes me sick.


Bobbi said...

I feel that way sometimes too. My Mom yelled a lot and I sometimes do too. I am really trying to watch it and finding other ways to dicipline my kids. ((hugs)) Sometimes anger is really another feeling in disquise. Please give yourself a break. You have a lot on your plate. Maybe talking to a theripist would help you. I see one myself and it makes me feel a lot better.

Christine said...

I've had those same exact feelings. Our childhoods sound pretty similar. I remember thinking I was going to give my kids something very different. And I spent a lot of time amazed at how the fates conspired against me -- the circumstances with my kids are different but the results seemed to be the same: the anger, the yelling. It HAS changed though. I has gotten better. So much better. Mostly now I look at the times when Oliver loses it as a neurological event and that helps me to have more compassion and to react in a different way. It just took me awhile to figure out how to not take it personally because when the screaming used to seem so arbitrary and unpredictable and when I felt so helpless, it took me right back to feelings I thought I had left far behind. You and the rooster will move beyond this. I'm sure of it. In the meantime, just hang in there, okay?

pixiemama said...

We need to talk more often. I know exactly what you mean all the way around. When Foster was a rage-filled toddler, I thought "I am raising my father." And now he is quietly rage-filled. And he scares me even more.

I wrote about (me) seething this morning (or, more specifically, The seether) before I read this.


PBear said...

Kelly's psych made an interesting comment this week - the only person that can make you angry is YOU.

Really drew up short, but it is true; you control your own reactions. The problem with our kids on the spectrum is that they haven't learned to control their reactions.

But believe me, as usual, you aren't alone. Our trip was focused on the total absolute meltdown that he had in school on Monday - for his favorite, most understanding teacher - scared her to death, she'd never seen it before. First time for a total meltdown in middle school - I guess at least we made it to April... :-)