Saturday, December 07, 2013

Day 6: Everytime I get angry I...

Take a deep breath... or at least try to ;) !

It was Themed post day again yesterday (Dec 5), and though I missed it as I was hardly at home I had these thoughts bouncing around in my head all day.. let's see if I can make sense out of it all ...

Anger is something I have lived with for much of my life.. recognizing quite early that I was what is called "short-tempered". Though I also learnt early on how to put a lid on it for most purposes, I could never ever master it and it manifested in different ways including quite a tempestuous teenage. I think it always happens that it is those you are closest with that you display your anger on, at least this is how it has always been in my case. This is probably because I know the strength of the relationship I have with this person, and some outbursts along the way are always going to be worked out later.

Once I had kids, I found though that it was just too easy to blow that occasional fuse when they tried my patience. I have questioned myself (A LOT) as to why this was the case, when most adults who know me would probably term me to be quite even-tempered. Maybe it is to do with the strong bond or the fact they NEVER hold it against you and are so loving and affectionate within a few minutes of being scolded, but whatever it was I did not like feeling that way and really needed to change something.

Around this time I came across the Orange Rhino website, which I have mentioned earlier on this blog as I actually took up the challenge mentioned there of going without yelling for a week (to begin with). Yelling of course is subjective and you can choose the index you consider normal, which made sense to me because I believe kids do need to be taught about right and wrong and correcting or disciplining in some situations doesn't constitute being out of control. To me, being out of control was not just a mental feeling but physical as well - feeling breathless, having palpitations, mouth going dry - this level was what I most wanted to avoid. But no, I fell by the wayside within 3 days and wondered if I would ever get there. Since then, I have consciously begun my own version of the challenge, which means trying to control outbursts but also introspecting a lot more when they do happen. I recognize that it is mostly a result of my impatience or expectation, and definitely hardly ever 100% to do with the kids. For example, most morning outbursts can be controlled simply by waking up half an hour earlier and having extra breathing space, but I am oh so NOT a morning person :P.

A friend who was introduced to the Orange Rhino through my  FB timeline took up the challenge around the same time and did a much better job at it ;). You can read her posts here - I found these very introspective and useful too and especially loved the candidness with which she described her thoughts and behaviour.

I would say I am probably 50-60% of the way, and personally I have found humour to work the best in a situation that threatens to become explosive - I cool down trying to find funny words, the kids laugh and calm down and sometimes forget what they were being stubborn about, and of course are most relieved that I have cooled down ;). Leading to exclamations from D "Amma, you are so funny when you are angry!"

About dealing with adults who try my patience, I find that as I grow older, many things don't feel as important as they did to a younger me, and not worth getting angry about :). I have also learnt to back down and out of battles when I feel the familiar anger rising during an interaction, especially when I know that convincing the other person of my point of view is not worth it. This approach, for example, has made me a much more peaceful driver on Bengaluru roads ;).

12 comments:

  1. If it hadn't been for you and the Orange Rhino, I doubt I would have even attempted such a challenge! It had become a way of life, the yelling and the temper and the constant anger. And I was shocked at how frequently it appeared.

    Thanks for the mention and I am constantly in your debt :)

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    1. Hardly any debt involved Shailaja, you've inspired me back equally I would say :).

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  2. Its time I get to the OrangeRhino challenge too :)

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    1. Let me know when you're up to it, maybe doing it together will be the trick for me ;)

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  3. Interesting topic for me too - I had a temper problem after I started working though I was a sober person in my childhood. I think I have got over it almost completely though I don't back off from a situation where you need to raise your voice, but I am calm within and I forget the incident soon after. Earlier my excuse was that it runs in the family(grandfather, mother are perfect temper affected ppl). But I happened to attend some communication effectiveness classes at work which really opened my eyes to the problem at hand. One was based on a book, Adversity Quotient at work and another one was based on Effective Communication(or something on that line). Basically, the AQ folks said people with poor ability to deal with adversity don't have control over their temper when an adverse situation arises and they had some tricks which was pretty useful. The Communication class was in fact more impactful because they went beyond just the peripheral issues, the focus was on relationship and trust. So finally I figured that temper was mine and nobody else can fix it - and made concerted attempt to control myself. It took years to avoid the flare ups, but even now the same thoughts would go through my mind, but I would just keep calm(most of the time). Where I really had a problem was with people like me who had similar temper - there was one boss, and my mother(for her things are worsening as she ages). There the art is to walk away when things are not smelling right. But once you accept it is a problem within, I think you are on the right track and all the best - it is not worth having one!

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing Jayadeep, it's good to hear from someone who has experienced how tough it can be.

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  4. Forgot to mention - I don't remember many instances(maybe one or two) where I lost my cool with my 5+ year old daughter, which many ppl including my wife find it very surprising. Philosophy of "unconditional love" works very well with my daughter. Again, not that I am permissive of anything and everything.

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    1. That is so good to know, wish it worked that way with me :(.

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  5. :) Good one ! Guess ill have to take ONE up soon.

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    1. Thanks for dropping in and commenting Chiya :)

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  6. I need to check out the Orange Rhino. I find I'm most short tempered with the kids... Other times I'm pretty easy going. Either that's because they try my patience most or it's because like you said they love most unconditionally... I do not know... But I do realise I need to relax more with them. The trick is to reprimand them without actually losing it. Hard, it is.

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    1. You have described it so well. I have made good strides in holding on to my patience for other situations, but the kids.. well... tonight was another one when I lost my cool and I kept thinking 5 mins after every yelling session.. Why?

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