I have a really bad temper...and hate myself for it(26 Posts)
I have two gorgeous boys (3 & 7), who are for the most part well behaved and get on with what they've been told. Of course, since boys will be boys, I do know to expect boisterous behaviour whenever it strikes! But this isn't about them, its about my god-awful temper.
I go from 0-100mph in a matter of seconds and literally scream at them for things that are not at all 'bad' (basically disproportionate responses on my part - undeserved most of the time). I dont mean the odd shouting episode - I mean at least twice a day and proper crazed screeching. I have a particular issue with regards bedtimes and meal times. My poor DH is hugely supportive and a hands-on dad, and is always encouraging me to hold it down with the anger by suggesting different ways and means of coping with my anger.
I hate what I'm doing to them and it hurts like hell to know that I'm most likely psychologically damaging them. I dont want them to grow up remembering their childhood like this. I know as a parent I'm mimicing how my mother used to scream uncontrollably at us as children and how my dad was anal about bedtimes, but I genuinely do not hold any grudges against them as they went through enormous traumatic episodes together and despite this, gave us a very loving and idyllic childhood in many respects.
I just want to break this cycle and havent a clue how to do this. I have no underlying issues to pin this on (bad marriage/financial/family relations etc...) . Just my inability to control myself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated - please do not suggest anger management/counselling as these means are not available where im currently living.
Thanks in advance.
Are you sure there are no underlying issues?
Well I would have thought the underlying issue here is that you are copying your parents behaviour, one of my parents was v shouty and lost temper easily in certain situations (e.g rushing to get ready for school). I have a tendency now unfortunately to do the same.
By bedtime you are knackered so more likely to kick off anway. Try and identify ways to ease off the pressure on yourself at those times - so knock bath on the head a few nights a week, put one in front of TV while you get the other one ready, could DH do the bedtime some nights e.g. weekends. Mealtimes - do slow cooker / batch cook easy to defrost stuff like spag bol. Let them eat in front of TV some nights. Have a cold / picnic lunch for dinner in the sitting room some nights.
I found removing the background noise in my danger times incredibly helpful -turn radio off or put it on something really soothing like classical. Separate the children as much as possible at the difficult times, would a later bedtime for the older boy be helpful.
You coudl imagine there is a TV camera or child's teacher in the room, may help you remember your best parenting skills! I sometimes have an elastic band on my wrist (actually for keeping off fags) that I occassionally flick when I'm about to lose it. Walk away and leave them if you start to kick off then when you come back explain you were trying to calm down as you didn't want to shout. If you do lose it, apologise to them properly.
If you have access to homestart, consider referring yourself to them, I think you still could if you have a 3 year old. There is still time to change without leaving lasting damage.
Thank you so much for your replies.
At Northern & M&M - you're probably right, but these are internal struggles that I battle with. Nothing big or outrageous enough to justify my outbursts. Regards these internal issues, they are fairly typical - extremely bored with day to day mundane chores, feel like any ambition/potential I had has been zapped away, feel so disinterested with playing/engaging with my kids that I end up disliking myself even more. Its a bit of a vicious cycle.
At Combine - thank you for all your positive advice and tips.
Re the background noise, we don't have a TV (good/bad thing - cant work out which) nor radio. So background noise is not really an issue as far as I can tell.
DH, bless him, already helps as much as he can with bedtimes, but does have a very demanding job.
I generally dont do time-consuming dinners, and in most cases its ready in advance, with me having to do very little by way of prep just before dinner.
I have tried to imagine being watched,(it certainly is revealing that when we have guests over to stay I NEVER lose my temper) but it hasnt worked for me beyond 1/2 attempts, and in any case, when I'm going off, I dont stop to think. I will definitely be trying that rubber band across my wrist technique. Thanks again.
Issues don't have to be huge to cause you to lose your temper. I would say feeling bored day to day could be a big trigger as you clearly will feel frustrated and if prone to communicating these through anger then that may be your answer. It sounds like you might need to look at what you can do to make life feel more interesting - do you work? have hobbys? have good friends?
I wonder if there is a deeper feeling that you are not a good Mum for whatever reason?
My parents weren't shouty but I am at times (and I don't like myself for it).......and I have a DS........and I like routine & discipline. Don't beat yourself up too much, I've discovered there are lots of Mums out there trying to maintain a certain level of decorum/decency but many loose it occasionally.
i'm going through a very similar thing at the moment. I behave almost exactly the same as you OP and also copying my parents behaviour which really upsets me because i have vivid memories of how i felt as a child. I did some soul searching and have nearly phoned the health visitor for a home visit several times but have realised i am really stressed so am going to try and deal with that and see if things improve. i didn't think it was/is stress but did some reading and thinking and fit the bill quite well so think that must be it. i'm not really sure what to do about it though. i'm feeling a lot better just recognising what the problem is and talking about it but it's not really solving the issue. i've talked it through with dh and talked about counselling. i need to change the way i respond in certain situations which is so hard to do. i feel like an addict and can't change/stop. i'm hoping that it is just stress related so trying to come up with bit of a plan to deal with that.
one of the things that helps is to go out a lot so i'm in public with my kids, then i am a much better parent and focus on my kids more. my particular issue is getting out the house, particularly for a certain time! so by trying to do something positive to stop it, i'm putting myself in a situation that makes it works . i have spoken to my mum a bit about it as she went through a similar phase and she has also recommended counselling so maybe that is the right thing to do.
Again, thanks for all the responses.
Northern - I have started home tutoring as my younger one started nursery not too long ago. I'm in fairly good contact with my family and friends. As far as hobbies go - I have a really bad habit of not sticking to things - only seem to be good at putting my mind to short-term projects, where there is a finite end point IYSWIM. But I will delve into this and attempt a re-hash at something. Its worth a shot.
You have hit the nail on the head re not feeling like a good mum. I do have perfectionist tendencies, and this is a huge problem because of what this leads to. I end up thinking that there's no point in doing 'x,'z' or 'z' since I wont do it well.
Its probably a combination of that and the boredom aspect I suspect which fuels part of my rage. Leaving university I had always thought I was going to do great things (such youthful optimism?!) but quickly and easily came round to the idea that being a mother was going to be just as fulfilling.
sadly it doesnt feel that way anymore.
thanks orienteerer - but if it was occasionally, I wouldnt think there was a problem TBH.
at naturalbaby - sounds like you're making really positive steps. Its encouraging that you're able to think it through and map it out in your head. My mum also knows about this and is very supportive. I hope you get your counselling soon. Like I said earlier, its not available where I am, else I would have been there like a shot.
Sounds like you need to be easier on yourself too.
How come there's no counselling available where you are (middle of nowhere/outer hebrides?!) i still haven't got round to taking a proper step yet so make all these plans but don't often go through with them
oh how i could have written the original post. I came on here to look for advice re this type of thing. I have taken the plunge and am going to see my doctor this week as i feel at my witts end and i just don't know which way to turn for help. DH and I are really struggle with DS1 6.9 behaviour and my relationship with him is on a downword spiral and the more i pull away the worse his behavuour gets and therefore the more i pull away....i too go from 0.to 100 in a nano second. I am totoally ashamed to admit it but this morning i asked him if he still wanted me to be here when he came home from school as i just can't cope with him at the minute. I have no pateince, cry all the time, snap at my boys and am an all round crap mother..
Sorry i had no intention of hyjacking this threat, but once i started...
Incrediblehulk, you sound like you are making a godd start
pms, menopause, too much alcohol night before, dissatisfaction with life, dieting, keeping too much bottled up, tiredness, frustration.......
thanks mumsiepie - i undergo jekyll/hyde type transformation in the days leading up to my period, where the anger issue is so much worse its horrid.
i don't diet, can't as cannot resist my sweet tooth! trying to shift some weight, but its not an immediate concern and certainly doesnt contribute to explaining my fits of rage. again, its probably the whole frustration/dissatisfaction with life scenario, but buried down there on a subconscious level.
naturalbaby - my husband works abroad. the country where we are doesn't provide these kinds of services. Moreover, they dont even recognise these sorts of issues.
wineismyfriend - no apologies necessary, its always comforting to know that you're not the only out there. you mention your DS's behaviour - can you elaborate?
oh bummer incredible hulk! so if you're abroad then not many extra pairs of hands to give you some time off? i did a bit of yoga yesterday and have made dh promise we can sit down once a week and chat about stuff and make a plan, then review next week! then i have things written down and have to do it. i'm hoping it's just stress that can be sorted with a bit of 'me' time and relaxation.
I'm someone else who could have written your post a couple of years ago. Was really shouty, most of the time, unpredictably and very quickly. Things are really good now. I have to say I had four sessions of counselling, cbt style, provided by gp. I imagine it is a requirement that they offer something of similar nature, even if not full on anger management. I really looked for triggers, which for me were tiredness, hunger, untidiness, hurrying and addressed these as much as I could. I also used some of the techniques from "how to talk so children will listen and listen so children will talk" especially letting dd know how much patience I had left! I would also tell her that I needed to eat breakfast or I would be grumpy. By telling her I also kind of told myself. Little by little, I found I melted down less often and less severely. Now, I am over 40 weeks pregnant, very tired and managing dd, 5 and 2.5 year old ds and I must have a melt down maybe once a month. The biggest thing the counselling did for me was to let me know I wasn't to blame, which is different from saying o didn't need to take responsibility for improving the situation. There was lots of stuff going on jn my life that had got inthe way of being calm and productive and left me with a " you're a rubbish mum" voice in my head. I've more or less shut that voice up now.
Anyway, you're not alone and things can improve. It's so difficult looking after little ones with a calm temper. Dh at home or colleagues at work would recognise "she'd having a bad day best leave well alone" signals there small children just can't or don't.
Hang on jn there and know it will get better because you live yourself and your children and clearly don't want to live like this.
Are you hungry when this happens? I find I lose it with the kids when I haven't eaten - hence kids teatime/ post school worst time. I know I should snack mid afternoon to prevent this ( I don't always manage). The same annoying behaviour from the kids doesn't faze me if I have managed a sneaky piece of toast before having to deal with them after work.
Hormoneoverload thanks for writing that, I keep dithering over the phone to get some counselling so will try and get onto it now.
this may sound flippant but i do mean it.. (probably won't go down well with alot!) but why don't you get a tv?? when you feel like you're getting stressed out with the kids, stick the telly on for them to watch while you have a cup of tea (or vodka!) and calm down?
also, do you get any "me time" just for you to unwind? everyone needs it so try to make sure you do!
oh and don't worry too much about shouting, it probably doesn't even phase the kids and they'll forget about way before you do
I totally agree with lollipoppet. It will not hurt your children to have 45 minutes per day of good quality television while you sit and have a cup of tea in peace. It will certainly hurt them less than being screamed at.
not much 'me time' here which is part of the problem, but it is scheduled for this weekend!
i have a lot of strategies for dealing with it but they're not working - my main problem is i'm over run with kids so my bad temper flares when i'm trying to get all of them (and me) fed, watered and to the toilet so we can go out (to do a nice child-centred activity!). i am super organised to the minutest detail, i go over everything to prepare and avoid certain triggers but i know deep down i have anger management issues and am very stressed/possibly depressed. if it was as simple as having a bite to eat, a good nights sleep and putting cbeebies on then i wouldn't be phoning the gp in the morning to admit how bad things are.
try saying what you want to shout
tone down the noise factor and the effect is lessened
I have a short fuse as well.
When I was attempting to toilet train ds I was pathetically easily wound up..totally useless.\I delegated the job to dh to minimise the trauma to poor ds.
I am a nurse and obviously HAVE to be patient..this is my main problem when it comes to blowing my fuse. At work I talk to myself in my head and count to ten... simple but works for me.
Borderline high blood pressure btw
Too much caffeine (chocolate? coffee?) can make you have mood swings and be prone to irritable rage. Depression can also do the same ( it doesn't always manifest as sadness). Are you able to fit in any exercise? It can really do wonders for your mood; I know I'm much more snappy on the days when I can't get out for a run or long walk.
weirdly my blood pressure is lower than average!
i only realised recently that i get really grumpy and moody after a tea/coffee but tried a couple of days without last week to see if it made a difference to my bf baby and i got horrible headaches! i try and time it so i have caffeine when i've got time to process it after if that makes sense?!
i have 3 under 3's and a lot of help as/when i need it, but often cope better when i'm on my own so i can get on with things. am a control freak!
i can't survive long without exercise so do a lot but am bf so can't do too much.
thanks for the advice, sorry for hijacking incrediblehulk!
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