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Dealing with anger - yours, not theirs for a change. Any tips?

(17 Posts)
flow4 Mon 23-Apr-12 17:37:00

I am sooooo angry with my son. angry I think the basic problem is that I haven't forgiven him for some 'big' stuff (stealing from me; kicking off so violently I had to call the police) and so I have a backlog. Sometimes I feel I'm like a pressure cooker on full heat, and little things will make me boil over. And then, some of his 'little things' don't feel little to me at all, and there's always more to deal with, just as I 'resolve' the last lot of crap. So for example, last night he didn't come home as agreed, woke me at 1:45 to let him in, spent the car journey to college this morning arguing about why that was OK, called me a 'moany sh*t', and walked out of college after I'd spent an hour getting him there. angry

I don't think I shout much, tho' he doesn't agree. I do tell him what I don't like, so I'm a nag (and a 'moany sh*t'). Sanctions are problematic because he can almost always 'trump' me (e.g. not coming home last night was 'revenge' for me telling him off for taking two beers without asking... And if I refuse a lift, he doesn't go to college, etc...). I do have friends I can offload to, but sometimes venting just isn't enough...

I have got my GP to refer me for counselling, but meanwhile, does anyone have any practical tips for dealing with this kind of anger and frustration?

I'm not looking for advice on what to do about him (I have another thread on the go about that, and anyway, I've more-or-less come to terms with the fact that I can't change him) but I do need some practical strategies for how I can deal with my own emotions, and particularly how I can disengage a bit and stop him 'getting to me', or I'll get ill.

Brightspark1 Mon 23-Apr-12 21:35:21

Couldn't let your post go without saying something, even if I can't be much help. I'm seeing a counsellor at the GPs, it's early days, but i find it useful to dump all the anger and frustration on someone else. I find I can say the unsayable and voice the unthinkable.
I also find swimming helps, just thrashing up and down the pool is a physical way of getting rid of the knotty feeling/ volcano that's in my stomach. Do you run or do anything physical? You might find it helps.
Venting it out on here helps too.
Thinking of you

flow4 Mon 23-Apr-12 22:11:54

I should go swimming more often. I have arthritis, so my mobility can be a bit limited, but you're right, it does help, and I'd forgotten. Good to know someone else feels the volcano sometimes too, brightspark. Thanks. smile

teapot5 Tue 24-Apr-12 17:01:09

Flow4, thank you for your post. You expressed EXACTLY what I have been feeling/experiencing. Not in a horrile way, but it's kind of comforting that I'm not alone to feel this. Brightspark is right - physical exercise helps. Weeding, clearning..anything.

flow4 Tue 24-Apr-12 20:24:48

Funnily enough, my bathroom has never been so clean: I spent two hours scrubbing it yesterday, even using bleach on an old toothbrush to get at the grouting between the tiles.

I am even ANGRIER tonight (it's a long story: in a nutshell, he let me drive to his college (to drop him off and pick him up, sit outside for half an hour waiting for him to finish an 'exam', and get 3 members of staff searching for him for me... To finally discover he hadn't been in all day and had 'walked' (again) when I dropped him off this morning angry)

I'm too tired to do any more cleaning tonight tho. I think I will have to resort to alcohol hmm and electronic screaming: AAAAAAAaaAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaAAA!!!!

flow4 Tue 24-Apr-12 20:29:04

Oh. I have just remembered I bought him a punch-bag to deal with his anger and save my walls from any more holes. I think I might use it!!!! grin

teapot5 Tue 24-Apr-12 21:04:26

I thought of a punch-bag myself. Yeah, go for it!! punch!! Safer than resorting to alcohol. But I know what you mean. Like someone posted in another thread something about 'light at the end of the tunnel', one day your DS, my DD and many other monster teens might (no, 'WILL'- I need hope)become human again.

Mumofthreeteens Thu 26-Apr-12 19:58:54

If he doesn't appreciate anything you do for him, doesn't attend college as agreed etc then call his bluff, call it a day and kick him out. Stop being his doormat. He needs to learn boundaries and you don't need to be treated and spoken to in such an appalling manner. He needs to grow up and behave like a decent man. Don't put up with his cr*p. Good luck.

flow4 Thu 26-Apr-12 21:49:43

It isn't, in fact, as simple as that Mumof3. If I kick him out, the only housing options are (a) the sofas of people who are taking drugs, or (b) a particular block of flats where they house single homeless males, most of them drug users. It is likely he will take more drugs too (a friend of his whose mum did chuck him out last year is now waif-like and has been hospitalised several times). It is guaranteed that he will drop out of college, and he will be highly unlikely to get any kind of job. A criminal record becomes a distinct possibility. All the things I struggle with him about - going to college, not doing drugs, being usefully occupied, developing some self-respect and self-discipline, making something of himself - will all get very much worse. And since he is not 18 and I still have parental responsibility for him, I imagine they will get worse for me, as well as him.

So I try to weigh things up, even though nothing balances. There are some clear-cut factors - for example, if he's violent again or steals from me again I will throw him out, because then the risks and damage to me and my younger son are as great as, or greater than, the risks to him. But other things are just not so clear-cut: having him become a homeless drop-out because he hasn't come in at the time we've agreed or because he's shouted at me is often tempting, but not actually good for anyone.

So my line in the sand (as Maryz so eloquently put it) is now right out at sea. But only as far as his behaviour goes: I have no control over what he does, but while he lives with me, I have influence over his beliefs and values.

There is also hope: hope that he will grow up, stop being an arse, 'snap out of it', come through this phase, or whatever - and be the decent, usefully employed, charming young man he very definitely has the potential to be. Throwing him out effectively means giving up hope, which I'm not (yet) ready to do.

I have absolutely no fecking idea whether this is the 'right' thing to do, but it seems to me to be the 'best option', for now. And I don't (just for the record) see myself as a 'doormat' at all: I see myself as the strongest person I know, which is some consolation.

timetosmile Thu 26-Apr-12 21:55:18

Can I suggest you contact Care for the Family? It's a charity based in cardiff but if you google it you'll get the website and they have a helpline for parents.
I went to one of their 'teens' seminars a couple of weeks ago and it was fabulous - really scratched the itch rather than moralising about 'how to have the perfect son'.... mine's not that old yet, but you have my hugest sympathy...its a hard, hard job with not much thanks x

beentheredonethat2 Fri 27-Apr-12 20:54:04

hi,I have just read your post and feel I have to offer my support and sympathy.please read my spiel -(friendly hello from your future )and you will see that I went through the same and mine has turned out better than I ever thought.yours will come right in the end .I considered on a weekly basis(sometimes daily depending on behaviour)about kicking him out.Tough love works ok with some kids but would never have worked with mine.he would have fallen apart and been influenced by any toe rag out there.he would have never survived unscathed.You are doing everything I son crossed the line so far,I gave up even trying.You just do your best to keep him out of trouble,but let him make mistakes and suffer the consequences.dont try protect him any more.I found the more mistakes he made(getting drunk and ending up in hospital/fights ect)the quicker he learnt.knowing I wasn't going to take responsibility or sympathise with him.i just told him straight that it's his fault and no one else's and if that's the life he wants go ahead.
.Keep looking forward and he will change back to the boy you adore.It takes time and he will push you as far to the edge that you can possibly go but it slowly gets better and he will be grateful that you stuck by him.Just remember you are not the only one.thousands of parents are going through exactly the same as you and some even worse!

GnomeDePlume Fri 27-Apr-12 21:25:44

A bit random but here goes...

I play golf from time to time. I dont know if you have ever played but it can be incredibly frustrating. I used to reach club throwing levels of sheer fury. Eventually I realised that I had to learn to control my temper.

My solution was to be outrageously courteous and polite to everybody I met. Sounds mad but it helped hugely. The more frustrated I got the more courteous I became.

It put a huge screen up between me and my anger. I concentrated on being polite rather than dealing with whatever had made me angry.

I know it sounds trite and in no way am I trying to minimise the problems you face. I offer it as an anger management technique rather than a teen management technique!

flow4 Sat 28-Apr-12 00:19:45

Thank you, Time, Beenthere and Gnome, for your helpful, thoughtful answers. G, your suggestion is especially interesting. I use that same 'tactic' often in work and generally, but have never thought to try it with my son... It sounds worth a try... smile

givenup37 Wed 02-May-12 17:40:34

hang on, flow3. Did you say... "he hasn't come in at the time we've agreed". How old is DS? I'd say, get rid of the rules that don't matter, such as curfew times, and focus on the big ones, such as no stealing and or violence. Even - however angry-making it is - ignore shouting. Teens are like toddlers. They just have louder voices now. Each rule you impose you have to enforce (fruitlessly?) and that's unbelievably stressful for you.

flow4 Wed 02-May-12 18:01:45

It's not a curfew time, givenup - he doesn't have a set time to be in, now he's 17. But we do make arrangements, and I do ask him to be in at certain times on certain nights if there's a reason for it: that particular night, I was starting the 2nd week of a new job and he was supposed to be at college at 830am, which meant us being up and out by 745am, so he'd agreed to be in by 1030. I was angry about the broken agreement, and the broken sleep, and getting disturbed by the dog going mad when he finally did come home.

It is an ongoing problem - and I expect it to be worse over the summer when he isn't at college - that he wants to come in later and later, when I have to get up for work. I do expect him to stick to arrangements, if he makes them, and I do want him to respect my need for sleep, especially while I am supporting him!

givenup37 Fri 04-May-12 10:36:27

Yep, DD is 17 - you'd expect them be through all this by now, wouldn't you? I don't impose curfew times on my daughter. As long as she is with a gang of friends, I'm relaxed. I used to stress endlessly about it, until I realised that it was a pointless battle, and i'd rather reserve the battles for any big problems that crop up - college drop-out, drugs etc. Like you, I dread summer. I do think, though, that if you expect respect from your teen, you'll be waiting a long time. And he will never consider your needs. Teens are pathologically selfish and only think of their own, totally unreasonable needs. I've been told that this doesn't last forever by survivors. Roll on 18th birthday.

happygolucky0 Fri 04-May-12 12:41:49

I think just having a chat on forums helps me I also talk to someone online at parentline if I don't feel like I am doing the 'right' thing. It is hard these teens are soooooo frustrating at times. I just wont engage in arguments with mine as it is just a waste of time. I think we only use part of the brain when we are angry so the information wont sink in (its hard at the best of times to get them to listen) iykwim. They will never be wrong arggggggggggg.
The exercising is great.... personally I find it hard to get motivated to exercise when I am stressed. But even for your lad too if you can encourage him too do some sport it will help with his frustration and hopefully improve his mood.
Why is he waking you? Does he have a key? I would say if you want to be out later than the time I am going to sleep me quiet when you arrive home.
If not then a hoovering session around 8am on Sunday morning would help the message to sink in ???
I try and think with don't get mad get even!!! Cruel but it helps me .... good luck hun you sound like a great Mum and don't let those teen hormones bring you down x

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