I am a mother that yells at the father of her children when we argue…. in front of our children! I feel like I’m at an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting, but for people that can’t control their anger, and I needed to make that confession for the world to know. I feared writing that sentence because I think about how J will feel about me sharing this piece of our relationship, but I’m here to be more raw and transparent, so it is what it is I guess.
I remember one situation when I was really young, maybe around 3 or 4 ish, watching my parents arguing and screaming at each other and me sitting on the couch crying and screaming at them just hoping they would stop. Now here I am doing the same thing in front of my kids and I just don’t know how to stop.
My son cried Saturday because when mommy and daddy yell at each other and are mean to each other, it scares him. My heart beats deep because for the last few years, if there were one thing I would change over anything else in the world, it would be this.
I remember when I found out I was having a boy over 6 years ago, the one thing I thought about was how I have this chance to raise a wonderful, caring, sensitive, compassionate, kind, and loving man. I have the chance to raise a MAN! And although I know he is going to be all of those things, I fear that he will get into a relationship and him and his future partner will be yelling at each other in front of their kids and he’ll remember when his mommy and daddy used to do that too.
I notice how this has been a cycle for me. During a point in life, my relationship with my mother shifted and I spent a majority of my teenage and young adult years constantly yelling and arguing with my mother. Maybe that’s just how it is with teenagers but I knew, even back then, that I always wanted things to be different.
My last two serious relationships, this one included, consisted of yelling and screaming at each other during disagreements pretty often. I feel like for the last 15 years of my life, during the time where I have been growing a lot mentally, I have been consistently involved in arguments that include yelling and screaming and sometimes berating each other. It’s what I’ve learned about communication when it comes to disagreements. I’ve learned to defend myself by raising my voice. Before, it was just something I did and how things were. Now, it is something I want to change and learn how to stop.
The crazy thing is, I am not this way in my other relationships at all. At least not to this level. Just sometimes with my mother and most of the times with my boyfriend. The people that are the closest to me of course. I have actually gotten a lot better with my mother over the years but it could be a result of not living in her house anymore.
Because I have been in these relationships where both parties are mutually defensive during arguments to the point of yelling and screaming, I know that if I want to change, I have to teach myself. When I get into arguments like this, it’s with people who reflect the same attitude. I really believe I keep attracting this for the sake of learning the lesson. The time is now!
Over the past few years, my reaction afterwards would always be to run. I always wanted to just leave the relationship because I couldn’t handle fighting this way anymore in front of my son. When I was pregnant I even gave back my engagement ring because I just couldn’t do it anymore (although I do think I was ultra hormonal at the time). Now, especially more lately, I have been trying so hard to use these situations as teachers. To show me what I need to work on. To bring up the places that need healing. I have been trying so hard to control myself. To let down the defense. To be the one that stays calm. To communicate in an open and loving manner. To share when I am feeling unsafe. And for the last two months I have had great effects when approaching situations in that manner. But then once again, the defense strikes full force.
There’s something underneath there that is unresolved and unhealed and I need to figure out how to deal with it…. fast! Having two sons now, this is not what I want them to see and grow up with. It already kills my heart knowing my oldest is already six and seeing it effect him more and more each time. I don’t want him thinking this is the way we should handle our anger or disagreements.
Already I see him get really frustrated and yell and scream at us when he’s mad. I’ve seen some real anger in his face. Telling him that yelling and screaming when he’s mad is not a good way to release his emotions becomes hard when that’s what he’s learning from mommy and daddy. So it’s really up to us to start demonstrating that things should and can be different. I want to stop the cycle. I want to show him more about what LOVE is and how LOVE works.
I know parents have disagreements and they argue and it’s normal for your kids to see that sometimes. And I know that it’s healthy for kids to see you make up and love each other afterwards. But I don’t want to yell and scream and berate anymore. I don’t. I want to show my kids how to handle our emotions effectively. Especially the negative ones. It’s especially healthy to show them LOVING actions versus FiGHTING actions. Because if I have learned anything it’s that fighting just creates more fighting. How parents handle conflict becomes the teacher for how kids will handle conflict.
I remember my cousin telling me last year…. “All kids need to see is that their parents Love and Respect each other… even if they’re not together”.That’s what I want to show our kids. The one thing I don’t want, is them to relate love to unhappiness and hurt. I know sometimes they see love, but because of the frequency in arguments and our inability to express disagreements in other ways, it worries me what their really picking up. Truthfully sometimes I don’t know which way our relationship will go but either way we still need to learn how to love and respect each other, so we need to do that now.
I know there are things I can do to start creating change, so instead of going to a place of habit of wanting to run away and being down on myself, I can focus on what I do know and what I can do. Being that I am in school learning all these awesome tips and skills for loving myself and others, I do have a huge responsibility to be a teacher by my actions.
Although when it happens, I can feel really hopeless and scared, I am still working on self compassionate forgiveness and trying not to judge myself. I know, how I relate to the issue plays the biggest role in what the issue really is.
In these last few days I can really see that how I feel about the situation and myself reflects the size of my faith in God. I want to release the power I give this and let it go to God. I want to be open enough to receive the guidance that I can receive from my higher power. Maybe that means falling to my knees and really surrendering my ego.
I want to learn how to slow down. We don’t give ourselves enough space to breathe and think and that lack of space creates reacting to fast which is the cause of yelling and defending and feeling I have no control over what’s happening. If I can learn to give myself more space between what is happening and reacting, I will be in a better place to choice a better route. Slowing down in other areas can probably influence here too
I can also have open honest talks with our son and see how he feeling. Comfort him and love him. Talk to him about how mommy and daddy are still learning because we weren’t taught. Express the truth and understanding his perception. Letting him know we want to change and showing him its possible. I remember my counselor asking me a while ago “What do you wish would have happened to make you feel better when that was happening with your parents?” and I said “I wish someone would have talked to me and comforted me and helped make me feel better“. I need to do that with my son and I need to do that with the little girl inside of me too.
I’m working on it! and it’s HARD! but I know I can do this. Just send me some light and love please. I need it!
This was a really hard post for me to write and put out there. Admitting the problem is the first step to change. If you are or have gone through this, please let me know how you are handling in the comments below…