Why do we get angry, irritated and frustrated with our children and how can we navigate those moments.
My first two years of motherhood felt like bliss and then something happened that I wasn’t prepared for. When the difficult 2-year stage arrived of what we generally call mischief and tantrums, I would have outbursts of anger with my little girl. This made me feel like a failure and a fraud as I considered myself to be a calm and patient mommy and also helped people with their problems as a counselor.
What was happening to me?
This time culminated with some very stressful changes in my life; we moved cities, my partner had to travel abroad for an extended period of time and we were living with family. I realized that I was being hard on myself about my behavior but did not STOP and acknowledge what was going on with me. Looking back at that time it is hard for me to admit how out of touch I was with reality but at the same time I understand because that is what unacknowledged stress and strain can do to us. Many mothers have the unrealistic expectation of themselves to soldier-on no matter what is going on in their lives.
We project our pain onto our children.
My frustrating moments only happened whenever I was not feeling good within myself; overwhelmed, tired, worried, afraid, stressed, hurt or insecure. I had certain needs asking to be met and feelings needing to be acknowledged but instead I was unconsciously trying to shut it all down and projecting that frustration onto my child.
This experience goes even deeper than that. When we are children we have experiences that are upsetting, at the time we do not express and release the emotion and it stays with us unresolved. When we start having frustrating experiences with our own children the unresolved emotion gets triggered. In my case it was the anger I had suppressed from childhood experiences and I was unconsciously repeating what I had internalized.
We all have some emotional baggage from our childhood within us and when we have children it can come to the surface and that is the perfect opportunity to heal. How you do that is by acknowledging your own pain by remembering the experiences you had as a child and releasing the emotion connected to the memories. In addition to that I find it very therapeutic to visualize that the adult you comforts your inner child in challenging moments.