Friday, May 3, 2013

Do you love me when I'm angry?

This post is part of an online exchange that I had with two friends some days ago. The question was about how children deal with their dark emotions like sadness - if they are left on their own (without us trying to fix them).

I grew up as a child with a feeling that all dark, negative emotions had to be pushed aside, got out of quickly and not thought about for long. So I really want to share my response (below and now partly edited) to the above question with others and open out this topic for further thinking and discussion, as I feel it is an important one to think about and understand by looking within.

Anger and sadness have been two emotions that have haunted me very intensely since childhood and something I am still coming to terms with - understanding them and loving them.....I have a long way to go .....but I am more aware of these now...

What I find with my son is most often what I find myself trying to get to terms with...and the closer I get to terms with my dark emotions, the less frequent they are in my world through my son.

Raghav has been showing extreme anger over the last few months, and with my husband, I have been living with it for much much longer. After all these years, it is only now that I realised through my son's words, that I have not been loving this part of son asked me a few weeks ago, after a bout of extreme anger: "Amma, do you love me when I am angry?".....That was what made me look deep within and realise that I was not truly loving that part of him....I was reacting to it with fear and not liking what he was actually feeling. That hit home hard....really hard...and I realised for the first time the root of all was all to do with me!

I grew up with a mother, who I saw as overpowering, mostly irritable or angry and authoritative....I was scared of her as a kid....that is how I remember her first experience of anger was through a little kid, it seemed to me sometimes as if she was killing me with words ....and so came the fear of anger and helplessness of not knowing what to do I think, that plagues me till reflex action to anger is to go away from it all because I don't know how to deal with it or feel scared to face it...but today I am at least aware of it, and I know that these displays of anger are actually perhaps lessons for me to learn from and get over it, and start loving it.

So now, thanks to my son, I know what I have to do...I have to start loving is very very hard for me, but I am trying with all my heart each I am at a stage when I am able to deal with it better when it is just the three of us. But when either of them show anger with people outside the house like on the road, or when my son gets very angry after playing with his friend, I am still figuring out what to do....I feel that it is all to do with our own selves actually....not so much with anyone else. Meditation has miraculously helped me change my responses to these situations.

With anger, I feel that when I am at peace with it, it subsides quite magically on its own! I do also feel that we as homeschoolers, have time to sort out every little thing and emotion.....the precious gift of time in this journey that gives us the space to dwell in an emotion for as long as we want to....

My son often wants to be left alone after an explosive situation...and when he is ready, opens the door for us to go and be with him....for some reason, he perhaps likes to discover his own ways of dealing with things, with us around just accepting his darkest I don't do much, and very often do not even know what to do....sometimes, when he is ok, I hug him and kiss him.....other times, just hold the space from afar.....and many times, I just look into myself to understand myself a little more...many a time, a non-verbal form of communication helps most with him.

It is strange, but just a few days ago, while browsing for something online, I found this lovely way of identifying and dealing with anger in kids (especially those who love Angry Birds), and have adapted it to suit our needs.....the two posters on this link brought a smile to my son's words were exchanged at all between us, just these posters.....and he went on his own and stuck them up on his cupboard! So I think he likes it as it is to do with Angry Birds - his favourite game now.

This is the link I found:

Ever since, he has started clarifying for me, which of the Birds he is, when he is angry - the Red Bird, Chuck, Merdita or the Bomb Bird....goes to his Nest (our bedroom) and soon starts smiling after a mini explosion on the bed that destroys pillows! And I have started loving this little Bird and his anger a little more!

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