Saturday, October 1, 2011

Anger, Control and Letting Go

Anjali and I have had some moments over the past week or so... Moments that have REALLY tested my ability to handle getting really angry. Wow, it wasn't always pretty and man did I feel pretty lousy by my reactive response to our moments. Many of these moments happened during our "Anjali plays with water in the sink and Mommy brushes her hair and teeth" process in the mornings. And I noticed how stuck with that particular process I was, even though she was continually acting out during it, screaming "No, it's MY turn to brush my teeth" when it was my turn or vigorously splashing water out of the sink. You may be saying, that's what kids do. And yes, you're right, but she hadn't been doing that. She would play so calmly and nicely in the water and then let me brush her teeth after having her own turn to do it. So finally, in a bit more of stern way than I would have like, I ended the process, quickly turning the water off and telling her in a pretty stern voice, "Ok, we're done. We're done here." And then I moved her to the other room whilst she screamed, "No mommy, no!"

The whole point of this background is to show where I was stuck with my need to control situations and not wanting to change and therefore letting the whole situation get worse and worse until I was kind of crazed with anger. I could only see that process as the only way I could get her hair done and brush her teeth. I was also so stuck and controlling to have her hair done precisely in the way I could do it when she was standing at the sink. After moving her, she was pretty pissed with me so was then on a "No!" rampage for everything we had left to do in our morning routine. Pushing me even deeper in to my need for things to get done and to be done in a certain way. And to top it off, we had a time limit - needed to meet someone or had to be at a class by a certain time. Which for me send me into a bit of panic mode... which meant more stern voices and more "No Mommy!!!!"

With all types of scenarios that exist out there in our routines, our behaviors even our attitudes and beliefs - we can get stuck in them or in a cycle of control for how things should be or should go. When I am in this kind of place I can become incredibly angered and if I don't have enough control, it is in these moments of anger that I can say or do things that I will either immediately or ultimately regret. I ALWAYS regret the not-so-nice things I say to Anjali, usually immediately but always ultimately. But I'd love to get to a place where I could communicate more calmly or recognize sooner when it's time for me to let go! The longest I've gone with staying angry with her has been a couple of hours. But, like I always do after I've reacted way more reactively than I prefer, I sit down with her once we've both calmed down and explained to her why I chose to do what I did, or apologize for what I'd done that was a "mistake" as we call it in our house, and I give her a big hug and a kiss! I feel this is better than not doing it but not nearly as good as handling the situation more calmly. I would still have moved her, but if I'd had more control over my anger and less control over how I thought things should go, then I probably could have changed the scenario without hurting her feelings and without having to felt the rage that built up in me.

As I look back on these moments that she and I have had over the past week-ish, I realize how much of my anger could have been prevented if I had just let go of my preconceived notion of how things should go or be. And if I had recognized that it was time for our process to change or be modified in some way. Letting go is oh so much more difficult to actually do in the heat of an angry moment than when looking back at a situation with 20-20 hindsight, but I have to say, when I meditate, make sure my blood sugar levels are stable and get enough rest, it's so much easier than when even one of those factors aren't present. My goal for this next week is to do my best to recognize when I could be more flexible, how I can change a situation when it is clearly not working and to try to do it all with a calmer, softer voice... we'll see!

Let Go. Let Change.

The picture for this post was from anankkl's profile on Free Digital Photos.

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