Welcome to the third issue of The Apparent Letter. (If you've missed the previous issues you can view them here.)
I get a calm joy from writing this letter. It's a break from the attention-hunting mindset of the internet. As I hand-craft my letter to you, I can be as thoughtful, vulnerable and timid as I want. The feeling is similar to the joy of writing and receiving postcards.
This week I'm offering a new perspective on a sensitive topic. It is a topic we often sweep under the rug, or pretend never happened. Enter: parent's anger.
Anger is hard terrain. We all feel it but it's a bit of a taboo to openly discuss it. We somehow feel stigmatized by our anger, or we think that it's a weakness.
Today, let's have a look at our anger with a different lens: Have you ever considered loving your anger?
"Love my anger?" I can hear you asking. "Why would I love such a harmful thing?"
Here's an excerpt from the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Laura Markham:
"Emotions are useful, like indicator lights on a dashboard. If you saw a blinking red light in your car, you wouldn’t cover it up or tear out the wiring that caused it, right? You would listen to the information and act on it, for instance, by taking your car in for an oil change. The challenge with human emotions is that so often we’re confused about what to do when we feel them."
When you lend an ear to your anger, you quickly realize that one of your limits have been violated. Your body might be trying to tell you:
"Hey, seems like you are under attack!"
"Hey, you're losing power. They don't respect you as much."
"Hey, things have turned out a lot different than you had expected!"
Anger is like a basketball referee with a whistle. It whistles, "Violation!" when our perception tells us our rules have been violated.
Something unacceptable has happened, and our body wants to put a stop to it, or get us out of the situation.
Anger hijacks our brain. It blocks our reasoning. We fail to act like the mature, generous, loving parent that we are.
We want to get rid of it, but we cannot, because (here's the big secret) anger wants to be heard. The more we try to suppress it, the more it roars back. Our body tries to protect us from the perceived threat.
What happens between anger's arrival and departure is what makes all the difference. In those tiny moments, our parenthood walks a thin line.
Anger and violence are two separate things. Anger is not an excuse for violence. Yelling, hitting and passive aggression are our reactions to anger.
When anger arrives we have two options. Take action immediately. Or pause, listen to anger's message, and respond to it.
Anger is neither good, nor bad. It's just there. And it wants to use its voice.
Next time anger visits you, can you listen to what it's trying to say to you? Over time, can you even try to love it?
🥄 Nurturing my favorite moms and dads
This week's theme is learning to love your anger. Here's what I wrote around this topic lately:
What is anger? Why do I experience it as a parent?: We embrace some emotions and suppress others. In this short article I explain what an emotion is and how our tolerance plays a role during difficult emotions.
Why you should love your anger: In this short article, read anger's important message, and understand what it's trying to say to you.
Thank you for reading. ❤️
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Until next Saturday!