Does not being heard make you angry? Do your children push your buttons when they don’t listen?

bitstripslisafuriousIs anger a home wrecker in your family? Do we have any angry Mums in the house?  Are you the shouty shouty family that screams ‘Just do it when I ask you to?’ (after 100 times of asking of course!) or are you the go quiet and sulky types who skulk off to internally stew and seethe?  Maybe you do something else?

This week, I’ve been looking at big emotions.  Not only with my clients,  but also with myself.  You know the ones?  There is a serious meltdown  of tidal wave proportions – tears, shouting, stomping around.  That could be you or your child?! 😉

Some of these tidal waves you will recognise in your child – like hunger or tiredness, but the big bad one: anger, can creep up on us when we are not paying attention.  When I was growing up, our house could be quite an angry one at times (mostly because I was a very angry, volatile and vocal child with an extremely strong will) but more often because anger and other emotions weren’t always expressed.  A lot of keeping a lid on it was to placate each other so we didn’t rock the boat.  However, keeping a lid on it, it turns out, is a recipe for disaster.

What angers us most?

What angers us most in another person is usually an unhealed aspect of ourselves.  If we had resolved our particular issue, we would not be irritated by its reflection back to us.  I’ve found myself getting angry this week and I’ve had 3 clients bring it to the coaching room, so let’s look at it in a bit more detail.

Take my client, let’s call him Ben.  Ben wants a peaceful and calm relationship with his sister although sadly all they seem to do is fight.  When we looked closer at it, he observed that she wanted his attention and when he didn’t want to give it and she didn’t listen to him, he got angry.  Cue lots of fighting and a frazzled Mum who was constantly refereeing.

Take my client, let’s call her Sienna.  Sienna wants a more peaceful and calm relationship with her Mum although sadly they seem to find themselves at odds. When she thinks her Mum doesn’t hear her or believe her, she gets angry. When her Mum feels unheard or like a stuck record, she gets mad too.

bitstripslisastewingTake my good self, when dealing with a client this week who refused to pick up the phone to me, I started to get a little bit frustrated.  Clenched jaw, huffing and puffing.  That type of thing.

It got worse when the client sent emails telling me what she needed to say (and not in response to what I was asking or saying) = NOT LISTENING.  Anyway, I had steam coming out of my ears, a few rude words were uttered, nope shouted.  Underneath my rather childish rant I was desperately trying to explain to this particular parent that her daughter may be angry as she feels “as though you are not listening to her.”  Ironic how I was then starting to feel like her daughter! 🙂 Needless to say, she isn’t a client any more but what I took out of that is that part of me is still unhealed.

Emotions need: a voice, to be heard & validation

I think I’ve said before that if emotions don’t have a voice – labelling them, listening and validating them is key, then they will find a way to come out.  Call that ‘bad’ behaviour or tantrums, whatever you like, they will make your life a misery.  So it’s definitely in your interests and in your child’s interests to make sure they are processed in the right way.   Anger is a healthy emotion as it can tell us when we are being compromised or our boundaries are being invaded.  Used in the right way can lead us towards positive change.  How do you express your anger?

Anger is a healthy emotion so learn how to deal with it

What does your anger tell you?  It’s telling you something.  That something needs to change.  What does your anger look like? Being around somebody that is angry can be terrifying.  When I was a nanny, I often tried to hold a child’s anger and it’s tough. Here is my story that I posted on my Facebook page.  If you haven’t already, you should come over and join us.  I love to chat to  parents and people who are interested in life coaching and do so on a daily basis.


If everybody is shouting then nobody is listening

So the underlying reason for the anger with my clients and myself this week was the not being listened to.  Ooh now there’s a very useful piece of information.  What are we going to do with that?  Right here and now, we can make change.  Nothing will be different if you don’t do one teeny tiny thing to change the way you are now.  Here are my five suggestions that might help stop anger reach boiling point in your house. Not that anger is an emotion that shouldn’t be expressed – it’s just how we do that and matters. If unexpressed, anger turned in ourselves results in illness and often depression.

Step #1 Know your angry triggers

Sienna and her Mum are both examining their angry triggers.  They both also appreciated that they are not ‘morning people’ and are more prone to misunderstandings at that time of day.  If you know when you do something or what starts you off, then you are half way there to stopping it or finding a way to manage it.  My angry triggers apart from not being listened to, are traffic jams, being late, getting things wrong.  What about you?  What about your child?  This will tell you which part of you needs healing.

Step #2  Seek to understand before you make yourself understood

We are all masters of assumption especially if people have previous, we quite naturally judge them on what has gone before.  Whilst this seems like a sensible approach, it doesn’t always work.  It’s important to ask questions (I’ve written a post on becoming a Mummy Detective and how to ask questions) and understanding what is going on before you fly off the handle.

Step # 3  

Stop what you are doing and go to your child

Show them that you are listening.  I wouldn’t (as I witnessed in Sainsbury last week) shout ‘Oi’ across a crowded room in the hope your child will come to you.  Who calls their child Oi anyway? Children if they know you want to speak to them and they don’t want to listen, will run away and then it becomes a big chasing game.  Cue frustration which could result in anger.

Step # 4  Paraphrase and repeat back what you have heard

‘So you lost it and now you are cross with yourself?’ ‘So Mrs Brown shouted at you in front of everybody and you didn’t think it was fair?!’ Show you are listening as we now know, this can create anger in people if they think you are not listening or have misunderstood them.  See point #2

Step # 5 Make it a happy ending

Resolve conflict in your house by drawing a line underneath it and forgiving each other.  Unresolved conflict or conflict that appears to have no proper ending leads to resentment, mistrust and bad feeling.  Cue anger if left to fester for long enough.

I’d be interested to hear what the anger levels are like in your house and how you deal with that.  Put your comments in the box below and if you liked what you read here, share it on Facebook with your friends or Tweet it out. Thanks!

“Anger is love disappointed” —- Unknown


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