Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Power of Anger

I was 28 when I became pregnant with my first child. It was suppose to be a celebratory time. I've been married for 3 years and starting a family was naturally the next plan. I wanted that child before she even came. Yet in the first few weeks of being pregnant, my excitement was over shadowed by strong emotions that I couldn't decipher. I tried to do the usual task of preparing for a newborn but those turned into anxious activities. Thankfully, I was physically healthy and the baby was healthy. So, I ignored what I felt.

Almost to the end of my pregnancy, I began asking myself questions of how I was truly feeling. I knew I had to face the ugly truth that was blocking the joy I expected to experience. It felt like a shadow following me. But I wasn't able to clearly define it. I thought I was fearful of the unknown of being a new parent. However, weeks before my due date, one family advised me at my baby shower that I shouldn't be worried about the birth process. My anxiety was clearly obvious. I started explaining to her that I didn't have any worries about the birth itself, or the change of schedule, or the sleepless nights ahead of us. I was only worried about the 18 years of this child in my home. And that was the truth.

I didn't expect it to come that clear as an answer. It was truly how I felt since I found out I was bearing a child. Yet, it was so ugly to hear it on my head that I tried to break free from it. I was ashamed of my thoughts. I wanted to be a strong mother who could face anything. I wanted to be fearless. Nevertheless, the truth always breaks free and when it does, it relieves a person from the unknown, by then liberating one's self.

My fear was that I wouldn't be the parent I wanted to be for her. The parent I wish I had. All I knew about parenting was how not to be. To me, that wasn't enough validation that I could do this job.  And the ultimate fear was the hitting and the outrageous spanking I knew all too well from my parents. As I recognized my emotions and validated them, I prayed so hard that I wouldn't be anything close to my parents. I knew that hitting is a boundary I could never cross with my child. 

I've seen anger countless of times. I've heard the punch of the fist in someone's chest many times. I've heard the swoosh of belt into someone's body. I've heard the slaps of anger to someone's face. And I have felt some of those too. I haven't just been an observer, I've experienced them too. Anger that looks like a monster and feels like a monster.

It took lots of therapy after I gave birth to understand all of my fear. It took amounts of courage to dive deep into my past and face what I have been avoiding throughout my adulthood. But the past will always catch up on us, isn't it? I knew that if I truly wanted to be the parent my child deserved, I needed to work harder than most parents.

I learned so many things about anger throughout the years. I knew I have the same temperament as my father. I've felt that consumed anger several times throughout my life. The only difference was, the anger was always towards someone who can defend themselves. It has never been to a powerless child. 

I've learned that there are some types of anger that hijacks me. Too consuming anger that takes hostage over my thoughts and judgment. I lose control. The dragon comes out and none of me exist. I am conscious but I am not strong to make sense of what is right from wrong. 

Life can never be defined to me anything else but a journey through trials, and through ups and downs. Awareness comes from within but it happens because of ones choice. Healing and changing is a choice, a very difficult choice to make. But it is possible.

I've been a parent for a decade now. And I have never hit her once. I've learned to control my anger with the help of therapists and doctors. Every day, every situation, has been a choice. There are only two choices. It is either black or white. I believe that when children are involved and when their emotions, safety and future is at stake, there is no gray scale to choose from. My choices are always simple. Is it Black or White? Do I do what is right and respectful? Or do I disrespect her, violate her boundary and her emotions and safety? 

I don't think I can liberate myself from facing those choices every day until she becomes an adult. It is that critical to me. Puberty is around the corner and no matter how scary that sounds, I somehow feel ready to face it. I will take everything one at a time. I know the signs of my anger. I know myself. I can control myself. I don't know what lies ahead between me and my child, but I know my choices, and that gives me hope that I will always do the right thing.

What to do when one is experiencing strong anger like emotions

1. Recognize your emotions and try to determine exactly how you are feeling. Are there any physical signs occurring? Are you sweating? Are you shaking? Is your jaw clenching? Has your heart rate increased? Does your face feel hot?

2. Try to define the emotions by asking questions to yourself. Questions like, am I feeling irritated, resentment, irked, disrespected or am I feeling rage? 

3. Define it more, what am I exactly angry at?

4. Once it is clearly defined, validate your feelings. You have the right to feel them. 

5. Then decide and make a choice on how to react. We are responsible for our emotions even if we have the right to feel them. 

6. Remind yourself, that it is okay to be angry, it is what you do with that anger that counts. You have choices on how to react right now. Should you delay?

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