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Buddhism for Mothers: Dealing with Anger

May 16, 2012

I’ve been thinking about this post all week, finding Anger to be a difficult subject.  Right now, I’m typing from the comfort of a porch swing.  Both my children are sweetly sleeping.  I have chamomile tea.  The wind chimes are tinkling.  My husband just brought me a footstool.  And a blanket…  I’m hardly in any position to talk about anger.

Let me take you back to Monday morning.  After B left for work, I went down to the basement to work on the laundry as I usually do.  I pulled the clothes out of the washing machine to put them in the dryer.  This, my friends, is when I found the entire contents of a full pack of gum on the bottom of the washing machine.  GUM!  To say I was annoyed is a bit of an understatement.  (I probably should have just gone directly to the porch swing, hu?)  I’m not an angry person.  In fact, I very rarely describe anything I’m feeling as angry.  I say I’m “upset” or “irritated”, never “angry”.  Mothers aren’t supposed to get angry, are we?

As it turns out, mothers are still human and useless as it is, we sometimes get angry.  One of the most important points I feel is made in this chapter is that anger, although a very strong and sometimes overwhelming emotion, is just as transient as any other.  Stuffing anger down won’t do any good.  Neither will acting on it.  Just as with any other emotion, anger also deserves our recognition.  Observation.  We can then consider our options for dealing with the anger rather than acting on it.

I wish I could tell you I handled the gum situation with poise and grace.  Not so much.  I hope I’ll do better next time.

So, what are your thoughts?

PS  Ch.5:  Worrying About Our Children for next week?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2012 11:16 pm

    Oh, anger is a tough one. I am rarely angry but often “frustrated” I’m not sure there is a huge difference. I liked the idea of focusing on how acting on anger only makes matters worse. Today when I stepped on a Lego for the fifth time I took a very long, very loud breath. My son asked, “What’s wrong mom, are you frustrated?”. I could have used the moment to feel guilty but instead I was proud, we encourage him the take a deep breath when he is frustrated, he was simply recognizing me doing the same.

    • May 18, 2012 8:51 am

      I think she says that frustration is a form of anger. “Frustrated” is probably the word I use most to describe my less than awesome moments.
      How wonderful that you found an opportunity to choose a more positive frame of mind rather than attempt to punish yourself with guilt!

      PS I’ve been popping by your blog, Carla. It’s lovely!

  2. Nancy permalink
    May 17, 2012 8:01 am

    I will admit it…I do get angery. Not often, but I indeed do. As Carla stated, I feel more frustration than anger, and dealing with it is very hard at times. Accepting anger as a normal emoton as any other has been a breath of fresh air! I have always tried my hardest to ignore it and had it labled as a very bad emotion that as a young mom should not have! Psh, who am I kidding! I have been practicing to just accept it as it is and in the moment of feeling it I remind myself that this is ok and it too shall pass! I am so thankful for this chapter on so many levels! It will be revisited Im sure!

    • May 18, 2012 9:08 am

      I admire that you can admit to sometimes feeling angry. It’s so difficult for mothers to admit to struggling with how they feel at times. In my experience, it really is more of a feeling of frustration with a situation than with the child themselves. I believe we fear we will be misunderstood and labeled a “bad mother” if we admit to anything short of perfection and utter bliss… which, let’s face it, just isn’t realistic. And yes, *everything* shall pass.

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