How to get back after losing it????
You know the kind of day when you’re extra reactive and you feel like you are losing it every minute? Everything is incredibly overwhelming and you feel like you can’t stop because everything needs to get done and done right. Like you’re carrying the weight of the world between the children’s needs, the household chores, your job, and somewhere in there, your needs. And, if they would only just listen and do as you tell them, you could put the To-Do List to rest. The type of day when you spend micromanaging every step. Every comment made by them pushes your buttons that you just lose it. A monstrosity erupts from within and you’re yelling, putting in time-out, threatening to take away every toy and future toy that hasn’t been bought yet because they are behaving so, so badly.
These kids. Once the yelling ends, there is this eerie silence. The realization that the mom tantrum is scaring your kids and even you. Did it accomplish anything else? Did it increase the likelihood that their behavior will improve next time? It’s not until you realize that the problem isn’t the child and in reality, it’s your coping skills, this cycle of losing it, apologizing, justifying, losing it again will continue. Children don’t cause you to yell, you’re yelling because something is deeply and painfully being triggered inside of you and you don’t know what to do about it.
Some moms wish to be swallowed up out of shame felt for having lost their right mind and causing such a commotion. The guilt kicks in and they make amends by overcompensating with hugs, kisses, some gift, or activity. Some moms feel justified. The “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you should do x,y,z so I won’t yell next time” speech is rehearsed and regurgitated. Others don’t apologize and go about the rest of the day huffing and puffing and muttering under their breath God knows what. Others do a mix of all three. While others try other methods to cope with the aftermath of their reactions.
Since I work with perfectionists, the topic of losing it is a big one because perfectionists like to believe that their emotional, physical, and psychological bandwidth to handle stress is larger than the rest of the world. However, they come to find out that even though they can handle more than your average Joe, there are still ramifications to overloading on stress. Many perfectionists haven’t learned how to set proper boundaries. They struggle with coping, let alone recognizing feeling overwhelmed and angry until it’s too late.
When being the perfect parent is at the crux of the relationship, there is already an acute sensitivity to the intricacies of the relationship, reflective of achieving perfection, not on the child’s well-being. There is an emphasis on the parent’s responsibility to create the perfect happy life for their child, which is just impossible. This may render that parent more likely to get stressed out and rage when things don’t work out as they planned. You may be thinking this is ludicrous because everything that a perfectionist parent does is for the well-being of their child. Yes, despite that being the mindset, if the parent’s actions were solely done for the well-being of the child, there would be no overwhelming anger when every task isn’t completed. The reality is, that kids need love and respect. How each parent interprets these two tenets is where it gets complicated and where many parents overdo it.
Back in 2013, I was introduced to the RIE method of parenting by reading Janet Lansbury’s blog on yelling and her books. RIE is aligned with my training in Infant Mental Health and I appreciate many of its teachings in guiding parents to raise their infants and little ones with respect and autonomy. If you find yourself feeling enraged, engulfed by motherhood, you are not alone. Resources are available to help you. Send me a message if you need help finding a way to raise your kids without feeling like you’re on the brink of losing it. If you are worried about your safety or those of your children, please reach out for help.