The New York Times has a feature right now called “The Primal Scream.” It’s about working mothers in America. They have a hotline you can call to scream, to vent, to say what you want to say for 1 minute.
What if you could sit down and talk to yourself, the part of yourself who screams, or who wants to scream? What would she say?
What does she want? What does she need? How does she feel? What does she care about? Like, really care about deep down in her soul?
When I first decided to stop yelling, I called it the “Anger bug,” something I wanted to squish, something I had inherited from my dad and granddad.
But over time, I learned that the bug wasn’t something to squish. I had a friend who called it the “wicked witch” instead. That “wicked witch” was a part of me, and ignoring her, trying to squash her, just made her more furious.
I’ve been with many mothers who hate on themselves for yelling. Over and over again, I gently say, “Mama, you did the best you could. You were doing your absolute best in that moment.”
I show that part of themselves some love and attention, and they weep.
The hard part is that many of us who yell didn’t grow up with the most nurturing mothers. It’s hard to nurture yourself when you haven’t experienced a lot of nurturing.
Here’s one thing you can try:
First, think of yourself in a good mom moment, a time when you gently put a Band-Aid on a booboo, a time when you laughed at the mess they made, a time when you stomped on the floor playfully right alongside them.
Now speak to the screamer inside of you. What does she say?
Does she want to stomp her feet? Sweet! That’ll feel good! Let her!
Does she need a good scream? Do it. Go outside and give it a good yell. Or if you’re worried about the neighbors, find a pillow to scream into.
Do you ever see your kids and how they love to scream or be grumpy sometimes?
Pretend for a moment that the screamer inside of you loves to be grumpy and pissed off sometimes. After all, it’s fun to break a dish, especially if you have to wash them!
Can you give yourself permission to break a dish safely? Or perhaps let her write a note about all the stress, all the things she hates, and then burn it (safely in a grill of course). Relish in the sound of breaking glass, or the heat of the flame. Throw your head back and let the wicked witch give a good cackle. Can you hear it? What do you hear in her voice?
Underneath all that stress, all that grumpiness, all of that worry, all of that anger, there’s something very deep.
A deep, deep need.
The need to be heard. To be seen. To be loved.
So if you’re a mom working on her hot temper, that’s what you can do today, even if just for a moment.
Look at that part of yourself and see her. Listen to her. Honor her.
You might find a little love goes a long way.
Contact me to get certified, become a Temper Coach and help other families to stop yelling.