September 09, 2013

Bad Anger, Good Anger

When I was a kid, we were not allowed to express our anger in healthy ways. We also weren't free to cry openly, but that's another issue. I remember my sister had a mini basketball and hoop for her bedroom door. One day she and my parents got into an argument and she went into her room, shut the door and started throwing the basketball at the hoop, hard. My parents yelled at her and made her stop.

Now in my eyes, throwing a basketball in a closed room doesn't hurt anyone. To me, it's a healthy way to let go of the stress of the situation. My parents took away that outlet for us. We weren't breaking things or punching walls. All we wanted to do was be able to hit a pillow or stomp our feet and we could not do that. So anger and sadness festered inside. I'm sure I'm still paying for that now.

Fast forward to my much more free life, without abuse, and raising my own kid, also without abuse. He is still small, so he doesn't always find the words to express himself, but he can do it in other healthy ways. He started out in more unhealthy ways, like hitting, kicking and biting, but has since started to learn those are not acceptable.

Just as an example, the other night Hubby went to give him his vit D, which is in liquid form. (And before anyone asks, all of us in this house take vit D supplements) They are bubble gum flavoured (well at least the kid's version is. Ours is not :( ). The Little Man was drinking vanilla milk. I can only imagine what a weird flavour combination that would be. Anyway, Hubby often forgets to ask permission first before doing things to the Little Man (he's working on that) and pretty much shoved the oils in his mouth in between sips of milk. You can imagine this bugged the Little Man. He yelled out and started hitting the table. Hubby didn't understand what was wrong, so I explained what the problem probably was. Hubby went and apologized and told him he would not do that again. I went up to the Little Man and praised him for expressing himself in such a good way.

Angry Talk (Comic Style) on

I don't care if he hits a table; a table doesn't feel pain. I only care if he hits a person/animal, and he didn't do that.

So that's how I'm different from my parents. People need ways to be angry safely and without harm. They need prompt and sincere apologies from whoever caused the harm. They need time to calm down and process. And then we can all forgive and go on with life.

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