One of the most important lessons I learned as a foster parent was how angry words, curses, threats, swear word were all too often the trigger that lead to violence. The violence level among our foster children dropped by 90% when we got tough on langauge. Tough meant going to your room to cool off and the loss of bonus allowance for good behavior.
I eventually figured out at least one of the reasons why. As many remind us, being heard, having your pain acknowledged is a basic human need. Pain often gets covered by anger and angry words or angry acts. When one’s early expressions of pain are ignored, anger escalates.
As a therapist when we became foster parents, I suggested we ignore angry words and deal only with angry acts. Bedlam emerged. Then my practical husband, and a dog whisperer, reminded me when a dog growls if you do not heed the growl you will get bitten. Angry words are the way people growl.
Now the trick becomes how to let the angry person know you have heard. Not easy. But for our foster kids it seemed to be enough to send them to their rooms to calm down. It also helped to say, “I hear your anger, but use it to make things right, not worse.”
An Emotional Fitness Exercise: Start noticing your tendency to curse or swear. Then think about its effect on you. Do you get calmer? Good. Do you stay locked in anger? Not so good. Do you end up doing things you regret? Bad. Learn from the bad.
Next step, take a time out.
Then, use the time out to cool off and self-sooth.
When calm think of a positive way to make things better and that usually involves remembering what matters and practicing kindness.
Emotional Fitness Tip
My eBook, Self-soothing To Create Calm In Your Life remains on sale and is a perfect gift for those who get red in the face from arguing things that do not matter. Buy one for you and one as a gift and you are spending less than a movie ticket.
Thank you for all you do
Remember to share all you find of value on the internet. All who post crave recognition. A like says “Thank You.” Comments say you have read and thought about the post. Sharing is a gift to three people: the blogger, the people you share with, and you for your kindness blesses you.
Stay strong, it takes some effort for life can be a painful struggle.
Post Inspiration: This post was not inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt: Mythical. However one of the harmful myths of our time is that expressing anger is good for your body and being. That is only true when the anger is expressed wisely.
Links of Interest
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- The five components of emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
- About Emotional Fitness Training (emotionalfitnesstraining.com)
- An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents (amazon.com)
Disclaimer two: Take all advice even mine, carefully. Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart. Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others. As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.
Disclaimer three: Forgive my grammatical errors
If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here; I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what like me. Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability, Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense. If you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, stop reading, I will understand.