Wednesday, December 6, 2017

working on not yelling

After facing the reality of how devastating yelling is to some of my kids, I have consciously cut down on yelling. (I have written about yelling before, but then I slipped, things got crazy again. I am human and imperfect and that was the emotional release shortcut.) It has been very very hard to control myself even when anger seemed justified, even when punishment seemed warranted, even when yelling was a primal scream of despair. One of the consequences of not losing it and not yelling has been how that child has reduced his tone of voice. Because the overall volume has been much lower, he modulated his voice to speak more quietly. His overall tone is so quiet that I often have a hard time hearing what he's saying, so I end up raising my voice to ask him again to speak up...

It seems that I have been the primary source of noise with my children because now I experience other people's elevation of tone or yelling as a physical slap. Probably didn't help that I was belted as a kid, so the body remembers drawing into a panic state because that kind of escalation by another adult would be followed with hitting. Oh no, no childhood abuse, just "I was spanked as a child and I have turned out alright, respectful and all." But now that the gut reaction of recoiling and protecting myself is activated, I am experiencing precisely what my children must have been experiencing all the years and times that I have raised my voice at them in frustration and anger.

And it hurts.

Because I spend so much of my day and emotional energy on controlling myself, I am drained by the evening time, when the rest of the children get concentrated mommy while trying to kick, back, let go, get comfortable and wind down. I have so little emotional reserve left that I end up losing it, either externally or internally. Sometime between 4 and 9 pm, despair sets in, the sort of despair that one experiences while pacing with a baby who just would not sleep. I am drowning while trying to rescue others.

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