On Yelling


t bat

T has been making so much progress lately, as I’ve been sharing. This hasn’t always been true. Growth is never a linear thing. We have gone through the cycle of hope and plateaus and regression so many times that I barely sweat it anymore. So I’m not sure why it should surprise me when I hit a plateau of my own.

I’ve been yelling at T lately. A lot. I’m in a sticky place and I can’t seem to change my lousy behavior, as hard as I try. Or maybe I’m not trying very hard at all. Maybe I’m indulging the outlet, as the alternative seems to be to stuff all the anger, shut down, slam cabinets and rage at my family in a passive way. Which sucks just as much if not more.

The other day, T and I got in a screaming stand-off about which I feel truly ashamed. When it was all over and he was in the other room, I put my face in his pillow so he couldn’t hear me and screamed, “I hate my life,” at the top of my lungs. And I did right then- I felt so out of control and locked into a confrontational dynamic with my son.

I grew up in a family with screaming. It was my model and it became my default mode and it’s going to take a huge internal shift to alter the habit. This morning, I revisited Christine Moers’s therapeutic parenting video about the power of our voices. I am gripping it like a lifeline. I am trying. I am praying. I am still yelling. But if I know anything from being T’s parent, I know that change is possible, especially when you go at it with all your heart, like he does. But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s easy or instant. I have faith I’ll find a way through this thing to the other side.

6 thoughts on “On Yelling

  1. Believing with you! I can honestly say I yell at my son much less now than I did a year ago… but I know that realistically those things can ebb and flow and that I might find myself right back there at some future point. Love this video by Christine. Don’t know if you’ve heard of Dr. Karyn Purvis at TCU, but she’s doing killer research on traumatized children. Tapestry Ministry, a church in TX, creates resources based on her stuff. You could find more by Googling either of them. They’ve been lifesavers for us. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Oh I can SO relate to this. I don’t have kids but I yell at my husband, family & friends. I, too, grew up in a yelling environment and to learn other ways of communicating when I’m angry is a daily struggle. But I’m getting there, and you are too. 🙂 Keep on keepin’ on, as they say. xo

  3. I needed this. It’s been a big struggle for me, and I hate being this out of control. The irony of trying to teach my child how to manage her very deep anger, and control her impulses, when I can’t seem to do it myself is not lost on me. I guess I need to see this as a thing I can change, and summon up that courage… but thanks for making it not a solitary journey.

  4. wonderful, helpful post. I also tend to yell. One thing that has helped me to shut it down is to keep a rubber band on my wrist and snap myself when I snap and yell. You became a mom at a younger age than I did, but I found that the arrival of my adopted children corresponded with the crazy hormonal swings of perimenopause. I think this probably happens to a lot of adoptive moms who start later. Your kids are adjusting to a new home and acting crazy while your hormones are going crazy. I need to write in depth about it sometime. I have found that as my kids have gotten older and we all have more of a groove together, I yell less, but still more than I’d like.

  5. Thank you. As the mother of twins (one with sensory issues that cause relentless whining/tantrums, the other with hyper/impulsive brand of ADHD), and someone who also grew up in a family that screamed, I am right there with you! Trying every day not to yell, so as to not pass it on to my kids. I do succeed on some days, and those are great days no matter what else happens.

  6. Thank you Jillian! I yelled at my dad the other day. It was embarrassing because there were people around , I was in a blind rage, etc. Something I need to work on. By the way I really admire you and am very inspired by your books, and I loved your ted talk! Huge fan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *