My Angers Are Really Angry

We’ve been working hard on behavior around here and it’s not easy.  Anger and frustration are two emotions the Roc can fly to in half a heartbeat.  I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a little bit of hearing over the last couple years due to the volume in our house, I often have a quick vision of my grandfather as I wince, and it makes me smile through the ear piercing pain.  Once upon a time, when I was a little girl we were visiting my grandparents in Ohio and I remember catching my grandfather suddenly reaching for his hearing aide and turning it down.  My rambunctious boy cousins were running and yelling, being boys.  As soon as his fingers drifted down we locked eyes and he quickly smiled, his twinkly blue eyes full of mischief (those sparkly blue eyes have been passed on to the Roc.) I covered my mouth and stifled a giggle feeling like grandpa and I were sharing a little secret.  Now, years later, and well before I actually need one, I regularly wish for my own hearing aide or some sort of volume control in my home.  Ah, the screeching.

Lately, the thing my water obsessed boy loves to do is to make “waterfalls” with blankets, he arranges the blanket to spill over the end of my bed or the couch, and it has to be placed just so…or all hell breaks loose.  We have been working on teaching him how to appropriately gain our attention.  So often when he screams/shrieks/shrills out his frustrations I either come running or yell that I’ll be right there.  Lately we’ve been ignoring him until he uses an inside voice and asks for help, using the magic word, please.  While he was attempting to make his “waterfall” this morning it wasn’t coming out how he wanted it to, and he got upset.  After a bit of screaming before asking me nicely to help him he suddenly demanded that I fold the blanket a certain way using what we refer to as the “nasty voice.”  I walked away knowing that we were going to have another explosion before he was able to get to the point where he could use his “nice voice” to ask me for help again.  He followed me to the kitchen shrieking all the way there and when he failed to get my attention he threw my shoe at me, and it hit me in the back.  I was just as shocked by this behavior as I was by the way he hit me yesterday.  His behavior has been escalating now that he is not getting our attention immediately like he used to.  GC and decided to draw the line at the physical.  We used to send him to his room, but that having no effect we are now having him sit on the stairs.

I told the Roc to take his place on the stairs and he immediately started sprinting for the top, the opposite of where I told him to sit.  I reached out and grabbed his ankle, only wanting to slow him down, but causing him to fall onto his face and scaring him badly.  The instant “child cry” he went into is something I rarely witness.  Usually the Roc is frustrated and angry or calm and happy.  He almost never cries, really cries.  You know, those big crocodile tears and heaving sobs children (and some women..ah hem…me) can produce when truly, truly heart sick sad (usually over something small, but mighty in their minds.)  Without thinking I galloped up the stairs and pulled him onto my lap, facing me, and he threw his arms around my neck and jammed his face into my shoulder, and cried.  I held him tight and rocked him back and forth.  So rare, those moments are so rare, did I mention that?

After some time went by I asked him if he knew why he was sent to sit on the stairs.  “Because I throw’d a shoe at Mommy,” he sniffled while looking sideways, the close proximity to my face too much to bear.  When I told him that throwing objects at people was something bad, very bad, and that he could have really hurt me, his face crumpled and he started with “But!”  I cut him off and said, “It does not matter what your reason is…throwing things at people is never okay.”  We went back and forth a few times, me cutting him off at “But!!”  He cried again and told me that he wasn’t going to tell Daddy…and then he leaned back away from my face and said, “I’m sorry Mommy…My angers are really angry,” while touching his chest with both hands.  “Are they in here?” I asked pointing to his sternum.  “Yes…and, and, and there are a lot of them,” he said.

Who knew anger could be plural?

For once I felt like we were getting somewhere.  He has these wild emotions and hasn’t been able to wrangle them in, gain some control over them for so long now.  But being able to name that overwhelming feeling he had today is the first step to being able to control himself.  It’s baby steps baby, and often as many steps backwards as forwards, but he’s moving, we’re moving along, everyday.

And that deserves some credit.

10 thoughts on “My Angers Are Really Angry

  1. I think that is a huge step – being able to vocalize it. I know how scary the anger outbursts can be, but you’re right to recognize how big it was that he told you how he felt inside. Hold on to that progress while you work through the other hard stuff. you’re such an awesome mom!

  2. That is really a huge step, and I think it will go along way in helping him make better choices when he is angry.

    I have to laugh at the waterfalls thing though. I can’t tell you (don’t need to really LOL) how many times Charlotte has gotten fixated on something that we have to do over and over and over again. Gawd it gets frustrating. But it’s okay in the end because we’re happy they’re playing, right? 🙂

  3. Wow. His ability to articulate how he is feeling is remarkable. You did a great job walking through it with him. You BOTH deserve a lot of credit. Cheers.

  4. That is a HUGE development! I know you’re so proud of Roc for being able to articulate his anger (even if it was after the fact). I’m proud of YOU for how you handled it. You are such a great mom and you help Roc find his way when he’s lost. That’s a tremendous gift.

  5. Sending you a hug. Because no matter what, it’s such a difficult path–two steps forward, one step back–it’s just plain old hard. And sometimes it sucks. But today you did great. And with time and patience and more and more moments like this, you’ll get to a place where it’s not quite so difficult. Don’t you wish someone had a road map with the shortcuts clearly marked? We need shortcuts.

  6. This is gigantic! Hello recognizing his own emotions!! I know how hard the behavior is, and I know the anxiety we have when we know the outburst is coming. I will be honest that while it still turns my stomach to give to D, the Risperdal has helped his frustration and anger issues so much. I don’t nearly walk on egg shells around him as much as I used to. You are an amazing mother and handled the situation so well.

  7. Wow. That is really powerful. Being able to name the anger, and then distance himself from it…anger as a separate (plural) entity, not who he really is…that is big.

    I’m sorry it is so hard sometimes but you are a great mommy, leading him on his way. Remember to breathe, and also to pat yourself on the back for the fantastic job you are doing every day.

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