Archive for March 27th, 2012
We need to know that parents have good- intentioned attitudes towards anger: They hate it. They are afraid of it. They want to suppress their children’s anger, not for the child’s sake but for their own. They also feel inadequately prepared to cope with anger problems because they never had anger management training. They feel threatened by their children’s anger outbursts. They fear that their inadequacy to cope might be exposed for all to see. They must shut their children up for their own self-preservation. Their attitude is, “What will the neighbor’s think,” as if the neighbors’ opinions were more important than their children’s sanity.
With the best of intentions, they say things like, “Don’t be angry. No one will play with you,” or “Don’t you dare talk to me that way.” They want their children to have peaceful, unruffled lives, free of acrimony, contention, conflict and disputation. In other words, they have zero tolerance for anger in their house and they are proud of it, as if intolerance were a good thing. It is ironic that they try to teach anger modification by screaming in their children’s faces for a half hour or, worse, hitting them with a belt for being angry! This counter productive good intention guarantees their children will beat the crap out of their grandchildren.
The children of such parents often acquire the following attitudes:
“Anger is unacceptable. Therefore, anyone who has anger is unacceptable, too.”
“Unacceptable people can be punished with rejection, invisibility, deprivation, loss of love and abandonment. It’s not worth it.”
“People who get angry are guilty of the crimes of disobedience, displeasing their parents, losing control, and irresponsible behavior.”
“Guilty people deserve to be punished for their crimes.”
“I will avoid painful guilt and punishment by stuffing my anger inside until I can’t stand it anymore. Then I will erupt like a volcano and then repeat the cycle over and over until I die.”
The parents’ mindless intention to bring about Eternal Niceness has the counterproductive effect of putting their children at war with themselves. They have an emotion they are not supposed to have. The parents have created a problem that the children cannot solve in any realistic, effective way.
The children of such parents will grow up to have physical problems such as high blood pressure and a suppressed immune system. They will be prone to such emotional problems as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, and obsessive thinking. These problems, taken together, will shorten their life span and diminish the quality of the life they have.
These maladies are all anger related and could have been forestalled if the children were taught to manage their anger, not suppress it out of fear. Parents can teach their children how to manage this normal but unpleasant aspect of human life on this planet. If we fail to accept this parental responsibility, our children will not have peace of mind in their lifetimes.
We need to know that revenge is often cloaked in the guise of good intentions. Revenge is the marriage of mismanaged anger. The attitude of the righteous avenger is: “You have caused me a grievance. That was wrong of you. I have the right to avenge myself by hurting you back, only more so. That way, you will learn a lesson for the future. You will be a better person. You will be prevented from making this mistake again. It would be wrong of me to let this grievance go unpunished. I would feel guilty and worthless if I were to make that mistake, so I’m not going to make it. Mercy and forgiveness are for wimps, and I am not a wimp.”
Most of the violence in our schools, our mean streets, our bedrooms can be attributed to someone’s mindless good intention to straighten someone out for their own good. Revenge is also a good intention the avenger has for himself. He imagines he can relieve the pain of his anger at the grievance by acting out, getting it out of his system. He often succeeds merely in getting himself suspended, arrested, divorced or shot.
Parents do not teach our young people how to relieve the pain of their anger in more appropriate ways because, once again, they aren’t supposed to be angry in the first place. The parents’ attitude might be: “It’s Mark’s fault for letting the other child’s insult get to him. He has to learn his lessons the hard way just as we did, and look how beautifully we turned out! We did everything we could for that child. We are free to wash our hands of him.” That is a good intention that discouraged parents have for themselves: To stay out of it so they do not become discomfited or inconvenienced in any way. This is how parents avoid tackling problems they feel inadequately prepared to solve. It is called exemption from appropriate responsibility. This parental vacuum is an invitation for the child to take the law into his own hands.
We need to know that we had parents of our own, and that, to the extent they were not perfect, they made mistakes. Some of these mistakes were made with the best of intentions, but they had the effect of reducing the self-respect we were born with. That being the case, it is our right and our responsibility as adults to find out how we lost this all-important attitude towards ourselves and how we can repair the damage now. We can do our own Homeworks. It’s never too late. Will it work? There’s one way to find out.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )