If you are reading this you are probably dealing with some kind of destructive behaviors or at least very painful situations with your son or daughter, or maybe a grandchild. They may be abusing substances, hurting themselves (cutting, burning, etc), have an eating disorder, a mental illness (bipolar, depression, an anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder or schizophrenia), suicidal, in jail, or have a sexual identity issue (porn, sex addiction, same sex attraction). You have probably tried to control them, change them, fix them or cure them with no success or lasting results.
You have lost sleep, lost weight, gained weight, become a nervous wreck, called in sick at work, seen a counselor, started taking medication, had fights and disagreements with your spouse, alienated your other children or neglected your own well-being. You are grieving the loss of all you’d hoped and dreamed for for your child. Anger is one of the stages of that grieving process. And besides, a lot of what they do and how they treat you is just downright infuriating! It makes you want to scream and pull your hair out!
I had so much denial in the beginning, then like another mom shares, “suddenly, as the shock wore off and the reality set in—anger. Intense anger. Just wanting to wail, to scream from the depths. There’s no way I could express as much anger as I was feeling.”
We need to let go of our anger or it can build up and make us sick, cause depression and eventually turn into bitterness. We need to find a way that is productive for our inner healing and not be harmful to others around us (our spouse, other children, co-workers, a pet, etc.). To release anger doesn’t mean lashing out, throwing a fit, or losing control of it; releasing anger involves the open and honest expression of our emotions in a way that is physically, mentally, and emotionally freeing.
We can do this by expressing our anger to God in prayer (don’t hold back!). I used to think this was wrong, but I now realize it’s ok. He can take it! And He knows what I’m thinking and feeling anyway. It’s no surprise to him. Sometimes my anger is because of faulty thinking – I did the best I could, thought I did it all right, so why did things turn out like this? I don’t deserve this. It’s not fair! It’s so wrong!
Another way I can express my anger is through exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming, tennis, raquet ball, bike riding, kick boxing (ha!) – whatever you like to do! Passive activities like deep breathing, stretching, masage therapy or quiet time reflections are also effective. These are ways to release a lot of pent up negative energy and feels so good! Just go do it!
We can also release our anger in the presence of a person who will listen quietly and neither judge nor offer advice. Another healthy way is writing down every angry thought that comes to mind until you cannot think of another angry sentence to write. Let it pour out. Then rip it up into little pieces, maybe even burn it – destroy it in any way you want! Flush it down the toilet! (I think it will disintegrate!) It is so very satisfying! Some people find that expressing their anger out loud (and loudly) in a private place is helpful! Yell, scream, shout . . . where no one can hear you so you don’t scare anyone! I’ve done this in my car while driving, as long as no one is right beside me. They might misunderstand what I am doing. You don’t want to get in trouble. Ha!
Authors, Brendan O’Rourke and DeEtte Sauer, of The Hope of a Homecoming, suggest we consider what would happen if we told our child how we feel. Timing is important. Maybe writing it in a letter form and then getting feedback from a trusted friend would be important. Pray about it. Check your motives. It might make things worse. The honesty can be good for our relationship. They may need to hear what you have to say. They tend to be so self-focused. I am not very good at expressing my anger, but I am learning.
I hope you can find the way that works for you to express your anger and get it out. You”ll be amazed at the freedom and relief you will feel. I think the results are a lot like lancing an absessed wound. It lets out all the poison that is infecting your body. Releasing the anger you feel toward your child is so healthy! So freeing. And it can lead us to peace, the peace that surpasses our ability to understand. Being angry isn’t wrong, we just need to find the healthy way to express it. The Bible says, “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger . . .” (Ephesians 4:26). Lord, help us express and work through our anger so we will not suffer from it’s affects.