Thank you for your patience over the past few months when I took a break from this study. I know that several of you (and me too!) have been looking forward to the continuation of this book (and chapter). Please Note: Due to the length of this chapter; it is divided into two blog posts. Click here to read Part 1.
Why do we blow up the way we do? Let’s continue with the remainder Underground Issues that may influence us as Barnhill describes them in chapter four.
4. Mounting Pressures: Cheerios Between Your Toes: There are several things that are just as annoying and frustrating as stepping on a pile of cheerios in the middle of the night.
The Family Schedule: “Most moms…seem to be incredibly busy people with…long list of places to go, things to do, and people to see.” Its no wonder why these moms and their children are wiped out after a busy day. When we allow the busyness of our schedules accumulate it adds unnecessary pressure on husbands, children & moms.
Finances: Julie quotes her friend’s father as saying. “Money isn’t important as long as you have it. When all of sudden you don’t have it–then it becomes very important.” Living pay check to pay check, supporting children, and figuring out the financial priorities for your family always adds to the daily pressure.
Discontentment and the “Shoulds”: “a feeling of discontent is almost alway a first step toward a full-blown eruption. Whenever I start thinking that I am not good enough, that someone has it better than I do, that my children don’t measure up, that my life just hasn’t turned out the way I wanted…it won’t be long before sparks begin to fly…The world should treat me better. I shouldn’t make mistakes. Other people should behave the way I want them to.” Our expectations of how things should be can create many added pressures to life.
The Problem of Inappropriate Guilt: The mothering guilt of what ever happens to our children is “my fault because I’m the mom” would be an example. We are responsible for our children and their upbringing but when the guilt of not being a perfect mom overwhelms us it adds to the pressure.
Anger at People Who Are Not Your Kids: “Yes–we do let our anger toward our husbands [bosses, mothers, etc.] get misdirected toward our children, who happen to be handy and rather defenseless targets…The longer we go along with unresolved anger toward anyone, the more likely we are to unfairly unleash that anger on…our children.”
5. Your Precious Little (or Big!) Trigger Points: CHILDREN! “I have come to believe that in most cases the immediate cause of angry explosions is…well, a child…What is it about our children that sets us off so easily?”
The Things They Do: “In the deepest part of our mother brain, we know that “kids will be kids,” that it’s normal and even healthy for them to make mistakes and act immature and even get themselves into trouble. Yet, those moments when they do just that can trigger such frustration–and lead to volcanic responses from us.” Disobedience which leads to injury, tantrums at scheduled nap times, disrespectful attitudes, fighting with siblings, etc. are all among the list.
The Things They Say: The continuous shouting of “Mom!,” a smart-aleck remark, an argument, a debate, a complaint, etc. all have a way of scraping at our nerves. “There are so many ways our children communicate to us that can trigger potential eruptions, from the first “waaaaa” of infancy through the “whys” of toddlerhood and on into the innocent or defiant “whats” of later childhood and adolescence. The real trick is learning to listen past all those annoying communications and hear the real message behind them, which is “Mom, I love you and I need you.” If we could hear that every time, we could reduce a lot of the pressure potential in what our children say!”
The Way They Are: Do you have a strong willed, high-spirited, self-determined, independent child? Do you have a quiet, detail oriented, emotional child? Do you think any of your children need to be fixed? Slow Down! instead of speeding up, Eat More Slowly! instead of gobbling, Use Indoor Voice! instead of talking loudly, Quit Wiggling! instead of moving constantly, Stop Crying!, Stop Whining!, the list goes on. How many of YOUR strengths and weaknesses do you see in your children? Barnhill quotes a speaker as saying, ” God did not give you your son [or daughter] so you could ‘fix’ him or whip him into shape. God gave you your son [or daughter] to make you more like Jesus.”
Lately, my “Cheerios” have included frustration over our schedules and finances. As some of you may know, I have been trying to homeschool my soon to be 4 year old who has no attention span for school or anything else. I am not very consistent so it make it worse and my husband’s constantly changing work schedule doesn’t help either. Also, in the past 2 weeks, everyone in the household being sick with stomach bugs. Last week, the girls and my husband had a 24 hour stomach bug separately on 3 consecutive days. I got it earlier this week then the girls got a new bug and have been sick for the past 3 days. After 2 weeks of being the one who gets up in the middle of the night to clean the vomit and diarrhea off of children, clothes, beds, and floors–it is no surprise that I caught the second bug too. Equally as frustrating is, again, my husband’s work schedule which causes him to be at work or sleeping during the times I need his help. As far as finances go, we don’t have extra money since coming back to the US because we are getting paid less than we were overseas. Wondering if the savings money we have been dipping into will last until Shane makes rank and we get our tax refund is definitely pressure in our house.
Barnhill points out that “Doctors have noted that children tend to throw temper tantrums for the following reasons: ~They are angry or frustrated because they can’t have something they want. ~They want to get what they want by themselves. ~They want attention. ~They are tired, hungry, or irritable.” How many times are these the reasons why I am blowing up? Pretty often! I think that I need to focus my attention on myself sometimes instead of throwing my frustrations on my children for having the same emotions I do. We all need grace. God is always faithful to extend his grace to me; I need to learn how to extend it to my children sometimes.
Do you have a close friend, spouse, or counselor whom you can share your struggles with? I have been doing the She’s Gonna Blow study with a couple of close friends. We read the chapters then e-mail each other our responses to the questions. We pray for and encourage each other frequently. If you do not, I encourage you to find someone who is willing to hold you accountable with your anger. The more I get angry, the more I get angry at myself for getting angry. Sometimes having someone that I can call to let them know I blew up (again) and then have them pray for me is the best way to move towards healing.
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By Julie Ann Barnhill / Harvest House Publishers
I would love to hear your thoughts and stories if you have ever dealt with anger in your life!
Please feel free to comment on my posts and/or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find links to all posts in this series on the Anger Series Index page.