The Power of Perspective

power of perspective

Day 26 of the Yelling Less Project

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write any updates from My Yelling Less Project but I’ve had so many realizations from the program that I thought I’d share.

I’ve had quite the roller coaster of emotions going through this program. Every morning I read my new email with my challenge for the day, some encouraging words and a blog post for us to read about how the woman who started this program came to her conclusions. And every morning, I cry.

Some days, I say, “man that’s me” while other days, I feel her pain of trying so hard to be a good mom to her boys. Then when she loses it, I feel the sadness while she shares her story about losing control. I get it. I’m right there with her. Because I’ve acted like that before.

I’m proud to say that I’ve gone 26 days without yelling at my son Jake. Honestly, he hasn’t been here every day as he goes back and forth between his dad’s house and mine. But the days he has been here, I’ve done an awesome job of controlling my temper.

The first thing I learned was to figure out my triggers and how I could make minor changes in my life to fix them. When Jake was a toddler and threw a tantrum, I would ask myself three questions: Is he tired, hungry or bored? With the exception of a few injuries, most of his problems could easily fall into one of these categories. I knew what to do to fix the situation.

When I started to uncover my yelling triggers, they were pretty close to Jake’s.

  • Hungry – I’m terrible about going long periods of time without eating. I remind myself to eat a snack when I’m working in my office or guess what happens around 5pm? I’m so hungry that anything can set me off.
  • Tired – If I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep, I’m a total bear. And I’m not a good napper so it’s best to keep your distance when I haven’t had enough sleep.
  • Stress – This is my version of Jake’s boredom. When I’m stressed working on a project, a client deadline or just dealing with money issues, it takes my emotions to a raw place. I can’t count the number of times I’ve snapped at my son because I was distracted by my own stress.

Interesting how those questions I used with Jake are now turned back on me. Maybe those questions weren’t for him when he was younger. Maybe they were for me so I wouldn’t yell at him. I just didn’t hear the message until now.

My biggest lesson has been about my expectations I have about how Jake should behave. Some days I expect him to act like an adult but forget to tell him what I’m expecting from him. When he doesn’t act like I think he should, it  just leads me down the angry path when all he’s really doing is acting like a kid.

So when he’s not listening to me (which is normal 9 year-old boy behavior!), I have to remind myself that he’s not doing this on purpose to piss me off. He’s tired from a full day at school or is watching one of his shows. I know what it feels like to be tired (see trigger #2) or when I’m interested in something on TV.

My biggest realization came from a moment when he started to fight with me about staying up late. He likes to debate with me and see how far he can push me. This behavior usually ends up with me yelling and leaving both of us with in a room full of bad feelings. When we talked about it, he explained to me why he acts like this and it hit me … he’s acting like his father.

He spends so much time with his dad that he’s picked up this bad characteristic of my ex. When we spar like this, something inside of  me snaps and it feels like I’m dealing with his dad again. I’ve been transferring my angry feelings for his dad on him. THAT was a huge moment for me.

Trust me, not everything has been rainbows and sunshine over here. He pushed me a few times last week. One night, Jake locked me out of his room because he wanted to stay on his computer. He knew I’d shut if off if I came in so he locked the door. When I realized the door was locked, I started my new mantra, “deep breath, deep breath, I will not yell, I will not yell.” And I took several deep breaths and asked him to unlock the door in a stern non-yelling voice.

I got him to let me in and then – without a big yellingfest – he shut down his computer, took a shower and got ready for bed. { Deep breaths, Penney, deep breaths } When he finally went to bed that night, I literally patted myself on the back or really, as far as my arm could reach. Amazing what the power of a new perspective can bring.

I know I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks and I’m sure the older he gets, the more he’ll push me. Because that’s what kids do when they act like kids. I just have to remind myself that these little things that happen aren’t excuse for me to lose it. It’s just not a hill to die on.

What have I really learned this past month? It’s just not worth it to yell. Because, this part of a blog post from the Orange Rhino blog site is what it’s all about. This is it right here:

You asked me a while back, is it worth it? Is it really worth all the extra hard work to not yell? Heck yeah it is. Besides the obvious reasons about how not yelling is better for my children, there is one benefit I never expected. My life feels richer now. I know it sounds hokey, trust me, I know. I am not the first person to call something hokey. But it is true. Because now that I am not yelling, I have shared some truly remarkable moments with my kids that I know wouldn’t have happened pre-challenge because I would have been too busy yelling at them. Tonight I had one of those moments. And just thinking about it, well, it brings tears to my eyes.

Photo credit: Heat Vision

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14 thoughts on “The Power of Perspective

  1. Yay! That’s awesome that you’ve identified some of your triggers, just being aware of them is a good step. I learned to just let T know when I’m cranky, saying it out loud helps us both.

    I’m also bad about forgetting that T is only 14. He’s taller and bigger than I am, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that just because he looks like a grown man, his brain hasn’t caught up with his body.

    So proud of you!! And so happy that you are including us on this part of your journey!

    • Thanks for your support and encouragement. I wasn’t sure if I was going to do any updates but that conversation I had with you from the last post made me think. Maybe other people could benefit from some of the stuff I learned.

      • It helps me, forget about the others! Lol (to the others reading this, I don’t mean it!) Seriously, I think many more people will get something out of your posts than you think. Some of what you’ve talked about has helped reinforce some of my behaviors. Plus, I’m just so proud of you, I know it can’t be easy and it is neat to see how committed you are!

  2. I’m very proud of you, lord knows it’s not easy sometimes. My mantra (which kept me out of jail) was “I am a pillar of strength.” You and Jake will both be better in the end. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for always being here with your support. It’s been interesting thinking about all this stuff and really being honest with myself about where this is coming from. Makes me wonder where all this stuff is going to take me.

  3. This is awesome. It sounds like you have gained a lot of personal insight in addition to the goal of giving up yelling. I hope you are proud of the steps you have taken.
    Has Jake commented on this new you?
    Do you think not yelling has caused you stress – meaning that yelling let you get it out? Does that make sense?

    • Thanks for the encouragement – that means a lot. You knlw, jake has noticed and I’m starting to see changes with him and the way he acts. How cool would that be if all this leads to a better place with us so dealing with him as a teen may not be so rough.

      I know what you meant. Its not that I’ve stopped yelling or getting upset. I still do, I just don’t yell at him. I’ll yell in the car by myself or when I go outside to walk my dog. But I’m not even doing that too much this past week. The challenge teaches you to redirect your frustrations.

  4. Good going Miss Penney!  I used to yell at inanimate objects, until the washing machine got an inferiority complex and stopped working. My son locked me out of his room once… I went to the panel box and popped the circuit breaker to his room!  

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  5. HEY GIRL!!! I have been working on this TO!!! I realize that I run hot internally and when external things hit I just blow up! I’ve been fixing it!! I’ve been watching the shift… Maybe you will like it!

    • Hey there .. are you back from the world of music? How’d it all go?
      That video looked a bit long, I’ll have to try it again when I have more time.

      • It is LONG but you will LOVE IT I promise! Music is at the Mastering house so we will get back on it when we get back on it LOL!!! Photos are next… I hate photos!
        Loved the post happy to come by and see you!

      • I’ll watch it when I get a chance.
        So awesome to hear that everything is moving forward! And photos, ugh … I don’t like taking pictures either.
        Hopefully you’ll be back blogging soon 🙂

      • Well I will be blogging but not for awhile still! IT’s more fun supporting you guys!

  6. Pingback: Start all over again | My journey to live an authentic life

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