How I Overcame My Anger To Help My Family


“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.”

Eckhart Tolle

As a special-needs parent, it feels that I am in constant anger and fight mode.

I am fighting with my children on the home front.

I am fighting for their right to get access to services.

I am fighting for their acceptance.

I am fighting for my children to help them make progress.

To be in constant fight mode can be overwhelming and exhausting.

In my weakness, I let my emotions get the best of me.

I lose my temper with my loved ones.

The One Thing I Regret Saying To My Daughter

A particular incident that took place many years ago stands out in my mind to this date.

The principal of my daughter’s school told me she was causing lots of problems in school. Her behaviour was disturbing her classmates, and many parents had complaints about it.

“We feel that this school is not suitable for her and it would be best to find her another school,” said the principal.

I fought with the school to let her stay. This was the third school we had to fight with for her acceptance.

I felt that I was coming to another dead end.

After that meeting, I headed back home and was greeted with an onslaught of screaming and shouting children.

Adding to that chaos, my daughter poured out the contents of every toiletry bottle she could find into the bathtub. It is incredible how much children can do given one minute unsupervised.

At that very moment, I snapped and yelled.

“What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you?”

“Why are you always wrecking the house?”

“Why can’t I have a moment of peace without you causing any trouble?”

“I did not sign up for this!”

“I don’t want you!”

My non-verbal daughter stood frozen. I saw fear in her eyes. She felt every ounce of anger I had in me then.

Why Yelling Further Delays A Child’s Development

When children misbehave, yelling at them seems like a natural response. We feel that when we yell at them, we get their attention, we are disciplining them. But in reality, yelling can have long term detrimental effects on our kids.

None of us likes to be yelled at, and by yelling at our children; they are more likely to shut down instead of listening. That is not an ideal way to communicate.

For children on the spectrum, yelling can be detrimental as it may result in them retreating into their own world and not engaging with other people even more.

The more we connect and engage with them, the more they can thrive and grow. Hence, yelling can never be a means to “discipline” our children, regardless of how stressful and frustrated we may feel at that moment.

Not Yelling — Easier Said Than Done

Trust me. No one understands this more than I do.

When you are stressed and frustrated in every possible direction; releasing all that angry pent-up emotions seems like the only solution forward.

I struggle at managing my anger. There are so many times I find myself regretting the way I spoke and raised my voice to my loved ones.

With each angry word exchanged, I see my daughter retreating into her own world, and it pains me so much. Her mother caused all of that.

The truth is, I am not angry with my daughter for the silly things she has done.

It is not her fault.

My beautiful daughter is not making life difficult for me, she is having a difficult time.

For her sake, I know that I have to find a positive way to deal with my anger issues.

I needed to help myself so that I could help her.

Anger Is Just A Mask For Another Emotion

Anger never comes by itself. It is always attached to another emotion.

Anger is often a secondary emotion. It is a mask that covers a deeper feeling that I am unwilling to address.

Behind my anger is a reflection of my fears, frustration and insecurities.

More than often, I realized that my anger stems from my inability to control what is outside of us.

I am unable to change the school’s decision not to accept her.

My daughter is unable to receive decent therapy support in our home country.

Instead, I have to be my daughter’s therapist; and felt insecure about my abilities to help her then.

All these overwhelming feelings of being frustrated, being unfairly treated, not being respected, triggered the anger inside of me. Unfortunately, my poor daughter had to bear the angry burns of her hot-headed mother.

How I Address the Real Meaning of My Anger

What am I feeling now?

“I am angry.”

By telling myself that I am angry helps me to calm down.

It is essential to recognize and feel the anger in these situations. By addressing it, I am acknowledging that I matter and prompts me to take a more in-depth look at what is going on behind the scenes.

Identify the emotion behind the anger

What am I feeling besides the anger?

“I am feeling rejected by what the school has done, and I am also feeling anxious if I can find and have the time to find another school for my daughter.”

My anger is trying to tell me something. Once I listened to it, I was in a better place to understand the situation and move forward towards the healing process.

The more clarity I get for why I am angry and acknowledge those emotions, my anger will have less effect on me. By gaining more clarity, I can also find productive solutions to solve them.

Family Vacation in Varberg, Sweden

7 Ways How I Manage My Anger

1. Replace negative affirmation with positive ones.

I realize that my attitude matters how I interpret the circumstances I find myself in. It impacts my thoughts, energy and above all, the actions I take.

Many of my anger and frustration can be better managed when I replace my negative affirmation with the power of a positive mindset.

Instead of saying,” My child is a brat who doesn’t listen and is all out to make my life miserable.”

I would try to say,” My child doesn’t quite understand what I’m trying to tell her. I need to demonstrate to her what she is required to do.”

By reframing my thought process, how I describe my children and problems more positively, I can see things with acceptance, compassion, and empathy.

2. Identify common anger triggers

What situations typically trigger bad moods?

The more I can identify my common triggers, the more I can mentally prepare myself prior to the event.

I start by visualizing a typical scenario and ask myself how I can respond to it differently. The more I practice this visualization, the more I can react to such situations more appropriately.

It also helps to journal down what times and moments cause these triggers.

3. Practice some relaxation/calming exercises

Using simple relaxation and calming strategies helps me soothe those angry feelings.

Some common relaxation exercises: –

  • Have a cup of tea
  • Breathing techniques
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Listening to music
  • Exercising
  • Stress-relief tools (e.g. stress ball)

For us, homework and therapy times at home have been more pleasant for me and the children. By meditating for 5-minutes before homework, takes away any lingering frustrations and stress that is on my mind.

4. Focus on the solution, not the problem

All too often, when a problem occurs, I tend to focus on the negative situation, and this puts me in a bad mood.

When we face problems, we continue to do the things that do not work until we dwell in a feeling of negativity.

The truth is, doing the same wrong thing over and over again, is not going to make things better, even at the 100th time.

I resolve more things when I focus more on the solution and not the problem.

To start, I do not just react, but instead, I take the time to fully analyse the problem and make a list of possible solutions.

My family builds on things of what is right and not what is wrong.

When we do this, we are taking proactive steps in improving our lives. We are no longer reacting to our circumstances.

5. Find humor in the situation

Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

Finding humour in conflict can be both relieving and empowering.

I was in the car when my daughter started to scream and cry suddenly. I stopped the car and asked her what the matter was; no amount of coaxing, hugs and bribes {sweets} was able to calm her down.

I was feeling stress with the situation, so in desperation, I made funny faces and fart noises at her; and she laughed hysterically. After a good laugh, my daughter explained that she was angry with me because I promised her earlier that I would bring her to the shop, but instead was driving towards the direction of home.

If I had responded in anger then, I would not be in a position of empathy to help her; and the mystery to her emotional outburst would remain unsolved.

6. Take a time-out

When I sense a wave of anger coming up, I try to excuse myself from the situation. By taking the time-out, it prevents me from saying things that I may later regret.

Finding a quiet area to cool down and practising some of the relaxation exercises mentioned above have saved me on many occasions.

When the anger has subsided, I find it helps to think of what I may say when returning to the scene.

7. Practice forgiveness

There will be people in our lives who have hurt and disappointed us.

It is difficult to find peace when I find myself bottled up in anger and pain.

To be in constant hostility can sap away energy both physically and mentally.

That said, practising forgiveness helps to minimize the hostility felt within.

By forgiving, I accept the events for the way it is. I am letting go of any negative attachments.

By forgiving, I am taking control of my life by saying that this act no longer defines me, it no longer controls me.

By forgiveness, I can finally find peace and move on with my life.

Learning How To Own My Anger

While I’m not in a place where I’m in absolute control of my anger, I have learnt how to own my emotions.

I have seen first-hand how my anger affects my family. It does not serve them at all. Out of love and necessity, I will do whatever I can to be that better person for my family.

Hence, every day in every way, I am making a conscious effort in learning how to control my anger before it controls me.

There will be days when I still mess things up. But we are all human, and we will never be perfect.

I recognize the mistakes I make and acknowledge what needs to be done to improve.

Slowly, but surely, I am getting there. I am, will always be, a constant work-in-progress.

Is your anger controlling your family life? What strategies have worked for you in letting go of your anger?