How to Deal With Your Parents While Angry
To this very day (many moons from my sparkling adolescence) my parents have a habit of awaking my personal beast within. Counting to ten, attempting to reason my way into their heads or playing mind-games simply don't work, didn't work and probably never will.
Liberation from rage came from the sudden realization that anger does not only have an emotional component (if you didn't care you wouldn't get angry), but a chemical one too. While we cannot fend off the bitterness stemming from what was said, we can coax the body into becoming calmer. Once the sharpness of the resulting pain has been dulled, dealing with your parents while angry becomes much easier.
This article is my personal experience, detailing what I do to restore my objectivity and calm in quick, easy steps.
1. Understanding Anger
Anger isn't only in your head. It permeates every part of your body. Before confronting your parents it's usually better to take a small time out and privately channel your stockpile of stress.
Our body, in the face of stressful situations, reacts by preparing the body for a physical encounter (either fighting, or running away). This is due to our genetic ancestry, where we were more likely to have to fight a tiger than a rabid parent. In an attempt to give us the tools to survive, our body essentially super-charges us;
- Our heart beat quickens to provide more oxygen to our muscles.
- Our eyes dilate to see better in the dark.
- Our digestive tract can lock up, or you might feel the need to go to the bathroom (to rid the body of toxins and prepare for a fight).
- And on...
Finding our calm quickly will mean satisfying our body's call for a fight or flight response. So, how do we do that?
2. Finding Our Cool
There are a number of healthy techniques and tricks we can essentially use to "trick" the body into thinking the danger is now behind us, ushering in a wave of new-found peace.
- Moderate exercise - Exercise not only convincingly mimics both the flight and fight responses, it also produces a plethora of natural pain-killers and feel-better, stress beating chemicals. Regular exercise is a proven way to reduce stress. If your back is against the corner, break free and go for a jog, beat up a pillow or run on the spot until you're in control once more.
- Indulge your senses - I don't feel that distraction is as efficient as exercise, but understandably, not everyone in the heat of the moment is going to want to go for a run. Most modern relaxation and meditation techniques owe their acclaimed success (with regards to beating stress) to their ability to redirect the mind's focus away from the buzzing maelstrom in our brain by stimulating our creative senses. Reading, listening to music or breathing slowly and focusing on your breathing are all easy ways to swing the odds in your favor.
It is almost always better to avoid confrontation unless you are confident you have a firm grasp on your temper, this is also true if you are calm but your parents are angry (give them time to cool-off as well). Seek solace in your personal sanctuary of choice in the meantime and keep moving instead of attempting to make sense of anything just yet.
3. Confronting Our Parents
Maintaining our calm once we're found it can be a challenge, particularly with aggressive parents. Getting your point across will involve establishing a two-way conversation. Generally speaking, the best ways to tackle a tricky conversation is to give the other person time to finish saying what they are saying without interfering (no matter how nonsensical or wrong it is).
- Avoid mind games, spite and other ego traps.
- Wait for your parents to have their say before answering.
- Be as honest and direct as possible. It's difficult to be angry with someone if they truly believe what they're saying (your parents will recognize this immediately).
- Being right in a relationship is less important than finding common ground, unless the issue at hand is absolutely, imperatively important to you.
- Don't feel forced to make a last stand, if you need to time and space ask for it.
- If your parents are unaware of other factors that are making your anger flare, don't expect them to understand. Tell them what they are instead.
It is of fundamental importance to look at the situation from as many perspectives as possible. Realize that their anger is also a product of caring! If they didn't care about you, they wouldn't have cared enough to get angry!