I’ve watched my mother deal with a very abusive husband. He was a decent enough father, still is. But as a husband he was terrible. I am realizing now that he was terrible to my mother. He was loud, rude and sometimes even physically too rough with her. He was harsh with us siblings as well, but we just took it as tough love and moved on. Now that I’m married and have my own children, I see my father in myself when im upset with my children. I get angry, distant and I even hit them. My husband gets extremely disturbed when I act this way. Im otherwise a calm person and I love my family. That’s what my father has always claimed. He still does, not that I have or ever would confront him.
How do I deal with this? I don’t want to raise my kids scared of me. I don’t want them to grow up and feel the way I do about my father now.
You are not going through anything uncommon. Usually when children grow up and start a family of their own is when they realize the dynamics of the relationship of their parents. A lot of the times the realization is not pleasant. We like to our parents through kid color perfect glasses, but they are human filled with flaws. In your case its even more true than ever.
The first step in healing is to recognize and accept the problem which you have done very well. However, it’s very common for children to knowingly or unknowingly mimic or model after their parents. You have unresolved issues towards your father and that comes out in the shape of you getting angry with your children.
You will have to work on those issues. Depending on what kind of relationship you have with your father and how openly you can discuss matters with him, talking to him and opening up with him about how you are feeling will surely help.
This won’t be easy because that generation is not too open to discuss anything.
Now, let’s talk about what you can do with your husband and children. Be open with your husband, tell him what you are feeling and going through if you haven’t already. Whenever you feel a bout of anger coming on step away from your children. Let your husband and other people (if possible) handle it. If you have to be there, take a deep breath and count to ten, then go into the situation with a fresh mind. Train yourself to think that no matter what they are doing in the moment to annoy you or bother you is nothing compare to the lasting effects of misplaced anger.
Gradually counting, breathing before reacting, walking away from a situation when you have the option to will become a common practice. Depending on the children’s ages you can discuss how you are trying to control your anger and how it is not okay to make anyone feel unsafe. This will make them understand your side and more open to you when you try to control yourself in the next situation.
These are just some initial steps, even this is going to take a lot from you. It is hard work but I can tell that you are committed and you care about your family. Your love and concern for them will get you through this.
If you need to talk more or need more help please feel free to keep contacting us and we will confidentially help you.