Focusing Tip #690 – “My daughter’s angry outbursts are really hard on me.”
Is there someone close to you whose angry outbursts bring up your own emotional triggers? Read on…
I have a conflict in my relationship with my grown daughter. She’s a competent young woman but often gets upset with life, shouting angrily and crying.
I am torn between a part in me that wants to save her and soothe her and another which is angry at her childish and compulsive behavior. Another part on me is angry at myself for not being able to contain or calm her.
Whatever I do or don’t do in the situation — I am to blame. And that feels very sad and hopeless. Her outbursts have gotten shorter, but still they seem to break something in me when they happen.
A lot is going on in you around your daughter’s outbursts. They are really a trigger for you, it seems. Good for you for being aware of all of that.
Now let’s see if I can help you have a different kind of relationship with those emotional states.
We do get triggered… I know I do. The shift happens when we can turn toward the parts of us that are triggered and explore what is really bothering them… so they can relax and have a calmer kind of reaction.
Let’s take the part of you that thinks that you should be able to contain or calm your daughter.
ONE. Start by getting settled and feel your body supported. (Do this at a time when your daughter is not in front of you.)
TWO. Say, “Something in me thinks that I should be able to contain or calm my daughter when she is upset.” Then pause and feel for that part of you. It’s around somewhere!
THREE. When you start to make a contact with that part of you, say to it: “Maybe you are worried about something if I cannot calm my daughter.”
And then listen with empathy to how that part of you feels, what it is worried about – without having to agree or disagree.
I don’t know, but I’m guessing that is a part of you that feels like it has to hold up everyone, or everything will fall apart. It’s been working hard all its life (all your life?) and is probably overwhelmed and exhausted.
FOUR. Whatever you can sense that it feels, let it know you hear it… and then say to it calmly (from your big Self): “I am here with you now.”
There is woundedness here… but YOU don’t have to be the wounded one. When you can be here, be present, keep company with the wounded places inside you, they can begin to heal.
I don’t know what will happen next, but it seems likely that managing your daughter’s feelings will start to feel less like your job. We’ll see!