This post was originally published in April in relation to the lockdown, but I thought it applies to the holidays as well!
Do you feel stuck between loving and hating the people you’re self-isolating with? Anger and resentment are natural emotions, now more than ever. We cannot escape our loved ones and are faced with them daily without our normal coping mechanisms.
Here’s how to deal with the situation without losing it.
First of all recognise that these feelings are normal, and that there is nothing wrong with you. You are not a bad mother, child or partner for getting frustrated with you cohabitants. There may even be violent fantasies. In this insightful video by nervous system expert Irene Lyon titled ‘What to do when you want to hit your kids’ Irene explains that these are leftover feelings from our hunter-and-gatherer days. She suggests several ways to deal with this fight energy:
- squeeze a rolled up towel, exercise band or firm cushion
The desire to fight naturally flows out of your mouths and your hands which were our fighting tools. This only works if you are angry right now! Feel free to growl, to hit your object or scream into a pillow (without scaring any children nearby) This relieves your muscles tensions and pinned up fight energy so we are less likely to snap at others.
It is not the fault of our loved ones for inciting such rage in us. Our lack of practice in expressing healthy anger and emotional regulation leads to us feeling this way. Many of us have never learned this in childhood, which is not our fault. But now as adults we get to control our narrative!
I explained how repressed anger leads to disease in this post about natural caregivers.
Our bodies are not built to cope with perceived and real threats such as deadlines, media frenzy and imposed sanctions on our freedom. As Seth Lyon explains here, the animal within us does not care about social norms and being polite. When we get angry, we want to hiss, to throw a tantrum, to run away! This explains so much passive aggressiveness and deception in today’s society, but once we take ownership for our emotions, we can start shaping the way it expresses itself.