Empathy Cools the Jets of Anger

I am intimate with anger, my own.  My misunderstanding about the meaning of behavior in the early years of parenting made my blood boil.  I really thought my kids’ behavior was purposeful.  It “felt” that way to me.  Those were only my feelings though, not the facts of the matter.  The facts of the matter were more complex and required me to dig deeper into two things: 1) my own history and 2) my children’s history.

Once I realized that the attachment challenge and trauma suffered in my childhood and the attachment challenge and trauma suffered in my children’s early years transformed our normal brains into chemical turbine factories, I had a better way of understanding behavior, which facilitated the growth of my own empathy for myself and for my children.
cool your jets

 

Empathy significantly cools the jets of anger.

If YOU are too familiar with anger in your relationship with your children, then it makes sense to up your empathy through understanding the impact of attachment and trauma on the brain’s function.  In traumatized humans, survival mode is chronic and pervasive.  Turns out it isn’t really that hard to understand from the factual side.  Tornado

However, when you are swirling in a chemical spiral of emotion, it is pretty hard to see the fear at the center of the tornado.

Behavioral symptoms of a traumatized brain:
Emotional Out-bursting
Controlling
Inflexible Reacting
Demanding
Sneaking
Lying
Stealing
Hoarding
Arguing
Defending
Refusing Responsibility
Resisting Parental Authority
Defying Direction
Running Away

Distracting
Opposing

Freezing
Freezing
Freezing

Fleeing
Fleeing
Fleeing

Fighting
Fighting
Fighting

Fearing
Fearing
Fearing

Up your empathy.

Love Matters,
The Attach Place Logo
Ce Eshelman, LMFT 
UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • The Trust-based Parenting Course  ended last weekend and a good time was had by all, though our back sides are a little sore from all that sitting. Thanks to all of you great parents for your commitment to therapeutic parenting with heart.
  • Next Trust-based Parenting Course is scheduled for July 19th and 26th.  Sign up here.
  • Next Hold Me Tight Couples Weekend Workshop for Therapists and Their Partners presented by Jennifer Olden, LMFT and Ce Eshelman, LMFT is scheduled for June 20, 21, 22, 2014.  If you are a therapist and interested in attending, sign up here.
  • Wow, more generous donations have come in to help other families.  YOU are appreciated–Big Love. The Attach Place is embarking on our second round of scholarships for families with adopted children who need services but have no funding to get them. We used up the last of our scholarship money last summer and are ready to start fundraising again. This time we have a pie-in-the-sky, big, hairy, audacious goal of $25,000. If you have a dollar you can afford to contribute, that is how we will pave the way–one dollar at a time. Go to: Love Matters Scholarship Fund. We are working on non-profit status, so these donations can be tax deductible.  Yay!
 
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Comments

  1. I find your blog really helpful. I too have been an angry parent, slowly but surely I am leaving anger behind and understanding when something has happened to put my son, in particular, into survival mode. What I am still struggling with is effective techniques to help him calm down. I use empathy a lot and am beginning to remember to use PACE too, however it isn’t always effective. Do you have any other tips?

  2. I find your blog really helpful. I too have been an angry parent, slowly but surely I am leaving anger behind and understanding when something has happened to put my son, in particular, into survival mode. What I am still struggling with is effective techniques to help him calm down. I use empathy a lot and am beginning to remember to use PACE too, however it isn’t always effective. Do you have any other tips?

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