My sister and I talk a lot about feeling “the rage”, it is something that has become increasingly prevalent since having kids. Infact, prior to having kids, I don’t recall raising my voice or feeling overwhelming anger in the same way at all.
But yet, time and time again I find myself in a place where ‘the rage’ takes over.
It is that feeling you get when all of a sudden you feel so angry that the blood is literally pumping through your veins, you feel frustrated at everyone around you, you want to yell/scream, somehow it feels like it will make you feel better. Somewhere deep in your conscious you recognise that your rational mind has lost control, but you are not sure how to bring it back. You feel the urge to act, to lash out, to make radical decisions.
For me, the rage is quickly followed by a downward slide into the sadness. What is wrong with me? I’m a terrible parent. My children will be traumatised for life by my yelling about their shoes. This is not me. This is not what I expected life to feel like. How do I make this feeling go away. I am obviously doing something wrong. Other people do not have these issues. Clearly I am a freak.
This is usually when I ring my sister, she reminds me that I am not a freak…at least, if I am a freak, then so is she. We laugh about it but secretly are both wondering if this is “normal”.
And then the feelings are gone. As suddenly as they arrived, they vanish again. Sometimes I describe it like being caught out in the sea, one minute your gliding over the waves and next minute you are dumped. The more you struggle and try to swim your way out of it, the worse it gets. Quite likely you end up swimming further down instead of back to the surface. You start to suffocate and panic takes hold. Will I be stuck here forever? And then, you’re back, floating at the top, breathing the fresh air with the sun on your back…and it is hard to remember why you felt so bad before.
I had a conversation a while back with some of my colleagues at work, as we were laughing over coffee one day after work, we realised that all of us are working mothers, juggling heafty workloads and also trying to be great parents.
Gently I brooch the subject of “the rage” and I was amazed to discover they knew exactly what I was talking about. They all started to tell stories of their own grapples with “the rage” and moments they wish they could take back. I was amazed, both at their honesty and the realisation that these overwhelming feelings are a pretty common side effect of motherhood.
I guess the challenge is how we deal with them. I’m currently trying to practice more acceptance. Mostly I can feel the rage building, so trying to capture in those pre-moments is crucial. Take myself out of the situation. Remind myself there is no need to panic, that the best thing I can do in this moment is just try to relax and wait for the wave to pass, and to naturally float back up to the surface again.
It isn’t easy in the moment, because my brain wants action…not inaction. I remember once trying to punch our punching bag in the garage in one of these moments, it was fantastic until I accidentally missed the bag and hit the brick wall. Fail.
But I’ll keep trying.
Do you ever get “the rage”??
P.s… the photo I attached today was shared from Facebook but I’m not sure the original post. I had it share it because it made my sister and I laugh so hard and completely encompassed how I feel, but I couldn’t cite the source, so if this is yours and you want me to take it down…my apologies in advance and please just let me know.