In spite of my best efforts? I am that mom who yells. Maybe not as much as I used to but there are still times that it does happen. And at first, I’d thought it was just me. Or that maybe, I was a bad mom. Now, however, I’ve come to better understand myself and how my brain works.
While I’m not entirely blaming my own mental health issues for my anger issues, I do know that they just make them that much worse. So it’s not just me- it’s my ADHD.
But this isn’t new information.
Maybe it was new to me, but the connection has long been there according to science and psychology.
And that research all points to emotional regulation issues and ADHD.
I see this in my autistic daughter as well- and no wonder! ADHD and autism are both neurological disorders. They both affect similar areas of the brain when it comes to executive functioning and emotional regulation. It just wasn’t until I’d started doing more research into the mental connection that I’d started to understand more. Not just about my daughter, but also about myself.
THE ADHD IMPACT ON ANGER AND EMOTIONS THAT I WAS MISSING
As I mentioned above, it wasn’t until I started researching more into executive functioning and emotional regulation that I really started to piece things together.
And this all started so I could better help my autistic daughter.
But, it was all making more sense for myself. Why I was struggling with my time management or why I had such sudden and powerful emotional outbursts. I had always thought, hey- maybe I’m just highly sensitive. I still think that’s the case, honestly.. but there’s more going on.
And I have a feeling it all has to do with my undiagnosed ADHD. Yes, undiagnosed. I am still somewhat reluctant to pursue the official diagnosis but everything that I’ve read, everything that I’ve researched? It’s all pointing to ADHD- Inattentitve Type (or classic ADD).
So what does that all mean for my emotional management?
Generally speaking, it means that there’s a difficulty regulating emotions. Especially when faced with increased stress or frustration.
So my short-temper and highly explosive reactions really have their roots in my lack of ability to regulate my own emotions. Makes sense, right?
In fact, so much in my childhood started to make sense. Well, really, more so my teenage years. But, let’s face it, most teenagers already have issues.
But when we finally figure out the root causes? And more importantly, when we figure out strategies to help, we really can point ourselves in the right direction.
i grew up to be an angry mom with adhd
As with so many things in our childhood, my anger and short temper, combined with my high expectations for myself and low tolerance for frustration; followed me into adulthood. My patience, at times, has been little to non-existent.
And, because I don’t want to have those short random outbursts? I bottle it up.
And then, all it takes is one little thing to push me over the edge. And I explode.
Usually that one little thing isn’t even related to the original problem (or problems as they’ve compounded).. and the source of my outburst, more often than not, is my kids.
Let me tell you- there was nothing that really clued me into just how ugly my anger was until my own daughter was hiding in fear.
There was nothing in the world that could have made a bigger impact than my daughter crying. Her reactions were also feeding into my own emotions, so we typically end up with one big crying, screaming fest that ends in hugs… after we’ve gone to our respective calm down areas.
Oh yes… mom with ADHD, daughter with autism, gifted/spirited daughter — we are one recipe for explosive emotions daily. If it’s not me, it’s one of them. And sometimes we go for the whole trifecta.
how to apologize for being an angry mom
Truth be told? I’m still an angry mom.
I’m always going to be an angry mom.
But the difference now?
I don’t always let my anger get the best of me.
And I’ve also learned that sometimes, I can’t do anything about it.
Sometimes I need to let the angry moments happen.
And when they do happen? I can apologize for it.
And I can make some changes to my own attitude. But the first step was awareness.. Not just about the situations but also that I couldn’t always control my emotions. That was enough of an anger trigger by itself.
But, I could learn how to identify my own anger signals and signs. Things like:
- Heart pounding
- Clenching hands or fists
- Faster breathing
And if I could learn to identify those initial signs and triggers and if I could be that much more mindful and aware? I could do something about it sooner.
There were also a few things I could do to restore the peace:
- Practicing unconditional love and acceptance
- More predictable and regular sleep (just because I think I can pull off those sleep deprived marathons, doesn’t mean I always should)
- Allowing myself to take a time-out and find peace in the pause
- Learning to let go of the little things – you know, picking your battles.
- Accepting that sometimes I was going to fail and that it was okay
And most importantly for me? Accepting that I can’t solve all of the problems.