A Wife Loved Like The Church

Hello, My Name is Sarah and I’m an Angry Mom

Posted on: April 6, 2012

I’m not sure when it first dawned on me that I’m an angry person. Fiery, sure. But angry? Me? Never. Angry is something mean people are. Angry is that man who loses it over being served a tomato on his hamburger when he clearly asked for none. Or that woman at the store who is yelling at the top of her lungs at the cowering manager. I am not angry like that.

Do I tend to get heated over certain topics? Of course. But that’s passion.

Does my blood boil when someone crosses the line with me? Yeah. But that’s justice.

Yet for years there has silently been a fire burning inside me. A fire that has lashed out at my adoring husband and sweet children. A fire that has slowly been burning my house to the ground.

One afternoon, in mid-February, the fire took over. I raged, literally, raged with anger, and my girls felt the full effects. While I’ve always been pretty transparent on my blog, I’m keeping the details of that moment private because frankly they are painful and heart crushing – nothing worth retelling.

The after effects of a fire are not pretty. Life is burned. Ashes of what once were are left in heaps on the floor. It is ugly and resembles death.

When I walked away from that moment, I crumbled. I hid from my children for the rest of the day. I couldn’t trust myself. When Jonathan came home, I wept. “I need help. I’m scared of myself, of what I am becoming.” I cried. Through an evening of prayer, repentance and reconciliation, I took my first steps toward putting out the fire.

I finally came to terms with the fact that I have some deep seeded anger issues. How and why they are there are varied, but one thing is certain, they cannot stay. I refuse to allow my children to grow up with an angry mom. In what has been a bold, yet humbling step, I’ve started meeting with a counselor. For the last month, I’ve been taking what seem to be minuscule steps toward recovery. I’ve spent a lot of time identifying my “trigger points” and learning to redirect my thought process and words during heated moments.

I wish I could say thing are rosy and peaceful now. But they aren’t. I still struggle with lashing out. I see the effects of my anger played out before my eyes, especially in Julia when she lashes out in the same manner that I have. Which is heart breaking coming from such a sweet child – and soul wrenching realizing it’s my sin that has done it. My first reaction to most stressful situations is still anger. But, through more grace than I will ever comprehend, I am starting to see moments of healing shine through. Moments that would have made me scream and yell, now make me step back and redirect. Moments where I feel a peace only God gives, because I know all too well that it is not my own. Moments of healing and restoration, of finding joy where there was once sorrow.

Facing your sin is hard. It’s ugly. It’s painful. It gets down right nasty at times. But there is hope. Hope in the promise of Christ. He ransomed us from sin through his death and resurrection, because of his overwhelming love. So, yeah, facing your sin is hard. But through Christ, and what He’s done, we don’t have to face our sins alone.

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31 Responses to "Hello, My Name is Sarah and I’m an Angry Mom"

Oh, Sarah!

What a beautiful transparent post! I totally understand–in fact, I have a post in my head right now about something that happened this weekend: me lashing out, doing and saying things I’d normally call sin. And I did those things to my kids, to my husband. It’s horrifying.

I know what it is to have your blood boil and then turn around and say, “Am I the most horrible person alive?!”

Praying for you and proud of you for taking big steps to heal!
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Thanks for the prayers, Amanda! It’s crazy how we have these almost out of body experiences where we are doing something we know is completely wrong and yet we’re doing them anyway. Ugh. Sin is just yuck.

Really appreciate your honesty! I too am a “fiery” lady (always chalked it up to being a ginger!) and as an expectant mama, it’s got me worried (especially based on how I react to even my current feline children). Also, really appreciate your honesty regarding counseling and hope the Lord will use it to further remove the stigma from mental health care.

Thanks Autumn! Funny how there is such a stigma around mental health care, but that’s it’s really so good for you! Praying for you as you’re getting ready to transition to mamahood!

I love your honesty. I love your courage. I miss you friend.

Thank you Katie. Love you and miss you.

You are not alone, Sarah!! I never thought I had a temper until I had a child. Something about the intense emotions involved in being a mom and the total helplessness of being a mom (not to mention sleep deprivation, frustration and lack of appreciation for everything I do, darn it!) create the perfect storms for a temper tantrum – from me. Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey here!

Thanks Mary! Seriously, I never realized just how hard motherhood was gonna be {like, showing me all my flaws and having to root them all out. Yuck!}.

I definately know what you mean Sara… I am going through a similar transformation right now. I made the decision a couple days ago to be a better Mom, and rather than screaming/yelling at Logan, I would slow down and ask him what’s wrong and take the time to explain to him what’s going on (to help him understand that I understand what he wants). These past two days, have had the least tantrums out of both of us. 🙂 There’s more love and hugs in this house… But it’s continually reminding myself of that decision to slow down and listen, that is difficult.
I was noticing a lot of copying of my anger in Logan, and it broke my heart too. Apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, considering that I learned these anger lashings from my Mother. Dicipline first, listen later if she has time, but never an apology. Well, I choose to break the trend! I’m right there with you Sara! If you need to vent or talk, I’m your understanding gal!
Love.

That’s awesome that you’re taking those steps Holly! It’s so encouraging to hear how other moms are choosing to stop the cycle and love their kids without anger.

Sarah I think we all go through some anger throughout our lives at times. Check out Freedom From Anger DVDs from Gregory Dickrow, It gives you tools to help. Roy was watching about it and we haven’t gotten them yet,… but him just watching about it actually even helped him.
I can remember being with our 4 children when they were young and that overwhelming feeling it does give you. I think that you are taking a good step in finding help with the housework. Take care!

Thanks for the heads up on the DVDs! I will certain look into them.

Thank you. Just last night I was in tears over my anger and the way I had been lashing out at my oldest. I see the effects in his increased rebellion and stubbornness and his reluctance to obey or trust me. I realized a few months ago that anxiety and rage were some of my postpartum symptoms and I am trying to get the courage to seek help in managing them.

Thank you for your honesty and confession. Blessings on the road ahead. Grace to you.

Postpartum is a crazy thing. That much is for sure. I remember battling it after my first was born. Such a low period in my life, because it seemed like I was so alone. But, Rebecca, you are NOT alone. It’s a scary first step to getting help, but it’s been worth every moment {even the really pride crushing moments}.

Big mama hugs to you sweet one.

I agree with previous commenters… thanks for your honesty and I’m right there with you. I think its actually a good thing to see it come out. I didn’t realize it was within me until kids, and seeing the ugliness of my heart come out on those I love is very eye-opening. I hate to be in a camp of “try this potion, it worked for me” 🙂 but I found helpful a couple of Tim Kellers podcasts at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-podcast/id352660924 The ones that really spoke to me were “the Healing of Anger” and “The Search for Happiness.”

It is definitely an on-going struggle. Finding truths (not just any, but the ones that God really used to soften my heart) to come back to over and over again has been helpful for me. Letting your kids see you repent and humble yourself after you fail (even the small failures like speaking a little too harshly) has also been really powerful. God bless on your walk with Him. Keep pressing on sister!

Thanks Wendy! I do love me a good Tim Keller message. 🙂 And yes, finding and holding on to truths is so important! I’ve been helping the girls memorize Scriptures lately, and I really think it’s been far more valuable to me than to them. Ha! 🙂

Here comes the biggest hug from Nana. The Beth Moore study in the book of James has revealed so many ugly things but praise God, you are so right on. He is definitely in the healing business. I love you, Nana

Thank you Nana. I love you.

Whew. I love this post. I was never angry until I had kids. And it is really just my first born that brings out this ugliness. But like you I see her reflect it right back when she yells at her siblings. Kids are a very ugly mirror sometimes. I really got a lot out of the book “She’s Gonna Blow”. Very humorous but transparent writing about mommy anger. Thanks for this post.

What is is about first borns that can just set off our buttons? Like really.

I’ve not heard of the book, but I’ll check into it!

I too have experienced the very same things you were brave enough, honest enough to speak out about. I recently had a life altering moment that had made me desire the truth and dig up all that deep, dark pain that caused me years upon years of shame and anger. It’s hard and nasty and horrifying to come face to face with the destruction my anger has caused my children, the dissolution of my relationships with my family of origin and so much more. I can not undo so much of it so, I must continue to open the doors to all my smelly, nasty junk….face it, ask forgiveness when I can and then release it! That’s the hardest part for me. I thank you for sharing this with everyone, but Sarah I thank you for sharing it with me because it was a direct Word from GOD to my heart that I am not alone in this journey. I am not the only person facing that shame. HE used your words for me today. Thank you for letting HIM use you as a vessel today.

Thanks Aunt Stac. Healing past relationships is tough. I’ve done a pretty poor job of it myself. Slowly learning… Love you!

Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your heart. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am…which sounds weird to say but I can so relate to those angry moments and to the journey of small steps towards wholeness. I love you friend!

I’m glad it was encouraging. It was rather terrifying to write. 😉 Love you too!

Sarah, I realized I was angry mom shortly after moving to the DR. It’s still a daily battle. Every word of your blog resonates with me and my home. It’s one of the main reasons I question God for giving me a forth child…I can’t handle a 4th child and my anger! But it keeps me dependent on Him. One of the positives about blogs is finding out that there are lots of moms out there struggling with this same sin…not that that makes it justified, but it makes me realize I’m not the only one fighting this battle.

I kinda feel the same way about a 4th child. Not sure it’ll ever happen for us, mostly because I’m not sure I can handle it! And I agree, having other moms out there that struggle too is so helpful – not to justify, but to realize we aren’t alone and can grow.

Hey girl! So proud of you for admitting you have flaws! That is such a hard thing to do, and takes a lot of humility and courage.

Not sure if I’ve ever told you, but I have been trained in counseling our church goers through these very same things, and praying through their hearts and triggers. Our healing ministry has helped 100s of people with anger, depression, etc. find freedom that lasts, at no cost to them except their time and transparency. If you ever want to pray through this, I’d love to help. Seriously, the Lord has blessed my life through prayer ministry so much that I feel passionate about helping others.

Either way, I do want you to know there is a legitimate reason you feel angry. It is not a character flaw, it is probably a deep rooted wound or defense mechanism. Often our anger protects us or covers over a more vulnerable emotion. I really believe that the Lord will help heal your heart in this area. It may take a lot of prayer and reflection, but He will get you there if you are persistent. If you want some help to potentially speed along the process, just call me! No guarantees it will help, but I figure it never hurts to try and know the process of feeling through ones’ heart.
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Holly, thank you sooo much for the offer! Jonathan did theophostic prayer while we were still in Iowa. I’ll talk to him about finding a time to call you, because I’d love to {just have to schedule it for when I don’t have all three kids, otherwise we’d get maybe 10 minutes of uninterrupted time ;)}.

Good for you for taking steps to help address your anger! It is never easy to admit that you have a problem and, I think, even harder to seek help to address the issues and causes. By openly sharing what you are going through, you show what a strong woman you are! Hopefully, that strength will show itself in many more ways that will both surprise you and let you have a better understanding of yourself. (I think most people should seek out therapy – until you are honest with yourself, you cannot really be honest with others.)

[…] 30 Before 30 Hello, My Name is Sarah and I’m an Angry Mom […]

Sarah, your honesty is refreshing. Proud of you for being transparent and asking for help. It will bring glory to God! I’m so thankful that He uses us in our weaknesses.
My dad had a really bad temper as I was growing up–but I have seen God turn it around in his life! Now I rarely rarely see him lose his temper. It is a sweet example of God’s ability to change us…:)

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