Why am I so Angry?

It couldn’t be because you are supposed to work at home AND guide your children through their education at the same time. It’s probably not because you can’t go and actually sit down at that favorite restaurant where you used to enjoy relaxing while you eat something prepared by someone else.

But, angry? Like when your child comes to ask for help and you bite their head off for disturbing you again. Like when your spouse asks what you want to eat and you get snarky and sarcastic instead of just answering the question. Like when those four letter words you don’t like to use around your children come out of your mouth with ease over the smallest disappointments.

We are angry because we are afraid. That’s right. It’s more of a fear problem than an anger problem. Hearing about a $2 trillion dollar stimulus makes you wonder about inflation and national debt. Hearing about infection rates and asymptomatic people running around makes you wonder about whether it is worth it to go to the store today. Hearing about whether this strain of the virus really started in a lab or with a bat in a wet market makes you want to stop buying anything from China. If your blood pressure or heart rate is rising just to think about these things, you might have a fear problem.

Fear is an emotional response. You can’t keep it from coming. It overwhelms and engulfs you in an instant. Having fear doesn’t automatically mean you will become angry. It will heighten your fight or flight response and increase your defenses.

Feeling out of control leaves you open to anger. Taking control back comes with the thoughts that follow your initial fear. Are you afraid you might lose your job and have a struggle providing for your family? Can you control that? Probably not. But you can control how your respond to a job loss. Assess your skills. Consider your options. Do some research on a couple of options and open a conversation with your spouse about your next steps. Instead of hiding the fear, bring it out into the open and visit about it. If you are already tense and angry, sit next to one another or hold hands while you visit. That forbidden touch elsewhere is a lifesaver at home.

Take stock together of the ways you can be grateful. What do you have in the face of all the possible negatives? How could you change the future by doing something proactive? Think about those under your care and how their needs could be met by your skills. Turning your focus toward others gives a feeling of confidence and purpose that propels your own future in a better direction. Engage them in a service project so that your whole family can focus outwardly together and help someone else. Make a video phone call and brighten someone else’s day.

Fear will return. It has a way of staying just outside the door even after you tell it to leave. The more often you focus on something constructive; the more often you nurture the relationships you cherish; the more often you take steps toward another person’s needs; the longer fear stays away and you live to fight another day.

Any situation we face has a wonderful outcome as well as a horrible possibility associated with it. Sometimes the outcome is directly related to the response we choose. Fear is a liar. One outcome isn’t the only possibility.

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