Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Angry mode

Sometimes, it seems like Akila just needs to be mad. It is not even like she really is mad at any one thing. I can sit and be patient and calm, ask her what she needs, what it is that she is upset about, and she just stands there with a very angry look on her face. She cannot verbalize what she needs. She cannot tell me what she wants. If I walk away and tell her to let me know when she is ready to talk, she gets more angry. If I ask her if she would like me to stay with her, she gets more angry.

No matter what I do, she gets angry. If I give suggestions, or ask questions, she gets more angry. If I do nothing, she gets more angry. If I remain quiet, she gets angry. So we, stand, or sit, in a pool of anger. This happens at least once a day. It happens most often in the evening or after school. Sometimes in the morning. Almost always after she has asked for something that she cannot have, mainly to go to a store and buy something, which has been an obsession of hers for years. Materialism. She has been eaten up by the materialism monster.

She usually, tries to plant herself in the doorway of the kitchen, so that she is in the way of everyone when she is in the anger mode. This way she blocks traffic for the entire household and causes all kinds of problems. During nicer weather, the kids have even learned to go out the side door of the house to avoid her if they need to go upstairs. Not so easy in the winter. I have had to physically move her out of the way sometimes. I try to avoid this at all costs, as to touch her while she is in the angry mode is not a good idea.

I have learned that the best line of defense when she is like this, is to just stay in the same room, and continue on with some work I need to do. Empty the dishwasher or do something like that. All the while, she is more than likely standing behind me, probably cursing at me, spewing venom, etc. I have learned most of the time to just ignore this. Most of the time. She is looking for a reaction. She wants one. I try not to give her one. I try.

It just makes me so sad sometimes. It is almost like there is some kind of seizure or spasm going on inside of her brain that is just making her totally nuts. She is completely unreasonable. Making no sense. She has no idea what she wants. She cannot communicate her needs or wants. I just try to remind myself of this while she is in this mode and wait for Akila to return so we can get back to the evening and pray that it is not a long angry mode. Sometimes, they can last for close to an hour. That is when I have a hard time ignoring it.


Julie said...

That is so hard to hear...and it seems like no new approach, no fresh perspective of how to flip the switch works. I think you are right...when this happens at our house, it just seems like a brain thing...out of every ones control. We need a rescue med for this...
And it is so hard to not get discouraged and angry when you watch the rest of the family be so effected by the "angry mode."

Kathleen Benckendorf said...

Have you tried singing while she's in angry mode? Perhaps a lullaby? (At least it's something different from what you've listed. ;-) )

While she's angry, can you get her to identify any physical feelings, like where in her body does she feel most uncomfortable? Or to take a deep breath, and put her hand where the breath feels hardest or most uncomfortable?

Sometimes it's easier to address physical feelings than emotional ones, but they are definitely linked, so addressing one can help the other.

Megan said...

Oh, we have been through this, too! We are in a good season right now, but we have had so many angry days that were out of control. I wish I could send you a hug!

It is hard when nothing seems to work. Sometimes I found that I just needed to take a break and refocus. (Or go crazy!) Sometimes it helped the other kids if I helped them focus on something other than the child who was angry so they didn't get caught up/scared by it. Often we would pray together for the angry child, then for the other kids, then I would set them to doing something that I knew helped them to be calm while I could help the out of control child. : (

For a time we had a short, simple worksheet-type thing we would do at the start of a meltdown that sometimes worked. It was super basic - circle the emotion (happy, sad, worried, angry). Write out what made you feel that way. Write out what can make you feel better. We focused a lot on being comforted by mom/dad (hugs, songs, rocking, etc.) when we can't get what we want.

Praying for you!