Do you feel guilty or ashamed of when you yell at your children? Do you feel both?
When I would raise my voice with my kids or have a mommy meltdown I would immediately feel intense shame. Sadly I had no tools or processes to help me heal those feelings and that kept me stuck in the cycle of yelling and feeling horrible.
Over time these feelings turned into self-hatred which took a toll on my physical health as well.
Shame can be overcome and healed – it takes courage and vulnerability but it can be done, I know, I did it!
Ending the shame of yelling is a really important step to reducing it – if you feel shame about it chances are you will continue to yell despite everything else you do – let me explain.
Shame is about not feeling good enough, or a ‘bad mother.’ It’s about not feeling good about who you are – about the self.
Guilt, on the other hand, is about not feeling good or okay about a behavior – about something that you did.
Brene Brown, a well know shame researcher, says that with guilt, we can admit we made a mistake and say sorry. But because shame is about who we are as a person the equivalent would be to say, “I’m sorry, I am a mistake”
Shame is associated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression and eating disorders and the reason why is that we often keep these feelings a secret – we don’t share them, and that is what creates the shame. Being vulnerable and sharing is what ends the shame.
Guilt has the opposite effect. We can use the guilt to our advantage which can look like being more open, communicative and taking responsibility for our actions which can be relationship enhancing.
Let’s talk about why we feel so shameful for yelling.
Believe it, or not much of it has to do with our culture and conditioning.
In our society mothers are ‘supposed to be’ nurturing, caring and gentle. We ‘should’ be loving, and compassionate and ‘should never be’ angry, yelling, or upset. Mothers are portrayed as calm, empathic and able to meet every need of their child. We see it in movies, on TV shows and in books and stories. By nature, we are all those things, but we are still human.
So when we yell and are angry, which are human reactions, we feel we aren’t allowed to be like that, and this makes us feel like a bad or horrible person – this is where shame starts. And because of the shame, we don’t share this with anyone, and that makes the shame grow even more.
Shame manifests in a variety of ways.
Here is a list of what women described to Brene Brown about how shame felt in their bodies:
-waves of heat in their faces and chests
-wincing and twinges of smallness
By recognizing the physical symptoms, we can minimize the helplessness we often feel when we are in shame.
Also, knowing our triggers can reduce shame. Understanding what evokes those physical symptoms can help us not react at the moment and chose to respond more healthily. When we can see it, then we can talk about it, and that helps us to know that we are not alone, we aren’t the only one struggling with this – it isn’t just you.
Ending the shame of yelling is a crucial step in reducing it – if you don’t work on this then stopping the yelling won’t be possible.
Brene Brown claims that shame is a silent epidemic and that it affects millions of women. It is silent because we don’t talk openly about our feelings nor do we explore how it affects our lives and families.
Part of the dilemma with shame is that when we are already feeling like a bad or horrible mother, we are more vulnerable and susceptible to shame and reacting to others with yelling. When our child says something mean or hurtful to us, the shame we already feel grows, and the likelihood to lash out is higher – and no sooner after we yell, we feel shame again, and the cycle continues.
The key to ending shame is to recognize and identify it. Knowing when our body is being flooded with shame can help us stop, calm down, ground ourselves and respond to the moment.
This quote from Brene Brown really explains how to end shame.
Join the Facebook Group
I created a Facebook group called A Soft Place to Land, for exactly this reason – to share and talk about our yelling and how it makes us feel and I invite you to join. This group is for moms who want to end the shame of yelling at their children. This is how you can reduce your yelling – end the shame of it and that alone can significantly reduce yelling.
Come and join us – it’s the first step and most important step in reducing the yelling! Click here to join.
If you haven’t already I recommend that you read part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this blog series and if you resonate with what I have shared and you are ready to make some changes in your life click below to get a free downloadable Yelling Quiz that will tell you exactly the reasons you yell!