145 days without yelling, 220 days of loving more to go!
Dear Napoleon Hill,
“No man has a chance to enjoy permanent success until he begins to look in a mirror for the real cause of all his mistakes.”
I looked in the mirror last week and you are right. Looking in the mirror scared the sh*t out of me in a truly impactful and motivating way (read here, Why I used to yell at my kids). Realizing that I yelled at my kids because I could, because they couldn’t yell back at me made me beyond uncomfortable. I truly feel that looking in the mirror last week, while dreadful, will permanently lead me to remove yelling from my parenting style.
So thank you.
The Orange Rhino
Words can’t really say how uncomfortable I feel to have realized that I yelled at my kids because I could, because they don’t have the POWER to bring me down like an adult. Well, words could but the truth is I don’t want to see the words on paper. I don’t want to admit to the thoughts this realization conjured up it my head. Because they kind of scared me. No, not kind of. They DID scare me.
In fact, when I went to find a picture on line to go with my post I couldn’t share what I found because what I saw frightened me. The pictures looked eerily familiar. It felt like I was looking in the mirror and it WAS ROUGH. It made me physically uncomfortable to see pictures of “mommy yelling at kids.” It looked like this:
Did I really used to be that person? Did I used to scream down at my kids, literally and figuratively, in a way that made them shutter, and cry, and cower from me? Did I used to yell at my kids for loud that they stopped looking at me? Oh, yes, I did. I was that person in the pictures.
I shuttered looking at the images. Literally. They kicked me in the a*s. Just two pictures brought back such powerful, bad memories of what I used to look like, how I used to feel. They brutally reminded me me that Yelling is scary. It’s ugly. It’s awful. It was me. I might not have been that person every day but I was that person enough to want to change, to want to stop experiencing the raw, gut-wrenching emotions of guilt, disappointment, sadness, and anger with myself for yelling at my kids so harshly at times.
And yet here I am 145+ days from feeling these emotions and I find myself slipping a bit, taking my “success” for granted, forgetting the depth of those emotions these pictures conjured up and how I didn’t want to feel them again. I am still not yelling, I am still abiding by my Orange Rhino Challenge rules, but every once and a while I have been close to breaking the rules. And I don’t like it. On occasion I have even found myself thinking oh I couldn’t have been THAT BAD of a yeller, right? What is one little yell here and there? Is this challenge REALLY necessary?
The answer is yes.
YES this challenge is really necessary for me.
YES I was that bad of a yeller.
YES every little yell counts.
Because for me and the way I operate, one yell leads to two which leads to three which eventually leads to the Raging, Lunatic, Level 7 scream which brings such fear – my kids fear in me and my fear in myself. While I have on occasion forgotten what it felt like to yell at my kids, I have never forgotten the fear I have of being honest, really, really, really honest, about the type of mom I am. Loving, yes? Unacceptably dreadful at times? YES. What had I become?? I wasn’t the loving, patient, soft spoken yet firm disciplinarian. I was a screaming mother and I never thought I would be a screaming mother. I never thought I would make my kids fear me.
And I also never thought that I could change. I never believed that I could learn to stop yelling at my kids. But I could. I have learned to not be the parent in those two pictures. And I truly hope that this lesson is permanent. It has to be. There is no other option.
P.S. I know it is kind of interesting that a comic-type picture can get to me so much. I guess that just goes to show how bad my feelings were about yelling at my boys that such a picture could make me feel so awful again!