What Does Anger Looks Like?
One of those emotions that are so hard to control. Especially when it is blowing up, it is blowing up. However, it may not always look like you think you do.
One of our kids was so angry at being in foster care that she would use self-harm to express her anger.
Self-harm is a hard one. I mean, don't get me wrong, being yelled at and screaming profanities isn't fun, but to see a child hurt themselves to numb the pain of what life has already done to their hearts, it's very difficult.
I'm not talking about biting fingernails here, I mean to see them bang their heads, punch themselves in the head or bite themselves was so disheartening. Also, having to make sure that no sharp objects are available to them, left me on guard twenty-four seven.
She didn't sleep and could stay up for days because for her, nighttime was torture.
One night she was sleeping and at three am she awoke to scream at the top of her lungs, "There are maggots on me!!!" She wasn't fully awake, but she was working hard to get them off. There was not a magot in sight.
Nightmares haunted her, so sleeping was not her favorite. She would rather be awake, so she knew what reality was and what wasn't.
She had never been taught to just sit and be still. She was unable to just sit for one minute and when requested to do so, she would begin punching herself in the head to not have to sit there.
To this day, she has to have something to keep her entertained. Puzzle books, the radio, or even just a notebook to write in. Not because she couldn't sit still but because the trauma would take over the quiet spaces.
In order to not be left alone with her own thoughts, which would fill her with anger, she needed constant training and reassurance that she was safe. Not only to just hear the words, but over the years we have had to prove that she is safe with us, because we will fight for her.
She still never sleeps away from home unless we are traveling. On those occasions, she sleeps in the same room or as near to my husband and me as possible. Now she has learned and believes that she is safe with us and that no harm will come to her.
She knows that as long as we are present, we hover over her for a reason. She was left unattended for so long, and so much has happened to her, that we don't let her out of our sight. While she may complain about it once and a while, she has come to appreciate that we are on duty, and we will not leave our post.
We must remember what we are battling. Don't attack the person, attack the problem.
Now I know it's hard to narrow down the problem because truly we don't' know what all they have been through and how they interpret certain words and body language.
This will require you to see past the anger, the emotions the overall behavior issues and get to the root of the problem. Once you have the root, you can then begin to lovingly build communication and then you will see the progress begin.