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Lost Your Cool? Here Are 3 Steps to Greater Parent Patience

Let’s face it: pretty much every parent has, at one point, gotten so angry at their spouse and kids that they lost control.

Maybe you’ve thrown something, yelled or screamed, or broke a plate in the kitchen. Maybe you’ve even threatened or physically acted out at your kids.

Of course, we feel shame and regret afterward. But how do we keep this anger from coming back and taking over? Max Brandel, a Colorado-based psychotherapist, relationship coach, and father describes three powerful steps to cultivating greater patience in our parenting.

Step 1: Understand the addictive nature of anger

The human brain has both highly intelligent and ancient, primitive parts. Just because we have one doesn’t mean we’ve gotten rid of the other.
We can build complex computer chips and we can also smash them. Similarly, we can be caring, responsible parents and also feel and express animal-like outbursts of anger.

Know that in the moment, anger often feels good. It overrides all other moral and rational brakes in the brain and floods our nervous system with feel-good chemicals.

This gives us an immediate sense of power and control. We get an addictive boost to an area where we previously felt weak or helpless (at least in that moment), and we become tunnel-visioned and blind to any collateral damage.

Anger (and its close cousins, irritation, outrage, blame, and shame) is ultimately a comfortable way of coping with deeper feelings of helplessness, fear, emptiness, and confusion. Anger helps to distract us (or escape) from these underlying uncomfortable feelings.

By understanding anger as a potentially addictive feeling that keeps us from deeper challenging feelings, we can start seeing anger for what it really is: a coping mechanism.

Step 2: Reframe our emotional pain and discomfort as containing important information

We all prefer comfort, low stress, and a predictable environment. We’ve probably wished for a perfectly obedient child that never has to be told twice and never challenges us, or for a partner who has no issues and uses perfect, kind communication all the time.

But these desires for comfort and peace are often tied to desires to avoid and resist our own emotional wounds that are ultimately keeping us from being the parents we want to be or leading the lives we want to live.  

From this reframing, we can see our emotional pain and discomfort as containing really important information about what we need to tend to and heal within us. A great saying that captures this refraining is: “This is ON the way, not IN the way.”

Once we reframe our anger, irritation, blaming, and outrage in this way, we can allow ourselves to really feel them, especially when they’re at their strongest and most painful. We can begin by simply noting: “Whew, this is really uncomfortable. I can’t believe how hard this is to feel.”

The information that emotional pain and discomfort contain can push us to direct our attention to something real and important inside of us, express what's really happening for us (like is the anger covering up a sense of helplessness?), and move back into connection with our kids. By welcoming challenging feelings fully when they’re here, we can move through this process of attention-expression-connection faster and more thoroughly.

From this perspective, emotional pain is a powerful ally because it has so much to teach us. We survive just about every pain there is, and often forget about it as soon as it’s taught us what we need to learn.

Ultimately, emotional pain is our greatest source of growth as parents, partners, and human beings.

Step 3: Stop Projecting and Own Your Feelings

Let’s get real. Is our anger really about the deficits of our children, or partner, or the traffic we’re stuck in? Or are our feelings of anger, overwhelm, fear, and impatience really about us?

In relationships, we can easily lose sight of what’s “yours” and what’s “mine.” When others do not behave in the ways we want them to, it’s much easier to see others as the cause of our mental, emotional, and behavioral instability. This is what therapists call “projection.”

Projection is when we take our own unacknowledged internal feelings and self-narratives around shame, unworthiness, helplessness, rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness and see them in others.

When you say “someone makes me feel…” that should be a signal to you that you’re in the space of projection. It’s a common move most of us do when we’re upset.

Projection is an unconscious psychological defense against owning all parts of ourselves, typically our most vulnerable feelings. The way out of projecting is to take responsibility for the part of us we dislike and are afraid to acknowledge.

Feel. Get real. Get vulnerable. Let’s really take a look at our part in triggering situations.

What can we own that may be difficult to admit? Can we table the idea that our kids or partner made us feel this way? Can we instead look inside and own a more vulnerable confession?

"I’m really scared. I’m incredibly sad. I’m feeling helpless and alone.”

No more projecting means we own something really big right now. “How many times do I have to ask you to clean your room! You’re grounded!” turns into a reflection on why we’re triggered by messiness and disobedience.

Perhaps the messiness brings up feelings of worthiness and respect. Or perhaps the disobedience brings up feelings of helplessness and not being seen or heard.

When we own these feelings and get curious about them, we break the hold they have on our hearts, minds, and actions.

Not living in projection means taking absolute responsibility for our feelings. By owning them, we reclaim the power to heal, grow, and act in ways that align with our highest values.

For further questions or to become a client, Max offers a free 30-minute Zoom consultation. He can be reached at brandelcounseling@gmail.com or (720) 980-1106.

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Lost Your Cool? Here Are 3 Steps to Greater Parent Patience

Psychotherapist, relationship coach, and father Max Brandel discusses his three tips to finding more patience as a parent

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Key takeaways

1

Understand the addictive nature of anger by learning why we get angry and why it feels good in the moment

2

Reframe emotional pain and discomfort by allowing yourself to feel fully and reminding yourself that “this is ON the way, not IN the way”

3

Stop projecting and own your feelings; doing this will not only help you uncover things you may not have known about yourself, but it can help you reconnect with your kids and partner

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Let’s face it: pretty much every parent has, at one point, gotten so angry at their spouse and kids that they lost control.

Maybe you’ve thrown something, yelled or screamed, or broke a plate in the kitchen. Maybe you’ve even threatened or physically acted out at your kids.

Of course, we feel shame and regret afterward. But how do we keep this anger from coming back and taking over? Max Brandel, a Colorado-based psychotherapist, relationship coach, and father describes three powerful steps to cultivating greater patience in our parenting.

Step 1: Understand the addictive nature of anger

The human brain has both highly intelligent and ancient, primitive parts. Just because we have one doesn’t mean we’ve gotten rid of the other.
We can build complex computer chips and we can also smash them. Similarly, we can be caring, responsible parents and also feel and express animal-like outbursts of anger.

Know that in the moment, anger often feels good. It overrides all other moral and rational brakes in the brain and floods our nervous system with feel-good chemicals.

This gives us an immediate sense of power and control. We get an addictive boost to an area where we previously felt weak or helpless (at least in that moment), and we become tunnel-visioned and blind to any collateral damage.

Anger (and its close cousins, irritation, outrage, blame, and shame) is ultimately a comfortable way of coping with deeper feelings of helplessness, fear, emptiness, and confusion. Anger helps to distract us (or escape) from these underlying uncomfortable feelings.

By understanding anger as a potentially addictive feeling that keeps us from deeper challenging feelings, we can start seeing anger for what it really is: a coping mechanism.

Step 2: Reframe our emotional pain and discomfort as containing important information

We all prefer comfort, low stress, and a predictable environment. We’ve probably wished for a perfectly obedient child that never has to be told twice and never challenges us, or for a partner who has no issues and uses perfect, kind communication all the time.

But these desires for comfort and peace are often tied to desires to avoid and resist our own emotional wounds that are ultimately keeping us from being the parents we want to be or leading the lives we want to live.  

From this reframing, we can see our emotional pain and discomfort as containing really important information about what we need to tend to and heal within us. A great saying that captures this refraining is: “This is ON the way, not IN the way.”

Once we reframe our anger, irritation, blaming, and outrage in this way, we can allow ourselves to really feel them, especially when they’re at their strongest and most painful. We can begin by simply noting: “Whew, this is really uncomfortable. I can’t believe how hard this is to feel.”

The information that emotional pain and discomfort contain can push us to direct our attention to something real and important inside of us, express what's really happening for us (like is the anger covering up a sense of helplessness?), and move back into connection with our kids. By welcoming challenging feelings fully when they’re here, we can move through this process of attention-expression-connection faster and more thoroughly.

From this perspective, emotional pain is a powerful ally because it has so much to teach us. We survive just about every pain there is, and often forget about it as soon as it’s taught us what we need to learn.

Ultimately, emotional pain is our greatest source of growth as parents, partners, and human beings.

Step 3: Stop Projecting and Own Your Feelings

Let’s get real. Is our anger really about the deficits of our children, or partner, or the traffic we’re stuck in? Or are our feelings of anger, overwhelm, fear, and impatience really about us?

In relationships, we can easily lose sight of what’s “yours” and what’s “mine.” When others do not behave in the ways we want them to, it’s much easier to see others as the cause of our mental, emotional, and behavioral instability. This is what therapists call “projection.”

Projection is when we take our own unacknowledged internal feelings and self-narratives around shame, unworthiness, helplessness, rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness and see them in others.

When you say “someone makes me feel…” that should be a signal to you that you’re in the space of projection. It’s a common move most of us do when we’re upset.

Projection is an unconscious psychological defense against owning all parts of ourselves, typically our most vulnerable feelings. The way out of projecting is to take responsibility for the part of us we dislike and are afraid to acknowledge.

Feel. Get real. Get vulnerable. Let’s really take a look at our part in triggering situations.

What can we own that may be difficult to admit? Can we table the idea that our kids or partner made us feel this way? Can we instead look inside and own a more vulnerable confession?

"I’m really scared. I’m incredibly sad. I’m feeling helpless and alone.”

No more projecting means we own something really big right now. “How many times do I have to ask you to clean your room! You’re grounded!” turns into a reflection on why we’re triggered by messiness and disobedience.

Perhaps the messiness brings up feelings of worthiness and respect. Or perhaps the disobedience brings up feelings of helplessness and not being seen or heard.

When we own these feelings and get curious about them, we break the hold they have on our hearts, minds, and actions.

Not living in projection means taking absolute responsibility for our feelings. By owning them, we reclaim the power to heal, grow, and act in ways that align with our highest values.

For further questions or to become a client, Max offers a free 30-minute Zoom consultation. He can be reached at brandelcounseling@gmail.com or (720) 980-1106.

Let’s face it: pretty much every parent has, at one point, gotten so angry at their spouse and kids that they lost control.

Maybe you’ve thrown something, yelled or screamed, or broke a plate in the kitchen. Maybe you’ve even threatened or physically acted out at your kids.

Of course, we feel shame and regret afterward. But how do we keep this anger from coming back and taking over? Max Brandel, a Colorado-based psychotherapist, relationship coach, and father describes three powerful steps to cultivating greater patience in our parenting.

Step 1: Understand the addictive nature of anger

The human brain has both highly intelligent and ancient, primitive parts. Just because we have one doesn’t mean we’ve gotten rid of the other.
We can build complex computer chips and we can also smash them. Similarly, we can be caring, responsible parents and also feel and express animal-like outbursts of anger.

Know that in the moment, anger often feels good. It overrides all other moral and rational brakes in the brain and floods our nervous system with feel-good chemicals.

This gives us an immediate sense of power and control. We get an addictive boost to an area where we previously felt weak or helpless (at least in that moment), and we become tunnel-visioned and blind to any collateral damage.

Anger (and its close cousins, irritation, outrage, blame, and shame) is ultimately a comfortable way of coping with deeper feelings of helplessness, fear, emptiness, and confusion. Anger helps to distract us (or escape) from these underlying uncomfortable feelings.

By understanding anger as a potentially addictive feeling that keeps us from deeper challenging feelings, we can start seeing anger for what it really is: a coping mechanism.

Step 2: Reframe our emotional pain and discomfort as containing important information

We all prefer comfort, low stress, and a predictable environment. We’ve probably wished for a perfectly obedient child that never has to be told twice and never challenges us, or for a partner who has no issues and uses perfect, kind communication all the time.

But these desires for comfort and peace are often tied to desires to avoid and resist our own emotional wounds that are ultimately keeping us from being the parents we want to be or leading the lives we want to live.  

From this reframing, we can see our emotional pain and discomfort as containing really important information about what we need to tend to and heal within us. A great saying that captures this refraining is: “This is ON the way, not IN the way.”

Once we reframe our anger, irritation, blaming, and outrage in this way, we can allow ourselves to really feel them, especially when they’re at their strongest and most painful. We can begin by simply noting: “Whew, this is really uncomfortable. I can’t believe how hard this is to feel.”

The information that emotional pain and discomfort contain can push us to direct our attention to something real and important inside of us, express what's really happening for us (like is the anger covering up a sense of helplessness?), and move back into connection with our kids. By welcoming challenging feelings fully when they’re here, we can move through this process of attention-expression-connection faster and more thoroughly.

From this perspective, emotional pain is a powerful ally because it has so much to teach us. We survive just about every pain there is, and often forget about it as soon as it’s taught us what we need to learn.

Ultimately, emotional pain is our greatest source of growth as parents, partners, and human beings.

Step 3: Stop Projecting and Own Your Feelings

Let’s get real. Is our anger really about the deficits of our children, or partner, or the traffic we’re stuck in? Or are our feelings of anger, overwhelm, fear, and impatience really about us?

In relationships, we can easily lose sight of what’s “yours” and what’s “mine.” When others do not behave in the ways we want them to, it’s much easier to see others as the cause of our mental, emotional, and behavioral instability. This is what therapists call “projection.”

Projection is when we take our own unacknowledged internal feelings and self-narratives around shame, unworthiness, helplessness, rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness and see them in others.

When you say “someone makes me feel…” that should be a signal to you that you’re in the space of projection. It’s a common move most of us do when we’re upset.

Projection is an unconscious psychological defense against owning all parts of ourselves, typically our most vulnerable feelings. The way out of projecting is to take responsibility for the part of us we dislike and are afraid to acknowledge.

Feel. Get real. Get vulnerable. Let’s really take a look at our part in triggering situations.

What can we own that may be difficult to admit? Can we table the idea that our kids or partner made us feel this way? Can we instead look inside and own a more vulnerable confession?

"I’m really scared. I’m incredibly sad. I’m feeling helpless and alone.”

No more projecting means we own something really big right now. “How many times do I have to ask you to clean your room! You’re grounded!” turns into a reflection on why we’re triggered by messiness and disobedience.

Perhaps the messiness brings up feelings of worthiness and respect. Or perhaps the disobedience brings up feelings of helplessness and not being seen or heard.

When we own these feelings and get curious about them, we break the hold they have on our hearts, minds, and actions.

Not living in projection means taking absolute responsibility for our feelings. By owning them, we reclaim the power to heal, grow, and act in ways that align with our highest values.

For further questions or to become a client, Max offers a free 30-minute Zoom consultation. He can be reached at brandelcounseling@gmail.com or (720) 980-1106.

Let’s face it: pretty much every parent has, at one point, gotten so angry at their spouse and kids that they lost control.

Maybe you’ve thrown something, yelled or screamed, or broke a plate in the kitchen. Maybe you’ve even threatened or physically acted out at your kids.

Of course, we feel shame and regret afterward. But how do we keep this anger from coming back and taking over? Max Brandel, a Colorado-based psychotherapist, relationship coach, and father describes three powerful steps to cultivating greater patience in our parenting.

Step 1: Understand the addictive nature of anger

The human brain has both highly intelligent and ancient, primitive parts. Just because we have one doesn’t mean we’ve gotten rid of the other.
We can build complex computer chips and we can also smash them. Similarly, we can be caring, responsible parents and also feel and express animal-like outbursts of anger.

Know that in the moment, anger often feels good. It overrides all other moral and rational brakes in the brain and floods our nervous system with feel-good chemicals.

This gives us an immediate sense of power and control. We get an addictive boost to an area where we previously felt weak or helpless (at least in that moment), and we become tunnel-visioned and blind to any collateral damage.

Anger (and its close cousins, irritation, outrage, blame, and shame) is ultimately a comfortable way of coping with deeper feelings of helplessness, fear, emptiness, and confusion. Anger helps to distract us (or escape) from these underlying uncomfortable feelings.

By understanding anger as a potentially addictive feeling that keeps us from deeper challenging feelings, we can start seeing anger for what it really is: a coping mechanism.

Step 2: Reframe our emotional pain and discomfort as containing important information

We all prefer comfort, low stress, and a predictable environment. We’ve probably wished for a perfectly obedient child that never has to be told twice and never challenges us, or for a partner who has no issues and uses perfect, kind communication all the time.

But these desires for comfort and peace are often tied to desires to avoid and resist our own emotional wounds that are ultimately keeping us from being the parents we want to be or leading the lives we want to live.  

From this reframing, we can see our emotional pain and discomfort as containing really important information about what we need to tend to and heal within us. A great saying that captures this refraining is: “This is ON the way, not IN the way.”

Once we reframe our anger, irritation, blaming, and outrage in this way, we can allow ourselves to really feel them, especially when they’re at their strongest and most painful. We can begin by simply noting: “Whew, this is really uncomfortable. I can’t believe how hard this is to feel.”

The information that emotional pain and discomfort contain can push us to direct our attention to something real and important inside of us, express what's really happening for us (like is the anger covering up a sense of helplessness?), and move back into connection with our kids. By welcoming challenging feelings fully when they’re here, we can move through this process of attention-expression-connection faster and more thoroughly.

From this perspective, emotional pain is a powerful ally because it has so much to teach us. We survive just about every pain there is, and often forget about it as soon as it’s taught us what we need to learn.

Ultimately, emotional pain is our greatest source of growth as parents, partners, and human beings.

Step 3: Stop Projecting and Own Your Feelings

Let’s get real. Is our anger really about the deficits of our children, or partner, or the traffic we’re stuck in? Or are our feelings of anger, overwhelm, fear, and impatience really about us?

In relationships, we can easily lose sight of what’s “yours” and what’s “mine.” When others do not behave in the ways we want them to, it’s much easier to see others as the cause of our mental, emotional, and behavioral instability. This is what therapists call “projection.”

Projection is when we take our own unacknowledged internal feelings and self-narratives around shame, unworthiness, helplessness, rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness and see them in others.

When you say “someone makes me feel…” that should be a signal to you that you’re in the space of projection. It’s a common move most of us do when we’re upset.

Projection is an unconscious psychological defense against owning all parts of ourselves, typically our most vulnerable feelings. The way out of projecting is to take responsibility for the part of us we dislike and are afraid to acknowledge.

Feel. Get real. Get vulnerable. Let’s really take a look at our part in triggering situations.

What can we own that may be difficult to admit? Can we table the idea that our kids or partner made us feel this way? Can we instead look inside and own a more vulnerable confession?

"I’m really scared. I’m incredibly sad. I’m feeling helpless and alone.”

No more projecting means we own something really big right now. “How many times do I have to ask you to clean your room! You’re grounded!” turns into a reflection on why we’re triggered by messiness and disobedience.

Perhaps the messiness brings up feelings of worthiness and respect. Or perhaps the disobedience brings up feelings of helplessness and not being seen or heard.

When we own these feelings and get curious about them, we break the hold they have on our hearts, minds, and actions.

Not living in projection means taking absolute responsibility for our feelings. By owning them, we reclaim the power to heal, grow, and act in ways that align with our highest values.

For further questions or to become a client, Max offers a free 30-minute Zoom consultation. He can be reached at brandelcounseling@gmail.com or (720) 980-1106.

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