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  • Shawna Lauer, LMFT

Why am I so angry all the time? What is Mom Rage? I never used to feel like this.

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

“Mom Rage” is real. And during this Covid-19 pandemic, even more of us are feeling it. Women are overloaded and stressed. Our worlds are turned upside down and we’re dealing with panic and worry about illness, protecting our kids and families and balancing a multitude of roles and responsibilities, all with fewer resources and support. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and a related overall feeling of overwhelm and anger. We might snap at our kids and partners and feel “on edge” more often than not. Our ability to manage frustration is taxed, and on top of that we experience guilt and shame for feeling like this and for not being grateful for what we have. But what we want you to know is, that just because you have the ability to look on the bright side or to see that others have it worse off, it doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t justified and aren’t “normal.”

“Mom rage” is the colloquial term for the unrestrained anger many women experience during pregnancy, postpartum and beyond.

According to the Gottman Institute, anger is a “secondary emotion.” Anger is often used to protect and cover for our raw, vulnerable and overwhelming feelings lying under the surface. Learning to recognize anger as a protector of our raw feelings can be incredibly powerful.

Let’s consider the metaphor of an “Anger Iceberg.” What we see, the anger that is expressed, is just a small piece of the whole picture. Something much bigger and more complicated lies beneath the surface. On the outside we are angry but underneath there’s likely so much more. You may be feeling, anger, fear, sadness, grief, worry, overwhelm, guilt, shame, loneliness…the list goes on.

We’re tired and stressed and overwhelmed, and as a result it’s harder to do the things we know matter. Exercise routines are forgotten, we eat too much junk food, drink too much alcohol, isolate ourselves, don’t get enough sunshine or fresh air. As a result, our sleep, moods and motivation suffer. Then, when you aren’t sleeping or you feel down, it’s that much harder to exercise, eat right, feel motivated….and the cycle continues.

We may overreact to the smallest things, experience sensory overload, snap at our kids and partners…and then we feel guilty. The guilt can lead to more frustration and anger, and another cycle ensues and we feel helpless.

By seeking to understand and accept your anger and what lies beneath the surface, rather than trying to suppress or fix it, things can start to improve. So, the next time you’re angry, take a step back, take a deep breath and reflect on what might be lying underneath. Once you start to understand what primary emotions are fueling your anger or rage then you can start to get a better handle on your feelings and find ways to express them more effectively. And PLEASE know that this is often not an easy task and that it’s okay to ask for help!

What can I do about my anger and rage?  How do I redirect it more effectively? How do I cope?

Here are a few tips. We know it can be very challenging to implement these on your own. If you would like more information or support please reach out. We are here to help you during these uncertain times.

Take care of your physical health

  • Make exercise a priority

  • Eat healthy foods

  • Avoid excessive alcohol use

  • Avoid drug use

  • Sleep a minimum of 7-8 hours per night

  • Connect with others, family friends and loved ones

  • Find time for yourself, do the things that bring you joy

  • Avoid too much screen time and moderate the time you spend watching or reading the news

  • Use mindfulness (if this isn’t already part of your life, we can help)

  • Seek help – therapy, counseling and talking about your feelings can help you feel better

Additional resources

Post written by Shawna Lauer, LMFT Book online with her today!

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