It has always been said that the bond between a mother and her son is special. Never more so than the situations I have been encountering recently.
As my work has extended to helping the partners of angry and controlling people I have come into contact with more mothers who have experienced angry and aggressive partners.
In two particular cases I have helped recently these mothers have had sons and their circumstances brought with them a special set of problems.
I have written before that the components that go together to make an angry child are angry role models (parents), lack of boundaries (don’t feel safe) and trauma (seeing parents attack each other). In these cases the ingredients were all too evident. Both mothers had endured long standing abusive relationships and both had finally found the strength to leave with their children. It was shortly after this that the full scale of the problems they had to deal with became clearer.
During the angry relationship their children had been brought up, through role modelling, that anger is expressed either in an angry and violent way or in a passive aggressive way. Both are unhealthy role models. In both situations the parents did not agree as to what the boundaries should be for their children and thus they were inconsistently applied. This made the children feel unsafe. It also made them gravitate towards the parent that was least likely to enforce the boundaries. This behaviour is partly manipulative (that’s humans for you) and partly because they were seeking to find out where the real boundary was. In other words, they needed to know how far they could push that parent before they enforced the boundaries and made them feel loved. Finally, their children had observed their mother being abused verbally and physically by their fathers. They felt powerless to help and were deeply traumatised by it.
When both of these mothers finally got the courage and the strength to leave then they were able to take their children to a safe place. This is where the real extent of the damage became evident.
For all of these years the children had been afraid to express their own anger because they were afraid of the consequences. After all they saw what happened to their mother. Once they lived in a place of safety they finally felt able to express the pent up issues they had been experiencing for years. As a result they started acting out. In both cases the sons became angry and violent almost overnight .
For their mothers the issues were multiple. The first issue was the one facing almost everyone who finally escapes an angry and abusive relationships which is that their self esteem is at an all time low. Add to that that, more than ever before their children needed reassuring that they were safe and loved. In other words they needed boundaries in place with a single parent who felt less strong then she had ever felt. For the mother’s, having left their lifetime partner the last thing they needed was to become an enforcer. If anything they were likely to wish to treat their children as friends which never works.
Finally both mothers felt that they had left the male abuser and brought his replacement with them. It was ironic, frightening and deeply worrying.
As they reflected on how this had happened they came across another worry. What about their daughters who weren’t noticeably acting out but had been through the same process? Their fear was that their daughters would take their mother’s role in their own relationships in the future and end up with abusive partners. As they work with me we are taking a dual approach t helping their sons regain control of their anger. The sons see me and so too do the mothers. I train their sons and I support their mothers in creating and maintaining healthy boundaries. We are also working on supporting their children towards being independent adults rather than children dependent upon their mother to sort out all of their lives problems.
It does not happen overnight. It is a tough journey but it is worth it in the end.
I have shared this story because the sooner I can highlight the hidden issues the better. The more motivation a mother can have to call time on her partner’s anger the better. I hope it helps you.
If you want a confidential chat about your situation call Calm People West Midlands 07950344658 and ask for Paula or Calm People East Midlands 07850614042 and ask for Julian
Want to know more about the anger management, stress management, and emotional resilience courses run in Derby & Birmingham call the above numbers or click here