Dear Life Coach Trent,
I am a 24 year old man who lives with my mother for financial reasons. My mother is a very angry person and is often verbally combative. She is constantly picking fights with me. What do you suggest I do to deal with her crazy outbursts?
This is going to be hard to do at first, and is much easier said than done, but try not to react to your mother’s emotional outbursts. When we react to people when they are angry, we are adding fuel to an already ignited fire. When people are angry, they are not rational and anything said goes in one ear and out the other.
Why do we feel the need to respond to what is being said to us or about us? It is because we take what they say personally. We regularly forget that “hurt people hurt” which means that someone who is unhappy will take it out on whoever is around; you happen to be the victim du jour. The words she is directing at you are most likely projections of how she is feeling inside.
Not responding to what others say is necessary to stay grounded. To assist you with this, I suggest you pick up the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and focus on the second agreement, “Don’t Take Things Personally.” This agreement states what others say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the beliefs they have in their own minds and how they are feeling about themselves.
Repeating this agreement to yourself as a mantra, as well as taking three deep breathes will greatly assist you in staying centered while in the midst of such outbursts. Then often times the healthiest thing to do is immediately remove yourself from the situation by walking away. My guess would be that not reacting to her will shift the negative energy and makes things calmer.
If you consistently practice this, I believe your mother will not come after you as much because she isn’t getting what she wants - your energy and attention. Many people unconsciously look for this attention because they prefer negative attention to none at all. If she doesn’t get it from you, she will move onto another person who will respond and react!
It is also important to become aware of the warning signs that happen before your mother gets angry. Does her voice get louder? Does she pace? Does she stare at you? If you identify these things, you can be pro-active in removing yourself from the situation before it gets heated up.
If you follow these suggestions, I think things will start shifting for you. But if they don’t, I encourage you to save your money and consider moving. There comes a time when we have to start taking responsibility for our lives which often involves making sometimes difficult choices. Life is about the choices we make! If you don’t like how your life looks, make some different choices!
Hope this helps! Namaste!