After YOUR Meltdown… Pulling Yourself Together

Today, you had a meltdown.  Children have them; adults have them, too.  I have mini-meltdowns a few times a week, mainly in the form of getting annoyed or agitated.  I’ll often speak unkindly and say something I’ll later regret.  A few months ago, I had a major meltdown.  I wigged out, kicked a bottle of baby powder across the floor, screamed at my (then) three year old, and then, very dramatically, slammed the bottle of baby powder into the trashcan.  While I was freaking out, I could see myself.  I was telling myself to stop.  I was telling myself to walk away.  But I couldn’t.  The situation escalated.  Of course, a few minutes after the incident ended, I felt like a real asshole.  I couldn’t control myself and it was scary.

Now, back to your meltdown.  Maybe you yelled at your little boy. Perhaps you freaked out or physically punished your daughter. You lost it. You snapped. You wigged out. You reverted to your old behavioral patterns. You had a meltdown. Maybe, like I did a few weeks ago, you kicked a bottle of baby powder across the floor while screaming like a lunatic.  You feel like a failure.

You know this behavior is entirely unacceptable.  Certainly, if you screamed at one of your friends in this manner you wouldn’t be friends much longer.  If you physically struck you partner while you were upset, the shit would hit the fan.  You may even be facing assault charges.  Yet, so many of us were raised in homes where punishing and hitting children was not only acceptable but encouraged that, when stressed, tired, or ill, we revert to our previously-learned behaviors.  How to stop it?  How to break the cycle?meltdown

So, you’re melting down.  Your heart is racing. The adrenaline’s flowing. What do you do?

First, stop making things worse. Remove yourself from the situation. Stop speaking, because you’re only going to exacerbate things. Now, breathe. Deep breaths. Regain control. Look at yourself in the mirror. Talk to yourself. Keep breathing. Slow down. Become calm. Reset yourself.

Once you’ve regained your positive, peaceful outlook, go to your child. Apologize. Explain what happened. Give them all the love in your heart.

Then, forget about it. This is difficult, but the moment is gone. It’s over. You forge ahead. You have the next moment and the moment after that. You have the rest of the day. The rest of your life. One bad moment does not define your relationship. You set aside the negative and embrace the positive. You move on, you do the best you can, and you act with all the love in your heart.

You feel like a failure. You have regrets. Let ’em go. None of us are perfect. Be better in the next moment. Ultimately, you may fail again. It could happen. We’re all human. Dust yourself off, pick yourself up, and try again. Don’t live in your inglorious past. Every moment is a new opportunity to love.

5 comments to After YOUR Meltdown… Pulling Yourself Together

  • Calina

    Thank you so much for this post. I am so trying not to spank. It’s probably been a few months at this point. But what I am doing instead-trying to remain calm, explaining that his behavior is hurtful, unacceptable, taking his toys or computer time, or just separating him from his sister, doesn’t seem to work either. I know I have to keep trying, and that spanking wasn’t working either. I just wish I could feel like I was making headway. Thank you for ideas on how to deal with my meltdowns. Because the frustration of seeing no progress is exhausting sometimes, and the meltdowns happen.

  • Katie

    I needed this. I had a MAJOR meltdown the other day. Like, I was floating above myself watching myself behave like a total jerk to my kid. And I’ve been beating myself up over for the past few days, breaking down into tears because I KNOW it wasn’t okay. It’s been almost two years since I freaked out like that (I mean, door slamming, throwing toys into a trashcan, grabbing my poor son by the arm and dragging him up the stairs…) Even typing about it, I’m starting to cry.
    But, every day is a new day. And he accepted my apology. And apologized to me for throwing the item he threw across the room and breaking it (it was a music box given to me by my grandmother who passed away right after he was born). I try to remind myself that we’re just human and everyone has their breaking points. But it’s so hard.
    Thanks for this. 🙂

  • I have a lot of stress in my life (like everyone else) and recently it all just came together at the exact moment where I was at my weakest and I snapped.

    I’ve never felt so crappy afterwards but after telling myself “I’m just human” over and over again (mind you while bawling my eyes out so it was more like “I’mmmmmmm juuuuuzt huuuuuman!!!!”) and I calmed down, I went to my son. Who gave me the best hug that I could ever of imagined. He forgave me for being a total bitch-a-roonie, and then it felt like I could forgive myself.

    Thanks for this post, sometimes it feels like your the only one f-n up as a parent, but I’m comforted to see there are others who accept their fault and are trying the best they can to correct it.

  • Stephanie

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! I’ve been working sooo very hard on letting perfectionism go & enjoy the mess. I now look at spills as an opportunity to teach my children how to clean up the messes they make. Parenting two children, 12 months apart is a very humbling experience. Thank you for exposing the reality & for sharing your experience.

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