When a Crying Baby Makes You So Angry You Might Hurt Them

A reader sent in one of the most heartfelt and brutally honest comments I’ve had, and I needed to respond right away.

One of the most popular posts on this blog has always been Don’t Feel Bad When Your Crying Baby Makes You Crazy. This is clearly a universal problem: people really do struggle when a baby is crying.

The reader, a man, said how much he loves his one-year-old daughter and that she rarely cries, but when she does, he gets so angry that he has to leave the room and punch furniture. He is afraid that he will scare and possibly hurt her with his anger.

First I want to reassure him that he’s doing the right thing. Go away, get rid of your anger, and come back when you can deal with the child. It’s far more upsetting for them to see you lose it in front of them or, clearly, to take your anger out on them. Your anger makes the moment more intense. The goal is to remain calm, and therefore calm the baby.

This is the hardest challenge of parenting – this is where you really have to dig deep, and I’m not just being facetious. You have to grow and change, which is really hard. You have to push yourself to find a place where you can be calm even when all hell is breaking loose around you.

If you lose control of your anger you can very easily hurt a little one, and it is terrifying for parents to think they have this capacity. Because no one talks about anger when it comes to little ones. We see the rosy pictures and the quiet moments and the joy joy joy we’re supposed to be feeling, when really we’re exhausted, emotional, scared, and sometimes just can’t handle the drastic (and irreversible) life changes we’ve just been through. Babies open up a whole new world we can’t possibly understand until we’re there, at 3AM with a screaming child, and we’ve got a major presentation at 9:00.

First let’s try to explain why all of this is happening. We get so noticeably upset by our baby’s cry because it is designed by nature to get your blood pumping – to get you to respond to its distress. It’s a survival instinct that we’re both physically wired for and there’s nothing we can do to change it.

But I also think that today we have immense pressure to never let our babies cry. All the gurus tell us to do everything we can to soothe our baby and stop the crying right away. But sometimes you simply can’t. And as the reader described, he then feels guilty because he can’t stop her crying and because his own emotional reaction feels out of control. Then the whole situation escalates quickly.

Sometimes being forced to stop crying is not the best thing for a child. Babies feel stress too, and they need a way to let it out. When we run in and force them to calm down we’re saying don’t cry – it’s not good for you. That emotion you have is bad and we need to stop it. A baby feels what they feel, they can’t analyze it.

Put her in a safe place and walk away. You both need a timeout, and that’s OK (and sometimes the safest thing to do). In fact I will often tell my day care kids, “Amy needs a timeout!” and run and hide in the kitchen. We can only take care of our kids if we take care of ourselves first. (This rule applies forever, at any age, in all situations.)

A little bit of crying has never hurt or permanently scarred a baby. It lets them deal with their own big emotions and learn how to self-soothe. There are times in life when Mom and Dad simply don’t know how to stop the pain. We can’t always fix everything, and it’s OK for a child to feel sad. Crying is a release.

Let’s face it, we are not a culture that deals well with ugly emotions. We don’t know what to do with our anger so we bottle it up until it explodes at the wrong time. It scares us, and that’s a healthy thing, but that also leads us to hide it away. When we’re sad we try everything to stop the crying, to hold that feeling in, rather than letting it out. Sometimes your body just can’t do that, even though we try to put our societal norms on it and say we’re too civilized for this ugliness. It’s not true. We need to be able to face it and then let it go, and teach our kids how to do that as well.

Therefore, I would like to introduce you to my friend Nubs. The boys named him that because he doesn’t have arms (or maybe something dirty but I chose not to delve any further). When we got him I thought it would be a hoot – but basically a joke – that I would be able to take my anger out on him. One day I half-heartedly punched his face. In a few minutes my hands hurt so badly that I had to go back to the store and get sparring gloves. When I’m not punching Nubs, I pat him on the head and thank him for taking my abuse, because honestly, there are some days when he saves our lives.

One of the most important things I do with my day care kids is teaching them how to deal with anger. There are many books out there on the topic, and one of their favorites is If You’re Angry and You Know It. I developed a song chart they can pick from and we sing, “If you’re angry and you know it growl it out!” Grrrrrrr, with lots of roars and gritted teeth from the crowd.

The reader asks if he should seek professional help and I would say I don’t think you’re at that point right now. The baby’s cries will get less intense as she gets older (and in case they don’t, remember that the best thing you can do with a tantrum is WALK AWAY – ignore it and don’t feed it, whatever you do).

But I’m glad that you realize that if it doesn’t get better, and you find yourself raging at your child, that you will need to ask for help. You are on the right track, and you’ve tapped into something very strong – the way our kids can push our buttons until we rage. As they grow it might not be crying, but other very sneaky ways they know to get us going.

It’s OK to show our kids that we’re angry. It’s an honest emotion and sometimes they push us to it. They have a part in the dance and need to learn why misbehaving is wrong. It’s part of growing up, and parents teaching their kids right from wrong.

Still I had the hardest time with this because of those messages – life is beautiful, never ugly, our children are precious, never let anything scar or hurt them, and NEVER tell them “No.” My son was a wild three-year-old and I battled him. One day I screamed so loud that it scared even me. I called my friend Pam and cried. I told her I don’t know what I’m doing but I know it’s wrong. I’m afraid I hurt my child.

She said, “Amy, what is he doing right now?” I looked out the window and said, “He’s running up and down the driveway with his Power Rangers cape on.” Pam asked, “Did you crush his spirit?” I had to admit that I didn’t. And what a relief that was. And accept the knowledge that our kids are far more resilient than we give them credit for. I waited until I collected myself and went and gave him a big hug. But I remembered that the next time he was getting me upset, I would let him know before I became a screaming monster.

I’m not much of a yeller now. I’m direct and honest, and address issues before they get out of control. I’m firm but loving. It’s been the hardest process of my life to learn how to handle my emotions, and the kids, and their emotions, in a healthy and productive way.

There is a quote that comes to mind every time I feel my anger rising at my kids. When I remember that they are the most precious and important thing in my life, and that I am the God of their world. That my response is literally going to shape their lives and teach them the emotional strength for how to get through the toughest times:

“Your defining act of love for your child will not be the 2:00 AM feedings, the sleepless, fretful night spent beside him in the hospital, or the second job you took to pay for college. Your zenith will occur in the face of a withering blast of frightening rage from your child, in allowing no rage from yourself in response. Your finest moment may well be your darkest. And you will be a parent.” (Michael J. Bradley)

Advertisements

87 thoughts on “When a Crying Baby Makes You So Angry You Might Hurt Them

  1. Pingback: So How’d You Spend Your Saturday Morning, Part 2 | Sitting On The Baby

  2. Pingback: Kids and Violence | Sitting On The Baby

  3. Pingback: Steubenville | Sitting On The Baby

  4. Thank you! Being a new mom is a lot harder than I thought. I was a quiet, docile baby. I just assumed that that is what I would receive as we’ll. My 4 week old newborn is an inconsolable screamer during the day. 😦 I find myself getting upset that I can’t comfort him. Your post was comforting to me. I’ll dig deep and learn not to let his crying bother me 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing Starla – I can’t imagine colic, it’s hard enough without constant screaming. This too shall pass! Deep breaths… Be well – Amy

    • Hi there, hang in there and remember that to your baby you are the world. Have you tried wearing your baby in a sling? It really mellows a baby and it feels great to be so close to them. It really works with me. x

  5. Pingback: The Week I Look Forward to All Year | Sitting On The Baby

  6. I have been diagnosed as having Psychotic Disorder and can’t afford my meds. When my 3 year old cries I picture doing things like hitting him and slapping him. I cry when he stops because I can’t believe that I could think of such a thing but I do.He screams for hours sometimes, for no reason and if you ask him he won’t talk to you. Sometimes he cries until he throws up on himself. Got any advise for my situation?

    • First of all don’t beat yourself up. The feelings you are having are normal and we’ve all been there. Now that my kids are older I rarely feel that way (it gets better!!), but even still I get mad enough that I have to walk away. If you have a diagnosis it’s possible that there’s something similar going on with him. You should have him evaluated by REACH or another program to see if they have any suggestions, help, or support for him (these groups are mandated, all children are supposed to get the support they need). Another thing is that I want you to bang down every door, every office, every government, state, federal, whatever agency, to get yourself the support you need and get your meds. Try them all – WIC, social services, unemployment, disability, the department of Education or early childhood, schools, anything you can think of. There must be some program somewhere that can help you, it’s just a matter of finding it. It might be frustrating but stick with it. When he is crying and not talking to you, you have a couple of options. You can walk away and let him do it. You can try doing something really fun that will distract him. Have you ever noticed that when you start playing with something, kids become really interested? Get a marble run or something that moves, a ball toy or train, cars, etc. Play with it without trying to engage him (just play and ignore him) and see if he joins you (even blowing bubbles, or play-doh, something silly like that). Put on music and dance. It can be punk if necessary. 😉 If all else fails, does he sit in a stroller? Stick him in one and go for a walk. Switch it up, get out of the four walls. Little boys need to move and any physical activity you can do (playground!) will help him release some energy. It isn’t unhealthy or wrong, but it also isn’t typical for a three-year-old to make himself vomit with crying, and his doctor should be on top of this. If you have to switch doctors, do it. Also I would like for you to find a support group. Look in the newspaper or your community center and hospitals and find groups that serve parents. I pray for you and your son, and hope that you get the support you need!

  7. Thank you for posting this. I was looking for some answers as today it was the first time i felt angry at my 3 month old baby. I was so frustrated and sleep deprived than when i picked him up to soothe him i did it so roughly that he picked up on my anger and started crying even more. Eventually i realised i wasn’t going to get him to sleep the normal way, so i put him the sling and started walking around the house. he was asleep in no time and gave me an opportunity to breathe. I am so ashamed of how i felt. thank you for showing i am not alone.

    • Thank you for your comment and thoughts. I love how you point out something very important – they react off of us. So if we’re coming at them loud, big, out of control, it’s scary, and they’re responding to that. When things start to get out of hand I try to relax, calm down, sing, do anything to soothe the moment instead of escalating it. And that’s a lesson you can carry all the way through parenthood!! Best to you.

  8. Thanks so much for posting this! This was an insightful and comforting article. I’m up in the middle of the night with my 8-month-old feeling guilty about how I tore her out of her bed when she started screaming 45 minutes after eating. I hate my behavior and can’t excuse it, but this was comforting in letting me accept the anger and frustration I felt.

    • I’m so glad you found it and it helped. I think we’ve all handled our kids rougher than we should have at some point, and I think it’s a good lesson to learn early, before we do any real damage. You can always take something away from any situation, even if it’s a difficult one. We don’t want to think we’re capable of hurting our kids but when we are exhausted and pushed beyond our limits things can happen. We are only human, not the saintly angels we are made out to be when we become “MOTHERS.” I hope your baby starts getting some better sleep, so you can too, and everything will seem better with some rest! Be well and thanks for writing.

  9. Thank you for this article. I know that I am not the only one who gets upset when my 15 month old is being impossible, but my mother makes me feel that I am crazy for it. I am with him 24/7 and barely get enough time to take a shower by myself. Sometimes I get so upset because the only thing I want to do is finish my plate of food before having to pick him up. My mother compares me to her when we were little, saying if I can’t handle 1, how do you think she could handle 3? I don’t understand why she has to bring it up all the time. I don’t have 3 and I am just adjusting to my life with 1, that is enough for me. She also says that if I reach out to anyone about anxiety and depression issues that they will call someone to lock me up and have my son taken away from me. She is causing more anxiety in me and I told her not to say things like that, am I supposed to just bottle it all up until I explode? No way. I am reaching out, and I feel a lot better because of it. It’s hard when you feel like you can’t be honest about your feelings. So thank you for this post. When my son is throwing a tantrum I usually will leave the room, but then he just follows me until I pick him up. When we are both tired things boil over, and it wont be better until we both get some sleep.

    • Ohhh 😡

      Your mother isn’t being very supportive! Reaching out for help is a very smart choice. Can you imagine keeping all of your stress bottled up? You would explode and probably do something you would regret.

      Next time she mentions about “try having 3 kids” or “you only have 1 child” or something like that, ask her what her point is. Is she deliberately trying to make things more stressful for you?

      I bet when your mom had her first child, she felt the same feelings you are having now.

      You are doing the right thing. 🙂

    • It sounds like your mom is being very unfair. Things nowadays are VERY different than when you were raised, and it’s not fair for her to compare. We are expected to be everything for our children at every moment of the day, and clearly you are dealing with that with your son’s 24/7 needs, as you say. I know how you feel and we’ve all been there. I used to have to shower with my baby in the bouncy seat in the bathroom with the curtain open so he could see me! It’s incredibly stressful and we need to recognize when we need a break. Try to do something to take care of yourself. Ideally this should be some time away from your son, but I know that’s hard to jump into. Take baby steps and do what works for you. Ask your mother to see if there’s a way she can help you instead of making you feel bad. There’s no way someone’s going to take your baby if you ask for help. In fact it’s probably the best thing for you. Try a mommy group if you can find one. Also most towns have family centers or playgroups where parents can meet. If none of this works and you’re still feeling stressed, I would recommend finding a therapist (your doctor can give you a referral). Not only will they help you with your feelings around your baby, but they will help you deal with your mother too! Best of luck to you.

  10. Oh my goodness, thank you very much. I’m an early childhood educator and there are some days where I need to get away from a situation too. I love my job so much, but somedays, my blood just boils. I always feel absolutely terrible when I say “I cannot help you right now because I am angry.”

    I wouldn’t say I’m an angry person, I just get frustrated easily. It could be me having immature thinking, I don’t know. But this article basically confirms “it’s okay to feel anger.”

    Thank you for sharing your article!

    • Absolutely!! We providers need it more than anyone!!! 😉 I give myself time outs all the time!! I walk away and tell them Amy needs a timeout and they totally get it! You should NOT feel bad when you know that it’s time to stop and take a breath, to protect yourself and the kids. When I come back I actually talk to them about what made me mad and how I felt. They love to get into that – they want to hear about it and understand as much as you do. It’s a great way to talk about emotions and proper responses. Anger is OK – treating others badly isn’t. As you get more job experience you’ll be able to handle it better, I promise. This job almost broke me but if you can get through the hard moments you can do anything!! Best to you.

  11. Thanks so much for this post! Back in June 2013, I delivered twin girls. Tragically, one of them(her name was Bria) passed away just one week before I was supposed to deliver them, so you can only imagine the emotional roller coaster. Delivering a live baby and a still born at the same time really took a toll on me.

    I was diagnosed with PPD due to still birth and given meds. But even now that my surviving daughter is 6 months old, the stress of being a new mom is still very overwhelming. Sometimes, I have bad thoughts about hitting or slapping her whenever she won’t stop crying. I feel horrible after, but it really hurts me to know that I think that way.

    • Louis CK says if you haven’t given the finger to the back of your child’s head, you’re not putting in the work. 😉 We’ve all felt that way about our children!! We love them to death, and they can drive us more crazy than anyone (besides maybe our partners). It truly brought tears to my eyes to hear your story, and I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m sure it will be a unique challenge to raise your daughter without her twin, and I hope you are seeking support through therapy or a bereavement group. Just keep on loving her as best you can and you will find your way. All my best to you and Bella.

  12. Thank you so much for this post! I found it very reassuring and helpful in an area that many of us new parents are unsure about. I’m commenting and am here on this page because I am feeling a little concerned about my wife.

    I love my wife to death. Her and I seem to have this unbreakable bond. Lately though, she seems to be getting more and more impatient with our one month old and it’s starting to scare me a little. Her and I have been taking shifts taking care of our LO through the night so we both can get some rest. Tonight however, I cut my rest short (after around 3 hours) because I heard the baby crying and her mother was clearly getting frustrated with her with what she was saying to the baby. She seems to have a shorter and shorter fuse with her lately and I’m afraid that without reading an article like this, I don’t know what might happen if I’m not around to give her that immediate break. How should I go about talking to her about this concern without sounding like I think she’d hurt the baby? She seemed almost offended when I came into the kitchen to give her a break and take the baby, claiming she wasn’t mad; yet her words and demeanor pointed otherwise. Please help!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, and your honest and heartfelt concern for your wife and baby. Of course the normal changes that come with becoming a mother, and a sudden and almost total lack of sleep can make anyone grumpy and short-tempered. However, if your wife is dealing with post-partum depression (which it sounds like she is flirting with), she can be even more defensive. She probably feels like it SHOULD be the happiest she’s ever felt when really she’s feeling exhausted, angry, and possibly unprepared or unqualified to be a mother. We have all been there (and continue to be as our children grow!). You might want to research PPD and see if she fits the criteria. You can even call your doctor and ask some questions about what is going on and what you can do. When you’re ready to talk to her about it, just be as supportive as you can and be ready for any response. Be patient and supportive and know that even if she responds with anger, you are only trying to do what is best for you all (and she may need you to do it). If PPD isn’t the problem, see if you can establish some kind of schedule or expectations that you both have for the care of your baby. Maybe switch off nights so one of you can sleep through while the other does nighttime duty. Remember that you are in the craziest, hardest part of it all right now – a newborn is relentless in its needs (and we all get to understand how truly devastating lack of sleep can be!). Things will settle down as she gets older. When you have to leave, see if a friend or relative can stop by to visit your wife. Try to go out with her and get a little adult time away from the baby. Just keep on being as calm and supportive as you can. I truly wish you the best.

    • There’s been a lot of talk about prayer on this topic and I agree wholeheartedly. As parents we think we should know all the answers but we really can’t until we’re in the moment and something crazy is happening! When we’re in that frustration and anger, and we just can’t see what we should do, that’s when our behavior gets out of hand. Prayer can be the perfect solution to ground us again. It takes you out of the struggle and reminds you of the big picture. This too shall pass! Keep loving that precious baby.

  13. I LOVE this article….As a single father with a head strong one year old I have often found myself in this mindset. I always remember my Granny used to tell me in school when I came home angry “Just take a walk and come back and talk to Granny”. That has literally saved the life of my son. (among others)

    • Thank you so much Willie, and thank you for being there for your son!! I’ve known some single dads in my time and they’re very cool people 😉 Granny gave good advice. Boys at that age can be very headstrong but it’s good – I’d rather have one with a little fight in him. You will work it out. There’s a lot of physical, emotional, and brain growth coming at both of you right now and it can be a very challenging time. Keep up the good work.

  14. I feel sad and bad about the harsh things I’ve done with my 1yr old daughter. This past few weeks, we’re always on fight because she was so stubborn. I slapped her legs hard many times and one time while she’s taking a bath I threw waters on her face. I did all of that because of my angriness. I felt sorry for my self the time when she looked at me, I felt the disappointment in her face. I think if she could only talk she will say “Mom how could you do this to me? I’m your daughter!!”. I really felt so bad. I said sorry to God for hurting His angel.

    • Dize thank you for your comment. Prayer is often the best thing in these situations – take a moment to reflect and realize how far you’ve gone and just pull it back in. That moment can always re-set you so you can remember what’s important and go back to your child with love. We’ve ALL had these moments even if we’re too ashamed to admit it. You are brave and wise, and you will be a great mom because you are self-aware, and willing to go through the sometimes painful process of changing yourself to be what she needs from you. You are God’s angel too and he loves you both. My heartfelt best to you and your daughter.

  15. Last night I found myself getting so angry with my 11 week old that I was picturing myself throwing him across the room. Shaking with anger, I strapped him into his changing table and woke up my husband. Telling him how I felt was a bad idea, he told me I shouldn’t say those things. In the middle of the night I feel a lot of resentment towards my husband. Sometimes when I am sitting with the wide awake baby for a couple of hours and hearing him snoring away I want to throw something at him. What is it with me and throwing things? I just want to make a racket. Jump up and down and scream or bash something incredibly fragile and noisy against the wall.. I feel like an immature child who can’t deal with emotions! But being sleep deprived is just not working well with me now that I have a newborn and a 3 year old who both constantly demand my attention. The sad part is, I obviously have to give in to the newborn, and my poor 3 year old suffers. I feel heartbroken when I have to tell him day in and day out that I can’t play with him right now because if I put the baby down he’ll start screaming. And no one is around to help. My husband takes so much time off of work to help out that we have fallen desperately behind on bills and that leaves me feeling immensely guilty as well. All of these feelings of guilt and resentment coupled with a sever case of sleep deprivation have led to me hating this new life and wanting so bad to go back to the days when I worked full time at a crappy retail job and didn’t have to worry about any of this. I love my kids to death, I know it’s not their faults, but I don’t know how to get over these feelings.

    • Sleepy, your comments are brutally honest and so brave. Many people are afraid to speak these thoughts, and you were incredibly wise to walk away from your baby before you hurt him. You are only human and your emotions are real. Sleep deprivation is the worst part of parenting and one reason I never wanted a third child. I couldn’t imagine going back to that (sort of like middle school LOL). I am sorry that you are struggling so much during this time. I would suggest trying to find a therapist either for you or for both your husband and you together. It sounds like he’s trying to help – which is wonderful – but he’s not providing exactly the help you’re looking for. If nothing else, try to sit down with him and make a wish list of things you feel would be most supportive. It’s not a great time to be missing work – if he can even promise you a break from the kids it would be amazingly helpful. I get one night/week out of the house to this day, and it’s good for ALL of us. This is a common disagreement between the working and “non-working” spouse, because the one who comes home from work all day doesn’t want to be immediately saddled with the kids. They do need some decompression time, but so does the caregiver. Being “at home” is in NO WAY easier than going to work. Just imagine this: a lunch break without a child needing you. What!? I am so glad you expressed your feelings and I hope you are able to find some peace. Blessings to you and your family, this time will pass!

  16. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been feeling very similar to the person that sent in that letter. I have a daughter a littler over 2 and half and a 5 month old son. I’m also working from home as well as full time online school while taking care of both of them, so I’m already kind of stressed at times. I’ve been having trouble with my son’s crying lately and I had no idea why I was handling it so poorly. I was also pretty good at moving to another room to let any anger out, but i’m sure he can sense it as well as my daughter and I really don’t want them to see that come out of me ever. This post made me feel less alone as well as giving me hope that I can and will overcome this.

    • Thank you for this comment, Bill. Doing anything with an infant around is basically impossible, so working AND studying must be a real challenge to say the least!! I hope things are going smoother nowadays!

  17. I’m diagnosed with bi polar and anxiety and I was raised in a abusive home and I know it doesn’t make anything right but that’s half my problem it’s gotten to the point I have shaken my six month old!!! What can I do please please help me and give me some advise!!!! I love my son so much and I don’t want to be like this!! I know I feel like the worst parent ever this is why im up right now looking up awnser and trying to find help please help me!!!

  18. Good morning friend – First take a deep breath. #1 rule of parenting 😉 Most importantly, please continue to get your bi-polar treated, keep up your therapist visits. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Your son needs you to be healthy. We all – ALL – have made mistakes with our kids. I’ve been too rough with mine out of anger and when you’re in that place you MUST walk away. Just walk away. Don’t engage in emotions that are getting out of control. Calm yourself down and go back and deal with it later. I hope also that you are able to address your own abuse in therapy or support groups. If nothing else you should be able to find a new parents support group or family center where people are experiencing the same things as you. What I’ve learned about raising kids is that if you start very early, like right now, in thinking about and addressing your behavior and finding better ways to deal with the hard moments, the payoff will be immense. I barely fight with my kids because we respect each other. Build this foundation now and as your son grows he will see that you value him. It’s one of the hardest parts of parenting to change your own behavior, but I promise you are on the right path. Best wishes.

  19. Four months ago, we adopted a little boy. He is a year old now and I have on several occasions lost my temper and been VERY rough with him, shouted and screamed in his face, smacked his bottom or leg etc. I feel incredibly ashamed and guilty at the way I have treated this poor child I love with all my heart. I just seem to snap in an instant. I tell myself in my head to stay calm, take deep breaths, walk away etc. but then before I can stop myself, BAM! I’ve already opened Pandora’s box and let the dragon lady out.

    I keep thinking that my poor child must be so confused, because the loving caring mommy who plays with him, tickles him and feeds him also hits him, whips him around out of anger and screams in his face like a crazy person. I would hate to think that my child is scared of me and I feel like the world’s worst mother!

    Your article did make me think a lot about where I’m going wrong and I don’t want this to continue and become how I parent. I want to be calm and caring. I have printed the quote at the end of the article and I’m putting it on my fridge as a reminder. Any other advice for “snappers” like me?

    • Thank you Sam for your honesty and caring. I love that the quote is making the rounds (I’ve seen it on other blogs) because it is truly the reality of parenting. It is the hardest and biggest change you will ever face in your life and caring for a child REQUIRES you to change. This is hard work, sometimes the hardest you’ll ever have to do on yourself as a person. We went to family therapy for a while and I dreaded it because it always came back to me – I knew I was the one who had to change my behavior and I didn’t know how, or I was fearful of doing it. The biggest thing I can say is, WALK AWAY. You don’t have to be engaged in the action in the moment, especially if it’s only escalating. Put some space between you and your son, and take as much time as you need to calm down. When you come back you will see a different child. When things start to escalate it can only go in one direction – more intense – unless you learn to stop it. Try getting the book I mentioned above (“If You’re Angry and You Know It” by Cecily Kaiser) and read it together. Remember some of the suggestions for next time – one of them is tell a friend. I always called my friend when I was losing it with my kids, and she talked me down. Take some time for you, go on a run or read a book or do what makes you happy so you can have something to support yourself, so you can better support him. And know that anger is a normal human emotion and your son will feel it too. It’s best to handle it openly and teach him how to handle it – I do feel it’s one of the most important parts of raising and healthy child. And congratulations on being an adoptive parent! You are far from the worst mother in the world – give yourself some credit for giving this little boy a chance.

      • Thanks, Amy. I took some herbal stress relief tablets before leaving work yesterday and that also helped me be more calm with my son. He was still a bit cranky and even toppled over and knocked his head on the tiled kitchen floor (just my luck, hey!), but I stayed calm and didn’t let HIS irritation / frustration / anger / upset cause me to feel the same.

        I realise that one day’s success does not ensure forever success, but I felt as though it was a step in the right direction. I know I need to be more consciously aware of the sensation of my feelings escalating and WALK AWAY, like you said. A local band here has released a song called “Moonwalk Away”. I will be singing that to myself as a mantra when I’m feeling tense! Hahahahaha! Maybe even do a little moonwalk to lighten the mood 😉

        I think that seeing how I behave written out in black on white has made it all more real and scary to me. And if I’M scared, imagine how my Levi must feel 😦

        Thank you for posting this and thank you for your response. I WILL work hard at being a better person and a better mom for my son.

  20. I am also a “snapper” like Sam. My son is 13 months old and I developed a bad case of Post-Partum Anxiety after he was born that has only gotten worse over time. The trigger for me to “snap” is his screaming. He discovered his voice about 6 months ago and just enjoys screeching/screaming as loud as he can. He does it all the time. He is unable to talk or communicate yet in other ways (except “sign” a couple of things) but he just screams when he wants things, or when I’m preparing his meals, or when we’re in the car, walking around the grocery store, etc. All the time. Constantly. It’s ear-piercing. It drives me to the point of panic attacks and sheer rage. I can’t stand it. I’ve yelled, screamed back at him, covered his mouth, thrown things….. I know I’ve affected him & “damaged” him in some way already, because he will probably remember some of my behavior. He doesn’t seem affected at all by my yelling back at him because I’ve done it so much out of frustration. I hate my behavior and love my sweet, funny boy so much. But I don’t know what to do or how to prevent myself from snapping when he does this. It’s recently gotten so bad that I kicked a hole in our wall. I don’t know what to do.

    • Hi JL – OK screeching is a biggie but it’s also normal, believe it or not. EARPLUGS. I am not kidding. I have a fresh bag of big purple ones on my day care shelf right now. When they start doing it I always tell them, “OWWW! That noise HURTS my EARS!! I don’t want to hear that!” And make a big deal of covering my ears and showing how much it hurts on my face. Also never give him what he wants if he’s screeching. Encourage him to sign, talk, or even say “Can you show me?” and let him lead you to what he wants. Discovering that noise and repeating it is part of learning to talk – so he’s on the path, but he needs to tame it 😉 If he is struggling to learn to talk he’s probably frustrated and you might have seen that coming out in his other behavior. Another suggestion is if you have anxiety, seek a therapist who you trust and who has helpful tips for you. If you’re seeing one who isn’t helping, find another. I would suggest also getting your son screened at a local early childhood agency for speech. It could show he’s totally normal or it could show he’s struggling – and that’s why he’s so frustrated. You both can get support to help him communicate better and hopefully get past this stage much quicker! And truly, he won’t remember any damage from this period of his life. If you are loving him like you say, an occasional outburst is something you will both recover from. Better to kick a hole in a wall than take it out on him. Check my answer to Sam above. I wish you well using all these tools to help get through this trying time, it will pass! Keep up the good work!

  21. I can totally relate. I’ve got a two week old and when he is hungry, he rage cries even after ibbegin feeding him. I grit my teeth and growl because I get so mad, and I think its what you said about our biology coupled with the fact that my stepp dad always dealt with situations angrily,no matter what they were. What can I do so I don’t get so angry. I love my son and I don’t want to do something stupid because I can’t control myself…

    • It’s so hard to change patterns you were brought up with. So many times I’ve heard parents say, I want to give my kids better than I got. I think we all have this wish but if we weren’t taught better ways, it can be very hard to find them. It looks like you are really trying, and I’m sure you WILL find ways! Always put him down and walk away when you feel out of control. And know that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. I have that taped to my fridge and I look at it every day. If you can manage to calm yourself down, then look at the big picture – this is just a blip in his life, even though it feels SO HUGE and so hard right now. Thank you for being a great, thoughtful parent, and keep up the good work!!

  22. I have an eight yr old son with violent behavior problems and a five yr old daughter who has a horrible attitude lately… She does a fake cry to try and get her way every day multiple times a day and she’s very VERY loud when she does… which I have no patience for due to the fact that I’m sooooo damn sleep deprived from the three week old twins I have. They’re keeping me up because they will cry to the point of not breathing unless I hold them for an hour till they fall into deep sleep. They’re breast fed and bottle because my son eats more than his twin sister and my milk supply isn’t the best because I never have time or energy to eat enough to produce more than three ounces at a time. Im exhausted and stressed and even though I live in a house full of people at my parents house I’m doing this alone. The kids dad walked away when the ultrasound showed two babies. Guess it was too much for him. Been alone since.I’m resentful to him for it and it’s just killed any thought of romantic happiness in my future. I don’t trust guys now. I’ve been on and off depressed about it but think what’s the point of trying now. Relationships have gotten me no where. So oh well. On top of that I’m so stressed out from the kids I find myself screaming more and more every day and time outs are just starting to make me frustrated cuz I just want to get the housework done without having to stop for their time out. I’m so alone in a houseful of people and I feel like I’m drowning. When I ask for help I get huffef at or sighs or rolled eyes. Like is so much of a pain in the ass for them to just help by giving one a bottle or coaching one while I deal with the other. My mom just tells me I gotta do stuff on my own or what would I do if I was out on my own cuz then I’d have to do it alone. Or she tells me stuff like I have it easy. She doesn’t know what it’s like to be a single mom. She was a working min and dad started home. She always has his help cuz he practically was the single parent. I’m sick of everything and get to the point where I wanna bang my head into the wall cuz it’s better than getting mad at the babies or my older two. I know kids can’t help it and I can but some times all I can do is break down and cry cuz of the things my mom says and the level of stress I have. And cuz sometimes I just feel so guilty for feelingthis way… Like I should be able to handle it all on my own cuz I’ve done it before with my five yr old.

    • I am so sorry for the delay in answering your comment. I haven’t been on the blog a lot this year and I hope things are better for you now, as the twins must be bigger. I’ve heard moms of twins say “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy” – and those are people who REALLY REALLY love their kids! It is INCREDIBLY stressful and I hope you were able to get some help and support from somewhere. Join a parent group or make an online calendar of how people can help and when and what tasks they can do. carecalendar.org and lotsahelpinghands.com are great sites for this. Know that every parent goes through rough moments, and be patient with your older kids. Remember they are feeding off your emotions – if you can be kind to everyone, including yourself, it will spread around the house. I hope you are doing ok.

  23. I’m hurting. I did not have post natal depression and now my baby is almost one… he is throwing tantrums from nowhere and when he cries he screems… he does it at night when I put the lights off and it’s time to sleep… he usually does but not he plays and wants to climb on to things when I put him in his cot he screams and won’t stop… I shouted at him telling him to sleep because I was annoyed and I was so tired I couldn’t play with him… I don’t know how to calm him down I tried all that used to work…. I’m scared I will hurt him one day…. how do I calm my nerves down… I don’t want my son to realise. im angry because usually he laughs when I shout

    • Kids often laugh when you shout because they are nervous, afraid, or don’t know what other response to give. There are huge changes going on for a one-year-old and it can get very frustrating because it comes out in their behavior. I had one who climbed out of the crib and I was petrified that he would hurt himself. We finally put a twin bed in the room (mattress on the floor) and he slept on that. If you have to babyproof the room do it, and even if he gets up and wanders he’s not going to get into trouble. Shut the door and tell him good night. I have been in your shoes and screaming at a baby to sleep – it doesn’t work! Use the same night time routine every night – bath, book, bottle, bed – and put some white noise or soft music on in the background so he knows that music means bedtime. If he still wants to be crazy, add “crazy time” to the routine and set a timer – Quick! We have 10 minutes for crazy time! Then it’s sleepytime! If you make this routine really clear, solid and consistent every night, he will get it. I hope things are going a little better for you!

  24. My 1 year old son cries all the time. My parents got him used to being carried more then what I can manage. Sometimes it gets so bad I can’t help but yelling at him to “shut up” even though I know he has no clue what it means.

    I think about doing horrible things to him…

    Then I get mad at myself for those thoughts!

    I just want him to stop crying. Especially when its time for bed. It takes almost an hour to put him down.
    I suffer from sever depression and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I’m not taking meds currently. But I don’t know if my thoughts stem from my disability or just me. Please help!

    • Hi, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to reply sooner. I hope you have been able to find some help or the situation with your son has changed. It is very important that you get the help you need (therapy, medication, etc.) to support yourself in order to support your baby. I heard this at a class about caring for yourself: The heart is the smartest organ – because it pumps blood to itself first, then out to the rest of the body. You have to nurture yourself in order to take care of others. I would also suggest asking your parents to help you in a more constructive way – and to put him down more often. 1-year-olds need to crawl, walk, and move independently to develop many parts of their brains. It’s been a while that he has gotten used to one way of doing things so his habits may take a while to break. Please check in and let me know how you’re doing. Best.

  25. Thank you so much for posting this. I needed to read it. I know that when my 16 month old is throwing tantrums, that it’s ok to be angry, but just to walk away for a bit. I just needed to know that I’m not the only parent that gets frustrated. I recently had a tooth worked on and my daughter slapped me on that sore side of my mouth(she didn’t want to take her nap). I’ve never been more angry. But I walked away and left her in her room to cry for about 5 minutes. Thankfully, after calming myself, I was able to calm my daughter down as well. Thank you for being so honest and open. You’re helping more people than you probably know. 🙂

    • I went to bed & later snuck down the stairs to see why my 9week old was so hysterical with my husband. While peaking around the corner I saw my husband put our son roughlydown on his lap and punch him 3xs in the back which made him more hysterical. I immedietly took our son an made my husband leave. We have a 2yr old an I’ve never seen him get angry with the kids befour. I’m scared now. Should I divorce him & take the kids or support him if he gets help? I’m so confused an in shock what I saw bc I’ve nwver had a thought to ever hurt my kids.

      • savvyt, I hope things have calmed down. Everyone loses it sometimes, and maybe it happened to be his moment. I hope this is the case. If not, and the behavior is continuing, you definitely need to seek help to make sure that the kids are safe. It is never OK to hit a baby or child. They reflect our behavior, if we are calm and soothing it works far better than amplifying the situation by handling them roughly. I always ask people, how would you feel if your partner treated you that way? Or your boss? Our children deserve the same respect. I hope everything is OK.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words Jessica!! I’m so glad to hear you were able to control yourself when she hit you – sometimes it seems they know our weak spots! Or they just happen to get you in the worst place at the wrong time. Then there are other times where they get it, and give you loving care too. It is so important for us to handle ourselves gently, so we can care for them too. Sounds like you are doing just the right things! 🙂

  26. Hi I am so grateful I found your site, I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Bing for something else,
    Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a incredible post
    and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the
    minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

    • Yes, I agree, wonderful site! The honesty and kindness here are much needed in the dark moments. My tiny darling is 3 weeks old, sleeping like an angel in my lap now, so different from the scene 6 hours ago when I flew out of the house telling hubby I needed a break and sat in the car and screamed until I thought my stitches would pop. Three weeks! I read all these posts about older babies, and I think, “oh my god… I am literally going to go insane.” But I also know I have work to do to reach out and learn some coping techniques, and I made plans with hubby for me to go out this weekend on my own for a few hours and be in public by myself (lol, the idea of just being able to walk around Walmart by myself is like winning the parenting lottery!). Definitely bookmarking this site, thank you thank you 😀

  27. I’m so glad I read this. My conscience is eating away at me.

    I have a beautiful 4.5 month old. I love him to the moon and back. I would step in front of a train for him tomorrow if it meant he wouldn’t feel any pain. But I am struggling to control my anger.

    My anger is mostly targeted at my partner. He does the absolute best he can; he works hard, he is excellent with our son, he’s kind and caring and of a very forgiving nature. But i don’t go a day where I lose my shit over something, usually something really stupid like there being formula not being cleared off the side (this has ended in tears more than once). The other day I screamed and shouted at him, threw my phone, all whilst he was holding our son, who was watching my episode of rage. All over who was going to pick our baby up from his bed, I didn’t like the answer.

    I’ve also lost my temper at our son, more than once. I’ve never ever hit, smacked or shook him – but I have picked him up a little too roughly, laid him down a little too abruptly and patted with a bit more vigor than I intended. These have never caused him any distress, from what I can gather as it doesn’t escalate any crying or cause him to flinch or balk. I’ve shouted and screamed around him. This is sometimes directed at him. I literally feel like the absolute worst mother in the world, as everyone comments how laid back he is. No-one really sees when he has a meltdown, he REALLY has one.

    My temper has always been a bit of an issue, but I’ve got by. I kind of assumed that I wouldn’t feel this kind of anger towards my own flesh and blood. Towards something so helpless, unable to care for himself.

    Will my son feel all this anger and pain I’m feeling? Will this effect our relationship? I try my absolute hardest to remain happy, breezy and patient, but I’m just failing miserably. I write this with tears in my eyes, because I feel like I’ve failed him already.

  28. Really needed to read this. My son is 8 months old and I shouted at him, then slammed his bedroom door shut and walked away for a few minutes. I hate to say it but I . It had been hours of me trying to get him to sleep, he was rubbing his eyes, screaming (probably teething and in pain which makes me feel like even more of a monster), but would NOT stop waking up every 5 minutes screeching, wanting to be fed every half hour, not napping, ect. I know he can’t help it, and I feel horrible for it. I really wish I could take it back, I feel like the worst parent on the planet. He’s so sweet and innocent and I probably scared the heck out of his poor soul. I have been so depressed for so long and I cant afford to see my psychiatrist right now + my rx ran out and he wont refill it without an appointment. I feel like every day I’m just longing for my husband to come home instead of enjoying my time with my son. I play with him, hold him, smile at him, heck, he even said “mama” for the first time, like a thousand times today….but I am always so scared about losing my temper, even though it’s only actually happened once. I wish someone would have truly warned me how hard motherhood can be.

  29. Geez I am glad I found this web page, now I don’t feel like I’m crazy and alone at having these feelings. I just hate myself when I get angry and I even have thoughts of hurting my daughter. She is 10 months old now and is constantly following me around the house, cries when I go upstairs to shower or toilet etc or go into the kitchen she follows me and cries at the safety gate and now she doesn’t even want to play with her toys anymore and would rather try climbing up my legs and then when she falls,she cries! Argggh I can barely do anything when I’m in the house, I feel glued to the living room until daddy comes home.

  30. Thank you so much for this… I yelled so loudly at my three week old. I’m so ashamed. I could feel it coming on with his constant crying – I just started praying and praying and before I knew it I yelled so loud for him to shut up. He cried even worse. A cry I never heard before. He cried himself to sleep. While I wailed on my bed and felt like the worst mother. Like I said I feel so ashamed but your article is so well written. It really comforted me. My impatience and short fuse really scares me lately and I hope I can dig deep so this never happens again. The tears on my face have dried now and your message helped me breath a bit better.

  31. I’m really struggling in this regard. I’m a new dad of a 4 month old. The thing is, for some reason I just lose my mind. Most of the time it is OK, I can hold the baby against my chest and he calms down, then I can put him in his crib and he will go to sleep. It’s the times when he just won’t be put down, and when he screams at the top of his lungs… I find myself covering my hand over his mouth in my frustration just to get a few seconds of quiet, and at times I would get so mad that I would pinch him. The next morning when I changed his diaper I see bruises on his leg where I pinched and it makes me sick. I don’t know what to do at this point. I don’t know whether to seek help or whether I just need some kind of reminder for me to walk away when I get this mad. I feel like I am so evil and I feel like a complete and total failure as a father. Unfortunately these feelings don’t make things any better for myself, my wife or my baby, it only makes things worse.

  32. I tried suffocating my baby today and he wasn’t crying I just wanted to sleep and I was trying so hard to put him to sleep so I can get some sleep but he keeps looking at me and smiling so I last it and push his head down in the bed repeatedly first two times I did it he didn’t cry or anything ……..

    • I am not sure if this was a serious post. But if it was….. please, please, please get some help. Talk to a professional…. it will save you and your baby’s life. This was an alarming post to read…. I’m shaking right now. PPD is very common. Sleep deprivation can really mess with your mind. But please remember your sweet baby is innocent. Please get some help. Praying your baby and you are ok.

    • I don’t know if I want this to be a troll or truth, as that would be a disgusting thing to troll about but obviously a terrible thing to actually do to your child.

      If this is true…. STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GET YOURSELF TO THE DOCTOR RIGHT NOW. Both yours and your sons life is I jeopardy in your current state, this to me sounds beyond PPD and is bordering psychosis, which is incredibly dangerous untreated. Obviously I’m not a doctor though, you need to see one. My heart goes out to that little bundle of joy and also to you. Get yourself the help you both desparately need, right now. Do not delay.

      • I’d cry for hours after I realized what i did cause he’s everything to me I hate myself !!!!

  33. Kendia, I have been praying for you and your baby. You are not a bad person. I think it is brave that you want help so badly that you wrote that post. I hope you have someone close that can help you. Praying for you. Things will get better. Do not hate yourself. Always remember you are everything to your baby and someone is rooting for you and praying for you both.

  34. Hi Everyone. I am a father of 2 boys and the younger one is into its 4 th month. Well I have been told many times that a baby crying is a normal thing and that’s the only way you can get what’s wrong with the baby, but if there is one thing i cannot bear is to see my baby boy crying. I mean the baby is literally shouting its guts out like it’s being harmed or beaten. it makes me super angry and i feel like throwing the baby like it’s hot…especially when my ears cant bear it. I know that’a stupid thing to do and that’s ridiculous, but that’s the way i feel. I end up shouting sometimes and i feel terrible…the kind of feeling you have as in I am not worth to be a father. I want to be a good father, but at this point i just feel like they’d rather been born from a more mature parent.

  35. Pingback: Dark and Uninhibited | darkconfessionsblog

  36. Thank you so much for this piece. I was getting so upset with myself for getting angry at my little boy, who is a really good baby. I feel so guilty when I get angry as its not his fault, he’s a baby. its reassuring to know other people have felt like this and there are ways to deal with this.

  37. I have this problem.. I go too far with my anger. I act on impulse and have a rage so strong in my head that before it snaps I tellove myself to not hurt him… but I put my hand over his mouth, or a pillow to dampen the screams I grow to hate more and more… today I struck him with his binky clip… I hate myself so much.. I swore to never turn myself into my father… he tore chunks of my leg of with his belt and filet my back with the buckle… I can’t be who he was. I cry and cry for who I have become already and it’s just so hard to control what’s happening to me… I don’t know what to do.. please help…someone.. please.. I had to leave him in the bathroom so I could research why I am what I am…

    • Hey, you aren’t alone… please please talk to your doctor and get help! They won’t punish you, they will thank you for getting help so soon. Your wonderful little boy deserves you at your best. Never feel bad for walking away, crying will never hurt him, but hitting will!

  38. Hi
    I have a confession to make and was hoping for someone to help me ease my mind. I am a father of 3 boys the oldest (John) being 28 yrs old. when my wife and I got married she conceived on our wedding night. We were really young and immature parents. John cried and screamed all the time. I had intense feelings of anger, resentment and frustration. When John was about 6 or 7 months there was a couple of incidents where I did things to irritate him that you could call abuse or at the very least right on the edge. One time I picked him up when he was screaming and dropped him into his crib and smacked the back of his head with my finger tips. (I specifically remembering using the tips of my fingers so I wouldn’t cause injury.) About a week later he was screaming in his high chair and I threw a wet paper towel at his little face. I picked it up and threw it a couple more times. I was so frustrated and I was thinking if you wanna cry then let’s cry. I then placed him on the carpeted floor and started nudging/tapping him with my feet. Little baby John was infuriated and really screaming. I picked him up and dropped him from a few inches above the mattress in his crib and again I smacked him on the back of his head with the tips of my fingers. After this second incident mentioned I immediately was aware of my reprehensible behavior. I felt extreme guilt which turned to shame. I buried this secret for 27 years. I have always felt shame over it but I somehow managed to control/repress it. A news article I read triggered this buried secret and I can’t get it out of my mind. My mind has been going over this incident like a skipping record for about 8 weeks now. I am becoming extremely depressed. I feel like a monster, like a child abuser, like I’m not worthy to be in society. My boys love me and had good childhoods with no bad memories. I just really messed up with my first. My wife knows (she is an angle), I have told her about a dozen times. She doesn’t understand why something that I did 27 years ago is having such an affect on me now.

  39. I have just read your blog about angry issues when it comes to your baby.

    I have a 9 week old boy, I do not have a connection with him emotionally I have tried nothing works, I do not have the desire to be around him or hold him. I only hold him and change him just to give my wife a break, when other people want to hold him I think it is great briefly he is someone else’s problem and I don’t have to hold him or think about him.

    I have very strong feelings towards him like hatred, regret,irritation and annoyance. Which are so negative it makes me question why did I volunteer to became a parent, maybe I never wanted to be a dad in the first place I just didn’t know it until it was too late.

    I am stuck in a situation that I can not get away from and I just have to grin and bare it,hoping for that day when everything clicks into place and that special bond that everybody talks about happens.

    Having my son has just made me hate babies even more. Before I was a type of guy that did not have the desire to be around babies or hold them, I just thought it was because I might hurt them if I picked them up.

    The other day he just would not settle the whole day he cried even after he had been changed,feed ,held,washed,stimulated ect, I found my self blurting out whilst I was trying to get away from him downstairs:” Just put a pillow over his head and end this” looking towards the ceiling in the direction of the room that my son and wife were in.

    This really scared me that I was having such negative feelings I splashed water on my face and swore at my self in the mirror and told my reflection” To calm down and that you are on a very dangerous path he is just a baby you will get put away for a long time if you do anything stupid towards him.”

    I heard my wifes desperate plea for him to stop crying. I went and held him grudgingly and changed him, luckily it did not take my wife long to compose herself again and she came and took him away which I was glad about as I could feel my blood boiling as if I was about to fight someone.

    I am very worried at how quickly I get angry as soon as the crying starts. I am very scared I’ll get into such a rage that I will do something deadly without realising until it is too late.

    Hopefully I will find a way of coping which will help suppress these horrible feelings.

  40. Right now he is a pooping, eating, crying machine to you. You just have to get through this stage, before you know it he will be sitting up. He will get a big smile on his little face when you enter the room. He will be holding out his little hands for you to come to him. Someday you will wonder how you ever felt the way you do now. Hang in there, be strong, be a good Dad. Don’t do anything you will regret like treat him roughly because it will haunt you later. If you have to just let him cry in his room for awhile. You can do this.

  41. My son is three and a half months old, I love him so much it’s breaks my heart and sometimes I just look at him with this overwhelming love it reduces me to tears, I would destroy anyone who would hurt him. But I hurt him 😦 during the day I am FINE I can deal with everything during the day by nighttime it turn into this horrible person who has feelings to just hurt my baby to get him to go back to sleep, I’ve struck the back of his head and his bum before in an absolute blind rage, I have to leave him to cry himself to sleep because I can’t be around him, I can’t process the situation and it drives me insane, I tear myself up constantly about the way I am with him, after I loose my patience I cry so so much because I brought him into this world it’s not his fault, I just can’t function on no sleep. I was starting to think I was a failure as a mum and that I should just quit now, but I’m more than capable during the day. I love him so much but I just don’t know how to cope anymore.

  42. Thank you for writing this blog and for the father who was brave enough to write to you, I have always struggled with anger as part of depression and anxiety. When my baby was first born I was able to keep very calm when he screamed but as the sleep debt increased I would find myself getting more and more frustrated at him not going to sleep or screaming at me….I would get really rough with how I picked him up and squeeze him hard in a hug and I could feel that a part of me wanted to hurt him but my love for him thankfully would win out. I finally managed to get my anger back under control when I asked for help, I was put on anti-depressants, I tried to get stricter with my part time work around what hours I put in (this is a big stress as I take my baby to work with me as we can’t afford daycare at this stage) and I had my husband tag in for me at night more often. However, the other night he had what I think were nightmares and was absolutely inconsolable for over an hour, I got so worked up so quickly that I placed my hands around his neck and quickly took them away, I’m absolutely appalled at myself and broke down in hysterics that I couldn’t help him and that I had become such a monster.
    I’m a mix of emotions now, I don’t want to tell a counselor or anyone for fear they will take my child from me. I swear I am generally a very good mom and he is a lovely happy child. I’ve been afraid the past couple of days that he has been withdrawn from me and scared but he gave me the sweetest hugs today so I’m confident he still knows I love him more than anything.
    I find it really hard to walk away when I am angry with him…what tips do you have? I know it’s the best option, I know that he’ll be ok if I walk away but I just can’t seem to remember it in the moment and the more wound up I get the harder it is for me to think clearly.
    I’m no longer on anti-depressants and I don’t know if I need them again? I’ve been really stretched lately and when I tried to reduce my workload at work, they ignored my requests, when I asked for more help from my husband he just didn’t get it and when he finally did understand he told me he was depressed so I now have to keep it together for him too so I feel like I’m way down at the bottom of the list and I’m so scared that I’ll get angry again at my most beautiful child.
    Any help or tips would be so greatly appreciated, I tried to go to a counselor earlier on but he didn’t believe me when I said my anger was violent and just as bad as my husbands, now I don’t know what to do or where to turn.

    • I feel the same way. I would like to talk to someone to keep me from going over the edge but then I am afraid they will take the baby away. That thought gives me more anxiety and feeling of helplessness. I wish we all could get more sleep and someone to talk to that didn’t judge and was full of understanding

      • Well at least you know you’re not the only one and I know how scary this all can be. I have managed to find some techniques to help me at the moment. Firstly, I’ve downloaded an app called Stop, Think, Breathe which give short 5/10 min meditations which I have never been great at doing but I just needed to take control somehow. The other tip was from a friend, when I start feeling anxious or wound up I do square breathing, this means take a breath in, pause for a beat, breathe out, pause for a beat and repeat. Not deep breaths just controlled. It’s really helped when I’ve been getting frustrated. I’ve also put rescue remedy in baby’s room for me to use when I need a wee bit of help. Not sure if this will help you but worth sharing.

  43. I found this at just the right time.. thank you for writing this.
    I have a 4 week old baby and have been terrified by the angry feelings that have engulfed me when he won’t stop crying and I can’t get him to sleep.
    I’m reassured to know that I’m not alone and that I can just walk away from the situation- nothing bad will happen if I just let him cry a bit longer!

  44. Hello. I am a 36 year old first time mom of a 6 month old little girl. I can REALLY relate the PP above who talks about having NO connection whatsoever with his son. I feel the exact same way. I have NO connection whatsoever to my daughter. I do love her and I know this. I know it deep inside. But, I don’t love her the way a new mother should. I got pregnant accidentally and my husband and I got married about halfway through my pregnancy. I really thought I was happy and this was what I wanted but now all I can think about is how great my life was before this screaming, kicking, asshole of a kid came into my life. Before she was born, my sister overheard my 80 year old grandmother tell my father the day she learned I was pregnant that “some people just aren’t cut out to be parents.” That hurt. A LOT. And it stuck with me. After she was born, I went through SEVERE depression and I too have had bad thoughts about my child. There were times, right after she was born, that I would cry for hours. There was even a point when I was having visions of drowning my child in the tub. I immediately shook them out of my head and internally chastised myself for being such a shitty human being. I thought there was TRULY something wrong with me for having these thoughts. I even had a fleeting image of my poor child getting hit in the head by my in-laws ceiling fan! It scared me so bad that I just held my daughter tight and cried. My husband was working nights when she was born and our daughter had Colic. I was all alone in our apartment with a new baby and I had NO CLUE WHAT I WAS DOING! Somehow, I got through it. But there were times I just picked my daughter up and shook her a little and said “why won’t you stop crying?” There were other nights I would just roughly lay her on the bed and walk away and let her cry. I just kept telling myself it was normal and it was the hormones and I needed to suck it up. My mother was mentally ill (she is now deceased) and I kept telling myself if she could do it, then I can too. I will NOT be like my mom! I can fight this! I made myself recognize it was the hormones and I KNOW I am not a bad person. Finally, I went back to work and my MIL has been taking care of our daughter. For the first month, I took her to a babysitter during the week and on Thurs and Friday, my husbands parents kept her. Now, she stays with them all the time during the week and we come down on weekends and stay through Monday, then drive back to our apartment and go to work. Its honestly been a life saver for me! I want to bring her back and keep her during the week, but I keep putting it off. I DO love my daughter and I know these are detrimental years that I will kick myself for missing down the line, but I am so afraid that I can’t take care of her properly, that I let my husbands parents basically raise our kid. Everyone puts me down for it. They make comments about how my kid doesn’t even live with me. It hurts me knowing what a crappy parent I am, but the alternative scares me more. Soon, I will be bringing her back up here. (Originally, they offered to keep watching her until we could get money together to pay off the hospital bills and pay for a good daycare.) I have but one friend that supports me in my decision. Her mother is a PPD counselor and she told me that I need to do what I need to do. That NO ONE ELSE can tell me whats right for my child. I just feel so guilty for being a weekend parent. She’s made me feel at least little better about leaving her with his parents. Last weekend, his parents went to some church thing in the afternoon and left us with the baby all evening. My hubby was napping in front of the TV, as was I, when the baby woke up and just started SCREAMING! I jumped up and ran to her and grabbed her out of her swing and started to soothe her. She would NOT stop crying. Just kept whining. I changed her, tried to play with her…nothing worked. I laid her down while changing her and started gritting my teeth (something I do when I start to get angry) and angrily said to myself “Just shut up…I want to throw you against a WALL!!” I was just so angry! Then, I immediately realized what a horrible thing I had thought to myself and I started to cry. I woke up the hubby and handed him the baby and told him it was his turn. I needed a break. I thought I was over my PPD but last weekend with this incident, I realized I wasn’t. It has haunted me for some reason, far more than any of the horrible things I did or said in the beginning when she was born and I think its because I TRULY thought I had beat this depression and was FINALLY getting to a point where I felt safe enough to try and do this on my own again. Now, I’m not so sure. I am SO thankful I have my husband and his parents to help me through this. This is his 4th child and their 7th grandchild. I’m scared. The thought of having to take care of her full time again scares me. Especially since she is now eating baby food. I kept telling myself I could do this so much better when she was older. I just needed to get her past that horrible part in the beginning. Now, I’m not so sure. What if I turn out like my mother? What if my grandmother was right? I haven’t told ANYONE about these feelings. The only person I have talked to is my friends whose mother is a counselor. I told her a few things but not everything. I have been dealing with this on my own. I was afraid to google “mothers who get angry and want to hurt their kids” bc I was afraid the cops would show up and take my baby away. So, I internalized it. Today, I finally got up the courage to google this while at work and I found this article. I cried when I read the stories. This has given me SO MUCH relief. To know that other people feel the way I do and are struggling the same way, it just makes me feel so much better. It also gave me the courage to go to my doctor and get help. I went today and told him about my feelings (was still too ashamed to tell him about the evil thoughts) and how its been causing me anxiety, sleeplessness and how my emotions go up and down. I also suffer from IBS and all of this emotional anxiety has caused it to go all out of whack. He prescribed an anti-depressant and melatonin to help me sleep. I am so relieved that I went and finally asked for help. I wish I had done it 4 months ago after she was born. He asked me then if I was depressed and I said no because I TRULY thought I could handle this. I am usually such a strong person. I am kind of a bitch at times, to be quite frank. I was not prepared for what this pregnancy or being a mother would do to me. I love my daughter and I don’t regret having her. I just don’t think I am cut out to be a parent. But, I am one. And that’s not going to change. So I am going to do the absolute best that I can. I KNOW I can do this! So thank you for your article and for all these posts. It really put all this in perspective for me and helped me to see that sometimes we CAN’T be strong and do this alone. Sometimes, we truly do need help.

  45. All I can say is thank you so much for this article! My sons are three and seven months. My three year old is a “spirited boy.” During those moments when my youngest is cring and my theee year old is bitting him or tring to pick him up or doing what three year olds do best and a husband that seems to not to get he must be a Dad and not a friend, I have had these moments of pure rage and screaming. It has scared me and boy do I feel completely abnormal and a failure as a mother woundering if i have completly ruined any chance of a happy life!!! My husband is a great outlet but frustrating at times also. I never have been one to goto a psychologist or be placed on a meriade of RX’s in fear it will make my anxiety and frustration worse with mood swings or just dulling me to the world. It is nice to know I am not alone. Never thought it would be like this with my second. It is getting better day to day bit wish I could just be my old self again. I am going to try everything you suggested and will post again in a few months to let you know the results. Thank you for making me feel not so alone in this crazy world of parenting.

  46. Hi I feel so bad… I love my 6 months old daughter but yesterday I was mad at my wife due to some reason. My wife was busy in the kitchen and I was looking after my daughter. I was worried coz she did take very less feed the whole day and I felt she was getting hungry. I tried to feed her milk but she was not drinking it as she didn’t like the nipple of the new feeder. She started crying and i tried to calm her and feed her as well but she continued crying loudly. I was mad at my wife earlier and that anger got refreshed again. I could not control it and threw my daughter on the bed. Thankfully, nothing happened to her…I realized what have i done… Afterwards my wife calmed her down but I still feel so ugly from inside for doing that to my daughter…

    Later I apologized to my daughter and loved her and she started smiling at me again but that feeling is still in my mind and I hate myself for doing that

  47. ( dr.mac@yahoo. com) is a wonderful spell caster. Very trustworthy, he just restored my marriage and my husband is back for good…

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s