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Overcome Destructive Anger | Natalie Hixon #655

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On the Regular Version …

Natalie Hickson joins me as she shares her mission of helping moms overcome anger and anxiety in motherhood and marriage. We discuss the challenges of transitioning into parenthood and the triggers that can lead to destructive anger. Natalie emphasizes the importance of recognizing and expressing anger in a healthy way, and she dives into the SIT and PRAY method.

We also explore the concept of anger as a covering emotion and the need for forgiveness and personal growth in healing relationships. We all as parents need to take responsibility for our actions and possibly offer empathy and compassion for our own parents’ struggles.

Learn more from Natalie here https://nataliehixson.com/

Takeaways

  • Transitioning into parenthood can be challenging, leading to feelings of anger and anxiety.
  • Recognizing and expressing anger in a healthy way is essential for maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Anger can be a covering emotion, masking deeper feelings of sadness, fear, or insecurity.
  • Forgiveness and personal growth are key to healing and breaking generational patterns.
  • Taking responsibility for our actions and seeking support can lead to stronger, more fulfilling relationships.
  • Helping yourself is the key to helping your kids.

Episode Chapters

00:00 Introduction and Mission
05:32 The Challenges of Motherhood and Marriage
06:40 The Transition into Parenthood
08:23 Recognizing the Need for Change
11:42 Seeking Therapy and Personal Growth
13:13 Differentiating Destructive Anger from Normal Anger
16:29 Clarifying Emotions and Communicating Effectively
20:06 Anger as a Covering Emotion

On the Xtended Version …

The conversation goes deeper as we explore the importance of personal growth and self-improvement in the context of marriage. We can only change ourselves and our reactions, which can lead to positive changes in our relationships.

We touch on the fact that there is often  resistance to change and fear of uncertainty that can arise in relationships. But it is important that take responsibility for our own lives and actions.

Enjoy the show!

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Corey Allan (00:02.27)

It's interesting, Natalie Hickson is joining me today. And it's gonna be interesting, Natalie, because as the time we're recording this, it's holiday season. And so what goes better with holiday season than anxiety and anger sometimes, right? Well, but Natalie's one that she works.

Natalie (00:14.042)

Oh yeah, totally.

Corey Allan (00:21.566)

with a lot of, I guess you would describe it as moms that are trying to come to grips with what being a mom is. And maybe there's these uncovering of emotions that I thought I didn't have. And all of a sudden now I do. And so kind of walk me through, what do you see most as far as your mission with what you're doing?

Natalie (00:42.281)

Yeah, well, it really stems from my story, but it's helping that mom out there who is just struggling with this overwhelming anger and like you said, kind of anxiety, burnout, and just, you know, kind of getting into motherhood going, wait, I thought it would be different. And I thought I would enjoy this a lot more. Marriage as well, both marriage and, you know, I kind of, I say motherhood, but I include that as being a wife.

Corey Allan (01:04.174)

Okay.

Corey Allan (01:11.618)

Okay.

Natalie (01:11.969)

So yeah, just helping them reaching out, being vulnerable with my story. So there's a lot of people out there who are in the depths and they're scared because they don't know that other people have gone through it or that they will lose their kids because of the just how big their anger can get. So yeah, I'm just trying to help mamas overcome that and actually enjoy their

life as a wife and mom.

Corey Allan (01:42.862)

So are you describing then the idea that I think most everybody would recognize, you know, I know I have some anxiety or some frustration or some anger that's just kind of an undercurrent of my life, right? That there's, there's elements of, I think most everybody has an understanding there's an emotion component to us, right? And, but yet what you're alluding to, because I love the phraseology of nothing prepares you for marriage, but marriage, period.

Natalie (02:02.349)

Mm-hmm, yeah.

Natalie (02:10.497)

Alright.

Corey Allan (02:12.086)

Right. And I think parenting could be the same thing that nothing prepares you for parenting, but parenting, right? Because you can read all the books, take all the classes on either subject. And until you're actually experiencing it and being exposed of some things or challenged with some things, or it doesn't go the way you hope, uh, all of a sudden now all that comes out. And so what have you found that

Natalie (02:18.599)

Yep.

Corey Allan (02:38.35)

is sometimes some of the biggest triggers that there are when it comes to this transition into the new stage.

Natalie (02:48.065)

As you're talking, it just made me think of when I was pregnant with my first and I had read all the books and I listened to all the things as much as I could. We didn't really have podcasts, I don't think, back then. It was 2003. We were just getting along there. But I will never forget leaving the hospital with my husband and Enya, our first, and we were looking at each other like, you guys are just going to let us walk out of here with her? What are we doing?

Corey Allan (03:16.075)

Mm-hmm.

Natalie (03:18.297)

You know, there's nothing that prepares you for that moment, even like you said, reading all the things and learning all the things, your experience is going to be so unique to you and your family. And so, yeah, I would say, like you said, just jumping in and here we are. What do we do now when we're dealing with or facing not just trying to take care of another person, but also take care of our inner person?

along with this other person and for me that's exactly what happened. I was a two-year-old with my two-year-old. I had recognized that through some therapy that I went through that I was stuck at a two-year-old maturity level when it came to emotional processing. And so you would find both me and my two-year-old on the floor screaming at each other and...

you know, a place that gets really vulnerable for me, but I share this so there's, you know, in case other people are listening and they're experiencing this. I mean, I was very abusive to her and my husband where I was screaming in rage. I was physically abusing. I would hit my husband. I would leave bruises on my little, my daughter's little arm and be squeezing her too hard or hand prints on her butt. The threats, just, I was a monster. And

Um, it was, it was so scary for everyone in that situation.

Corey Allan (04:44.654)

Sure.

So what made the change then for you? What made the whole like, okay, wait a second. We've got a major issue and it's not my two year old and it's not my husband.

Natalie (04:59.909)

Yeah, yeah, it's interesting. I'm going to go back a little farther when my husband and I first got married. We're high school sweethearts. And we dated for five years and then we got married and we moved in together. I started to recognize this difference. I mean, we'd been dating for five years, but living together is a whole new thing, right? So I can remember I would be screaming and rage at him and be yelling and get so angry and he would just sit and withdraw. And I would be like, I remember yelling.

Corey Allan (05:19.002)

Exactly.

Natalie (05:29.769)

Why aren't you yelling back at me? And he's like, that's just not what I do. And it wasn't, that's not how he was raised. He was raised in a family that avoided conflict. And it was, it was a, you know, they just didn't go there. And the opposite for me, my family was full of conflict. There was always screaming or slamming doors or yelling, or, you know, that's how they processed anger. And so you put the two of us together and I'm like, there's something not right here. But I thought that.

This is just because this is how I was raised. This is Scottish Irish blood. This is just who I am. Yeah. Right. And so it wasn't until the real moment for me came when I was actually we had our second Sky and I was nursing her one night and Enya was throwing an epic tantrum in the other room. Mike was trying to put her to bed and I'm in the room with the door shut.

Corey Allan (06:03.768)

Mm-hmm. This is just normal.

Natalie (06:28.045)

and I'm trying to stay calm, but I'm hearing her get more and more tantrumy, and I'm getting more and more angry about it, till the point where I finally just scream out at the top of my lungs for Enya to shut up and go to bed. And Sky stops nursing and she looks at me with this horrific little baby face and starts bawling and I'm like, this has to stop. Enya needs help, was my first thought. Because I couldn't change. I tried.

Corey Allan (06:55.926)

Mm-hmm.

Natalie (06:57.013)

prayed, I'd been, you know, reading books, I've been doing things, I've been trying every night and be like, Lord, just make it better. And the next morning wake up and something would set me off. Not that I was like that all day long, but it was just moments throughout the day, right? And so I went to therapy with Enya and we took her, therapists observed her and then she met with me and Mike and she said, Enya is perfectly normal for her age and development. Natalie, you need to be in here.

Corey Allan (07:11.21)

Mm-hmm.

Natalie (07:26.429)

And I was like, wait, what? But it was, yeah, right. It was so awesome, though. Like, deep down inside, I was like relieved. Somebody was saying that there was actually hope and help for me. And so it was this process of, you know, I went through four years of therapy. I left therapy, still having patterns of destructive behaviors. But I had gotten the ball rolling there. That's where, you know, the Lord really led me into that to continue growth. And honestly,

Corey Allan (07:28.753)

Good for that therapist.

Natalie (07:56.325)

I continued to grow, things got better as time went along, but it wasn't actually until I started coaching that I got a lot like a more healing. Why? Because it was accountable. I had to be accountable to it. I had to help other moms work through this, which is keeping me accountable to it and then helping other moms help me devise more ideas and plans. You know, Lord just kept giving me these great insights on how to help.

Corey Allan (08:07.925)

Mm-hmm.

Natalie (08:22.021)

And so applying that to my own life and helping them apply it to their life and stay accountable to it really is what helped me understand the depth of what destructive anger is and how to overcome and work through it.

Corey Allan (08:34.262)

And so what would be from the crux of what you do with other moms? What are some of the main things you encourage people that are listening to this to start with?

Natalie (08:44.309)

Yeah, well, first of all, I like to define destructive anger versus normal anger because we need to understand what that is and what's okay and what's not okay. And so I define destructive anger as what we're doing to control our situation, to protect ourselves and in that our behaviors are hurting our relationship with someone else. We're either physically abusing or screaming and rage or threatening, belittling.

We can have passive aggressive behavior like silent treatments. I mean, I can remember getting in my car, my husband will get home, I'd be like, bye. And I get in my car and just tear off. Like those type of behaviors, snarky comments, that type of stuff. So we're projecting how our, we're not dealing with the feeling and we're just projecting it onto somebody else, is what's happening.

Corey Allan (09:34.19)

Right, that fits into the phrase I love from my training, is that those that can't control themselves seek to control everything around them.

Natalie (09:42.213)

Exactly. Yeah. And so then we have this other this other feeling that's normal anger. We get angry and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with actually feeling angry. And so you look at all the other emotions. We look at sadness and we have a physical reaction to it, right? Often we cry or happiness. We might laugh or giggle or smile. Um, uh, let's see. What's the other one?

Corey Allan (09:48.407)

Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Natalie (10:12.937)

Fear, fear is the one I was like, where is it? We stop, we might get stomach aches, we might get sweaty palms, we get that fight or flight response, right? And so why wouldn't we have a physical reaction to anger too? And it's learning how do we deal with that physical reaction in a healthier way. So the fact that you're frustrated, you might raise your voice, you might have to stomp your foot.

You know, in our house, it's okay to slam a door once. If we start repeating the slam, then we have to deal with it. Um, we're letting out that physical reaction and I try to help moms understand it's okay to do that. If you need to do that, tell your kids, let's roar like lions. You know, I, I personally love and still to this day use the recycling bin. I will go out there if I'm feeling extra and I will stomp on cans. I will throw a.

Corey Allan (10:58.135)

Okay.

Natalie (11:08.457)

plastic bottle across the garage, I will stomp on boxes, and I'm not yelling at anyone, I'm not threatening, I'm just getting out that energy. Exactly, you know? And it's important though that we're communicating when we're upset. Hey, I'm really feeling angry right now, and I need to take a break. And if... Yeah.

Corey Allan (11:15.454)

Okay. Just expressing.

Corey Allan (11:27.138)

Well, I'm going to add a distinction here though, Natalie, because I think the way I hear this is, I believe and come from the school of everything we do communicates something. And so when you're in rage, you're still communicating. Right? It's just, it's a harsher, it's a much, much harsher message, or it's a much, much cruel message or something to that effect. So in essence, I think it's what you're describing is, how do you get better at clarifying

Natalie (11:40.433)

Yeah, this is true.

Natalie (11:45.715)

Yes.

Corey Allan (11:57.208)

what's going on in your experience. So that way you can maybe set that difference in space between each other. Because it's so easy for us in families, kids and spouses alike, to personalize somebody else's emotions and feelings, particularly when they're expressed at us or towards us.

Natalie (12:04.467)

Yeah.

Corey Allan (12:16.15)

And we think we're the root cause of it or, you know, something to that effect. And so I think if you can just clarify it, like you're describing that way, you're claiming time, which that's such a great, healthy process and momentum towards something better.

Natalie (12:16.455)

Yes.

Natalie (12:20.273)

That is.

Natalie (12:23.791)

Yes.

Natalie (12:32.341)

Absolutely. I am very big on helping my clients recognize too what we're doing when we're communicating that with our words is what we want to do is help the other person recognize, okay I see there's a problem, you are not the problem, the problem's the problem, but right now I want to attack you over the problem. So I need to step away from this and calm down so I can get more into my logical brain, get out of the amygdala there.

Corey Allan (12:49.418)

Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan (13:00.078)

Okay.

Natalie (13:00.097)

and start processing through logic instead of emotion, right? But we need to feel that emotion and that's okay. What I call emotions is a speed bump. That's the signal to slow down, stop, and I have a little acronym I call sit and pray, or you can shorten it to say sit and pee. So S is stop, separate if you can. If you are in a room with littles,

Corey Allan (13:19.726)

Okay, fair.

Natalie (13:26.973)

and you can't really leave them because you need to keep an eye on them. Just make a movement. If you're sitting on the couch stand up, walk across the room, do something to get your body kind of switching, right? In the same time we're taking deep breaths, we're inhaling. The inhale is helping to calm the nervous system down. We literally have a brain, a brain yeah we do, um a bone in our head that as we're

breathing, it's moving back and forth and it's massaging the pituitary gland and it's sending out those calm down hormones. So we want to be taking those deep breaths and we want to T tune in. We want to be thinking, okay, it's all right that I'm feeling this way. There's nothing wrong with me for feeling angry. What's going on though? Why am I angry? Why are my kids angry? Why is my husband angry? What's going on in that situation? And the pray is

you know, ask for strength. You know, I need strength. Don't pray for patience. You don't want to pray for patience. He will give you reasons to be patient. Yes. And I shorten it to because where's one of the best places you can go in your house usually has a lock on the door? The bathroom. So if you can, if you need to go to the bathroom and take this moment.

Corey Allan (14:32.372)

No. We come from the same school in this, of thought in this one. So we're good.

Corey Allan (14:45.186)

Mm-hmm.

Natalie (14:49.441)

do it. This is great because you can use this in any situation. Like if you're around in-laws and you're struggling with, you know, family, extended family, we're talking around the holidays right now, you just check out and go to the bathroom, right? Nobody's going to question you on having to go pee. And so, and if you're at home alone, you've got toddlers following you and they're banging on the door, it's okay, you know, it's okay that they're banging on the door. It's if it's safer for them to bang on the door.

Corey Allan (14:58.284)

Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan (15:04.534)

Yeah.

Natalie (15:18.525)

Well, you're on the other side calming down before your rage is hurting them. That's OK. So that's kind of where I go with it is that sit and pray.

Corey Allan (15:29.358)

That's good. And so do you also come from the thought process that anger, because you've alluded to it a couple different times, but do you think that anger can also sometimes be a covering emotion? Like it's almost a socially acceptable way to express other things that aren't as socially acceptable?

Natalie (15:47.957)

Oh, I mean, we will go from sadness or disgust or fear one of those more vulnerable feelings to anger and heartbeat. Like it absolutely will, it's the protecting emotion for us. This is what's gonna protect me. And it feels productive in the moment, but afterwards we recognize how destructive it actually was. So it's much more productive to work in our actual, like where are we going?

Corey Allan (15:57.415)

Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan (16:11.184)

Right.

Natalie (16:17.553)

And where does this all stem from? You know, we might get upset at our kids for a certain behavior and it's because we want them to stop it because it's a reflection on us. And then we're afraid that we caused that. And so then we're seeing the fear. But do we really ever go that deep? Not unless you're actually actively working on understanding why you're getting to that point. Right. So it's and then.

it just, you can see it just gets so complicated because then we're like, oh, we're comparing ourselves to the person next door or the person on Instagram or, you know, and so it's kind of pulling back the layers of those onions and recognize why am I this way? And then we go even back farther to, this is some stuff that was set up in childhood, not saying our parents are terrible people. They're doing the best we can just like we are. Right? Most parents want to raise kids that

are good kids, good people, and they want their kids to know they're loved. But they have only been given what they were given in their childhood, and if nobody progresses, if nobody tries to actually understand why they're doing what they're doing, we pass generational curses, generational patterns, on to the next generation. And so that's one of the things that I'm doing is generational work. Let's stop this here and start changing our behaviors.

Corey Allan (17:29.151)

Mm-hmm.

Natalie (17:41.329)

and how we process and I tell my moms, it's okay that you just lost it in front of your kids. You're not a bad person for it. What did you do to recover? And we talk about recovery as taking responsibility for your actions. You go back and tell your kids, it was okay that I was angry, but it was not okay that I screamed at you because of it. Right. And you tune into them. What was going on for you? Why were you acting how you are? What's what are you feeling?

You know, we go through this recovery process and I just like to say too, if you're having to give out consequences to kids for behavior or action, wait till you recover to give out the consequence and make it a point, which we've done in our house. If I get angry and I am in my anger, I say, you've lost your phone for a week. They know that doesn't stand. They know mom's saying it cause she's angry.

Corey Allan (18:33.526)

Right.

Natalie (18:35.317)

We're actually going to talk about the real consequence once everybody's calmed down and we've resolved the issues. Right? So anyways, yeah, it's working through all of these different little pieces, but they're so valuable. And by our kids seeing us make mistakes and blow up, whatever it is, we make a mistake, we go back and we recover. And we're actively showing our kids, first of all, we're not perfect. First of all, we all get upset.

Corey Allan (18:42.839)

Mm-hmm. No, that's great.

Natalie (19:02.365)

We have to figure out why we're upset. We need to work through that. We need to model that and teach that to our kids. And then our kids don't grow up. I can't tell you how many people I've worked with. Moms get on the call with me and they're like, I was never angry until I had kids. And I'm like, it's okay. You didn't learn how to process these things. And that's okay. It's not that your parents were bad or you're bad. It's now you're here. Let's do this now.

Corey Allan (19:20.22)

Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan (19:29.664)

Yeah, no, because I think what you're describing here, Natalie, is so important because it's this element of I believe relationships expose ourselves, right? They're mirrors. They're full-length mirrors of ourselves. Marriage for sure. I mean, I think our spouses are there just to help us grow up, period, to evolve into being a better person, hopefully, period. And when our spouse takes a break from demanding that, our kids step in.

Natalie (19:50.325)

Yes.

Corey Allan (19:54.634)

And in essence, demand that just because they're in my life, just because I interact with them and they are mirrors of me because you're describing a lot of learned things. And those that are listening, if you don't believe it, we're only born, I'm assuming you may know this, but we're only born with two biological fears. All the other fears we have in our life are learned things. So it's just true, the sense that what is being challenged in me when I can handle me better.

and come forward and come back to the people and just own me better, I create a whole different generation and potential of depth and relationship all the way through.

Natalie (20:32.346)

Hey, were those fears death and taxes or something else?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Corey Allan (20:39.298)

No, it's loud noises and falling. That's the two that we're born with, but I can understand being married to a tax accountant. Taxes is definitely one of them.

Natalie (20:49.077)

Oh, that's great.

Corey Allan (20:49.178)

I getcha. But yeah, so Natalie, before we transition into the extended content, and it's not like we're going to go even more personal than we have, because girl, you're already pretty personal about what goes on in your life and how life has unfolded. But how can people find you if they're interested in this more? Because this is such a vital process for people to recognize, hey, wait, I'm seeing some things about myself. How can I do something different?

to make everyone around me better, particularly me better.

Natalie (21:21.001)

Yeah, so I have a website, nataliehickson.com. Also, I'm giving you a link to my trigger tracker that's free download. And quickly, the trigger tracker is something that you want to use to help process some of these triggering events that happen in your life. So, a good example, bedtime routines, if you have littles, maybe you get triggered at that point. Sit down and fill out one of those trigger trackers, not in the middle of being angry, and give it a little bit, like, let's calm down.

Right? Get out, you know, make those emotions have calmed down a bit, then fill it out. Can be an hour, can be a day later. That just helps you kind of go through what's going on for me. Why am I doing this? Why am I upset? What do I want this to look like going forward? We want to kind of start building that new track in our brain. How do we want this to look like in a more healthy, positive way? So you can download that over at my website. And

One last thing I have to say, because you heard the story of when Enya was little and we're tantruming on the floor together and I'm raging on her. Our relationship today is, I get emotional when I talk about it. It's absolutely beautiful. It's been restored. It's been redeemed. I was at her college last year and I was trying not to step on her toes, just stay out of her space, but I was there to help her move out and she's like, and I told her, I'm like, if I'm in your way, just let me know. She's like, mom.

Having you here makes my stress levels go down. And to me, that was just a huge confirmation that we have really, you know, the Lord redeems and restores and that's what he's done in my life. And to see this in that relationship, I just, I say that to give anybody out there who's sitting there thinking that you've already damaged your kids, it's never too late. It's never too late.

Corey Allan (22:47.63)

Sweet.

Corey Allan (22:55.68)

Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan (23:07.69)

Right. All right. Well, Natalie, thank you so much for the mission and the message that you've got. And I'm looking forward to keep talking here in just a second.

Natalie (23:18.186)

Yeah, thank you.