How to Not Lose Your Sh*t When You Get a Text From Your Snarky Daughter!
I received a text from my daughter the other night. I know that sounds pretty routine except this is the first text she sent me in 7 years.
It wasn't a very nice text.
It came from a young woman with whom I would sing the Montgomery Gentry song "Gone" which now brings a tear to my eye and a flood of emotions when I hear it. We used to sing the chorus:
Gone like a freight train,
Gone like yesterday,
Gone like a soldier in the Civil War
We would always shoot a finger gun at the Bang Bang part.
"Wish I had a dad who was a good man."
Needless to say that stung. If I wasn’t sitting down I’d be on the floor.
I’m not sure if it was the actual words or the fact she actually texted.
By her choice, she decided to not be in my life about 10 years ago after my divorce from her mother.
This is one reason I’m doing what I do today because I’ve always wanted to deal better with my own anger when I respond to conflicts with my ex. My anger was also the root of the problem between my daughter and me.
There I was…reading her words at 10 pm sitting at my desk. I’m calm and centered normally, but my heart raced. I felt anxious.
Instead of over thinking it I decided I was just going to respond from the heart. So I did.
Actually you do. If you spend some time with me you'd see how much I have grown and changed.
You would even find I'm now a men's coach helping other men through the minefields of divorce.
Regardless of what you may think I love you and always will and my door is always open to
I always try to follow these 3 principles when I respond to my daughter.
· Never respond with anger in my head or heart
· Don’t try to defend myself
· Let her know how much I love her
Looking back now at my response I wish I would have apologized for making her feel that way.
My daughter is 23 now but her memory of me when she was 13 is of an angry dad.
It doesn't really matter who did what, when or why with the divorce. The reality is I failed to work on myself, deal with the anger and become a better man.
For those who have asked me how I got into coaching I will talk about my divorce. But I resist talking about my failed relationship with my daughter. It's one of those painful things I keep tucked away deep down inside and don't let out very often. I sure as f*ck don’t share this with many people.
I’m sharing it now because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes. There is a cost to anger. We need to learn how to move past our anger.
So if you're reading this and you're staying angry at your wife, holding on to the anger because of the unfairness of it all, or because your hopes and dreams have been shattered I am here to tell you let it go.
That anger will damage the relationship you have with your children. It will make you an unattractive co-worker. It will quickly get you labeled as “having lots of baggage” by good women as they can feel that anger in you.
In short holding onto that anger will cost you far more than the divorce does.
If you are feeling a little queasy now I have been in your shoes.
I have felt this pain. It was unfair, blah blah blah. I did not work on myself. I held onto the anger for a number of years and it cost me something money can’t replace…the relationship with my amazing daughter.
What lies ahead? I have no clue. All I know is that the door has been opened a crack. I know she was in the frame of a scared 13-year-old girl when that text was sent.
Fortunately, I’m not that angry man anymore or I may have slammed that door shut possibly for good.
This is what I want you to know about the importance of losing your anger and responding like a better man:
Anger is a crutch and blinds you to the consequences
Anger prevents you from creating a connection with others
Anger comes from feeling like a failure as a husband and father…and a man
Anger comes from feeling insecure about your own masculine value
Anger comes from the fear of being alone
This is how I’ve learned to overcome this anger:
I stopped blaming others for the situation and took responsibility for my attitude and what I helped to create
Divorce didn’t make me a failure but how I responded to it could have
I’m not a defective or broken man and anger didn’t serve me well
Only when I invested time and vulnerability with other men did I learn how to start growing instead of just being angry
I get to write the story of my life moving forward
If you are a man who wants to overcome your anger and become a great man, I would love to talk with you. I want to help you become the kind of man who leaves a legacy for his kids.
That man has no place for anger in his life.