Emotions influence behavior and my daughter became very sensitive to emotional fluctuations. A simple harmless comment would cause an angry emotional outburst along with associated bad behavior. This caused me to feel like I was walking on eggshells whenever I was around her. I was afraid to speak in case it brought on an angry outburst. This was tough and I always tried to be especially conscious of the words I was using. I have heard this same sentiment from other family members. It’s no fun when you can’t speak for fear of causing a huge emotional outburst from your loved one. After I had learned to handle the anger through good communication, I became more comfortable and do not worry about angry outbursts. I still have to be very careful with anything that could be construed as criticism because my daughter’s self-esteem is still very fragile, and even non-intended criticism sends her into depression.
It was difficult much of the time to communicate with my daughter. She would either be quiet and non-communicative, or she would be angry and yelling at me. When she was quiet and withdrawn I learned to just sit and be with her until she was ready to talk. When she was angry I would often respond with anger until I learned the simple fact that anger either escalates or diminishes based upon the response. I learned to communicate by listening closely with empathy, and not automatically reacting without fully understanding what her immediate problem was. When I calmly responded she calmed down more quickly. I learned several techniques that I have described in an earlier section so I will not repeat them here. A key concept is that communication includes both listening and speaking. We all know that, but often our mind is busy forming a response rather than absorbing the significance of what is being said.