How can I control my temper?

I get angry and act out. It scares my wife and child.

Myron Jones, Ph.D, LPC-S, LCDC
Myron Jones, Ph.D, LPC-S, LCDC
Couples, Families, Youth, Substance abuse, and Grief and Loss

Anger is a normal emotion, no different than joy, elation, or sadness. It's not anger that gets us in trouble it's the overtness of the emotion or how we allow it to manifest that gets us in trouble. Being able to control your temper depends on several variables: how you saw anger acted out as a child in terms of your primary caregivers and what you internalized as being normal in terms of managing conflict, and your communication style regarding how you confront problematic situations. There are some whose anger takes on a volcano effect whereby they don't readily address problematic situations but rather they continue to stuff their emotion until the right trigger causes them them to explode, and then there are those who are very impulsive in terms of how they react to stressful situations, they don't take time to think out situations or to make sense of them, they just impulsively respond. I would encourage you to seek anger management from a therapist who utilizes a Cognitive Behavioral approach in order that you may explore how your irrational thinking related to certain situations may be influencing your problematic behavior. In addition, I would encourage you to engage in activities that promote stress reduction if your blowups are indeed related to being overly stressed. The first step is recognizing that you have a problem that you need help in understanding and addressing, which you have, now take the next step in finding a therapist in order that you may learn to control your temper and undo some faulty wiring that may be related to how you process emotion, and communicate that you're angry. Remember, anger is the overt expression of some other emotion (i.e., disappointment, hurt, frustration, etc..) Hope this helps...

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Pamela Suraci
Pamela Suraci
Build on your strengths, grow in your challenge areas and improve your life!

Well, yes, of course it scares them.  They see someone they love behaving is frightening ways.  That's a good reason to want to manage your emotions differently...but  what are your thoughts on your anger?  Do you think your angry feelings justify lashing out?  

The thing is that feeling angry is just that...feeling.  Acting out is behavior and that affects everyone around you.  Do you need to manage your behavior, as well as your feelings?  My guess is that you do.

First you need to pay better attention to your feelings "thermostat".  If you are always near "boiling" you don't have much margin for error.  It's in  your best interest, and  that of your family, to bring that temperature down.  That may mean more physical activity, meditation, journaling or some other outlet.

The next, and bigger, question is what are you so mad about?  Or are you really sad, scared, confused?  Anger is a secondary emotion, much like pneumonia is a secondary infection.  Anger, which sets us up to defend ourselves against a perceived danger, is often a cover for feelings that leave us more vulnerable.  That means people who are grieving may exhibit rage; people who are scared may lash out.

That doesn't excuse bad behavior, but it might explain it. Get in t o see a therapist ASAP.  You need a bit of help to identify both anger triggers and underlying feelings that get played out as anger.  You are not a bad person for exhibiting emotions, but anger can quickly become destructive - get help now!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sonya Wilson
Sonya Wilson
Licensed Professional Counselor

Yes you can..  If you cannot control your temper, who can?  You have more power of your emotions, thoughts and feeling than you are giving yourself credit for.  If this is scaring your wife and child, you need to get control of it immediately.  Try going to an anger management class.  It will help to discover what is the root cause of your anger, what triggers it and how you can control/manage it.  If you can't go to a class, try self help books or even better yet counseling and support of a professional counselor.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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