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I Have No Control Over My Anger and Short Temper

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From Malta: I’ve never reached out to anyone for help regarding this matter, however my wonderful girlfriend knows what my problem is, but only because I’ve been inflicting her pain.

Me and my girlfriend have been together a little over 8 years now, and we just bought ourselves a place to call home. We are still not living together since it still needs to be finished however, it is our dream to have a family together.

The problem? I suffer from short temper and lose control over what I say or do. To be clear, I’ve never laid a finger on her or would even think/dream or wish it. That would be the day I’d go drive myself over a cliff. However, I do loose control and I bad mouth (swear) or yell (sometimes at her but not directly offending her, but nonetheless disrespectful and making her feel like she’s being controlled). My parents got divorced when I was 10 and ever since I’ve lived with my father along with my siblings.

My father was always controlling and short tempered, and me being the youngest, it always felt like I was a punching bag. He never really send me to the hospital or anything but he did use physical force when he thought I showed him disrespect. Having said that, he always loved us and provided for us, but it doesn’t change the fact that I did and still feel that he sometimes take it out on me. I’m 26, and to this day he feels he’s got some kind of hold over me just because HE’S the parent. And it’s OK, I’ll soon stop living under the same roof. However i have been telling myself that I won’t be like him ever in my life, ever since I can remember.

Despite all the hate and anger I have for how he talks/threats me, I’m afraid i’m just him, and I hate myself for it. The anger, the short temper, the yelling, the controlling, the dismissal of one’s opinion, I hate all of it. I sometimes realize that I’m doing the same thing as he does, and manage to control the situation, however, sometimes I get angry and lose temper for no good reason and before I know it, I’m yelling, swearing and banging on doors, or my car or whatever’s in my hand. I’m out of control. Please help.

I Have No Control Over My Anger and Short Temper

Answered by on -

A.

You do have control — at least some of the time. You are at least not being physically abusive with your girlfriend. But, as you well know, that is only the first step. You learned lots of negative ways to express anger from your father. Unfortunately, you didn’t have another strong male in your life who could teach you the positive ways to handle it.

Yes, there are positive ways to be angry. There is nothing wrong with anger as a feeling. Often our anger tells us that something needs to be fixed. But there is plenty wrong about yelling, swearing, belittling and being generally disrespectful. Those behaviors only teach other people to distance from you. Problems never get solved.

I suggest you get into either an anger management program or therapy to help you learn constructive ways to deal with anger. In addition, observe how people you respect handle their irritation, annoyance and anger. Copying good behavior is always a place to start. There are also excellent books on the subject.

And there is a forum here at PsychCentral where community members share and support each other in dealing with strong emotions. Go to the “Find Help” tab, then click on “Forums” to find the group.

All I can do is make those suggestions. If you really want to solve the problem, it is up to you to take the next step. I hope you do. The stakes are high. If you continue on the path you are on, it is likely you will end up like your father and you will hate yourself for it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Have No Control Over My Anger and Short Temper

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Have No Control Over My Anger and Short Temper. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/02/18/i-have-no-control-over-my-anger-and-short-temper/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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