This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship
Dear Neil: I know I have an anger problem and I need help to control it. When things don’t work out, when I’m running late or when I’ve taken too much on, I can turn into a monster. I snap and yell at my kids, and I say the most terrible things to them that I bitterly regret afterwords. I always apologize later, explaining why I was angry and telling them it wasn’t their fault, but I feel I’m damaging them emotionally.
I have a lot of anger inside of me because I was emotionally abused as a child. I was made to feel that I was a loser, an idiot and unattractive. I need some strategies to help me recognize when that anger is threatening to bubble over. Also, it’s difficult to walk away when I’m in the car or when I am awakened by my son three times in the middle of the night. What can I do?
Angry in Manchester, United Kingdom
Dear Angry: The first thing you can do to control your anger is to quit making excuses and offering self-justifications for blowing your top. We can all come up with loads of excuses for why we can lose our temper (“you’re irritating me,” “I’ve already answered that question”, “I’ve had a hard day at work, so don’t get on my bad side tonight” and so on). Your childhood may indeed be why you have a lot of anger inside, but your childhood is not making you lose your temper. You’re adopting the attitude that your children are responsible for your explosions; that they are, in essence, forcing you to be angry because they won’t abide by your wishes or your rules, or because they are acting irritating.
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