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I get angry in an instant and I want to stop

Open Discussions about Anger and Anger Management.

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I get angry in an instant and I want to stop

Postby RandomRage » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:21 pm

I've always had issues with anger, ever since I was young, but it wasn't until the last year or so I considered it to be so bad I might need some sort of anger management. I've read a few articles, listened to a few podcasts, and tried reading a few books but I almost feel like things I'm reading don't quite apply to my form of anger and therefore the solutions aren't quite right (I know there's no easy fix for this, but nothing I've tried seems to have work).

My biggest issue with the things I've read/tried so far is they all seem to centre on recognising anger as it builds and stopping it before it erupts -- but I get angry within seconds. Less than that sometimes. (My sister has mastered the art of saying something to wind me up, and I'll instantly be frustrated, defensive and stressed)

I've managed to identify the cause of (most of) my anger: things beyond my control, or things I fail at/that fail me. Things I think will be simple/quick to do, but actually take longer. Most often technology (prime example, I felt myself quickly getting frustrated when registering for this forum after being told my email address is invalid and my fourth attempt at a password still didn't work).

But this has started to be triggered by my children too. I'll be trying to change my son's nappy and he'll wriggle about (as 3 year olds do), and it'll be funny at first, but then suddenly I'll reflexively shout, growl or even physically pin his legs down, which scares him. I don't want to react that way, I know you shouldn't react like that, but I do and it's a reflex. Within a few seconds, I realise I've overreacted and try to calm him down, put on a softer voice, but this is probably confusing him even more.

Another example: I was sitting by him on the floor as he played today, and he suddenly flailed his arms about and slapped me round the face. I cried out in surprise and pain and sternly told him not to hit, and to kiss it better. But as I leant down for him to do so, he was still excited and slapped me both sides of the face even harder. I yelled his name -- again, a reflex, not a reaction I planned or wanted -- and he burst into tears.

Discussions with my wife has established a few factors. My parents, particularly my mother, were quite harsh on me growing up, so this sort of behaviour (or rather my subconscious perception of it) may be deeply engrained. I have also come to realise I take life a little too seriously, not always seeing the humour in things (hence my sister being able to wind me up so quickly -- it is a wind up, a joke, not a genuine criticism, yet I take everything so personally I react as such).

But none of that helps identify when I'm suddenly going to snap. I hate this. I hate yelling at my son when he's just a little boisterous and hasn't technically done anything wrong (at least not maliciously). I hate getting frustrated at the sound of my daughter's cry - she's not even a year old yet, and logically I know it's the only way she can communicate, but when she's screaming at me, I feel the urge to fight back.

I hate getting angry near or with my wife. It's embarassing for both of us -- we went to New York for her birthday, I struggled to get some documents out of my backpack, and I suddenly started swearing and wrestling with the bag in front of everyone. We barely spoke for a good hour after that. She grew up with an abusive father, and I don't want her to think that's what I'll become (and I certainly don't want to genuniely become like that).

And I hate how I feel after I get angry. It's either hours of trying to simmer down (yet the slightest frustration, challenge or barrier can make my anger spike again), or hours of guilt that I act this way even when I don't want to.

Can anyone relate to this? Has anyone ever been quick to snap with no word of warning, and have you been able to prevent it? Has anyone got advice on a book to read, a podcast to listen to, an exercise to try -- anything that might help me?

Thank you for taking the time to read this, apologies it's such a long rant.
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Re: I get angry in an instant and I want to stop

Postby Aries411 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:00 pm

Welcome to the forum Random,

I think I get what you mean. It as if your anger is a reflex and you go from 0 to 100 in a second. In the presence of a trigger, it pushes your buttons right away and you instinctively go into the behaviour that you always went to in the past.

Some people say we should respond to a situation as oppose to react to a situation, something that sounds good, but very hard to do. My triggers are arguments that I have with my wife about certain topics where I become very defensive and say stupid things. Things I regret about 30 seconds later.

They say that mindfulness work well with awareness for when we start to get angry, but I find I am not experienced enough with it for it to stop me from saying those regretful things. I think with practice, it will be able to help. Perhaps it might be something worth looking into.
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Re: I get angry in an instant and I want to stop

Postby Johei » Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:38 am

I feel you...
Most of my anger issues were caused my my parents' 'abuse.
Now my sister has children, and I can NEVER show my anger around them.
Difficult, because my parents will often be near the children. They will ridicule me in front of them, etc., and I will feel this cold rage build inside me.
I WILL not project this onto the children. I laugh it off, then make a joke out of it so the kids have a fun time.
I've ranted and raged for so many years, but it just made things worse.
What helps me, is to show kindness, tenderness to people who need it more than me.
Caring for others makes me forget how I lacked care. Focus on the positive, hanging on to negative thoughts will eat you alive.
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