Raging out of control

Explosive anger. Death threats to the family.

Everyone gets mad, says our elder, but it’s wise to remember that you are in charge of your own emotions.

Dear EWC:

I have anger issues. It usually is triggered when my family asks me or corrects me. I explode and say a lot of mean things, lock my room, or even give them death threats. 

I say things like, “You are lucky I cannot stab you right now,” or “I will stab your eyes and sew your mouth if you say that one more time.” I truly need help. 

Can you give me advice on how to prevent this from happening? I am an open-minded person, but I hate it whenever my family says something about me.

Grandpa-Matt replies:

Everybody gets angry from time to time. We cannot stop ourselves from having those feelings.

You are the ruler in your universe, and when you see violations, anger results. The quickest way out of that trap is to modify the rules that you have for others. It might be like, “You should treat me with respect as much and as often as possible,” leaving room for people to be human. We all fail sometimes. If you view others as excellent people and allow them to not live up to your rigid standards, you will all be happier. 

You are 100% in charge of your thoughts and emotions. No one can make you happy or angry. You are responsible for all the actions and reactions in your life. Nobody can upset you without your consent. For example, if someone told you to “Cheer up,” whose choice is it? Maybe you do, and perhaps you don’t. All emotions, both positive and negative, give you a choice of how to respond. It is one thing to feel angry. It is another thing to choose what to do with that anger. You always have a choice about that. 

It is essential to distinguish between the emotion of anger and your behavior when you get angry. It is easy to forget that the healthy experience of anger can be acted out irresponsibly. Someone can say or do something that triggers you, but only you can choose your response. Your feeling of anger and your expression of that emotion are two different things. 

With anger, what you can do is reset all your expectations for yourself and all the others in your universe. Expect that other folks cannot read your mind as to what will make you happy; expect people will not live up to your rigid expectations of them. Don’t be the victim of others when they say or do things contrary to your wishes. Accept things as they are and instead of getting upset, realize that you can cope with everything that shows up in life because you are a survivor! 



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