They’re angry, I’m angry…

My parents have a short fuse, and when they scold me I lose my temper too. How can I control myself? 

Anger is an emotion, says our elder. You can choose what you do with it.


Dear EWC

Hi, this is my first time asking someone I don’t know for help. The main issue is that my mind isn’t able to keep up with the pressure I’m under. I am in 12th grade and am 17 years old. In India, grade 11 and 12 is the part of life where you have an enormous syllabus to study, and your college and further education depends on it. My parents are extremely concerned for me and on a short temper all the time especially towards me. They scold me a lot now. As a result, I have become very sensitive and anger has become my coping mechanism for me. I feel like they don’t get me and even if I try talking to them about it they don’t take it seriously. Then when I make a small mistake, everyone lashes out at me and I lose control and break down. I try to take control again by not talking and listening to music for a while but they don’t like that, and I dwell on my thoughts and at times think about death. I would appreciate some help if you could find me alternate ways to control myself and suggest a few changes in my life to help me.


Grandpa-Matt replies

It is difficult to imagine that, at birth, your parents are holding you and wondering, “How can we screw up this kid’s life?” On the contrary, I believe that they wanted the best for you. However, many parents raised their children in the same way dogs have been trained and domesticated. What they use is reward and punishment. The prize is loving, appreciation, attention, approval, caring, hugs, etc. The punishment is emotionally withholding those things and giving us expressions of negativity. 

Their short temper and scolding you are their way of manipulating and attempting to control your attitude and behavior. They want you to comply with their image of a perfect student who is always getting the best results, no matter what. It is not likely for them to change to be more accepting of your results, your performance, or your attitude.

It is not surprising that you have duplicated their short temper. Your anger as a coping mechanism is not much different than their short-tempered behavior. Their anger hasn’t worked for them, nor is it working for you. It is time for a strategic change in your thinking. 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.

When you speak of controlling yourself, be clear that the only thing you can absolutely control is your attitude! You are thinking, and decision-making is all yours. Others can influence you, but the choice is yours. You are 100% in charge of your thoughts and emotions. No one can make you happy or angry. You are the ruler in your universe and 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. 

When some people act like black holes in the universe, sucking your energy, the best course is to remove yourself from their orbit. It is impossible to do if they are your family. The best strategy is to set and maintain personal boundaries. This article will assist you. 

A problematic standard that your parents seem to be expecting you to attain is perfection. Your job is to have them acknowledge that it is an impossible goal. They didn’t give birth to a robot. 

One of the best female tennis players in modern times, Serena Williams, won multiple championships. A most excellent performer. Does she lose any points or games? Of course, she does. She is not perfect! Yet, we consider her the best. What I am suggesting for you to get across to your parents is for your folks to give up the idea of perfection and trade it in for the standard of excellence. Being excellent, one can fail from time to time and still be acceptable.

Their anger and yours is about failed expectations that are set in one’s mind. Change those things you expect of others, and you should take care of the anger. Some of these expectations are irrational. For example, “You should always treat me with respect,” might be one of the rules for other people’s behavior. If they don’t always do that, you get hurt, upset, and angry. 

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.

What I have suggested here will require goodwill on the part of you and your parents. How you interact with them will go a long way to determine your success. Since I don’t know any of the parties in this family, nor how the Indian families interact, I will leave it for you to choose the best time and situation to bring the issues mentioned here for their attention. Good luck.

Article #: 481884

Category: Family

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *