Can't Control Temper


Can't Control Temper


your avatar   Monica, 24-year-old woman

I am a working mother. I'm very short-tempered. I can't control my temper, and this is destructive. What can I do for my destructive anger? Please help.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Monica,

Everyone is different. There is no other person like you. So, I cannot answer your question on the basis of your three lines. All I can do is to suggest what has worked for other people. You can then try these out, and then change them to suit your unique needs and strengths.

You might look at my book "Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias." It is for sale very cheaply as an electronic book at Twilight Times Books

In addition to what I write there, I have this feeling that you may be under a lot of stress as a working mother. So, you need to look after yourself, as well as your job and your family. Read for a few ways of doing this.

And you know, it may FEEL as if you couldn't control your temper. That may be because you are trying to control the wrong thing. It is true that we cannot control what thoughts and emotions come to us. However, we CAN control what we DO. You can feel as angry as you might be, but you still have a choice.

I don't know how old your children are. But suppose you have just screamed at one of them. Then you feel terrible, but once started, just keep going. At a time when you are calm, say to the child, "Darling, I am going to change my habit of screaming at you, and I would like you to help me. Next time I scream at you, please give me a secret signal we can agree on now, and when you do that I'll remember. Then I'll stop screaming, and apologize to you, and then we can start dealing with the situation from the start as if I hadn't been angry." Of course, the complexity of the message has to be adjusted to the child's age.

You will find this to be a very powerful way of changing a habit you want to get rid of. Let me know in a few weeks how this has helped you.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:

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