One of our family friends recently had a serious fight in the house. He had a heated argument with his wife and later he turned violent and bitten his wife up. The two children, trembling with fear, hid themselves at a corner of the living room, witnessing their parents fought in the house. It was a traumatic experience for the children. The parents later had to bring the children to seek therapeutic counseling to help build their confidence again.
My friend later told me that he has this problem of controlling his anger at home. While he believes that a man should not hit his wife, when his emotion runs high, he just looses control altogether. The wife has another set of problem too. In the height of the arguments, she would intelligently corner the husband to admit his wrongs. My friend speaks reasonably and has no problem carrying meaningful conversations in normal days. But when he starts an argument with his wife, his brain stops functioning. He would be overtaken by emotions. He could no longer think and start fumbled with words. Once he realizes that he is loosing the verbal argument, he becomes furious and quickly retorts to physical violence. After these things happened, the couple would spend long time in remorse and regrets, especially the injuries on the wife’s body and the emotional hurts created in the two young lives.
I believe some families are facing the real issue of home violence. I certainly do not encourage a man overpowering his wife by physical strength each time an argument breaks out. However, it is also true that one hand can never make a clapping sound. The way the woman reacts during a heated argument can aggravate or cool down the situation. It just does not make sense that a woman should keep on pressing your husband’s hot button until he bit you up with bruises all over. You may win the argument and bruise your husband’s ego, but you certainly pay a high price for such an unworthy call.
Family researches reveal that married couples often suffer from “split personality”. What does that mean? A person suffers from “split personality” lives a two-faced life. He can be so gentle and sweet with friends and colleagues. The moment he is with his spouse at home, he quickly turns into an aggressive and violent beast. Why is that so? One of the reasons could be that when we are in the family, surrounded by people we are most familiar with, we have no problem showing the true colors, including letting out the emotions inside. We see cases where angry partners will yell and scream to each other, argue things at the top of their voices, and may start fighting that results in injuries. Is this the path you want to see your family heading? Of course not!
Undeniably everyone gets angry sometimes, it’s a natural part of life. The good news is that you can be angry but not let anger controls and defeats you. The way to do it is to learn the art of managing anger, so that anger is displayed effectively and safely at home when necessary.
From our experiences, we know that a joyful and merry heart gives health to your being. Of course, a joyful person is one to whom others can live with more easily and certainly treasure his or her company much more. This is definitely true in the case of family relationships. Does it mean that we have to control our anger all the time without letting that emotion to surface at all? A simple answer is “no” and this kind of “control” cannot be sustained over time. The angry emotion has to be let out somewhere and some time. We just need to learn how to express that anger properly and at the appropriate time.
Shorten your Angry Time
The first step in managing anger is to shorten the time when you are angry. This may sound obvious but you would be surprised how difficult this can be in practice. Most of us tend to dwell in things that make us angry slightly. By spending more time in thinking about it will aggravate the anger to a more intensive level. Before long, we will let anger overcome us and we are completely out of control. So, before anger develops into frustration, leading you to say and do something you’ll regret later, you make that conscious decision to stop the reaction in shorter time. When you are successful in doing so, you’ll feel that you are improving the stress management skill. It should call for celebration when we manage to allow anger to last for a shorter time. There is a great biblical wisdom in telling us “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”. Make your angry time short.
Involved in Family Decision-Making Process
According to family psychologists, one of the reasons for a family member to get frustrated and angry is that he is not involved in the family decision-making process. When a person feels that his voice is being heard, his inputs are being taken into consideration when the family decides on the best course of action, it is less likely that he will be frustrated when things aren’t moving smoothly. He will take ownership of the decision. When things do not turn out right, instead of pointing fingers at others, he will naturally attempt to find solutions to solve the problems. While mutual consultation is not always possible, you should consider your family members’ feelings and seek to meet each other’s needs. When you do, and openly make it known to the family members, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and less anger and frustration will arise within the family.
If you are easily angered when you are stress and frustrated, to take a peaceful route may be alien and unnatural to you. Sometimes, your family members may expect you to get angry as you always did, the way they respond to situations can also trigger your frustrated responses too. You will soon realize how much hard work is needed to counter your “natural” angry tendency. But let me tell you, it’s all worth it!
Change the Way You Think and Do Things
To better control your anger is to change the way you think and do things. When you notice your anger is rising, it is always helpful to tell your mind to calm down and quickly change your focus on other things or walk away to do something else. It is a process which you need to learn and walk patiently to see the final result. Some of us take shorter time to change our behaviors and inner feelings but others may take much longer time to arrive at the destination.
The important thing is when you are frustrated and begin to be angry, you persevere in cultivating a peaceful mindset that is contrary to your “natural” angry state. Always have the end in your mind. You decide to enjoy the process when you start adopting new thinking and behaviors that enhance your family’s well-being.
Practical Helpful Tips
There are many different ways to control your anger at home. You could practice some of the ideas below when you start get angry:
1. Breathe deeply and slowly until you calm down before you say or do anything at all.
2. Think about the things you love about a person, instead of what makes you angry.
3. Talk things over with someone, instead of telling them what they will and must do.
4. Be sensitive to another person’s fears, goals, desires, and important differences.
5. Walk away for a while before you have a conversation with someone who upset you.
6. Be clear about what’s expected of everyone, including you, to lessen conflict.
Please do not allow anger destroys the intended blessed family relationships.
Remember, anger is a roadblock to your success as a family. You are willing to take on a journey to learn better stress management and anger control skills – all because you cherish and love your family members.