How Can I Control My Aggressive Temper?
Hi. I am emailing you to ask you what I should do about my very aggressive temper. Sometimes I can just snap for no reason (if I'm in a bad mood) or at the simplest things. Also when someone does annoy me I can get very aggressive and my temper is really bad. I am scared of what I could end up doing if I don't get serious help with it. I am a 21 yr old male.
Thanks for taking the time to read my email.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hi Henry. I'm really glad you wrote your question for this site. I will be glad to help you.
You don't like your temper, and you don't want things to continue or get worse--that's because you're better than that. You really want to respond differently, but it sounds like you're feeling a hair-trigger reaction with your anger that feels out of control.
I can also see a glimpse of the good person you are because you thanked me for reading your email. I am going to help you get in touch with your goodness inside, and learn to heal your anger.
You said you need some "serious help." Reading this and following the links below might do the trick, but you also may need more. That is for you to decide.
I want to explain some things to you about your anger that will help.
1) Unconscious, hair-trigger anger like you are describing comes from the Reptilian brain--part of the Limbic system, where the fight-or-flight reflex resides.
2) Fight-or-flight reactions are literally light-speed in the brain, sending signals to your emotions, and that's why you feel out of control.
3) This is all happening at a primal, unconscious level in your brain, so your conscious mind seems to have no control at all over what is going on.
4) For some reason (which you can find out), your primal, Reptilian, fight-or-flight reflex is being triggered, causing you to react to others as if they were the enemy.
There is something in your personal history, some memory or story, that must be told. That is where your unconscious anger is coming from. The untold story/unexplored memory is stored in your Reptilian brain, and your temper is being triggered from that place.
Here is what I want you to do:
1) Review your personal history, going as far back as you can, and write about all of the frightening, painful or shaming experiences you have ever had.
2) This writing is just for you--unless you want to submit it as another contribution on this site. But while you're writing, rest assured that no one will read it unless you absolutely want them to. You can shred or burn it when you're done if that feels right to you.
3) Use the guided imagery process on this page
to work directly with these traumatic memories and bring about your emotional healing.
4) Begin writing daily from your anger. Let it flow out on the page (again, this is only for your eyes), and don't hold back. No matter how foul, vulgar or whatever--just let it out. This gives you an opportunity to look closely at this unconscious part of you, which helps to heal and give you conscious control.
5) Also write daily about what you are grateful for, what you appreciate, and what you are looking forward to in your future. Keep doing this after your anger is winding down--I suggest you do it for the rest of your life.
6) Write about what you appreciate about others. All of the little and big things about them that you love, admire, like or appreciate.
7) Make up your mind to stop all criticism of others. This will take some time, but you can do it. Focus only on others' positive aspects. You don't have to ignore what you don't like, just don't dwell on it. This will help you to remember who you are.
Most important of all--do not give up on yourself. Ever. Stay with it, follow these recommendations, read the free information on this site, keep writing, and you will get there. Nothing will stop you from reaching your goals unless you decide to stop yourself. You have what it takes. You can do this. You are a good person.
My best to you,
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