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Dear Doctor, I have a 25 year old son who can be very caring. He is a hard worker who makes a good income and is a very responsible person especially with money.
The reason I bring this up is because in the blink of an eye he can become enraged. He feels he has a reason but his wife and I don't.
Recently he has started having mini panic attacks and some dizziness. He gets mad at their dog and whips the dog when it chews up stuff when left in the house. Has a REALLY bad temper and when in this rage is very insulting to his wife.
I want to help but I need to have the proper coping tools to deal with him. Also he has told me when he becomes enraged he gets a metallic taste in his mouth. This concerns me, what is doing this? What can I do to help him?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Linda, and thanks for telling your story here. You and your daughter in law can do some things, but ultimately your son is going to have to seek help for himself. No one can help him if he does not want help.
What you can do is set boundaries for your relationship with him, saying in words and actions that you will not be in his presence when he is being abusive to anyone, including the dog. In other words, he does not get the pleasure of your company if he is exhibiting this type of behavior. This might seem harsh, but I assure you if you stay with him during his rage outbursts, you will unintentionally enable and support the destructive behavior.
This is not so easy for his wife, but she needs to implement some version of the same plan with him. He needs to get the message that his actions simply will not be tolerated, and that you love him and want him to get help. That help cannot come from you or his wife. He has to initiate it, because he wants it for himself.
The metallic taste is just the chemicals released into his bloodstream because of the extreme toxic rage. His brain and body are going into a fight-or-flight reaction, and while it is happening, he has little or no control. That's why he has to seek help, when he's calm. The panic is part of the overall picture.
If he's open to it, he can do the exercises on this FAQ page. He may or may not be able to do this, but it's worth a try. Otherwise, he will need to seek professional help.
I hope this is helpful.
My very best to you,
P.S. If you found this to be helpful, please consider making a donation to this site to support our mission to help you become your own best anger management resource.
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