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Who's In Control? You Or Your Temper?

Updated on November 15, 2015

Is This Guy In Your Living Room? He Is if People Are Afraid To Discuss Things With You Because Of Your Unpredictable Temper

Bull Elephant
Bull Elephant | Source

You Get A Lot More From People If They Don't Have To Worry About Being Yelled At

We all get annoyed, frustrated and out of sorts. It is part of the human condition to resent long lines, being stuck in traffic, or cooling our heels in a government or medical office. No one likes to have their actions controlled by another’s poor planning, and it is only normal to grouse and complain when other people’s plans, or lack of them keeps us from doing things we want or need to get done.

It’s not the feeling of annoyance that gets you in trouble. We all feel angry at times, and none of us like it. It is our ability to decide how to respond to unpleasant situations that will determine whether we are perceived as anything from a well-adjusted but slightly irritated person to becoming a defendant in a felony trial.

It isn’t easy to cultivate a calm demeanor when faceless strangers impose on your time. You have work to do, and even if you don’t have to be any particular place at the moment, having your activities decided by a third person who is free to go and do whatever he wants is not only unfair, but is exasperating, and only adds to feelings of resentment and annoyance. In short, there are many things that unnecessarily effect the quality of our lives, and it is our ability to be flexible about these things that will make or break our perceptions of ourselves and whether our anger is warranted in a given situation.

When you finally get home, all you want to do is drink a couple beers and watch some TV. Maybe you want to curl up with a book in a hot tub. Instead, your family conspires to make you miserable. Your son hasn’t mowed the lawn, and your twelve year old daughter wants to dress like a hooker for a trip to the mall with her friends. Who could blame you for blowing your top?

As hard as it is, you may as well keep your temper. Yelling and carrying on like a wounded bull elephant won’t get the grass mowed. Angrily criticizing your daughter’s fashion choices won’t make her change into something more conservative. Even if you send her back to her room with threats, she will only comply with your edicts as long as you and your temper are an immediate threat. In both cases, a calm explanation of your feelings on the subject is much more convincing than yelling and threatening, and generally acting like a two year old on steroids.

No one blames you for occasionally feeling that the world is against you. However, that feeling is temporary, and you don’t want to let it cause permanent damage. This is why taking a walk, or engaging in some other pleasurable distraction until you calm down is better than going with your first noisy reaction. Even if you feel firmness is called for, you can make your feelings known without stomping your feet, punching a hole in the wall, or raising your voice to a decibel worthy of an airport runway.

You don’t really give anything up if you have control over yourself and your reactions. A calm request is bound to be more effective than a harsh demand. Acknowledging that other humans will only have an imperfect understanding of your needs and wishes should help you accept that things may get done slower or different than you would have preferred. If you are grateful for a sincere effort, rather than critical, your advice about how to do better will be more readily taken. In short, nobody benefits from a short fuse, not even the one throwing the bomb.

Things Will Go Better If You Keep Your Mind On What You Really Want To Communicate

You wouldn’t start a fire to get rid of a mosquito, would you? Why lose self control over small matters. You won’t think clearly. You won’t inspire trust. And, it is doubtful you’ll get the results you want. Calm down and think about what happened last time you lost your temper. Don’t lose your cool. Keep your mind on the result you want, and act accordingly. If the other person wanted something from you, how would you want them to ask?

You Have A Constitutional Right To Get Mad, But Others Have A Right To Get Mad Back At You. In This Case, Two Rights Can Result In A Wrong

Calm Down! I'm Not Calling You A Dummy! I'm Just Suggesting That Anger Management Is So Easy, A Dummy Could Do It

Talk About Blowing Things Out Of Proportion!

volcano | Source

Do You Know If You Have A Bad Temper? Here Are 5 Things To Consider

“I couldn’t help myself,” is not a legal excuse for misbehavior that causes damage to another person. The police won't buy it; the prosecutor won't buy it; the judge and jury won't be impressed, and the warden won't care either. You can help yourself, and we all know it. If you were talking to your boss, or a man with a gun, you wouldn’t feel any obligation to scream, yell or hit something. You would still be angry, just not dangerous to yourself and others.

Here are a few things that can help you identify an anger problem in yourself, or someone you know.

1. Are you proud of your bad temper? Do you brag about what you won’t take from anyone? Is there a lot of “stuff” you won’t “put up with” from friends, family members, animals or strangers? Do you always feel like you are being put upon? Do you think you do all the work, make all of the sacrifices, or otherwise aren't getting a fair shake in life?
2. Do you think those around you should figure things out for themselves? After all, even a blind man could see that the lawn needs mowed, the laundry needs put away, or that the gas tank is empty. You shouldn’t have to tell people what they need to do. It should be obvious to them. After all, you didn’t have any trouble figuring it out.

3. Are your kids, employees or spouse afraid to talk to you? How do you react when your son brings home a bad report card? Do you calmly discuss what help he needs in school, or do you go off like a bottle rocket and punish him for not living up to his potential? Do you honestly think that raising your voice will help him make better grades?

4. Do you hold grudges? Have you refused to forgive a slight for months or years? Are you not willing to talk to someone unless they apologize first? Have you told them how what they did hurt you, or do you prefer to snub them, assuming they know why you’re angry?

5. Do you call others names? Stupid, idiot, childish, irresponsible, and lazy are just a few hurtful put downs you need to eliminate from your vocabulary when you’re talking to others. Kids get a time out when they act like that. The only reason you’re not in one is that you’re too big to fit in the little chair.

Anger isn’t necessarily physically violent. It can be mental, even if psychological bruises don’t manifest to the eye. If you yell, sulk, silently plot revenge, or otherwise make plans to get even, you are an angry person, and should acknowledge that you have a problem. Remember, you don’t live in a vacuum, and the people you’ve embarrassed or injured aren’t going to have your back when you need help. Why try to please a tyrant who is not likely to give back anything but a temper tantrum?

Fear is not the same thing as respect. If people don’t like to deal with you, it doesn’t mean they hold you in high esteem. It just means that they are trying to avoid something unpleasant. A cringing employee, spouse, child or dog is not a complement to your charm or intelligence. It just means you have a big mouth, and are threatening. If you want the rest of the world to treat you with respect, you have to earn it. All of us are born naked and crying. It takes more than mere existence to get people to care what happens to you, or whether or not you’re happy.

Frustration, anger, disappointment are all unfortunate aspects of human existence. We all have to deal with unpleasantness, no matter who we are or what we’re trying to accomplish. If you stay calm, and watch how you treat others, even when you’re under stress or deeply annoyed, you will find that the vexing situation passes more quickly because more people will be happy to smooth the path for you. It’s like your mom used to say. “You attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

Clear Your Mind Before You Take Your Bad Day Home

If you’ve had a bad day, treat yourself to something nice before you go home. A brisk walk, or a or visit to the gym will help you dissipate your frustrations. When you get home and there are other problems, you will be relaxed enough to deal with them without causing a major disruption in your family.

Sometimes, The Best Way To Cool Down Is Being Alone For A while

You Can't Change Your Reactions Over Night, But You Can Work Through Them For A Better Life

All Storms Have The Potential To Be Very Destructive

Thunder Storm
Thunder Storm | Source

Put Yourself In The Other Guy's Place. Would You Want To Deal With You

George Carlin once observed that the world is full of – people with rectal cranial inversions. The guy who cuts you off in traffic, or the fast food worker who doesn’t get your order right isn’t paying attention to what he is doing, and naturally you’re peeved. You go home to find your kids fighting, the puppy happily chewing on your new shoes, and you get a late notice for a bill you thought your wife had paid. Now you’re mad.

You march into the living room where your husband is reading the newspaper while the baby pulls every book he can out of the book shelf. The house is a disaster, and the kids are running around in filthy pajamas. Laundry is scattered all over the utility room, and the potatoes and carrots you asked your husband to prepare for the crock pot are sitting on the counter, raw, and hours away from being a pot roast. You could just kill him.

In each of the above situations, you do have a right to be angry. The lack of consideration shown by the wife in the first story, and the husband in the second would spark the temper of a saint, let alone a hard working person whose home is no longer a sanctuary of relaxation, but is just a set of problems waiting to be solved, without any help. Your day is ruined, and you want your family to share your misery. As hard as it is, and as much as you want your partner, kids, parents or friends to feel your pain, read these tips, and save yourself the grief, time and money that you will lose if you let your temper dictate your actions.

  1. Don’t drink. If you introduce alcohol into the mix, you are giving your temper a big advantage. Alcohol can enhance whatever you are feeling. If you are feeling put upon, your anger and resentment will increase as your inhibitions are removed by drink. Even if you feel that you aren’t that angry with the person or thing that set you off, drinking is a good way to make the insult seem bigger, and may encourage you to look for an opportunity to vent your spleen at the wrong moment, or for no apparent reason.

  2. Go for a walk. If you’re bone tired after a day’s work, you probably don’t feel up to a stroll in the sun. However, if you engage in physical exercise, you will feel better, and will be more objective about the damage you perceive to have been done. You’ll cool down, and be able to deal with whatever is bothering you calmly and rationally.

  3. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. You were probably the last thing on your husband’s mind when he didn’t make dinner. Your wife may have gotten caught up in her daily life, which in turn caused her to forget to follow your instructions regarding the bill. It is unlikely that the people in either of these examples were acting out of malice.

  4. Talk about it, but don’t make any assumptions about what prompted the other person’s neglect or failure to act. They may have done it to spite you, but chances are really good that they failed for reasons of their own, and you should listen to what they have to say before you jump to conclusions and let your anger take the reins.

  5. Ask yourself, “Have I ever engaged in the same behavior?” For instance, have you ever sat on your duff all day, ignoring the chaos around you and not doing the things that needed to get done? If you’re having a rough day, maybe the other guy is, too. Have a little empathy and give both of you time to calm down before considering the matter together. Dirty pajamas aren’t dangerous to your child’s health. There may be a bit of a late fee because a bill didn’t get paid, but, that too, is only inconvenient, not life threatening.

Living with other human beings requires compromise. We don’t all have the same priorities. A messy living room may not register on your husband’s radar as a situation that requires his immediate attention. Your wife may not understand exactly what you wanted her to do, and in the hurly burly of the day, forgot to ask you for further instruction. These things are annoying and disappointing, and your frustration is understandable. However, there is always a non-violent or less confrontational way to deal with life’s vexations, which will let you come out the other end feeling like you handled things well. Ultimately any peaceful conclusion to a dispute is a good thing.

Hey, We Were Having Fun 'Til You Got Home

You don't want your family to run and hide when you get home, do you? If you can't talk without losing your cool, ask them to talk to you after you've had a shower and a nice cold (non-alcoholic) drink. When you've had time to unwind, the frustrations you are feeling will flow out of you without hurting a soul.

Relax. If You Give Yourself A Few Minutes Of Peace And Quiet, You Might Begin To Feel Calm Enough To Handle Anything

Relax And Work Towards Self Understanding

Does The Look On This Guy's Face Make You Think He Is About To Do Something Smart And Constructive?

Face Of An Angry Man
Face Of An Angry Man | Source

Don't Take Yourself So Seriously, You're Not The Center Of Anyone's Thoughts But Your Own

The best cure for a bad temper is to lighten up. Quit taking yourself so seriously. If you let yourself laugh at life’s predicaments, they won’t feel nearly as overwhelming.

This may be advice you’ve heard before, but the truth is, it isn’t personal. The guy who cuts you off in traffic, or the lady with 20 items in the express lane don’t know you exist, even if you are standing, or driving right behind them. It is a sad fact that most people have their heads where the sun don’t shine instead of on what they are doing at the moment. Yes, this inattention does result in you being inconvenienced, but getting mad about it won’t do anything but get a stranger’s defenses up, and waste your time fighting with someone you don’t know over something neither of you cares about.

If you want to have a more tranquil home life, don’t put judgments on other people. If your spouse or kids can’t live up to your expectations, it’s not because they don’t love and respect you. Honestly, it is because you weren’t on their minds at all. They may not be trying to please you, but the truth is they aren’t trying to displease you either. You are the furthest thing from their consciousness.

You can rant, rave, lecture and scream your displeasure, and you may make the other person as angry and miserable as you are, but that won’t make another driver more courteous, lessen the number of groceries in someone else’s cart or make your kids and spouse any more eager to do your bidding. At best, you will get reluctant cooperation, and will go away with an upset stomach or headache for your efforts.

If you remain calm and courteous, other people are much more likely to want to help you. Ask, “Would you mind if I go ahead of you? I have to get to a meeting, and I can’t be late.” You may not be able to arrange direct contact with another driver, but you can stay calm and avoid endangering yourself or others just because some idiot showed you discourtesy.

Anger can be justified in many situations. There will always be people whose backgrounds, personalities and experiences make them inconsiderate of those around them. There will always be the friend or family member who doesn’t understand or care what you want. We are all human, and there isn’t a one of us who isn’t so engrossed in our immediate needs and concerns that we can always be aware of others or considerate of their needs and wants. Losing your temper won’t change that. However,

keeping your cool will make one person’s life a lot easier, and that person is you.

Act Like You Want To Be Treated, Because You'll Be Treated How You Act

You've had bosses, how would you have them treat you? You're a husband, wife, or friend. What do you want the important people in your life to want for you? If you put yourself in your victim's place, it won't be hard to imagine how you would feel if the tables were turned.

Free Anger Management Classes, 4 Sessions, Start Here

A State Paid Vacation Ain't What It's Cracked Up To Be

Man In Prison
Man In Prison | Source

A Bad Tempered Act Can Have Extreme Consequences

Jail cells are full of people whose tempers got the better of them. Although we all wish someone else could take responsibility for our food and shelter occasionally, none of us wants the state paid vacation that a bad temper can guarantee.

When you are yelling or screaming, you also feel like hitting something or someone. You don’t have the same inhibitions you have when you’re calm. You aren’t thinking, “If I let this other person make me mad, I’m giving up my own freedom”. It is more likely that you are thinking, “I want my own way, and you are an obstacle to my wishes.” If the obstacle persists, and you let your own feelings spiral out of control, it is all too easy to transfer the hard feelings you are expressing to a more physical level. Consider the consequences and count to 10 before you do something that provides 10 seconds of satisfaction, and years in jail to reconsider.

When a crime is reported, the police are dispatched to investigate. They talk to anyone present at the scene, and determine from what they are told who, if anyone should be arrested.

The “suspect” is hauled off to jail. Bond is set, and if he or she can pay it, he or she can be released from jail while the event winds its way through the courts. The bond is nonrefundable if it is a surety bond. If it is a cash bond, you may get some of it back if you show up when and where the court tells you to.

Next, you will need to hire an attorney. You can represent yourself, but that isn’t a good idea. Attorneys may seem like a waste of time and / or money, but if you are charged with a crime, you need someone in your corner who can protect your rights. If you are unable to afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one for you. In any event, you will either have to pay private counsel up front, or pay the court back for any attorney’s fees the court paid on your behalf.

The next stage of the proceedings is plea negotiations. Your attorney will have to spend time reviewing “discovery”, which consists of anything the prosecutor hopes to use to prove its case. If you’re lucky, your lawyer will find something wrong with the prosecutor’s case, and can use the information to get your charges lessened or dismissed. This doesn’t happen very often, but it is possible.

If the prosecutor doesn’t offer something you can accept, your next step would be a trial, either by jury or in front of the judge. This, of course, will cause your lawyer to rack up more hours, and cost a lot more money. Lawyers can charge $250.00 per hour, and it does take time to adequately prepare a case.

If you lose at trial, or you enter into a plea agreement, you will be assessed fines and costs. You will also have to pay probation fees, and if you are on home detention, you will have to pay the costs of the monitoring equipment and services. If any damage is done, such as property damage, or personal injury, you will be assessed restitution. This means you will have to reimburse your victim, his insurance company, his doctor or hospital for any funds they expended on the victim as a result of your actions.

If you do have a jury trial and you lose, your only recourse is an appeal. This will cost plenty in attorney’s fees. In addition, you will have to pay to have a transcript of the trial proceedings and all of the exhibits to present to the appeals court regarding your case. Eventually, you will run out of appeals, and probably money. Now, just think what fun you could have had if you had kept your temper and gone on a vacation instead.

In The End, We All Get Dropped, We All Get Black And Blue, Carly Simon

Don’t do things with a spirit of resentment or anger. You’re not being put upon anymore than the rest of humanity. It isn’t a gift if you resent the recipient. Unless you were asked to do it, don't expect gratitude. Then, when you get it, you'll be thrilled, and when you don't, you won't be so disappointed. You are the only one you have to satisfy when you volunteer.

We All Think We're Doing Our Best, And All We Can Do Is Try


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