Q&A: “Letting it out” when I get frustrated

Q: I don’t get violent when I’m angry, but I’ve always had a tendency to just “let it out” when I get frustrated with my wife and children. That’s how my parents lived and how I was raised. What’s the problem?

A: A lot of people see anger as an uncontrollable emotion. But that’s not true. Not only can you control how you express your anger, you probably already do it.

Here’s an example. You’re in your car with your spouse, headed to a friend’s home for dinner. It’s supposed to be a fun evening, but the two of you are locked in a heated argument. No one else is around, so you both let your anger run loose, snapping at each other all the way across town. Maybe you even continue arguing as you’re walking up to the house.

But what happens as soon as your friends open the front door? Suddenly, you and your spouse are all smiles and you’re behaving as if there’s nothing wrong between the two of you.

The issue isn’t that you don’t have the ability to control your emotion, it’s that you don’t want to exercise that ability.  Anger is a powerful emotion, and you may feel better letting your frustration spew all over your family. But as empowering as it may feel, uncontrolled anger usually causes more damage than it solves. Anger can be restrained, but it takes deliberate, conscious effort. 

If you need a “jump start” in learning how to deal with anger in a healthy way, we’d invite you to call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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