Q: I’ve got a big problem in how I speak to my wife and children; too often, I fly off the handle and yell at everybody. I desperately want to be a better husband and father, and I need to change my behaviour. Do you have any suggestions?
A: You’ve taken an important first step by realising that you have a problem with anger and verbal abuse. In a very real sense, that’s more than half the battle, and we commend you for it.
You can start moving in the right direction by getting some intensive counselling with a professional marriage and family therapist. This might involve extended sessions (up to three hours each) for several days in succession. Our Family Support Services can help you with referrals to counselling services in your area; call us at 03-7954 7920 or write to email@example.com.
As you go forward, remember that anger is often fuelled by feelings of fear, hurt and shame (a sense of not being good enough). Counselling will help you identify these triggering patterns. It will teach you new coping skills and help you practice more effective communication techniques. It will also uncover underlying wounds and highlight “re-enactment behaviours” resulting from unfinished business with your family of origin and/or difficult life experiences. This in turn will enable you to avoid the reactionary type of language that can take such a devastating emotional toll on the people around you.
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