Anonymous

How often do you or partner lose your temper?

I am a pretty laid back person. My husband is high stress and has a temper. Everything is a big deal to him. We have a 4 year old and almost 2 year old. We both work full time and day-to-day life is stressful! My husband loses his temper at least once a day. Usually with me or just a general hissy fit (today it was because his computer wouldn’t work, last night my son and I were too loud and might wake up the little one), but sometimes he loses it with the kids. Typically, he vents about whatever he is frustrated with, but too often it turns into a verbal attack. His family has a history of short tempers. He has the attitude, that is just who I am. While I partially agree, I think he could learn to cope much better. I worry this is just setting our kids up to have short fuses and poor coping. He won’t read a book and getting him to counseling is unlikely. Attempts at communication too often degrades into childish behavior. I feel very stuck in this cycle. I am wondering how often do all of you and your partner lose your tempers? Is daily as described a normal frequency? Anyone have suggestions on how to get through to him?

  • Yarlin
    Nov 08

    My husband loses his temper very easy as well his family is like that too, and I'm like that too maybe a little less, but we bump heads a lot because of it. He tries to keep it cool though he tries to not show it often. Honestly, it’s up to them if they want to change it or fix it. Talking to him about it will only get him more upset because I tried talking to my husband and he only gets upset. Maybe go out relax, I don't know, he might need a relaxing time. Good luck!

  • Anonymous
    Nov 08

    Speaking as someone who had a father who sounds similar to your husband I can tell you that his temper was a very destructive force in our house growing up. We never knew what would set him off and things were always tense. For that and other reasons my relationship with him as an adult is primarily holidays and birthdays. I also notice those tendencies in myself but I have always been hyper vigilant about my temper and have tried to monitor these behaviors and will usually just walk away if I can’t control my temper. The couple of times I’ve gone off I’ve always made sure to apologize to my daughter and husband and explain to my daughter that while anger is normal and everyone gets angry, there are ways that are ok when dealing with it and ways that aren’t. If your husband’s temper is overflowing into verbal attacks, your kids are feeling it. And even when it’s not directed at them it’s still affecting them. He says that it’s just who he is and sure some people have more of a temper than others, that’s normal and part of being a person. But there are other ways of dealing with those feelings and if he wants to have a healthy relationship with his kids and with you he needs to make an honest effort into changing how he expresses that anger.

  • Ivy
    Nov 08

    I lose my temper multiple times a day— over kids kicking me in the gut the 20th time, pulling my hair out when I’ve asked them to stop, them fighting over a blanket that I was using when they have their own... but I’m not okay with it and talk to my husband (who is the polar opposite) about it. I also apologize to my kids and ask them to forgive me. I tell them it’s okay to say “stop yelling mommy”. It really is destructive and every child will processes their parents “tantrum” their own way. I don’t think it’s an excuse to say “that’s just who I am.” My brother does that. He has had to attend anger management at a young age, and go through multiple counselors. But honestly— I don’t think people change from this kind of mindset unless they realize that it’s not who they want to be. I think the main difference between my brother and I, is that I recognize my wrong and have great empathy even for the people who upset me. My brother plays the victim every time and actually uses the fact that he received help, but couldn’t change— so that’s just who he is and people need to accept that it’s not his fault. But it is. We all have self control, we just have to practice it. Like I would never behave improperly to anyone— but I do that to my family cause they’re who I’m most transparent around and have no filters with— but that’s not okay. The people I love should receive my best and not my worst (I get that it happens). Verbal attacks are considered abuse. And I would definitely address that to him. It’s okay to vent and be honest, and I think we should acknowledge our partner’s frustrations. But most reasonable people, when a mirror is held up to them, are willing to change when they see that it’s not a good reflection

  • Anonymous
    Nov 08

    Thank you all so much for your input. It sounds like we are all works in progress with our patience. Still not sure how to get through to my husband.

  • Jenn
    Nov 09

    Unfortunately you can't motivate him to change. I would express concern about your marriage to him though. This will chip away at your relationship over time. He likely doesn't want to talk about the issue because he is hurting somehow. Usually when people get defensive, there is pain beneath it. Sometimes it's just because they don't feel accepted or it can be deeper. I personally would probably already be considering separation..but my father was like this (still is) and I have no tolerance for not working on faults. I certainly got my father's temper but I'm not letting my child live with the fear and hate I did.

  • Shelby
    Nov 09

    Maybe he can write in a notebook? I don’t have a very high temper my husband does but I feel like when I am stressed or angry writing as big and as messy as I want in a notebook really helps. Maybe you can suggest that?

  • Suzannah
    Nov 09

    Remind him that children learn how to behave by watching their caregivers. They need to be taught that having angry feelings is ok but there are appropriate ways to deal with that anger that doesn’t include yelling at friends or family, throwing objects etc. Also, if the child throws a toy in anger they will likely be punished somehow while they are just mirroring the behavior. My husband was the same way until I explained this to him and he completely turned it around. When I see him getting frustrated or angry I jump in and he is able to go in the other room and cool off for a minute. He also does this for me if I’m reaching my limit of patience.

  • mary
    Nov 09

    Making the leap to therapy is hard but it can really pay off in understanding yourself and what leads to the outburst. Your husband may resist this because he thinks he will get blamed/shamed - he won't. Sometimes that anger is the only way people know how to try to reach out (pursue or run. And running away can be worse for a relationship). (Ivy- I loved and appreciated your post.)

  • Jennifer
    Nov 09

    Sometimes my husband is like that. He has a short temper, he will text me and complain as if he's looking for argument. The weird thing is when I get off work and go home, everything is back to normal. I guess sometimes they just need to vent. I've learn to just sort of ignore it when he complains and don't argue as it's just a phase for him.

  • Ivy
    Nov 09

    I think having more conversations about empathy could be helpful. Honestly, watching Daniel Tiger or Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, always seems to help my kids, but even the songs help me get into a better mood. But teaching empathy and having those kinds of conversations— even with a grown man, can be very good. Even giving scenarios, where it’s obvious that throwing “tantrums” is bad, can be helpful to give perspective, as Susannah mentioned with her son throwing toys but getting disciplined

  • Tara
    Nov 09

    Every day

  • WombatStew66
    Nov 10

    Parenting is challenging and we all lose it with our little ones at times. What I have to remember is the disfunction I grew up with that carried over into adulthood and it wasn't until I was an adult and went home for a few months to visit my parents and siblings after a difficult time and came back home, all the pieces started to connect. I have a four year old as some days I get upset with her, it's seems more frequently lately as she is constantly testing me/us. I've been reading 1-2-3 Magic, Talk to kids so kids will listen and Listen so kids will talk, Mindful Discipline. I listen to them in the car or or doing chores. I want to set her up for success in the future on how to handle her emotions. Teenage years are going to be challenging I'm sure, but it starts with her Dad and myself laying the ground work on how to effectively communicate. We are all not perfect and we will all lose it from time to time but sometimes we have to check ourselves.