Do you have issues managing your temper?
You want to control but it erupts instinctively.
You regret it later but find it irresistible when it surfaces.
If you feel any or all of the above, you are not alone.
I have been struggling with anger management for the longest time.
Anger gets me in milliseconds and accelerates in practically no time. And I cool down very fast too.
I have improved significantly from how I used to be in my teens and twenties. My closest pals who have been in constant touch tell my wife how much I’ve mellowed. But I still have MILES to go in coping with my temper at home.
I gathered how far ahead my destination is when I met Gunjan Mehrish, a dear friend after many years. When we got talking about dealing with anger, he said he had NEVER raised his voice in the presence of his children. His children who have now grown to be teenagers have NOT seen him lose his temper.
I was AWESTRUCK. I still am.
I processed what he said on my drive back from Gurgaon (where he lives) to my home in Delhi. I thought about it the morning after. I still reflect on it, a few years later.
I have lost count of the number of times I flare-up in the presence of my child.
Anger to me is a reflex action. It does not announce its arrival. It presents itself at the slightest opportunity.
How does one beat one’s reflex? But first, it is important to know where anger comes from.
How does anger originate?
Anger often runs in families. It ran in mine too. My dad was known for his fiery temper. Everyone who knew him had seen or heard about it. He would fly off the handle at the flick of a switch. I witnessed it so many times that it became second nature to me.
Maybe I inherited it from him genetically. Maybe it is a combination of both.
I can’t say for sure.
The jury’s out on whether anger is a genetic condition, a learned behaviour, or both. But what is irrefutable is that while genes may not be in your control, your behaviour certainly can be. You can, if you are determined, control your anger so that your family does not witness and imbibe it.
If a family is unable to handle anger, it can be passed on from generation to generation.
I wish I could rewind and reset my internal settings. Or delete the anger app forever.
Or be like my friend Gunjan.
I wish I could ask him to transmit his self-restraint mechanism via Bluetooth to me. Or borrow the chip inside him, copy it to my internal drive, and return it.
But I can’t.
Blame it on technology? I wish!
When I fail, I tell my daughter how sorry I am.
When I fail, I let her know that my behaviour is unacceptable.
When I fail, I promise her I am trying and I sincerely hope to get the better of this trait.
I know it is NOT impossible.
I have met with success in coping with anger mostly at work. Nine out of 10 times, I beat anger while in office. Being uninhibited at home has made it difficult to practice it.
I want to control it. For my daughter. For my own sake. For those around me.
I have found success sporadically. I am much better at handling it now than a few years ago. But I’ve miles to go.
I’ve set a goal to be more consistently successful this year. And I am hopeful.
Do you struggle with your temper?
Do you want to conquer this handicap?
What can you do if you are passing on anger to your children?
It is up to you to decide if your behaviour is helping or hurting the family, instead of carrying on the same behaviour pattern because it comes naturally.
You must note that as a parent, you are the role model. If you’re able to control your anger, then you do break the chain of anger that is being passed along through the generations.
Just think how amazing it would be to help the next generation of your family lead a calm and peaceful life.
You & I can be like Gunjan. It’s not that he doesn’t feel anger. He just does not allow it to get the better of him.
Let’s beat our demons before they do more damage to our future generations.
Yes, we can.