How to Talk to a Family Member About Their Anger Issues
Families stick together, and that’s part of what defines them. There is a blood connection, but the members also choose to remain a unified entity, and they face all challenges that come their way. If the family unit is strong, it often seems like there’s no storm that it can’t weather.
However, when families experience internal problems, things can get messy in a hurry. All kinds of issues can arise, such as drug or alcohol use, gambling addiction, infidelity, and other problem behaviours. Anger issues, though, are sometimes some of the most difficult for families to confront.
Let’s talk about how you might face this topic and talk about it if you have a family member who’s grappling with anger issues and doesn’t know how to control it.
Anger Can Manifest Itself in Different Ways
The first thing we should mention about this issue is that anger can present itself differently. For instance, you might have a family member who shouts a lot. They might throw things, or they may even raise their hands to you or other individuals.
Any of these rage or anger issues can surface at any time, but if they come up once, they likely will again at some point. It probably rings hollow when a family member says they will curb the behaviour if they keep doing the same thing repeatedly.
You might see that anger displayed as road rage. The AAA Foundation’s Annual Traffic Safety Culture Index for Traffic Safety stated recently that 80% of drivers they interviewed experienced road rage or aggression during the last 30 days. This indicates that anger can show itself anywhere, either on the road, at work, in the home, or elsewhere.
Try Talking to the Family Member Rationally and Calmly
Probably the best way to bring up the anger issue is by gathering the family together and addressing it as a unit. You might all sit down, and you can talk about the problem the same way you would in a drug or alcohol intervention.
You don’t want to act too confrontational. At the same time, you must try to make the person understand that their anger causes you to feel frightened or nervous when you’re at home.
Each person can talk about how that anger makes them feel. They might bring up specific incidents that stick out in their minds.
If you have young children in the family, they should not be a part of this. Only the adults or those who are old enough to express themselves should weigh in.
Suggest Some Ways the Individual Can Deal with Their Anger
If the person who’s causing the problem can understand where you’re all coming from, they should be willing to take steps to address the issue. You might suggest to them that they try meditation. They may see a therapist if they’re willing to do so. There, they can talk about what’s bothering them.
You might ask this person to cut down on their drinking or drug use if that’s part of what’s triggering these episodes. You might suggest yoga or breathing techniques. The person can stop and gather themselves if they’re in a situation where they’re about to lose their cool.
You Might Go to Couples Counseling
If the person who’s having anger issues is your spouse or partner, you might suggest going with them to couples counselling if they don’t want to do some therapy sessions independently.
You have to make sure they understand that you’re willing and able to actively help them if there’s anything you can do to move the process forward. If that means you have to change some of your behaviours that this person doesn’t like, you should open yourself to that.
You need to emphasise, though, that if the anger is getting to a point where this individual is physically abusing you or other family members, they need to stop. If you can’t feel safe in your home, then you’ve reached a juncture where a change absolutely must happen.
Some people respond to situations angrily because their parents or other role models did the same thing, and they saw this while growing up. This often explains the behaviour, but it does not excuse it.
Your family member must choose to break the cycle and not perpetuate this behaviour. They have to do this for you if the family is going to remain together.