People often speak out in anger. Sometimes I hear friends and acquaintances say that what is said in anger is the real truth. But the real truth is that angry people use angry words that they don’t always mean. The American Psychological Association notes that there are things parents should never say to their children. Things like, “I wish you were never born”. Most parents love their children deeply. Once they calm down they regret what was said and know they do not mean it. But once said, you can never take the comment back. And once said, these comments degrade the quality of a relationship and the trust you have in the person who said them.
People sometimes speak out this way because of how they were raised. If your family commonly made empty threats, cursed, said hurtful things, or used angry words, you will be more likely to do so. People with impulsivity, ADHD, or anger management problems will also make comments they do not mean in moments of anger. Sometimes kids or teens are trying so hard to get what they want, they make all kinds of hurtful statements that they do not really mean. And then afterward they come back to a parent with an apology and true regret.
Managing anger is a skill we can all learn. Start by identifying the situations and events that trigger your angry words. Next, learn to step away from the situation when you are beginning to get angry. If you wait until you are fuming, you are probably beyond the point of no return. Make a list of positive coping skills – things that will help you calm down, like taking a walk, venting to a friend, watching a funny movie, or petting your dog. Then think about what still needs to be resolved in the situation and see if you can return to discuss it more rationally.
Hopefully, using these and other tools, you will never again say something you will deeply regret. If you would like to learn more about anger and coping skills, call Specialized Therapy Associates at 201-488-6678 or visit us on the web at www.specializedtherapy.com
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