I Can’t Control Myself When I Get Angry, Help!

16 June, 2020
Q I curse or scream at my family when angry. I don’t know how to remain calm. I have tried reciting duas, counting to 10, staying silent, etc. But they still get on my nerve.

The 9-year-old one refuses to do chores and so when I order him to wash his plate, he would turn on the water too high and wash it slowly causing our bills to increase. I scold him, for it and he mocks me and next thing you know I curse him.

If he curses back, then I stand up as if I am going to hit but I just curse out some mode and eventually just shout from the top of my lungs for him to shut up if he keeps talking back.

I feel a twitch inside my head where I’m so angry, I just want to scream my lungs out and that’s exactly what I do. I noticed this past week, it occurred three times.

I am scared of myself because I will be getting married soon and I don’t want this to be the norm in my new family. I have tried meditation. But it’s not effective. I get triggered so easily.

When I am angry I just want to hurt the people with my hurtful word like cursing or calling them bad words, etc. I have been praying for my anger to go away since I was 16 but nope.

I do come, from a family where this was the norm between my dad and mom but that doesn’t mean I want to carry it in my family.

My sister is married and she too had an anger issue. When she gets angry she shouts and bangs her head against the wall. I don’t want that. I did have depression and anxiety and I took therapy for it, I’m now doing better, but anger is something I could not master.

Counselors suggested meditation, again not as effective as when angry it’s extremely hard to be calm. Especially if they keep triggering you. I tried setting boundaries but no one sticks to it.

What do I do? Writing about this itself makes me feel angry to be honest because I hate my anger. I hate the control it has over me.

My triggers include a twitch inside my head that’s when I start screaming (it’s probably because I feel threatened or attacked and get defensive so my immediate reaction is to scream so loud that they get scared), my scowl, my mouth spitting bad and hurtful words that I know will hurt them, etc.

It’s like as long as they are behaving good, we don’t have differences, it’s all good but the moment they piss me off or shows me attitude, I hate them and get pissed off at them.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Your anger/rage is harming you greatly. You deserve to live a better life with peaceful and joyful feelings.

•Try to implement stress reduction techniques at a deeper level.

•Removing yourself physically from the situation that is causing you anger such as taking a walk, picking up the Qur’an when you feel anger coming on you, and start reciting Quran.

•Please do make Duaa to Allah to help you overcome these intense feelings of anger and rage.


As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session. Brother you wrote to us discussing your deep concerns about your anger issues. As you described, your anger is very much out of control. It is more like a rage. However, you do recognize this, and you wish to change it.

Not a Normal Anger

The thing that caught my attention was you said that you felt a twitch inside your head whenever you become angry to this degree. This may be significant in that it is a physical warning which does not always occur when people get angry.

Another point which caught my attention is that your sister also has anger issues and when she gets angry she shouts and bangs her head against the wall. You know this is not normal. In fact, she could seriously injure herself.

Familial Anger Issues

It appears that both you and your sister have great issues with anger. I am not sure if this is a learned behavior because it is so intense and self-damaging. I do wonder if you and your sister were victims of a trauma or abuse. Oftentimes childhood trauma or exposure to violence can cause one to feel anger and rage especially when they get older.

This type of anger is very difficult to control, however it is recognizable and it is treatable. As I am not your therapist I cannot say where your anger is coming from. Surely it is not because your nine-year-old brother refuses to do chores, or because he washes his plate incorrectly.

This would not cause such intense anger. Angry responses can be a learned behavior that you got from your parents. However, this deep-seated rage you seem to feel is not. Therefore, I am wondering if it is something much deeper that occurred in your past for both you and your sister.

I Can't Control Myself When I Get Angry, Help! - About Islam

Previous Mental Health Issues

You did state that you were depressed, had anxiety and that you went to therapy for it. You feel you are doing better now, but the anger is something that you cannot master. I kindly suggest brother that insha’Allah, you go back to therapy and discuss with your therapist your issues with anger. Please explain to your therapist that it is almost like a rage that you cannot control.

Describe the twitch that you feel prior to these periods of intense anger. Discuss your sister’s anger responses. It is advisable that you ask your therapist to follow up with further assessments and treatment regarding this.

Insha’Allah brother it would also be beneficial if you could get your sister to go to therapy as well, as she is having the same problems. She is married and therefore her anger issues will cause problems in her marriage. As you are going to be married this is not something that you want to bring into a marriage.

Anger and rage will most definitely destroy the foundation of a marriage. Additionally, any children that you may have will be terrified of you, and most likely affected as well. I understand this is not something that you would want. Lastly, your anger/rage is harming you greatly. You deserve to live a better life with peaceful and joyful feelings.

Recommendations

It seems that you have tried all the things that I would normally suggest, such as making duaas, counting to 10, staying silent, meditation and so forth. I will further suggest that you try to implement stress reduction techniques at a deeper level.

This would include progressive body muscle relaxation techniques 1, removing yourself physically from the situation that is causing you anger such as taking a walk, picking up the Qur’an when you feel anger coming on you, and start reciting Quran. It is very difficult to read the Qur’an and be angry at the same time.


Check out this counseling video


Conclusion

Please do make Duaa to Allah to help you overcome these intense feelings of anger and rage. Again, your therapist should be able to give you more concrete and direct methods based on your history, as well as future assessments to help reduce these intense feelings.

You did indicate that it is a family pattern as your parents used to scream at each other, however the way you described your anger is more like rage. This may have something to do with internal hurt, pain, or fear.

I do hope that insha’Allah, you go to your therapist to re-address this anger issue as soon as possible.

We wish you the best you are in our prayers.

Salam

1. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/muscle-relaxation-for-stress-insomnia

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.