where a woman can build her strength and freedom

How to stop losing your temper

Stop losing your temper and reacting like an erupting volcano . The photo shows huge billows of gray smoke rising from the fiery interior of a mountain.

We have been looking at how to solve our everyday problems.
In my recent post How to solve a problem.
I offered you a 3 step solution to the problem: how to stop speeding.
If you took the steps I recommended,
I doubt you have been getting any more speeding tickets. 🙂
Today let’s tackle another common everyday problem:
how to stop losing your temper.

You may or may not have this problem
but learning how to face it and solve it
will show you how to fight and win.
You will see how to solve a problem once and for all.

So, what do you think?
Can this problem—how to stop losing your temper–
be solved in just 3 steps?

That’s impossible! you may say.
People who lose their temper can’t HELP it!!
They have a short FUSE!!!
Well, let’s give that fuse a whirl.

The three steps to solve a problem

As I showed you in my recent post on how to solve a problem,
there are 3 steps we need to take:
Step One: Take responsibility
Step Two: Figure out the root cause
Step three: Take the power away from the root cause

Why does it only take 3 steps?
Because these are the only 3 elements necessary
to deconstruct a problem and prevent its recurrence.

When we take these steps,
the problem dies of its own absurdity.

How to stop losing your temper

1) Take responsibility

If you look at the situation like this:
“It’s not MY fault I get so angry!
That stupid useless s.o.b./bitch/boss/customer I’m dealing with
keeps making life impossible for me!
Of COURSE I get angry!
He (she) ruins everything I try to do!”

“My father/mother/brother vented their rage on me
when I was a child and a teenager!
I CAN’T HELP IT that I do the same thing to others
that they did to me!
It’s not MY fault! It’s THEIR fault!”

If this is how you look at your situation
it may be time to look in the mirror and ask:

“Why do I suddenly turn into a raging maniac
just because someone’s actions go against my will?”

“Why am I acting just like my ( father/mother/brother/uncle whoever it was? )”

“Why do I enjoy venting on other people the way they vented on me?”

“Why do I use other people’s rage as an excuse for my own?”

“Why am I playing the victim of other people
by repeating their behavior like a puppet
instead of taking the lead on my OWN actions and my OWN life?”

It takes courage to ask yourself these challenging questions.
But once you can admit that you are making excuses for yourself,
and hiding behind the actions and behavior of others,
you will realize it’s time to grow up.

You have been playing helpless long enough.
It’s time to take responsibility
for your own behavior, for your own life.

Yes, this is the hard part.

To assist you to take responsibility please see my previous posts:
The joy of taking responsibility for our own life
Who is the director of the movie of my life?

2) Figure out the root cause

Ask yourself: What is the real reason I lose my temper?
Recognize that you are viewing your rage as inevitable.
You see it as the inevitable result of what others have done or said to you.

You see yourself as the innocent victim of each person who angers you.
You believe you are entirely justified in venting your rage upon them!

And when you DO that…
when you lose your temper…
you get to feel “powerful”!

That is what it gives you.
Ah, but venting rage is not power.
The most it will ever give you is the illusion of power.

Those who vented their rage upon you were not powerful.
They were weaklings.

Why would you want to be a puppet
repeating what they did
and being a weakling just like them?

Conclusion: The root cause of my losing my temper
is I am trying to pretend that I am powerful.

Step 3 Take the power away from the root cause

Ask yourself: How can I spoil the fun of pretending that I am powerful?

Each day when I wake up I can ask myself:
“Wow, I wonder how big and bad and powerful I can pretend I am TODAY?

What is my rage of choice?

Shall I go berserk at my partner, my boss, my child, my dog…
or some idiot on the road?

The choice is MINE.
All MINE!!!

And if I want to still be throwing temper tantrums when I’m in a nursing home,
that choice is MINE too!!!”

You don’t like that image of yourself
as an old white haired maniac
raging against your nurses???
Then why not stop now and save yourself the embarrassment?

As you can see…

All you have to do to ruin the fun of a problem
is to stuff some really good banana peel questions like these
down your gas tank


Dr. Hall

PS for more on how to take hold of yourself
see my previous post: How to solve a problem when the problem is you.