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Anger Management Institute

Angry Father

Question: I’m writing about a family issue that is depressing me. All my life i have known my father to have mood swings. when he is in a bad mood he hates everything and everybody, gets angry over mundane things and innocent remarks, is condescending and paranoid. he acts like a child in a tantrum. usually he takes off for a day or two to vent. when he comes back he needs another day to get back to normal where he will pretend nothing has happened. My mother had to bear the grunt of it as they work at the same place. she recently confided in me that most of the time he makes her feel clumsy at work, is impatient, snaps at her for little mistakes and makes her feel inferior. which is outrageous. without her his enterprise would completely fail…he is so inpractical he can’t figure out his own bank statement. she is basically performing three jobs at once and he is still unsatisfied. They have always pretended everything is o.k at work in front of my brother and i but his mood seems to have gotten worse with age, according to my mother. i’ve never realized that there is something wrong with him until my mother opened up to me recently. we were so used to him and also we thought it was our fault he would be in such a temper (that’s how he made us feel).
However, when he is back to normal he makes it all up by being cheerful. Because of his inconsistent personality my parents hardly have any close friends and the relationship to the side of his family is strained. my mother just feels sorry for him and wants to continue to take care of him. i’ll be getting married and moving abroad so i won’t be able to give support by being there which breaks my heart. her own family lives in a different country too, so does my brother. I’d like to talk to my father about his issue but am afraid that he will snap. does he have an anger problem? what can i do to get through to him? thankfully he never harmed any of us physically and never showed intention to do so. Sorry for writing so much, any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Answer: Dear Friend, Thanks for posting this. Your father most likely is struggling with a mental health disorder which is causing these mood swings and outbursts. I think it is appropriate for you to bring up his problems because if you continue to keep quiet about his behavior – then, it’s almost condoning it. Your father needs to understand the impact his behavior has had on others and be confronted with how it has affected him personally.

It’s not easy to bring up reality after so many years of pretending but, he needs to take responsibility, change and get help for his own benefit and for the sake of others. Since you are leaving – you have an excuse to arrange for a heart-to-heart meeting with him. Do it in a public place such as a restaurant.

Write out what you want to say beforehand. State your concerns in a non-threatening way such as: “Dad, over the years I have been concerned about you. It seems that your mood changes quite a bit. When you act angry and irritated I feel afraid of you and don’t know how to help you or reconcile. Have you ever considered getting help for this problem? ”

Your Dad will probably get up and leave but, maybe he will think it over and consider getting help. On the other hand, if you don’t speak up and talk about what is happening – he may never get help.

You should also talk with your Mother about safety once you and the siblings are out of the house. His behavior may escalate and come out in abuse towards her. She needs to be ready to leave or call the police. Encourage her to read about Domestic Violence and how to prevent it. God bless!

© copyright 2015 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger? and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.

 

 
 

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