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Learning to control a very short temper?

(45 Posts)
ZerbaPadnaTigre Sun 10-Dec-17 23:34:35

I've done CBT and I know about helpful thoughts and counting to ten and walking away and I know that getting angry doesn't solve anything... but when I get angry, I'm not thinking rationally. I go from calm to rage in a second. Usually about really stupid stuff.

I feel like I'm getting worse rather than better since I started trying to do something about it and I hate it. I don't want to be angry. I calm down again as quickly as I get angry and I feel so stupid for losing it but then I do it again and again.

I'm not violent or aggressive but it's unpleasant and I get so angry that I feel faint so it can't be doing me any good physically. It's getting me down that I'm trying and still losing my temper. I feel out of control of myself.

Has anybody been there and managed to sort it? Anybody else struggle with anger? Whenever I've tried to talk about it, people talk about hormones and PMT and being stroppy when their boyfriend is irritating them and stuff like that. Sometimes feel like I'm the only woman in the world struggling with real anger over very little like I do.

MissConductUS Mon 11-Dec-17 00:59:56

Have you talked to your GP about a possible medical cause?

MissConductUS Mon 11-Dec-17 01:13:39

Don't rule it out without looking into it. This list is not comprehensive.

www.medicaldaily.com/eight-medical-reasons-why-you-may-be-always-angry-242158

ZerbaPadnaTigre Mon 11-Dec-17 01:54:36

I do have mental health issues but I've always been short tempered.

I lost it with somebody yesterday. I had a totally valid reason to be annoyed with them but I lost any high ground by losing my temper and I was so angry that I couldn't even make my point. Now I really can't sleep for playing through the many ways I could've handled it better. But I know if I was in the same situation again in the morning, I'd do exactly the same thing again.

MissConductUS Mon 11-Dec-17 09:18:12

The fact that you've always been short tempered doesn't rule out a medical explanation. Have you ever been medically evaluated for the issue? You should also get looked at for this:

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intermittent-explosive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373921

If you just want hand holding fine, but I'm an HCP and it sounds to me like there's a hormonal, neurological or pharmacological explanation. That's why therapies like CBT haven't actually done you much good.

ZerbaPadnaTigre Mon 11-Dec-17 11:48:39

I'm just not sure what difference a diagnosis of something like intermittent explosive disorder would make. It's not something physical because I've never been any different so it's still going to be a case of learning to control it.

MissConductUS Mon 11-Dec-17 12:39:41

It's frequently associated with unstable serotonin levels. See:

Stick with your treatment. Attend your therapy sessions, practice your coping skills, and if your doctor has prescribed medication, be sure to take it. Your doctor may suggest maintenance medication to avoid recurrence of explosive episodes.

MissConductUS Mon 11-Dec-17 12:43:46

And by the way, all highly reactive emotions have a physical basis. It's not like you're this way because of demonic possession.

Considering anger from a cognitive neuroscience perspective

ZerbaPadnaTigre Mon 11-Dec-17 17:51:31

I don't understand that paper and I don't think it's demonic posession but there is the fact that I was a very quiet, mostly very well-behaved kid who majorly kicked off in public every so often. I can't remember anybody ever taking a whole lot of notice of it, either to punish me or to try to figure out why I was so angry. It was just, and still often is, 'that's out of character'. I think at least part of it is habit and I know that's something I need to work to change. It's just knowing what to do.

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 11-Dec-17 18:05:56

Like any change in behaviour, you have to choose to adopt a different reaction when you feel the signs of the bad old behaviour kicking in.

Therapy could help. Try a focused one like CBT, where you can pinpoint what's going on in your mind in the moment, and rehearse an alternative inner voice.

It must be horrible for others to be at the receiving end of your temper, and it's not acceptable to explode aggressively at others, so it's good that you're conscious that this is a problem and are willing to change. I hope you find the help you need.

TheSmallClangerWhistlesAgain Mon 11-Dec-17 18:07:18

I've struggled with these kinds of issue for a long time. CBT just made it worse because it gave me another set of hoops to fail to jump through properly when trying not to lose my shit.

Out of interest, do you sometimes find things so funny that you can't stop laughing at them for ages? I do, and I think it's the same thing as not being able to keep my temper.

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 11-Dec-17 18:16:55

Oh, re-read your OP and see you've already tried CBT.

ZerbaPadnaTigre Mon 11-Dec-17 18:50:51

Interesting that you say that about laughing. I very rarely laugh but when I do, it's like you say, can't stop laughing for ages, ribs hurting stuff.

The thing I disliked about the therapies I've tried was the keeping a diary stuff. I know what I'm meant to do. Having a list of times that I failed to do it didn't make me react better next time. It was just a list of things to beat myself up over and obsessively imagine reliving the situations and something, anything, other than lose my temper.

goforkyourself Mon 11-Dec-17 19:08:45

Did your parents scream and shout at each other? Mine did and it took me a long time to realise it wasn't normal.

JaffaCakes4TeaNow Mon 11-Dec-17 19:18:07

There are lots of medical causes of short temper. The most common problem n middle life is high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is frequently not diagnosed for years because it feels fine, although there is slow long-term damage to your arteries and organs.

Get your blood pressure checked as a first step.

MissConductUS Mon 11-Dec-17 19:49:44

Get your blood pressure checked as a first step.

And thyroid levels. But OP is highly resistant to the possibility of a medical cause.

RemoteControlledChaos Mon 11-Dec-17 20:02:17

I was similar from teen to last year although not as extreme I don't think. Eventually I had a bit of a breakdown as loads of things came to a head at once and my GP prescribed citalopram to keep my adrenaline under control. It was almost instantly amazing. Situations where I knew I would normally lose it, I could feel my adrenaline being capped and managed to sail through. While on citalopram, winding it down and eventually coming off, I had a combination of therapies (CBT and very belated bereavement) then did a reiki course (I'm not a bit woo - did it to learn to channel my energy positively). I am a different person. I think you are really brave for posting and as you want to get to the bottom of it, you will.

woofmiaowwoof Mon 11-Dec-17 20:06:34

Are there any triggers? I am always worse when tired, or if I’ve had too much sugar and/or coffee. I notice in my kids that even an hour of sleep loss can make a huge difference in the eldest one’s willingness to compromise.

ZerbaPadnaTigre Mon 11-Dec-17 22:43:26

I'm 26 and I used to faint every so often so I do check my blood pressure and I know it's on the low side. I'm not resistant to the idea of it being medical but I think it's much more likely it's habit/learned behaviour/something that stems from social difficulties/a family that pretends life is 100% sunshine and rainbows than a 20-year-old thyroid problem with no other symptoms.

I'm not really sure anything in particular triggers it but sleep is an issue. I've always slept badly. It's not unusual for it to take me 2/3/4 hours to fall asleep and I'm often wide awake a few hours later. Can't be helping.

I used to take citalopram and I couldn't think straight on it so I stopped taking it but *loads of things came to a head at once* is exactly how I feel things are heading right now so maybe it's worth trying another AD.

Thanks for all of the suggestions smile

MissConductUS Mon 11-Dec-17 23:44:29

so maybe it's worth trying another AD.

I'm sorry, what's an AD?

FrLukeDuke Mon 11-Dec-17 23:49:18

Anti depressant?9

MissConductUS Tue 12-Dec-17 00:20:38

I think you're right, Father Luke. Thanks.

RonniePasas Tue 12-Dec-17 00:40:38

Maybe worth having a read of how the amygdala part of the brain works. Try Rick Carson Taming your Gremlin or Daniel Goleman on Emotional Intelligence. I found it doesn't always stop me from getting into a rage but mostly I can recognise triggers now and think "oh yeah, amygdala ".

deckoff Tue 12-Dec-17 08:14:30

What are your actual triggers? Are they predicable? Is it something someone says, the way they say it, or something else entirely like the environment or your own head?

Being generally quiet and well-behaved but explosive; bad sleep, the laughter thing, social issues, and a couple of other tells from your writing could indicate high functioning ASD, which would fit into a neurological reason for this. It's majorly underdiagnosed and misunderstood in women who mask better but struggle internally.

This might not chime with you at all, but just in case, take a look at this list by expert Tania Marshall. If the majority of that clicks, try one of the Cambridge Uni tests online and see what they suggest?

Hope this isn't somehow an insulting suggestion by the way - I found out late in life and it was a revelation.

deckoff Tue 12-Dec-17 08:16:50

(Oh, and this checklist by Samantha Croft too.)

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