Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Bad Temper Can Destroy A Relationship

The world watched last week as the popular Hollywood actor Christian Bale unleashed his rage onto a member of the crew on a set where he was filming a movie. Wow, watch out – I’m certainly glad I wasn’t the target of that rage.

Though Christian Bale’s temper was exposed to the world, he’s hardly alone in the temper department. In fact, many men and women allow themselves to have a temper and go off one innocent people at a moment’s notice. The people close to those individuals with the tempers – they’re the ones that really suffer. They often walk on eggshells, afraid that the next explosion could come at any minute.

While I have sympathy for those close to the men and women with the tempers, I also have some sympathy for the men and women themselves. It must be awful to be overwhelmed with so much angry emotion and not know what the heck to do with it. Sadly, they often make things worse by pushing their loved ones away. When they need love and support the most, they often find themselves alone.

For those with the tempers, please learn how to 1) accept that you have a problem and 2) manage your thoughts and feelings so that your temper doesn’t weigh down the rest of your life – you deserve better.

For those loved ones or co-workers who have to walk on eggshells, ask yourself if the temper is something you can live with. I often say that a good way to approach a problem - once a pattern has been detected - is to assign a timeframe to allow change to occur, and give the person a chance to change within that timeframe. If that time comes and goes, and there is still no change or not enough change, you really need to evaluate if you can function long-term in this relationship.

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