How to overcome a bad temper?

For many years I have had a bad temper, little things just get under my skin but more so with my family than work. I accepted Christ in 2006 and was hoping to overcome this but 14 years late after praying, reading Gods word, seeking help from pastors still the same. Does anyone have or dealt with what I am? If so, what did you do to overcome. I feel this holding me back from growing. Thanks.

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@Timothy_Driver1 Thank you for sharing your struggle :slight_smile: As humans, we all struggle with anger at times. If I were in your situation, I would try to do the following:

  • identify the reason for the anger - why are small things so frustrating to me? Am I dealing with deeper resentment or fear? If so, against who or what? There may be some underlying issue that needs to be dealt with and brought into the light.
  • identify and try different strategies for calming your anger - for example, one that I really like is what I call the “take every thought captive” strategy. If I am in a hurry and tired and suddenly find myself get cut in line at the store by a rude individual, I immediately tell myself, “Jesus was so patient with me, so I should be patient with this person. God loves this person.” And even though that does not immediately diffuse the physical tension in my body - that gut reaction because I was cut in line - it allows me to pray for them and treat them with love. “Jesus, bless this person, draw them to yourself.” First diffusing the anger by remembering God’s grace and then praying for the person helps me a lot.
  • remember that battling sin is part of this life - as Christians we are free from sin’s power and penalty, but only beyond this life will we be free from its presence

2 Corinthians 10:5 - We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful. May Christ grant you wisdom and power in the Spirit to grow in self-control and understanding of your own inner life :slight_smile:

  • think before you speak
  • once you’re calm, express your anger
  • get some exercise
  • take a timeout
  • identify possible solutions
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Side note - not all anger is bad. Ephesians 4:26 says, Be ye angry and sin not, let not the sun go down upon your wrath. So there’s a kind of anger - a righteous indignation - that’s commanded.

Jesus got angry at the money changers - Paul got pretty angry at Peter in Galatians 2:11 - David imprecated his anger in numerous psalms - Moses got angry at Pharaoh’s hardened heart, etc.

But Ephesians 4:31 says to let anger be put away from you. So there’s a kind of anger that’s condemned. How do you tell the difference?

Three things - first, righteous wrath is upset over something that is actually unrighteous . It’s not upset over personal inconveniences, but over sin against God. All of those displays of anger that God and Jesus and David and the rest of them showed in the Bible were directed at people who were committing sin.

Paul didn’t chew Peter out because he’d forgotten his birthday, or kept him waiting, or burned his toast, or anything like that. He was mad because Peter was sinning against his Gentile Christian brethren. He was hurting the body of Christ.

If I’m getting mad because someone forgot to pick something up at the store, or they cut in front of me in traffic, or accidentally broke something I treasured - because they somehow created work or expense or inconvenience for me, that’s not righteous indignation.

Truly righteous anger is stirred when righteousness is violated. Otherwise, it’s just carnal impatience.

A second characteristic of righteous anger is that it gives a righteous response. Unrighteous anger tends to over react. When the flesh is driving our anger, we want to dish out to another more pain than he caused us.

But James 1:20 says, The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. When we’re just venting our own emotions, we’re seeking our satisfaction, not God’s – and it shows that our focus is wrong.

If a punishment is called for, let whoever is responsible dispense a punishment that’s meet for the wrong done. Don’t let another’s sin against you work you up into reacting sinfully yourself. If you do, then they have wronged you twice, but the second one you allowed yourself to be provoked into.

And finally, righteous anger does not hold a grudge – it’s willing to forgive. Ephesians 4:26 says, Be ye angry and sin not – let not the sun go down upon your wrath . If you carry your anger with you to bed, then you have been angry and sinned .

I hope this helps as you sort your feelings, and may God guide your responses with grace.

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Hello Timothy this is a like minded person who has the same struggle you do but now to a lesser degree. Either my hearing was super sensitive or she was just loud when she ate but the way my wife swallowed irritated me.
May I say your desire to be free is a key that Christ is in you moving you to reach out. Thank you for not giving up but reaching out for help that many refuse to admit.
We all have roots that establishes our thoughts, opinions, and philosophy in all things. My roots went deep into my past and were very painful to extract, I determined to release the pain through forgiveness mostly towards myself and the prejudice I harbored. I had to share and bring things into the light were darkness had no power. Pray my words spoke hope in Christ to you.
Mike

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I hesitate to recommend a book. But it may truly help you in a way that has helped many others. The book is not exactly about “anger” or managing a bad temper per se… It actually deals with something that applies to getting a grip on a ton of dysregulated emotions.

The book is: God is more than enough by Jim Berg.

Mr. Berg basically just scratches the surface of a very key issue that has the potential to guide a true believer through biblical transformation (with issues like anger) in a sink-your-teeth-into-it-kind-of-way (in other words it’s not just fluffy reading)… The thing is however, you’ve got to truly “sink your teeth into it”.

I understand the horrible shame of looking back on foolish things said or done in anger and I sincerely hope and pray for God’s leading in your heart and mind as you consider your path moving forward.

Jim’s book can certainly give you solid, biblical, key, considerations to ponder (which you likely haven’t considered in your praying, your bible readings and pastor-helps). You can also get his course which is an extension of the book and goes into more actionable steps to follow.
Ultimately Jim’s book can’t fix you and neither can his course. But I think the specific biblical direction he points you in, (if you follow it) could be a “game changer” for you.

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Timothy, wow, that is such a tough one. As a wife who has walked alongside her husband for 25 years as he has struggled with this issue I just want to encourage you. Anger issues go way back in my husband’s family of unsaved men along with other traumatizing experiences that only fueled the tendency. It will definitely take some time, but perhaps with the resources shared here and lots of prayer and seeking to walk after the Spirit daily you will find it easier to not be angry. I noticed a big boost in my husband’s progress too when I stopped trying to “help” him and just gave it over to God and prayed for him and just patiently waited on Him to do the work in my husband. I see much more patience in my husband these days and more contentment, though the temper still flares occasionally. But he has ways of working through it and he usually is able to cheer back up. For my husband it is a process of learning, practicing, and praying. I pray for you brother and that you will find relief from this struggle and know peace and contentment from the Spirit.

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Hello @Timothy_Driver1

My heart goes out to you. Having been married a while, I’ve come to appreciate the struggles men go through in a way I hadn’t before. Especially those who are trying their best to be good Christian fathers and husbands. I applaud you for your faithfulness and obvious desire to be better.

I remember recently driving in the car with my husband and grandkids and he lost his temper and immediately regretted it. When I put myself in his shoes, I felt his pain. The devil was trying to rob him of his joy and have him beat himself up.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
1 Peter 5:8-9

As believers, we go through various sufferings - so called thorns in our flesh. Some of our struggles are taken away quickly after we come to Christ and some take longer. Take heart in the refinement. Stand firm in the faith. Know “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Is there a particular trigger or theme to what gets under your skin? It may be good to identify this. You mention being better at work than home. Do you feel more appreciated in one setting vs. the other?

I did a small study with friends where we listed the triggers over a week. My anger shows up different than blowing up. It is anger nonetheless. I especially watched where I overreacted. I may have got better but blow-ups happened now and again and I’d be especially hard on myself thinking I should have “graduated”. That’s when you have to really forgive yourself.

Have you had periods of time (even if brief) when things have gone better for you? If so, I’d love to know what worked.

Praying for you.
Christine

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Thank you for everyone’s kind comments.

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Thanks for sharing this. I am a pretty feisty person myself and fairly aggressive so I understand what you are facing.

Have you ever taken a DISC personality profile test? The test will reveal if you have a more aggressive or passive personality. The letters in DISC represent personality traits. I cannot adequately summarize it in a short post but if you are above 50 percent in any of the letters you will frequently show those traits. The D and I are aggressive traits. The S and C are passive traits. Thankfully, most people have S as their dominant trait. For instance an S person is less aggressive, slower paced and has more empathy. S people are easy to get along with. On every test I have ever seen every person had at least two dominant traits. Some, like my wife, have three traits above 50%. I have never seen anyone with 4 dominant traits or less than two dominant traits.

Now all of us have some measure of each trait so a person like myself who has a lower S has some empathy, but I do not have as much as my wife who has a very high S. She is equipped in her personality to be an excellent caregiver.

When you take the test and review your own traits you will get some insight into your behavior. You will also gain insight to other people’s behavior. Our company personality tests all of our employees and makes sure their personality type fits the job we are trying to fill. Any time that we have to use our non dominant personality trait in a situation we burn more emotional energy. If you are in a position that is not a good fit for your personality type you will eventually burn out, some quicker than others because of our individual energy levels. This all may sound a little strange, but I have been using testing for hiring for about 20 years or so now and it works.

Let me just say there is no wrong personality type. I personally think that our personality types are DNA encoded. I am just like my mom and my brother is just like my dad.

As Sean said it is important to “identify the reason for the anger”. I am betting your anger is directly correlated to your personality type. That does not necessarily give you an excuse to be angry, but it will help you to understand the origin of your anger and also the triggers for your anger.

The vast majority of time when I am angry it is a sin where I am being selfish. The good news is that God loves me when I am able to control my anger or better yet my heart is changed so I do not get angry. The better news is that when I completely fail God loves me just as much.

May the Lord give you grace in your journey.

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Mark, you are right on here. My husband has a very aggressive personality. He was a successful fighter pilot and classified himself as a warrior type. He leads with aggression and is quite effective. He has in the last few years though realized he has always had mild depression and has done some searching. Because of his job he can’t use meds to help so he has been searching for alternatives. Learning about emotional intelligence from a Christian perspective has helped and he recently found some video sermons by a Christian who spoke both on emotional intelligence and depression. My husband said they were so helpful and the day after the depression sermon he said his heart felt so much lighter.

@Timothy_Driver1, there are many reasons why we get to the point where we are with anger, bad moods, etc. whether just plain old sin or sometimes even physical causes, it helps to learn about these things from different angles. And we can in turn help others who are struggling. I will include links to the sermons if you are interested. :slightly_smiling_face:

Here is the link to part one (there are two parts) on emotional intelligence:

And part one (there are three parts) on depression which is a big cause of my husband’s anger issues:

I am glad you brought this topic up Timothy. This is such a struggle for so many and I hope others are encouraged by the many posts on this conversation.:blush:

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Anger is a battleground!!

This is practical advise that worked for me in my struggle against anger.

-say James 1:19-20 to yourself many times every day,

-every time I had an angry word, action, or thought I would confess it as sin and ask the Lord for forgiveness and cleansing. 1John 1:9

Although we are forgiven of all sin in Christ, this says I agree with Christ -it was wrong and hurtful.

-When I would try to justify my angry thoughts, words, actions in my mind, I would confess self-justification as sin.

-I would also confess it as sin to the person it was directed at and ask them to “please forgive me” with no justifications! Matt 5:23-24

-I called out to God asking for help whenever I felt anger starting to rise. Psalm 38:22

When I really became ready to put off all anger & rage I asked my family to hold me accountable.

By telling me if they even sensed an angry spirit. My kids would say, “Mommy, I detect you have an angry spirit…”

(This was difficult😁)

-Don’t grow weary in the battle!

It may take some time. After all we have spent some years giving in to and justifying our anger.

But, the Lord is with you and you will gain the victory!

Beth

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