Every now and them, usually after prolonged periods of stress and frustration, I end up snapping at people at home. Sometimes my snapping is triggered by some behavior I deem unacceptable, or by them asking the wrong question at the wrong time. Every single time, it turns out to be an overreaction. What is worse, I don't snap at people at work, though many of them richly deserve it.

I think it is wrong to use (even if it is just once in a month) my people as recipients for anger and frustration they contributed little to, in the first place.

How would I train myself to stop doing this? Or if I can't, how would I let them know that I just blow up from time to time, and they should not read into it.

  • Snapping at who? SO? kids? parents? what age(s)?
    – OldPadawan
    Sep 2 '17 at 10:44
  • @OldPadawan Parents, especially, sometimes my siblings. Whoever is in my home at the wrong time, usually. I'm almost 40 now.
    – user2107
    Sep 2 '17 at 11:01
  • 1
    Related, if not duplicate: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/86/…
    – Vylix
    Sep 2 '17 at 17:03

I used to be like you and I know the feeling. It's obvious that you don't want to hurt your family members. So, I am sharing what I did.

First of all, you need to take out your frustration because keeping it to yourself will harm you. Therefore, select one family member who you can share thing you're frustrated about with and will listen. For example, I share whatever is troubling or frustrating me with my brother and he generally provides either a solution or advises me to not mind it. But either way, I have taken my frustration out without harming anybody.

How would I let them know that I just blow up from time to time, and they should not read into it.

You can tell them this like following.

Hey! I am a bit stressed and frustrated due to [reason]. Please don't mind if I snap. I am sorry if I hurt you.

They're your family and I am sure they won't mind.

How would I train myself to stop doing this?

Though this question is not about interpersonal skills, I can suggest some. You can try to overcome your stress and frustration by doing the activities you enjoy doing. For example, singing, swimming, dancing, walking etc. You can try meditation for self-control and take a look at some nice suggestions mentioned on this page.

  • Pre-emptive apologies which are not accompanied by clear behavioural change, in my experience, makes it much more hurtful to be snapped at. It indicates that the snapper knows it is wrong but can't quite be arsed to stop. It is quite unpleasant to ask people not to mind being treated badly.
    – Spagirl
    Mar 30 '21 at 17:06

It can be difficult at busy times to find a time then to add in things that help reduce stress. I know this. I have to just force myself to make time to do certain things, no matter how hard it is to work them in. For me (just as an example) I meditate, sometimes I walk (but when walking, I need to get energy out, so it's not a leisurely walk, it's more like speed walking), I find someone I can talk it through with, etc. You just have to find what it is that makes you feel less wound up.

Make sure you are keeping yourself in correct thinking. Try to avoid saying things like "they asked the wrong question at the wrong time", because that is part of letting yourself snap. It places the responsibility on them to know what is a right or wrong question and what timing is right or wrong, for you. They likely cannot know this.

Be open about your situation. You can preemptively tell those you live with that right now is a really stressful time, etc, and please don't interrupt me until 7pm, or whatever time. That helps everyone involved to minimize the friction if you know you need to be left alone.

Try to make time to be with the other people you live with when you can. You will get less interruption, etc if you make a little time to interact. They can ask you things or tell you things during that time, and interact. They might interrupt simply because they hope to see you. If you pick times to go seek them out, sometimes that means they feel important and they seek you out less. It doesn't usually need to be a lot of time, just that you made an effort to connect.

Give yourself grace and forgiveness. Even though you can know that how you reacted was wrong. You can apologize, own it, and move on. If you beat yourself up, you generally can't do better because you are keeping a negative thought process in your head and that isn't likely to reduce stress or improve reactions. Instead it adds to the stress and keeps you there. So once you have acknowledged that you need to do better, let it go.

Also, I have tried to train myself when stressed to take 3 deep breaths before I respond to anything. It gives me a little pause to calm my body down and regain my better control of my brain so my mouth is under my control more too.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy