I've always had a short fuse. I've been quick to rise and lose my temper, but on the flip side I'm quick to get over it when others lose their cool. The problem is that others usually are not, especially if they are on the receiving end of it.

Having a short temper and saying things in anger is the number one cause of the relationship difficulties in my life, and it's caused more problems and heart ache than I could possibly set out to achieve if I was consciously trying to do so.

Most importantly, it can happen with family or close friends, when somehow a discussion leads to someone making an insult towards me (which I don't tolerate well) and from there it can escalate. There are definitely certain topics that will frequently lead to these types of escalations, as well as when I don't want to discuss something and the person persists. It can also happen when the other person argues with me - about who I am or my motive for saying or doing something - and their opinion is negative.

I have great difficulty expressing my irritation without it escalating between the other person and myself to a point I do not manage well emotionally.

What can I do to help circumvent or prevent my anger building to a point I lose my temper and say things I regret? What skills can I use to exit the discussion gracefully to find space to calm?


7 Answers 7


One strategy for coping with these kinds of issues is meta-talk. Much like SE sites each have an associated meta site, take a moment when you and the other person are both calm, and talk about how you argue.

You can apologize for getting out of control when you argue, and you can express everything that you just said: you are fast to anger, but also fast to cool. You hate that you do this, but don't know how to control it. You are so very sorry for the hurt that you have caused.

While you're in this meta discussion, you can try to discuss, or even actively set up, signals. For instance, you might set up a signal to say, "I am becoming angry, and I'm not sure how to control myself right now. Are you in any condition to help?" You might also set up a "time-out" signal, where each of you will go to a different room for 3 minutes and try to calm down before resuming.

Just be aware that, even if you set up these kinds of signals, no one is ever responsible to you for following them. They are tools that we set up to try to cool the situation when they get hot, but they are not fail-safes. However, in the long run, a reflective meta conversation in the hours or days following hot arguments will do more to keep things in check than any other single technique I am aware of. These conversations allow you to check in, figure out new approaches, see where things went wrong, and assure your loved ones that you still love them. They also provide a sense of safety to both parties in that they reaffirm that we are in this together, even if we mess up from time to time, we are still really on the same side.

Anger is a tough nut to crack, but I'm proud of you for acknowledging it and trying to face up to it. Good luck, friend!


It is a thing which your mind can't control simply.

Also it is common for people in your age group(I know your age coz we celebrated your birthday).

But things you should care is once you said a word as a result of bad anger, you can say sorry later but it is very hard for that person to forget.

I went through many such situations.

Self control

is the main thing you can do. whatever it is, try to be calm as much as possible. If there is no way you, then only you should express your anger on such scenario.

Also try to warn people about your bad anger by saying that Please don't provoke me. It won't be good for both of us.


Self-empathy is a very useful skill. It sounds like you recognize when you get angry and the sort of things that can trigger it. It may be helpful to practice recognizing those feelings in the moment.

Sometime when you're not angry, speak to your loved ones and say that you're working on your temper and ask if they're willing to let you step out of a conversation entirely if you start to get mad. Hopefully they'll say yes (if they say no, then there may be deeper problems between you and that person). Then you know that the person won't be surprised if you get tense and say, "I need to take a break."

Remember that it's wrong for someone to force you into a conversation. Anyone who respects you as a person should be willing to give you a chance to discuss things calmly instead of consumed by anger. If it's an important discussion to have, it's important to have it in a productive context.


“This too shall pass”

I for one have this mantra that I remind myself when things are about to go sideways.

Once you internalize this concept, this rare attitude towards life, your thoughts and actions will reflect that. This makes you look at yourself, and the situations you get into, from a different perspective.

Instead of engaging in a pointless argument with somebody, take a step back, ask yourself, "Who will this benefit?". And the answer is almost always "Nobody, really", and that's it. Hold up. Remind yourself that this is but one moment out of a series of moments called life.

Moments - good or bad - they all pass.

That brief thoughtful step back is key. Temper will fade away.


One skill that I learned is an age old strategy. It is used in politics a lot and can be adapted to each person. It is the strategy of counting to three/five/ten before responding. This can actually have a huge effect on the anger and flow of a conversation. In order to make this successful you first need to be able to recognize yourself getting angry. If you know you are angry then counting to 3 or more is almost imperative. It focuses you down and makes you really second guess if your insults are worth it. The five second pause seems like an eternity in the moment and if the insult was passing it really does help calm you down.

Some other things are you may want to do instead of an insult back to the person is to bring it to their attention that you feel insulted by what they say. Generally people don't want to hurt others and probably don't even realize they hurt you as much as they did. It is usually better for both of you to ask why they made the comment or bring up that it insults you rather than slinging insults back. Of course this can have the opposite effect you want depending on the person, and they could let loose a lot of pent-up frustrations with you if you start to pry into their comments.

One last thing I'll mention is you may want to reduce stressors in your environment. Practice yoga, learn stress management techniques, and maybe even go so far as to see a therapist about your anger issues.

  • 2
    thank you, a thoughtful answer. I do believe that the counting will help - it's simple and easy to remember in that emotional flush. I totally agree yoga etc, therapy. I actually own horses. They are like intravenous peace :)
    – user57
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 19:27

Being willing and able to table things for a while often does wonders. Basically allow yourself to set the issue aside till you feel calm and you've had time to think it through and form a healthy response.

Knowing that you get agitated quickly in certain situations can give you the opportunity to tell whoever you're in conflict with that you need to take some time to think it over and get back to them.

"I need to take some time to think this through, let me get back to you."

If the person continues to push, you can always spell it out for them:

"I'm getting to ______ to solve this problem right now. Let me get back to you later."

It's not unlike the "counting to ten" method in principle, but it allows you more time to form a reasonable response.

It's also good to take the time to process what aggravates you about the particular situation, what are your goals in the situation, and what the most pragmatic path to those goals might be.

How you get from angry with the person, to angry with the situation, to a reasonable solution to the actual problem will differ on a case by case basis, but giving yourself time to make those transitions usually helps.


Some say that I'm a man of patience. And every time I hear that, I'm like, you haven't met my mind. I might've already plotted some extremely painful torturing methods for the people who piss me off. But then I find some inanimate object to swear at or play a mobile game where I get to destroy some stuff with ease. In other words I take my anger somewhere else and shove it up there. Family is too precious to ruin over an argument. Destroy a cheap pen or broken phone.

If you get into an argument with person who you just met, like a fellow passenger on an airplane, pretending to not give a rat's you-know-where to him/her works like a miracle. When you get your chance to speak address, him by a different name than with which he or she was introduced with. Calling a person by the wrong name shows how much you do not care about that person.

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