Did you spend your childhood scared to come home from school because you were unsure of what mood your parent would be in? Maybe you avoided bringing friends over to the house because you were worried your parent would have an outburst in front of them? If this sounds all too familiar, you probably grew up with a parent with anger issues.
An angry parent’s effect on a child can be long-lasting. The trauma can begin in childhood and seep into adulthood, forming how a person behaves and interacts in relationships. Luckily, healing from this sort of trauma is possible. Keep reading to find out the potential impacts a parent with explosive anger can have and how someone in this situation can heal.
Common Ways an Anger Management Problem Can Affect a Parent
Children don’t always understand when they’re doing something frustrating or wrong. Because their brains are still in development, their ability to recognize and evaluate consequences is not fully evolved. This is why you’ll often see or hear about children and young adults doing things that seem absurd or dangerous to an adult.
A child can be a constant trigger for an adult with uncontrollable anger. A parent with anger issues will often find themselves losing their temper with their children. Being in a constant state of anger isn’t good for anyone — neither parent nor child. For the parent, continuous, excessive anger outbursts can impact the following areas of their life:
Having anger outbursts tends to come with a cycle of other emotions. There’s the build-up of frustration and anger, then a huge outburst, followed by guilt and sadness for the explosion. Someone dealing with anger management issues may also end up with other mental health conditions, including depression, low self-esteem and substance abuse issues.
Frequently losing your temper with your children can fracture your relationship with them or even your relationship with your partner. In some cases, the damage is irreversible, and the relationship cannot be repaired.
Studies have shown that being angry too often can negatively impact your physical health. Anger can lead to increased anxiety, high blood pressure and headaches; it can weaken the immune system and put you at higher risk of heart problems, including stroke.
An Angry Parent’s Effect on a Child
Of course, angry parents have the biggest impact on their children. Unfortunately, someone with an anger management problem isn’t set up to be the best parent. Children require patience and understanding as they figure out the world around them. A child with a supportive, encouraging parent will learn to thrive, won’t be scared to take risks or make mistakes and will feel confident going through life.
In contrast, a child who grows up with an angry parent in the household is living in fear. They learn to walk on eggshells to avoid angering their parent. Additionally, they may also subconsciously learn that their presence often makes their parent angry, so it’s best to be quiet and submissive.
Children can react to angry parents in the following ways:
- Having difficulties concentrating
- Developing social issues and having trouble playing with others
- Becoming quiet, fearful, rude or aggressive
- Developing sleeping problems
- Becoming less empathetic to others
None of these are ideal circumstances, and an angry father or angry mother’s effect on a child can have long-lasting consequences.
Long-Term Effects on Children of Having an Angry Parent
Growing up with an angry parent is traumatic, and that trauma can manifest differently in each person. For most individuals, that trauma will carry on into adulthood. People who had parents with anger management issues are more at risk to have depression and experience social isolation and spousal abuse in adulthood.
Sadly, someone who grew up with an angry parent probably endured years of abuse. If your parent was in your life until you became an adult, you have decades of trauma to cope with. Individuals in this situation need to recognize that they have suffered through a type of abuse and can benefit from professional help. A therapist can help you identify the unconscious ways you’ve coped with that trauma and what you might still be holding onto today.
Additionally, if you’re an adult who grew up with an angry parent, you may want to repair your relationship with them. Family counseling can help you work through your problems with an impartial third party who can mediate the conversation and help with healing.
What Parents Who Have Anger Issues Can Do to Mitigate Damage
Households with an angry parent often result in everyone adopting coping mechanisms they may never let go of. These coping mechanisms may be unhealthy behaviors, such as conflict avoidance, and don’t serve to resolve the root issue: the anger one person has that’s impacting everyone else.
Parents who have anger management issues need to get help right away. It’s almost guaranteed that your anger will harm your children and the family unit as a whole. Everyone in the household, including the angry parent, will benefit from addressing and managing that anger.
If you’re a parent with an anger problem, seek professional counseling immediately. A therapist will help you understand your anger, identify triggers and learn coping mechanisms to stay calm. When you put this work in, you will be happier and healthier, and your family life will significantly improve. Give your children the gift of a happy home and seek help.
Therapy is critical whether you’re the angry parent or the person who grew up with an angry parent. Holding onto unresolved trauma can impact your mental and physical well-being and seep into your current relationships.
Therapy Services at Restore Mental Health
Restore Mental Health is experienced in treating a broad spectrum of behavioral health needs, including trauma and anger management issues. The right therapist can help you recover and achieve a happier state of mind. All you have to do is take a leap of faith to get the help you need. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.