How to manage our anger before venting it at our family?
This story is in the present. This is my war on my anger issues. When you think of anger issues, you might be thinking of some stereotypes. You don't have to. Look in the mirror. Did you know that the best mirror you have at home is your spouse and children?
Being strong is always a positive trait but not being able to cope with things you do not like is never good. With how much certainty can you claim that what you say is ultimately correct? That’s the problem I had. I believed that I was always right and as a result I was gradually losing the tolerance to accept my mistakes. It was arrogance that was building inside of me, unknowingly, yet proudly.
It took years for me to realize this. I got married. Alhamdulillah, I was blessed with a loving wife who molded herself according to my desires. Then we had wonderful children. With the children, my anger issues became very visible to myself. I tried to control my anger—tried applying all the principles: sitting down, drinking water, counting to ten…but when anger hit, none of these ideas helped. I was out of control.
All these years I have been thankful to Allah for all the blessings He showered on me. I thought if He decided to get angry with me like I do with my children, where would I be? That thought made me tremble with fear. A brother once explained why our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be on him) commented that if it was allowed to worship a living being, he would have asked wives to worship husbands. The worship here is not meant as a status symbol. The emphasis is really on the expectations from us, husbands—a kind heart, someone who can forgive and continue supporting, oft-returning, someone who will hold hands in difficult times and carry in arms when things get worse. I thought to myself, “Am I that husband? Do my family members reach out to God through me?” Then came the topic of arrogance. During a moral training session, our local chapter president covered various hidden arrogances we all face every day and how strongly the Promised Messiah (may peace be on him) had condemned that. Once again, I thought to myself, “Am I being arrogant with my children?”—Needless to say, I was not pleased with the answer.
It is true that getting angry is sometimes necessary. However, I found that anger was not the real problem. It is how we expressed that anger which is the larger issue at hand. That is where the arrogance comes over us, and instead of a divinely inspired response we end up uttering words that we regret.
Fortunately, I am on a path of recovery now. I cannot claim that I am fully cured, but at least I am getting better. My wife and kids stand witness to the changes I have brought about. This transformation is only possible through prayers. For people like me, who are not strong in getting results from prayers, we need to improve the quality of our prayers.
Here are some suggestions:
Brothers, this has been my journey. I seek your prayers for myself to keep my pace and altitude.
Note: This is a real life story from a brother in Dallas. For privacy, name is not disclosed. The story is being told as gratitude to Allah and with prayers that it may help others as well.