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Monday, December 19, 2016

Dealing with Angry People

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo,

My dad is having some anger issues and he gets angry with me and my mom and I don't know why he gets angry over little things that don't matter.

I do know when he was growing up his father who has been dead for a few years now had angry issues because my dad told me.

What can I do to make him not angry and he says unkind things to my mom in front of me and he hurts her so bad and he makes her cry in front of me.

I think he needs help and he is very active in the church and I don't know if I should tell my bishop about this issue with my dad or not .

Please tell me what you think I should do.


- C

Dear C,

There are some factors to consider:

- how old you are (if you're an adult, you should give strong consideration to moving out)

- your relationship with your mother (have you talked about it?  what's her reaction?  how does she feel?)

- your relationship with your father (is it the kind of relationship where, in a non-angry moment, you can tell him how all of this makes you feel without him getting angry?  those kinds of conversations go best, btw, if you can avoid using the word "you"

- and what you mean by "anger issues" (if the behavior is violent, unjustified - some yelling is just communication, and the issue can be us being too sensitive, constant, unprovoked . . .)

You may want to consider that when one interviewed for a temple recommend one is asked if there's anything in their behavior that's not the right way to treat one's family.  If your father's behavior is harmful, it could certainly be appropriate to talk to your Bishop.

Most importantly, any abusive behavior needs to be communicated to a trusted adult.

I invite you to give this some prayerful reflection.  Is this a harmless expression of anger and frustration that is better expressed than bottled?  Or is verbal abuse that is unbecoming a follow of Christ?  That crosses the line of how we all deserve to be treated with respect.

And, if you're at all not sure, it's better to have a conversation (mom, dad, Bishop, whomever) than to not.

You can't change your dad; that will have to come from inside, and the love and help that the Savior can provide will go a long way.

To that end, the more prayer, scripture study, living the Gospel and following Christ that your family does the easier all of this will be to tackle.

- Bro Jo

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