I am scared of my temper

Agony Aunt's picture

Dear Patricia Marie, 
I feel I am such a bad mother to my two children, aged 11, and 13, and I hate myself for it, because I do love them.
The problem is I have an extremely volatile temperament.  Sometimes I am really happy and none of life's trials and tribulations get me down, but at other times I have such anger inside me for everyone and everything, and absolutely no patience. At these times I am totally unreasonable and can shout and cry.  I feel so alone, and that everything in my world is black, and that I am totally worthless. 
When I feel calm again, I can't even understand what set me off, and it actually frightens me that I seem to have no control over my emotions.  
My children must be so confused and obviously it upsets them, as the same action from them can bring such differing reactions in me, depending on my mood. My husband, extended family, and friends are often victims of my unacceptable behaviour too. 
Is there anything you can suggest to help me, as I am not coping with life very well at the moment? 

Patricia Marie says...

Your mood swings, low self-esteem and intolerance of others are engulfing you, making it hard for you to function, as well as interfering with your ability to enjoy life.  These are symptoms of depression, that I believe you may be suffering from.  If so, there is no need to be fearful, as this is treatable. Many associate the word depression with crying and sadness, not anger, which is why often this illness remains undetected.  Your feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are contributing to your aggressive behaviour, which in turn is affecting the way you are treating your partner and friends, and the way you inconsistently discipline and react to your children. 

Whilst your illness remains untreated, this anger becomes a way of life.  As parents we are our children's role models. If children see their parents explode at the slightest thing, they will think that is a normal reaction, and that it's acceptable for them to behave in this way.  Try not to be so hard on yourself though. You are not a bad mother. In fact, by expressing your concerns, you are acting responsibly and courageously by admitting you have a problem. 

Isolation fuels depression, therefore, for the sake of both your family and yourself, I urge you to reach out for the help you so desperately need. The simple act of talking to close friends or family about the way you feel can be a great comfort. Is there someone you can trust, who will listen to you without judgement?

You need to seek professional help imminently. Your GP could discuss medication with you to treat your depression and could refer you for counselling to help you better understand what triggers your anger, and how to lift and stabilise your mood. Request some blood tests for iron and folic acid deficiency too, as the lack of these essential nutrients could affect your nervous system, and cause extreme tiredness and irritability. 

Regular exercise can be very effective in countering the effects of depression, although understandably, you may not feel like it at first.  Changing your diet may also be beneficial, as certain foods can adversely affect your mood, such as sugar, coffee, refined carbohydrates, processed foods and alcohol.

Please, act right now, and in time, you should feel better, especially if you get the support you deserve, which will hopefully lift the veil of depression, so you can enjoy life again, and, most importantly, your children. 

Patricia Marie, our Agony Aunt, wants to hear your problems, dilemmas, and quarrels. Just email them to patricia.marie@lady.co.uk