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HOW often have we lost our temper with our loved ones? Do we realise the consequences of doing so? What about the long-term effects of hurting their feelings, one too many times?

Usually, we lose control when things don’t go our way. This can include them not meeting our expectations or disobeying our orders. Or maybe when they break things or damage our prized possession.

Is it worth it? How do we control our anger and emotions? It begins with knowing ourselves. We must always be true to ourselves and acknowledge all emotions, positive or negative.

More importantly, we must be able to recognise what situations trigger which emotions. Then, we need to be more assertive and establish proper boundaries so that we don’t become too reactive and be controlled by the external environment.


We need to know this boundary in the parenting context too. Members of our family will know which buttons to push to make us jump.

If we don’t take control of these buttons, chances are we will get agitated and angry because we’re allowing our emotions to react negatively to their behaviour.

I call this situation managing your “time bomb.” Losing our patience is akin to a time bomb waiting to explode. We lose patience when our trigger points are pressed.

These trigger points can include a long to-do list, a looming deadline or a tight schedule.

As parents, it’s common for us to find ourselves stretched too thin, both at home and at work. We’re expected to deliver many things in both places. If these expectations are not managed well, they will trigger our loss of patience fast.

Impatience also happens when we place high expectations on our spouse and children.

When things are not done, or perhaps not done to our liking, the bomb will explode. We will bombard them with hurtful words and regrettable gestures.


Experts have suggested that we identify and write down these trigger points if needed.

Then, look for a pattern at the point when you find yourself almost losing your cool.

For example, in the morning rush, late afternoon or right after coming back from work.

Soon, you’ll see the patterns emerging and that should set you up for a “rehabilitation” later on.

Otherwise, all those factors will contribute to the pent-up feelings inside. We try hard not to let it out on our co-workers or the cashiers in the supermarkets because that would be embarrassing.

But when we get home, we may not be able to contain it anymore. It just needs some “small” trigger like a messy home, a noisy child or an annoying sibling for the time bomb to explode.

When it does, it will destroy the family harmony, reversing back hours spent nurturing a happy and loving family.

At the end of the day, our emotions can wreak havoc in our relationships if we fail to contain it. Remember, we can replace material damage done by our spouse or children but we may never heal their broken hearts caused by our anger.

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