10/20/2014 03:20 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Are You An Angry Person? How To Escape The Anger Prison

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Do the smallest things set you off? Could a dish left in the sink leave you shrieking? Do you yell at the person in your local doughnut shop daily? Do you get so out of control that you practically explode? If you experience rage on an ongoing basis, you need a strategy for getting out of your anger prison.

For starters, Dr. Phil says, “You need to get over your damn self! If you’re always getting bent out of shape, maybe you don’t have enough to do! Lighten up. Besides, who died and left you boss?”

Spinning out of control is a conscious decision, even if it doesn’t feel like it in a moment of heat. If you are an intelligent, mature individual with a reasonable set of values, you should not be giving yourself permission to avoid restraint.

And think about what you’re modeling for your kids if they see your behavior! “The most powerful model in any child’s life is the same-sex parent,” Dr. Phil explains. “Children even perceive if you just slam your coffee cup down a little bit harder because you’re upset with their mom. If you slam the door just a little bit harder, they sense that. Be careful what you’re modeling, because it’s more than just the words you speak.”

If you need help controlling rage or anger, consider these steps:

1. Identify the emotion your anger covers.
Anger is nothing more than a cover, possibly for hurt, frustration, fear — or all three. Try figuring out what you're really feeling without using the word "anger." Instead, try saying, "I am hurt/frustrated/afraid of ..." Uncover how you really feel.

2. Identify the root or source of that emotion.
What is the real source of the emotion you’re dealing with? Who is the real culprit? Chances are, it's not the people or situations you are lashing out at. Could you be yelling at your wife, when in fact you’re upset with your mother? Did something happen to you in childhood that has left you so deeply wounded that anger and rage are always bubbling under the surface? You can’t change what happened, but you can heal.

3. Identify your unfulfilled need.
If you are experiencing uncontrollable rage, you have unfulfilled needs that should be addressed. Maybe you need to forgive yourself for the way you've behaved while angry. Perhaps you need to forgive your mother for not being perfect, or someone else whose behavior has scarred you. Whatever the case, you need to know what your needs are before you can fill them.

4. Figure out a constructive alternative action.
Instead of raging against people, figure out what you can do that is constructive. Maybe you need to take a walk to go resolve an issue with a friend, or perhaps your constructive alternative action is to forgive someone who wronged you years ago.

5. Take specific action.
Once you have identified your constructive alternative action, it's important that you take that specific action, as uncomfortable as it may be, and move on. Claim your right to resolve the source of your anger and reclaim your life.

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