Dear Abby: Harried mom struggles to control temper as frustrations build up

She’s generally satisfied with her life and remains cool and responsible, but sometimes it’s all too much and she wants to throw a fit.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a 24-year-old woman who has been married for four years. My husband, “Jerry,” and I have two young boys. Jerry is military. I stay at home with the kids and work part time online on an associate degree. We struggle financially, but our basic needs are met and, overall, I’m happy with my life.

My problem is I’m finding myself struggling to control a very strong temper. The kids or my husband may be getting on my nerves, or I’m late turning in an assignment, or I’m unable to get housework done — these frustrations build up inside and make me want to throw a fit, scream or throw things, essentially NOT be the cool, responsible adult I typically am.

I know this is incredibly immature, and I realize I’m well off in the grand scheme of things, but this anger still brews. I have never had a problem controlling my temper before. Can you help? — FIRED UP IN FLORIDA

DEAR FIRED UP: The quarantines and lockdowns may be part of the cause of your near meltdowns. Many people are stressed and spread thin, and the isolation isn’t helping.

Because you are constantly with your children, it’s important that you manage your emotions before venting them on your little ones, which can be destructive. When an adult yells or acts out in front of a small child, the child will often shut down out of fear that violence may follow. This is why it’s so important for you to find appropriate ways to express your emotions.

My booklet “The Anger in All of Us and How To Deal With It” offers suggestions for directing angry feelings in a healthy way. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus a check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

Sometimes when people are frustrated, they lose their temper with those presently around them. In situations like this, it’s important to evaluate the source of what might really be irritating you rather than misdirect your anger at a blameless target.

The ability to control your emotions is crucial so your children won’t grow up thinking that exploding is normal. There are healthy ways of dealing with frustration. Among them: leaving the room, going for a walk or, better yet, a short run, or saying to yourself, “Please, Lord, don’t let me lose my temper!” before opening your mouth.

DEAR ABBY: My boss has been making passes at me for the last five months, even though I have told him it makes me uncomfortable. We went out to dinner once, and he is insisting that we do it again. How do I say no to this married man and still keep my job? — UNCOMFORTABLE IN THE SOUTH

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Ask your employer if he is satisfied with your job performance. Tell him a social relationship with a married man is not what you signed on for and, if he becomes punitive, document it and point out that what he is doing could be considered sexual harassment.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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