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How to Deal With a Bad-Tempered Brother

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Being around a brother with a bad temper can have you walking on eggshells every time something might irritate him. Your brother is likely having an adult temper tantrum as a result of being stuck in childhood to some degree, according to clinical psychologist Seth Meyers, author of the article "Loving Men With Bad Tempers." While Meyers thinks your brother may not be able to change his personality, he can probably change his behavior. Up until now, your brother has gotten away with it, but you can begin to set limits when he's around you.

Accept that this is an ingrained response to anger. If your brother is willing to change, it will take time. Approach your brother with an assertive stance. Be persistent in your efforts as giving up too soon or too easily sends your brother the message that you aren't serious about change, according to Chuck T. Falcon, author of the article "Controlling Anger in Relationships."

Remain calm when your brother has an outburst. Validate his feelings during the meltdown by letting him know you understand why he is upset, but you are not condoning the actions he took to express the upset, says Elizabeth Bernstein, Bonds columnist for the Wall Street Journal, in her article, "This Loved One Will Explode in Five, Four ... ."

Sit down with your brother and let him know you will no longer tolerate his temper tantrums. Explain how the outbursts make you feel, whether you feel scared, uncomfortable, frustrated or sad. Tell your brother the ways his bad temper has affected your relationship.

Tell your friends or others in your life about your brother's bad temper. This is especially important if your family has kept it a secret; you will need the support of others and to admit out loud that there is a problem says Meyers.

Set boundaries with your brother and, if necessary, begin to engage in activities you typically enjoyed together with someone else. As he sees a change in your behavior, it might spark a change in his.

Warning

  • Avoid your brother if you feel unsafe and encourage him to seek professional help if you suspect Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). People with IED display physical violence towards people or property due to severe, uncontrollable anger, while people with a bad temper generally scream and lash out verbally, according to Meyers.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

Photo Credits

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