I recently broke my own rules as a life coach. I took on a client with anger management issues. I had specified this type of client as someone to avoid, due to my own experiences and fears of being triggered. It has however been the best and most challenging experience in my coaching career to date. As someone who was exposed to bursts of rage from my father as a young child growing up, and then going on to replicate that behavior myself, it is without a doubt extremely rewarding yet challenging to work with someone who, like I once was, can be so giving and generous one moment and then, having been triggered, explosively violent the next.

What follows is both a memoir and an advisory piece on the impacts on others when dealing with a parent who has bouts of rage.

In an ideal world, home is a sanctuary; a place of warmth, love, and safety. Unfortunately, for some, it can become a battleground of emotions, marked by fear and tension. Growing up with a parent who has anger management issues can be a harrowing experience, one that leaves deep scars and challenges to overcome.

The Hidden Struggles

Behind closed doors, my family faced a reality that was invisible to the outside world. On the surface, my father appeared to be a loving and caring man. He worked hard, provided for our family, and even had moments of kindness. However, behind closed doors, his anger would surface, and the atmosphere in our home would change instantly.

Walking on Eggshells

One of the most challenging aspects of living with a father who struggles with anger management is the constant feeling of walking on eggshells. You never knew what minor incident might set him off, leading to yelling, shouting, and sometimes even physical outbursts. The unpredictability of his anger created a persistent state of anxiety.

The Emotional Toll

As a child, it’s incredibly hard to process the emotions that come with living in a household where anger is a constant presence. I grew up feeling a mix of fear, guilt, and shame. I felt responsible for keeping the peace, believing that if I just behaved perfectly, the anger would go away. This emotional burden had a lasting impact on my self-esteem and mental health.

Learning Coping Mechanisms

Living with an angry father teaches you to adapt and develop coping mechanisms. You become highly attuned to mood changes, learning when to hide, when to appease, and when to withdraw. These survival skills might help in the short term but often hinder your emotional development.

Impact on Relationships

The effects of growing up with a father who had anger management issues extend beyond childhood. As I entered adulthood, I noticed how these experiences influenced my own relationships. I struggled with trust, had difficulty expressing my emotions, and often found myself drawn to relationships with controlling or angry individuals.

Seeking Help

One of the most challenging aspects of growing up in such an environment is the reluctance to seek help. In our family, discussing my father’s anger was off-limits. We were afraid of the consequences, which could be even more anger or isolation. It became essential for me to break through this silence and seek professional help when dealing with anger management issues in the family, particularly my own, after years of keeping my own thoughts and feelings bottled up.

Breaking the Cycle

As I reached a point where I wanted to break the cycle of anger, I began the six month journey to understand and heal from my past experiences. It was a challenging journey, but it allowed me to confront my deep-rooted emotions and trauma, that led to my own bursts of rage.

Forgiveness and Healing

Healing from the wounds of growing up with an angry father involves forgiveness. This doesn’t mean excusing the behavior but rather releasing the anger, guilt, and resentment that have held you captive. Forgiving my father was a profound and personal process that allowed me to find closure and peace.

Support Networks

Building a strong support network is crucial for those who have grown up with an angry parent. Connecting with others who share similar experiences, either in therapy or support groups, can provide a sense of belonging and understanding.


In conclusion, growing up with a parent who has anger management issues is a complex and emotionally taxing experience. It leaves indelible marks that require time, self-reflection, and often professional help to heal. The journey toward recovery may be long, but it’s a necessary step in breaking the cycle and creating a healthier, happier future for yourself and your own family. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this journey, and that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.