Uncovering the Truth About Anger with Peter Sacco

Most men struggle with anger daily. Our tempers flare at work and at home with our wife and kids. Some of us are like Bruce Banner. Some of us turn into the Incredible Hulk. Canada’s psyche doctor, Peter Andrew Sacco tells us the secrets to where anger comes from, how to manage it, and so much more. You don’t want to skip this mind-blowing episode!

We are full-time workers, dads, and husbands. As men, it’s sometimes hard to control our anger. Discovering what type of temperament we have will help us find better ways to manage our anger, improve our relationships, and set an example for our kids on how to deal with their emotions too.

Peter Sacco

Peter Sacco, author of What’s Your Anger Type? is a psychology professor, a former private practitioner and is a regularly featured guest on television and radio. He is also an award-winning executive producer and has hosted many documentaries on relationships, psychological issues, and children’s issues. Peter Sacco has done extensive work in support groups and in anger management, especially with dads who are abusive towards kids and spouses.

Anger is a normal

Anger is a normal emotion. It’s how we deal with it that can be destructive.

Anger makes a person seem more authoritative and powerful, but the truth is that people with an anger problem actually feel they have no control in their lives. A lot of this aggression comes from unresolved issues in childhood and from shame or rage from being rejected as a kid.

Anger can be addictive

Anger is like a drug. When a person gets incensed, they experience an adrenaline rush. Being angry gives the sensation of dominance and control. It overpowers the fear that lies beneath it and gives a person a sense of power because it’s a stronger emotion than depression.

Is there hope for men with anger issues?

Some men who’ve come from a chaotic childhood feel doomed. They believe they’re broken and can’t be fixed. But Peter Sacco says there is tremendous hope for people with anger issues, but they have to do the work.

“You’ve got to want to be the change in your own life”

The Anger Cycle

Just like a soldier who has experienced PTSD, a person with a traumatic or abusive past might cope with unresolved emotions in different destructive ways. Some may use drugs and alcohol, some might vent their rage on certain races, others will withdraw or play the victim.

“Today’s catchers are tomorrow’s pitchers.”

A person who has anger issues will be more likely to take it on one his family. If your relationships fall apart and your work life is full of turmoil, the common denominator is you. It may be time to seek help.

Anger and bullying

Bullied kids lack self-esteem and confidence. They suffer from anxiety and depression. Some overcome it through counseling and become normal. Some cope by learning to be helpless and withdraw. Others develop a superiority complex and become bullies themselves, using aggression, rage, or passive aggression on others.

Why Kids are Suffering from Anxiety and Depression

Parents spend 2.5 to 6.5 minutes talking to their kids each day. In this small amount of time, the communication is usually corrective or punitive. It’s not at a deep intimate level because parents shy away from intimacy from their kids. ADHD has gone up. Divorce rates have risen. Peter Sacco believes it’s this lack of intimacy that’s more responsible than toxins in the environment or ingredients in food. Communication is the key.

Tips for improving communication with your kids

  1. How to start the conversation – If you feel uncomfortable speaking with your kids, find a situation where you’re most comfortable. Dinner is the best and most traditional forum for families to talk. Sit at the table. Make your kids accountable. Every day, ask them to give five things they’re grateful for. Then tell them to talk about one or two things they didn’t like. This will open up communication.
  2. Don’t start out questions with WHY – “Why” pushes someone in a corner. Be a facilitator, don’t treat kids as miniature adults. Don’t say why was your day bad? Say, if your day could go anyway you wanted, what would that be?
  3. Be more creative with questions – Do not be so direct. Maybe some things they’re facing will come out.
  4. Make yourself the go-to guy – Fathers are the breadwinners, and many feel that as long as they provide for their children, they’re doing their job as a parent. Most dads will plan adventures or bond over sports, but these activates focus on the event, not the father/child relationship. Dads should sit down with their kid and ask, “I’m Dad and you’re my child – let me ask you a question. What do I mean to you as a father? How do you see me? The all-knowing problem solver? Nagger? Coach? Disciplinarian? Teacher? How can I be a better dad?”
  5. How to talk about bullying – Kids won’t talk about being bullied because they’re afraid their parents will be ashamed of them. If you suspect bullying, don’t think that nothing’s happening and wait for it to go away on its own. It will wreck a child’s self-esteem. It’s crucial for kids to know that bullying happens in all walks of life. There is nothing to be ashamed of and that they can talk to you about it.

When Dads Get Angry

Even on our best days, our patience will run out. Peter Sacco says that the best way to communicate anger is to tell your kids you’re not feeling well. Tell them you just need a few moments. Instead of making it worse, treat anger like you have an upset stomach or like you’re going to vomit. You don’t want to talk about it. You want to be left alone. You’re not lying by saying you’re not feeling well because anger is a feeling. In a half hour, the emotions pass, and you’ll be in rational mindset to talk.


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Five Ways to Control our Temper as Dads

Ah, Clark Griswold; the preeminent example of a father and husband with the best of intentions, but reaction challenged when it comes to dealing with life’s hurdles and controlling his temper. Of course he wants the best for his family: from great vacations to Wally World to finding the biggest Christmas tree. Unfortunately, on his quest to be the “perfect father”, he tends to respond in anger and frustration when things don’t go the way he plans. Sound typical? Ok, so maybe Griswold is a bit extreme (or maybe not), but you have more than likely had a moment or two when frustration has gotten the best of you. Larry and Shawn provide 5 easy ways to keep your anger and frustration at bay.

Your Temper and the “Perfect Father Myth”

Before we go any further, let’s dispel the “perfect father” myth; there is no perfect father, doesn’t exist. We’re human, have emotions and sometimes, those emotions get the better of us and that’s okay. As Larry says, “great fathers have bad moments”, it’s what you do in those moments that build your character and provide a positive example for those around you, specifically your children.

Controlling our Temper Means Knowing our Triggers

So, what’s a guy to do when it seems like the world is pushing all of your buttons? Know your triggers. Maybe it’s repeating yourself to get your kids to pick up after themselves or you’ve just come home from a full day of work and you are barraged with requests to help with homework and the kids. Whatever your triggers, identify them so that you can do what you need to do to prepare yourself ahead of time and following these 5 ideas might just help diffuse your response:

Temper Tip #1:  Breathe

Be able to take a breath. Not just that little hyperventilating breath, either. This breath needs to be a nice, long, drawn breath, enough to calm you and bring you back to a state of peace. It should allow you to reset yourself and prepare you to deal with the situation at hand in a rational manner.

Temper Tip #2:  Walk Away

Walk away. In the heat of the moment, our adrenaline may make us want to stay in the situation and argue. But cooler heads do prevail, walking away when we feel our blood boiling will keep us from saying things we may later regret. Not only that, walking away gives us a chance to get perspective on the situation. Adrenaline only muddies the waters.

Temper Tip #3:  Stay Active

Stay active. If there’s one concept that is driven home on a regular basis on the GDP, it’s the benefits of exercise and overall health. In the case of anger and frustration, physical activity can also help us to channel this aggression into something more positive. So, there’s really a dual benefit: your anger remains at bay and you stay fit!

Temper Tip #4:  Surround Yourself with the RIGHT People

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Enough said. You need a sounding board that has been through similar experiences and can give you either advice or a simple listening ear.

Temper Tip #5:  When you do Lose your Cool, Apologize

Finally, when you do lose your cool, apologize. Even if it goes against everything you feel like doing, an apology goes a long way in repairing a bridge that may be a little singed. Apologies disarm people and pave the way to build a relationship into a stronger force.

Forget about Perfection

Forget the “perfect father” myth. Let it remain just that: a myth. We are human, prone to the same emotions of all other humans; it’s what we do with those emotions that make us who we truly are.


Check out our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS



Thanks for checking out this week’s podcast on Five Ways to Control Our Temper as Dads.