MY husband is always telling me I have an anger problem.
“You’re the most angry person I know,” he says, which isn’t really conclusive since, outside of work, he only knows about three people.
I angrily refute his claims, and counter them with my own assertion that he’s far angrier.
Not only is this batting back and forth in the ‘who’s angrier?’ debate pointless, it makes each of us even crosser.
In actual fact, we both have an anger problem.
According to Mike Fisher, director of the Association of Anger Management and author of Mindfulness and the Art of managing Anger, the average person gets angry around four times a day.
With a person who has an anger problem, it is more like a dozen time a day. If this really is the case, surely most parents of teenagers have an anger problem.
I say this because, in our house, 90per cent of anger is sparked by our children.
More often than not, my husband and I will spend the entire day in a relatively calm state, give or take the odd work annoyance which may whip up a little fury.
Yet the minute we step through the door at home, the eruptions start. From piles of unwashed pots and washing left out in the rain, to empty yoghurt pots and other discarded packaging on the sofa, the cat unfed and wowling, and millions of electrical gadgets left on.
Then comes the rude, dismissive chatback from my daughters, which triggers even more fury. I’m what is known as an ‘exploder’, who blows up immediately, reverts to normal in between, then erupts again moments later with the next trigger.
My husband is an ‘imploder’, bottling up his anger inside until it eventually boils over – and don’t we know it when it does. He usually storms out of the house, prompting me to bolt the door – whatever the weather – and not let him in for two days.
Of course it’s not only the children that set me off – there’s the state of the house, the state of the car, the state of the economy, the state of my hair...
Sixty-four per cent of people believe that the British are getting angrier, raging against everything from bad internet connections to traffic jams. But there is a positive side to expressing anger – in a controlled way – rather than holding it in.
A study by a German university claims that venting your spleen can add at least two years to your life. That’s good news, but doesn’t make up for the decade we’re likely to lose through stressing about the things that make us angry in the first place.