Many teens with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) exhibit anger outbursts far beyond the norm for their age. They might yell, hit things, break things, or become violent toward those around them. Rage and anger issues associated with BPD can be dangerous and frightening to witness.
If your teen son’s anger issues are becoming dangerous, intervene immediately. It’s important that you and everyone else in the family feel safe at home. Your son with BPD needs to learn to control his anger issues before anyone gets hurt. Teens with BPD often benefit from attending a residential therapeutic boarding school to live safely while learning to manage their anger.
Helping teens with BPD anger issues
Fortunately, there are also ways that you can help your teen with BPD anger issues at home. There are numerous strategies for teens whose anger issues are upsetting but not dangerous to help them learn to manage their anger. Kids who develop BPD don’t learn to manage negative emotions in a positive way while they are young. So, they may need additional help along the way.
It’s tough to pinpoint the exact reason that so many teens with BPD have anger issues. They already struggle with emotional regulation, and they have an extreme fear of being abandoned. So they can struggle to develop appropriate connections with friends and family.
When they feel a perceived threat to a relationship or they become distressed, teens with BPD tend to act out in anger. These actions can have the unintended consequence of driving people even further away, which amplifies the feelings of rejection. As your child moves through his teen years, he needs to learn how to regulate his emotions so that he can keep his anger in check and build relationships.
Tips for managing BPD anger issues
You can help your teen with BPD anger issues learn to reduce his outbursts with several strategies. Remember that different emotional regulation strategies work better for different people. Introduce a few strategies to your teen and encourage him to try them out. He might find that certain things help him manage his anger outbursts well in certain situations.
Control your breathing
Focusing on your breathing can help you stay present, get your body under control, and feel more relaxed. The act of purposeful breathing helps to relax your muscles and get more oxygen to your brain. It’s a small act that can have a big difference.
You can try:
Inhaling for 5 seconds then exhaling for 7 seconds
Taking a deep breath and holding it for 5-10 seconds
Count while you are breathing to give yourself something specific to focus on while breathing
Take time away from the situation
If a situation is overwhelming or you feel yourself on the verge of losing control, take a break. Though you’ll still need to go back and address the situation later, getting some time away from the situation can get you back on track mentally.
While taking a break, try:
Taking a nap
Eating a healthy snack
Reading a book
Listening to music
There’s nothing wrong with needing time to cool off. Just be sure to take your break in a way that’s allowed at the moment. Once you’ve cooled off, return to the situation to address it calmly.
Many people with BPD start seeing results when they participate in regular therapy sessions and use therapeutic practices to address their behavior. It can be tough to change your mindset or change your emotional reactions on your own. Even if the whole family is supportive, it’s not easy to relieve BPD anger issues.
Working directly with a trained therapist can help teens with BPD anger issues address the root issues, learn new strategies for regulating emotions, and improve their distress tolerance. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is particularly effective for teens with BPD. Many DBT strategies for addressing emotions can be used at home and school.
If you are the parent of a teen with severe BPD anger issues, consider a therapeutic boarding school that includes individual therapy and family therapy. Family therapy sessions can help the whole family learn how to address BPD anger issues and adequately support the struggling teen.
Call us at 866-224-2733 to find out if we can help your family.