I am a terrible person

We all do things we’re not proud of. We lose our tempers, we lie, we break promises and sometimes we can be cruel or selfish towards the people we say we love.

This doesn’t mean we are ‘bad’ people. Most of us never intend to behave this way. No one wakes up and says, ‘Today I’m going to behave like a complete knob head.’

All it means is that we have made a bad decision in the heat of the moment; that our fears and anxieties overwhelmed our ability to think straight.

Everyone has moments like these, and going over and over them in our minds doesn’t change what happened. Once we apologise to the person we offended or hurt, we can move on, and do our best to avoid repeating the same mistake.

However, if you find yourself flying off the handle or behaving badly towards people a lot of the time, it may mean that you have anger issues.

People who are constantly irritable, angry and resentful were often hurt in the past and have extremely low self-esteem. Many try to escape these feelings by drinking or taking drugs, which only amplifies their anger and makes them even more likely to lose their temper – creating a vicious cycle.

What can you do?

• Apologise

Take responsibility for your actions. ‘I’m so sorry. How can I make it up to you?’

• Forgive yourself

Let go of your guilt. You were doing the best you could at the time.

• Talk to a counsellor

If you are constantly feeling guilty and remorseful about your treatment of others (and yourself), you will need help to break out of this cycle. Call or chat online with a counsellor at:

Youth Beyondblue (1300 224 636) has 24/7 telephone support for young people up to 25; web chat 3pm–12am.

Mensline (1300 78 99 78) offers telephone and online support, plus a free call-back service 9am–11pm; and free 30-minute online text and video counselling sessions.

eheadspace (1800 650 890) offers telephone and online counselling 9am–1am 7 days.

The fact that you are even reading this post shows you are a good person. You don’t need to feel this way; you can be helped.