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by Abigail Van Buren

Employees Feel Cruel Blast of Owner's Explosive Temper

DEAR ABBY: My younger brother "Mike" and I are partners in a small manufacturing business. The problem is my brother's explosive temper.

When an employee makes a mistake, Mike literally throws a tantrum, kicking things and cursing at the top of his lungs. This is never done in private. He screams and criticizes the employee in front of anybody who will listen. Since he is "the boss," the employees just take it and silently curse him back. This makes for a miserable work atmosphere.

I have repeatedly told Mike that his tantrums make him look foolish, and his employees should not have to put up with his tirades. He apologizes, then loses his temper all over again.

Unfortunately, I can't fire him or punch him in the nose (which is what he needs!). I don't think he realizes that his behavior is cruel and insulting. How can I get through to him? -- BOTHERED BROTHER

DEAR BROTHER: Your brother's inability to control his explosive temper is unfortunate. His outbursts may have little or nothing to do with the situation that appears to trigger his tantrums.

Anger expressed inappropriately can have devastating effects. As I explain in my booklet "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It," counseling helps people learn how to express their anger appropriately. Support groups also may help. For a referral, contact your local mental health agency. You will find it in the Yellow Pages under "Counseling" or "Mental Health Services."