Anger issues and mortal sin


I know that cursing at a parent is a mortal sin, but if one has issues in dealing with anger outbursts, would he not have “full consent”, and thus it would be a venial sin?

Example: Jake has a history of getting very very angry at small things, and anything can set him off. His mom gets on his nerves, and he using improper language at her under his breathe (remember, he may have some tiny control but can’t really help it) and then regrets it afterwards once he realized what he said. Would he necessarily be in mortal sin?

I know I’m going to get the “just go to Confession anyways” response, but that’s not possible at the moment.

I’ll probably get the “ask a priest and not strangers” response, but even my spiritual director couldn’t tell if I’m in mortal sin. If any priest are reading this, by all means send me a PM.

I doubt it, and given my history of scruples I think I’m off the hook, but I’m not sure. I’m really not sure. I DO have anger issues (I’m not sure they’re very serious) that I believe I got from my extremely abusive father. When I said what I said I think I had half a second to choose to say it, but it happened about over a week ago. It may have just slipped.

Either way, would you guys mind praying that I can overcome my anger issues? I’ll snap at my mom and I can’t control this. I’m trying to figure out if I’m in mortal sin because on Friday I’m altar serving at a Mass with an Archbishop, and I feel afraid to not receive Communion in front of him.


I don’t get how you can’t control this. You can feel angry and not act on it. Unless you have brain damage which sometimes affects the ability to control emotions, you are in control of whether you express anger or not.


That’s what I’m trying to figure out. Words of anger seem almost automatic, and I’ll say some really stupid things before I can cool off. When I snap I usually have really angry thoughts for about a few seconds before I can stop myself. Am I sinning in those seconds before self-control kicks in? I didn’t think so, but I’m not sure and during those seconds I can say some really bad stuff. I don’t know if I consented to what I said a week ago.

I’m improving on controlling unwanted thoughts, but the automatic anger is a whole different issue.


Does anybody else deal with anger issues, and if so, how are you working on overcoming them?


This is part of growing up.
Realize that your parents are doing the best they can, they are providing everything for you. They love you. they deserve your respect. Go to your room and be quiet when you feel an outburst coming on. Ask your guardian angel to remind you to be respectful at all times.
Maturity is not automatic. We have to work on this.


In order to sin, you need at least partial consent. In order to commit a mortal sin, you need complete consent.


Sure - I get angry with my wife (thankfully not often) and my children (perhaps a little more often).

I think one of the most important things is to put yourself on a time delay (or even a time out). When you are angry, stop yourself from talking. Make sure anything that comes out of your mouth is processed properly in your mind first - do not blurt. Giving yourself this time will hopefully stop you from saying hurtful things to people you really do care about.

That’s step 1. Step 2 is to learn to make it about you, not about them. Practise lots of “I” statements and avoid “you” statements.

eg “I feel hurt when such-and-such happens”. “I feel frustrated when…”. “I get upset when…”

Avoid such comments as “You always do such-and-such and it drives me nuts”. or “Why can’t you just learn to…”.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve found helps me. But if in doubt, revert to step 1.


Thank you all for the replies. I’m planning on going to Confession tomorrow, so please pray for me.


I just wanted to jump in here and say I’m not sure if cursing at a parent is necessarily a mortal sin? I know my priest and I vaguely talked about in confesstion before.


If by “snapping at a mom” involves cursing, I’d say what does a person believe they are saying when they curse?
What is the definition of “curse”.
Words have meaning. They are important. That’s’ why they hurt so badly when hurled at people.
IN the beginning was the WORD…what we say has meaning. Words can lift, bless or affirm. Some words, like curses, damage.


If you live that as a problem, then it’s a problem. I can only tell you that unhinged anger will bring only pain to you. Keep working with patience on your self control, it’s worth it.


“Curses which imply rebellion against Divine Providence, or denial of His goodness or other attributes, such as curses of the weather, the winds, the world, the Christian Faith, are not generally grievous sins, because the full content and implication of such expressions is seldom realized by those who use them. The common imprecations against animate or inanimate objects which cause vexation or pain, those against enterprises which fail of success, so, too, the imprecations that spring from impatience, little outbreaks of anger over petty annoyances, and those spoken lightly, inconsiderately, under sudden impulse or in joke, are, as a rule, only venial sins — the evil being slight and not seriously desired. To call down moral evil upon a rational creature is always illicit, and the same holds good of physical evil, unless it be desired not as evil, but only in so far as it is good, for example, as a punishment for misdeeds, or a means to amendment, or an obstacle to commission of sin; for in such cases the principal intention, as St. Thomas says, is directed per se towards what is good. When, however, evil is wished another precisely because it is evil and with malice prepense, there is always sin, the gravity of which varies with the seriousness of the evil; if it be of considerable magnitude, the sin will be grievous, if of trifling character, the sin will be venial. It is to be noted that merely verbal curses, even without any desire of fulfilment, become grievous sins when uttered against and in the presence of those who are invested with special claims to reverence. A child, therefore, would** sin grievously who should curse father, mother, or grandfather**, or those who hold the place of parents in his regard, provided he does so to their very face, even though he does this merely with the lips and not with the heart. Such an act is a serious violation of the virtue of piety. Between other degrees of kindred verbal curses are forbidden only under pain of venial sin. To curse the devil is not of itself a sin; to curse the dead is not ordinarily a grievous sin, because no serious injury is done them, but to curse the saints or holy things, as the sacraments, is generally blasphemy, as their relation to God is generally perceived.” -from New Advent

You said that Jake realized that he was sinning AFTER he cursed?

Yes, Jake did something of grave matter (see bold words).

I sincerely, seriously, doubt he had full consent.

Didn’t have sufficient reflection/full knowledge at the time of the decision.

Not a mortal sin.

Should go to Confession to get graces not to curse again.

Jake is morally obliged to try to get rid of the habit in earnest, however, under pain of grave guilt.

But still didn’t commit a mortal sin.


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