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Anger In Progress

by Steve
(Detroit)

I've always vowed to not be like my dad. My family feared his angry, abusive side. When my siblings and I were young, my dad would leave the house any time we cried, and would be gone for hours at a time. He'd come home drunk, not caring that my mom was left tending to screaming kids.

As we got older, I became the target of his rage against my mom's disagreement with his rules. I was physically abused almost daily until around age 15. I was the oldest child, and I was targeted any time he got mad. I was hit by his fists, paint mixers, wooden spoons, belts, extension cords... anything he could find.

The cycle continued until I finally fought back and won. I made it my life goal to be the opposite of what I saw in him.

I am now 25 years old, with a 3 year old son. I am told that I'm a great dad, and my family is proud that I am not raising him the way my dad "raised" us. Unfortunately, I seem to have picked up some habits from him in other areas of my life.


Even though I'm typically far more advanced than others on my team at work, I can't keep a job very long. I'm lucky to hold a position with a company for more than 6 months, and I'm jobless every 9 months on average. Relationships have gone sour repeatedly. Girlfriends in the past have snapped to the point of physically assaulting me, and everyone thought I was just picking "the crazy ones".

I'm now with an older woman, who is the most amazing person I've ever known. Everything about her is the exact opposite of those who I've dated in the past. Recent fights, though, have made her angrier and more upset than she has ever been before, and it is now that I realize that my worst fear has come true -- I am becoming my dad.

My anger gets out of control quite often, and I hurt the people in my life that I care most about. I bottle up my feelings until they explode, and I say mean things, I make stupid accusations, I don't listen, and I try to turn my own pain against them. I keep promising change, but I've not known how or where to focus my energy to bring about that change.

After taking the self assessment on your site, I appear to have extreme anger issues. I desperately want to identify and eliminate the source of this issue. The relationship that I am currently in is one that I don't want to lose, and I've come dangerously close several times.

I'm surprised she hasn't totally left me yet, but I'm grateful that she hasn't. I want to prove to her that I can be different, that I'm not my dad, and that I'm capable of loving her and treating her the way she deserves. Please help me tackle this problem. I'm desperate.




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Steve. Thanks for submitting your story to this site. Others will read and benefit, so you're helping yourself and others as well. Here is what I recommend:

1) Make a list of the ways you are like your dad, both good and bad. Be specific, and totally honest with yourself. Make up your mind to keep what is good and to shed what is not. I'll help you do that further down the list.
2) Make a list of the ways you are different from your dad. This is who you really are. Celebrate and embrace these aspects.
3) Write a detailed (I know, it's a big job) account of all that you can remember about the abuse that he perpetrated on you. This is essential, and it will begin your healing process.
4) When you feel ready, have a conversation with your dad in your head. Picture him in front of you, as if he was sitting there looking at you. Tell him all that you appreciate about him--this is important. Then tell him what you don't appreciate, and what you wish had been different. Don't hold back in this, tell him exactly how you feel, and how his actions have affected you. And tell him that you are not him, and how you are different from him. You may need to do some anger release work at this point.
5) Then see the best and worst of him in front of you, as if he was two different people. Then give him your permission to be who he is, and tell him that you set him free. And set yourself free to be the person you were born to be.

Steve, this will only work for you if you're ready. You may need some anger counseling from a professional to complete the process.

If you want to, you may also want to read some of the books or listen to some of the CDs you will find in our products store. This book in particular will guide you through a lot of processes that will help you to heal your anger and let go of your father.

You are a good man, Steve. That's why you don't want to be like your dad. That's why your anger is unacceptable to you as it is. Inside, you know the kind of man you want to be. That is who you really are, and who you are becoming. It will be helpful if you write in detail about the kind of person you want to be, and expand on that regularly.

Also, start keeping a daily journal. When you feel angry, write from your anger--let it come out pure and unfiltered. This will help it to dissipate. Then write about what you are grateful for and what you appreciate about yourself and you wife and your life in general. This will help a lot.

My best to you in your journey, Steve.

Dr. DeFoore

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Nov 10, 2009
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Same as That
by: Jenevea

My father was sexually abusive and I haven't seen him since I was twelve. I'll be 32 in December. The result of that was that I felt my mother was all I had, even when she remarried and I had a new dad, brother and sister. She was still the only person in the world who truly was in my corner. And she was a complete bitch on a daily basis. Even now she says things that are critical, judgmental and incessantly negative. (For instance, at a time when I was most lost in my life, she said I was just like my father and she didn't know what help there was for me. She told me I couldn't come to family Christmas if I brought my boyfriend, whom she later admitted she did like. When I fell in love with my current partner, she WARNED him against me, telling him that what he sees is not what he gets. Me and my sister recently got into a fight and she called me up to say that she 'didn't want to get involved but until you start being nice to your sister, I don't want anything more to do with you.' At this point I'd rather not be around her at all. I know my mom can be a lovely person, but she has so many issues that she has not dealt with (e.g. my father, her own father, other abusive relationships) that prevent this. Things that have stacked up over her life, piled up so high she has no idea where to begin, no idea that she CAN even do anything. She wouldn't even if someone showed her. In her eyes, people who seek mental help are crazy.

I always swore I'd never be like her.

But my son is two, and I yell at him, scream at him, yank his arm, cursing (I am able to stop before I hit him. But I am afraid this could be in the future. If it happens, I will feel like the most vile monster on this planet.) It is horrible. I feel horrible, I feel so upset with myself that I could cry. So disappointed. I'm just like her.

But I am going to get control. I am going to beat this. I beat cigarettes; I beat alcohol. I am going to find a way to control this outrageous emotion. I don't want my son to hate me the way I hated my mother growing up, the way I hate her every time she says something mean, nasty, rude, wrong, or otherwise negative.

Sometimes I feel bad and ungrateful because I feel this way about my mother. It is just another way I am like her, to think bad or negative things of others. Unlike her, I am willing to see the bad things about myself. She rarely would. She could always point out everyone else's faults but never ever pointed out her own. I think perhaps with time, I will forgive her, even though she refuses to admit she's done anything wrong and simply APOLOGIZE, just admit to me that she is sorry for every time she backhanded me across my face for every ugly name she called me. But for now, right now, if I pretend everything she did and said to me was okay, then I am afraid I will accept it as reasonable behavior and do it to my son, and any subsequent siblings.

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