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I Need Help

by George
(New York)

This might get pretty long, so apologies in advance. I'm 48, single white male and a professional, into working out and fitness (no steroids! never! thank God). But I've been a road rager for about 25 years...from simple staring, to horn honking, to arguing to actually pulling over and challenging other drivers, and taking up challenges as well.

How those situations never actually crossed the line is beyond me, but my problem is, I sometimes seem to like messing with other aggressive drivers. For example, if I see someone coming up real fast I slow down and stay alongside another car so he can't pass and laugh if he starts getting mad.

This sounds silly but I feel like I'm allowing someone to "roll over" me if I get out of their way, my attitude is like "I don't care of you're in a hurry, screw you--slow down." I definitely have a problem with machismo dating back to being bullied as a kid and a teen, and now that I'm full grown it's almost like I look for it, to prove that I won't take it.

What compelled me to finally look for help, (I found this site doing a road rage help search), was an incident last Saturday evening. I was going to work, and traffic was moderate on a two-lane highway, and I saw some car weaving in and out. When he came up on me I stayed in the left lane. Then he passed, and he did use his signal, but squeezed in between me and the car in front of me. So I blasted him with my brights.

He then slowed down and I turned them off. Then he sped up. I should've let it go right there but I flashed my bright lights again. He moved to the right and I turned on my interior lights so I could be sure he saw me giving him the finger. then he pulled in front of me and I flashed again.

This time he started slamming on the brakes, almost stopping short, either to try and make me hit his car or someone behind me hit me. Then he took off. I tried to follow him but lost him in traffic, and now that I've had a couple days to cool down I realize it was my fault, that he did signal to get in front of me.

Most times I'm OK on the roads but there are other times where I'm a bastard, plain and simple. I just want to get a handle on this before I wind up in jail, the hospital or in the ground!




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Thanks for writing this, George. It is great that you are trying to get help before something worse happens. I strongly encourage you to practice these anger management techniques regularly until they become automatic. If that doesn't do the trick, you will need something more advanced. These CDs or these books will help you get to the heart of the matter and address the underlying causes of your anger. I provide telephone counseling as well, so feel free to contact me if you'd like to schedule a session.

Meanwhile, before you drive anywhere, take a moment, breathe deeply, and picture yourself staying calm and driving in a courteous manner. This might help you stay focused when you drive. You obviously are a good person, and don't want to continue to act in such a destructive, dangerous way--or you wouldn't have written this story. Don't give up. You can overcome this problem if you set your mind to it!

Comments for I Need Help

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Jul 01, 2015
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Anger Mgt Redux
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your comments. Wow, this was so long ago I'd forgotten I even wrote this post! I've gotten a little better but I still have my moments, unfortunately.

Drivers seem to have gotten even more belligerent and aggressive than ever, women included. I've had a couple of near altercations where words were actually exchanged outside the cars, but I guess we thought better of it both times.

It's actually pretty nerve racking to get into a situation like that. But my mindset is if someone gets aggressive with me that's when I myself get belligerent. When I leave to drive on the highways (local roads aren't bad) I try to give myself a pre-trip thought: "Would it be worth it? Is it that big of a deal that he cut in front of me without signaling, riding my bumper doing 70, or not dimming his brights right behind me?"

If there's a fight, no matter who kicks whose ass, it won't be good for either combatant." Most times that self talk works, but sometimes the anger/machismo still gets the best of me.

I know I don't enjoy driving like I did when I was in my 20's (mid 50's now) and that it's stupid and immature but I still sometimes do it anyway. Thanks for reading and good luck to all!

Jun 30, 2015
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You're Not Alone With Your Problem
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your story. I'm a calm and happy person (mostly) but behind the wheel I turn into a dangerous idiot. You are not alone.

May 07, 2012
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Thanks!
by: Anonymous

George,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I have had many such experiences of my own and I can totally relate to what you went through. I am 32 years old now, I have a job, a home, a wife, and a kid. Everything is good in life, but I turn into an a**hole the moment I get behind the wheel. It is time for the insanity to stop. For the sake of my sanity, for the sake of my family, I will try to be a different man when I take the wheel to drive to work tomorrow.

I read many such personal experiences online, but for some reason yours really resonated with me. Thanks.

Feb 05, 2012
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Oh Me Too
by: Heiniken Moore

I am so glad to know someone else out there is like me. Yes even when people signal to get over I purposely speed up and not let them over. WHY because like you said there was barely any room. Most of the time there is not room and they just get over. So I do flash my high beams and get on their tail and will go around and speed up and get back in my lane in front of them, so one they can read my bumper stickers and see a big raider sticker on my back window and most importantly get back in my lane and them behind me, cause that is my lane. But Yes I think we both need help cause really they just want to get over. I don't know why we get mad.

Mar 26, 2009
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From Dr. DeFoore
by: Dr. DeFoore

Great to hear the good report, George! Thanks for taking the time to pass along the good news. Your positive comments will encourage others with similar problems.

Well done!

Dr. DeFoore

Mar 26, 2009
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Thanks Dr. DeFoore
by: George

Hey Dr.DeFoore,
I wrote about a month ago about my problem with road rage, and I've been trying your tips and they seem to be working. I also try to "program" myself before I have to drive to be "calm and peaceful", and I've also found that driving in the slower lanes has helped as well. Not to say I haven't been tempted a few times, but I've kept the lid on! Thanks again,

George

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