Afraid Of What Will Happen
I think that I may have an anger problem. I tend to get irritated very easily, and it almost seems that if things do not go the way I think they should go, I will pretty much pop off.
Case in point...last night my girlfriend and I were having a good time after a great day. Then a co-worker called her phone (a female) looking for me, because her boyfriend made her delete my number out of her phone because me and him are not getting along. My girlfriend tells her I'm in the bath room, while I am standing right in front of her. So I call the girl on my phone and my girlfriend listens, (I let her cause there is nothing to hide with me).
My coworker is telling me about something that happened and then my girlfriend says that the girl disrespected her by calling her phone looking for me. I don't agree--but I do think that when my girlfriend asked her what she wanted she should have told her, instead of not telling her and making it seem like there was something to hide.
After we get off the phone, me and her got into it, and she says that she is going to call my co-worker's boyfriend and put a stop to all this. I tell her she needs to not put herself in all this mess. She says if you can talk to her, then I can talk to him. I said that is fine, you can talk to whoever you want but I do not like that man--I actually hate him.
She didn't seem to care much. So then she goes in her bedroom and pretends to call and talk to him. I didn't know she actually was not calling him at the time. I banged on her door very hard like I was about to break it down. She is afraid of me, and I am afraid of what I may do. I need to learn to control my temper, because I love this girl and I want to make it work.
When I get mad I call her names and yell. I don't want to be known as the abusive boyfriend or the guy with the bad temper. I go from 0 to 10 in a matter of seconds.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Maurice, and thanks for telling your story on this site so that others can benefit as well. I respect your integrity in your willingness to take responsibility for your part of the problem, instead of getting all caught up in blaming others. While it's clear that your girlfriend and your co-worker both had a part in what happened, your focus is on your anger and how you handled it instead of just focusing on what they did. Because you're smart and healthy enough to take responsibility, you have the freedom to change.
I want to help you understand your anger, where it comes from, and then I want to help you learn to manage it better. There is something in your personal history, some memory or story, that must be told for you to understand what's going on. That is where your rapid-escalation anger is coming from.
Here is what I want you to do:
1) Review your personal history, going as far back as you can, and write about all of the frightening, painful or shaming experiences you have ever had.
2) This writing is just for you--unless you want to share it with your girlfriend, or submit it as another contribution on this site. But while you're writing, rest assured that no one will read it unless you absolutely want them to. You can shred or burn it when you're done if that feels right to you.
3) Use the guided imagery process on this page to work directly with these traumatic memories and bring about your emotional healing.
4) Begin writing daily from your anger. You will find a full description of this type of journaling process on this page. Let it flow out on the page (again, this is only for your eyes), and don't hold back. No matter how foul, vulgar or whatever--just let it out. This gives you an opportunity to look closely at this unconscious part of you, which helps to heal and give you conscious control.
5) Also write daily about what you are grateful for, what you appreciate, and what you are looking forward to in your future. Keep doing this after your anger is winding down--I suggest you do it for the rest of your life.
6) Write about what you appreciate about your girlfriend--all of the little and big things about her that you love, admire, like or appreciate. When you're ready, tell her about these things.
By the way, you said you hate that man from your workplace--your co-worker's boyfriend. Keep in mind that hatred hurts the hater--meaning, when you hate somebody you're actually hurting yourself, because hatred is toxic to your system.
You're a smart man with a good heart. That's why you don't like your anger patterns, and that's also why you asked for help on this site.
Do not give up on yourself, Maurice. Ever. Stay with it, follow these recommendations, read the free information on this site, keep writing, and you will get there. Nothing will stop you from reaching your goals unless you decide to stop yourself. You have what it takes to do this.
My very best to you,
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