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(Green Bay, WI)
I grew up with 4 older brothers who picked on me and were not loving. I learned to be cocky, hide my feelings and strike out at others. I say it like it is and get angry easily if I'm frustrated, stressed out or someone disrespects me.
Just about every relationship I've been in, I have been dumped. My last one he told me he didn't like the mean side of me, though it only came out once and that is when he ignored me and wouldn't acknowledge me after he broke up with me.
My daughter tells me I get mad easily and when I do get upset with her from something she didn't do or did do I lose it. I swear, slam things etc. That's only when I have to repeat myself several times in a few days about the same thing.
I don't want to be angry or yell at my child like my mom did to me. She has a terrible way of talking to people and she gets excited and angry very easily. I don't want to be her.
Please tell me what I need to do, to be a better person without anger rising up in me! I didn't realize I needed help until my daughter and ex boyfriend pointed it out to me. I even took an emotional intelligence course at work because I got in trouble with a girl at work who annoyed and harassed me till I couldn't take it anymore--and I was the one labeled! I'm confused whether I have a problem with anger or if I can only take so much and I lose it.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Kim, and thanks for telling your story here. It is clear that you're a good person, and how you're expressing your anger isn't matching up with how you want to be. I especially get that you don't want to be like your mother in how you deal with your emotions and other people.
You ended your submission with the statement, "I'm confused whether I have a problem with anger or if I can only take so much and I lose it." It doesn't matter what provokes you or how justified you may feel, if you're "losing it" then you have a problem with anger. There are many healthy choices you have for dealing with your anger, and here are some of those now:
I highly recommend that you do the three journaling exercises on this page. This will help you review past trauma, contain your anger and make it more conscious, and shift your focus to the good things in you and the world around you.
To help with your past trauma, I also recommend that you use these imagery processes for emotional healing.
And here is a process for getting free from the influence of your mother:
1) Write down all of the ways in which you are like your mother. Look at that list and ask yourself if there's any of those qualities or behaviors you want to keep. In other words, choose what you like from the list, and I'll help you let go of the part you don't like.
2) Now write down all of the ways you are different from your mother. These are the things that make you unique as an individual. Look at this list, and choose what you like from it.
3) Make a third list, that includes only those things you like from the above two lists.
Now repeat that entire process with your father and any other significant influences from your past, and combine the two lists of the things you like and choose for yourself.
Next, picture both of your parents in front of you. Thank them both for all of the good things they've done for you, leaving nothing out. Then tell them both about the things you didn't like. Give the anger and excitability patterns back to your mother. You didn't ask for them, and they're not yours.
Get it all out, and write it down--but picture their faces while you're writing.
Now tell them, "I'm not your little girl any more, and I am not a result of your influence. It is time for me to take charge of my life and my emotions."
Believe in yourself, Kim. Believe in the goodness in your heart, because that is who you are.
Follow these recommendations, and you'll definitely get results.
My very best to you,
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