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Anger Management Techniques Don't Work Once I'm In My Anger

by Steve

My name is Steve. I am 37 years old. I am not married but the father of two and have been living with my girlfriend (kid's mom) for around 8 years now.

We have had a very rocky and pretty much downright abusive relationship with each other for some time. When it's good it's really good and when it's bad it's really bad. There has been alot of drinking and fighting.

We both do try and when it's at a good state we get along fantastic. We both realize drinking has been the main root of the problem but when there's long periods of sobriety I still find myself having the most difficult time of letting go of the past.

Every time I think I can or have successfully achieved the point of moving forward something will happen like an argument or a certain comment will set me right back into motion of living those moments. I become unglued and say some very hurtful things to my girlfriend, throw stuff, swear and basically just become out of control.

I am ashamed of my behavior but I can't stop myself when I'm in that moment. There are many times when I do force myself to walk away and it literally takes every thing I have to make myself do it which controls the situation for the time being but the anger never leaves and confrontation is always around the corner.

It only stops when I actually exhaust myself from fighting leaving both of us emotionally drained and depressed. I cannot afford classes at my county community programs and they only take private insurance so I've begun to search on-line for any type of assistance or even chat groups to learn from people who have the same issues. I've read quite a bit about steps to take on how to control my anger but I just can't break that barrier to institute what I've learned during those outbreaks of anger. Thanks for reading.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Steve, and thanks for telling your story here.

First, if you keep drinking, you can't expect anything to get better. Get sober, get in recovery and stay committed to that. Without sobriety, nothing else I'm going to recommend here will make any difference. Also, if you're not sober, you won't even be able to do what I am recommending.

That said, regarding your anger, here's what I think the problem is.

You're a good guy, and you want to change. You don't like the anger because it doesn't match up with who and how you want to be.

You said, "I just can't break that barrier to institute what I've learned during those outbreaks of anger." That's the problem. When you're in the anger explosion, it's too late to use your anger management tools. You have to do things when you're calm and relaxed, on a regular ongoing basis, until the problem is resolved.

Here's what I recommend:

Do the three journaling processes on this page, following all of the instructions.

Use these imagery processes for emotional healing to resolve past trauma.

Again, Steve, use these when you're calm and feeling good. Once the escalation process has begun, you may be in for the ride--try to prevent that.

You can do this. Do the work, and it will work for you.

Believe in yourself and the goodness in your heart.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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