Angry From The Day I Was Born
I don't remember a time of clarity even as a child, a time of not feeling anger. Even when I was happy that anger was there waiting for a chance to erupt. My mother once told me after my daddy had died of leukemia (I was 3) she would find me in my room pulling my own hair out. I remember that a little. I did it when I was older as well.
My anger caused my relationship with my mother to go down hill. She was a little angry too, so I ran away at 17. I started dating a man 12 yrs older than myself, married him, and here I am now 27 and the mother of two and still married.
My anger has caused horrid fights with my husband. I have smacked, kicked, screamed etc. at him more times than I can count. The last time he finally smacked me back. I realized then hitting hurts. I haven't offered to hit him in a while.
My doc put me on Zoloft. I stayed on it for about 2.5 yrs and I took myself off of it recently. It makes me so tired...zoned, really. I feel as though my anger is explosive, but not warranted.
I decided the Zoloft was my husband's way of controlling me. He made me go to his doctor and get on "something" or he said he would leave. His doc prescribes things rather easily, so he knew I would come home with something to "calm" me down.
As a child I saw and heard my step-father beating my mother. The first time I really felt angry was when I heard her crying. I went out into the kitchen at like 6 yrs old maybe. Anyway his finger had been cut and he tried to tell me my mother tried to kill him. Funny thing--I wanted to kill him. He made our lives terrible, stalking us after they divorced.
I still hate him, and he still scares me. But why am I so angry now? All the things I saw growing up. I made a vow as a child to be a kinder person, and I am. But if you hurt my feelings I blow up. If things don't go "right," or my way I blow up. I do not want to be on medication. They are not an answer, they are just a cover up. What can I do right here at home to calm down? The next time my husband ignores my birthday and I want to go from crying to screaming in 2.5 sec, what can I do?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Candace, and thank you for telling your story here. Although it may not be clear to you why you're angry, rest assured that it is there for a good reason. There is nothing wrong with you. All emotions are part of our perfectly designed body/mind system's self-preservation mechanism. Losing your father at 3 year old could easily have triggered strong emotion, and you are probably a naturally strong person, who gravitates toward anger because of the power it seems to bring.
The reason you're so angry now is that your emotional brain is telling you that the threat is not gone. As you said, "he still scares me." Anger is a protective emotion, designed to keep you safe. So, as long as you feel you are threatened in any way, you're likely to continue to feel angry.
The problem is, if you have unresolved emotional issues from the past, you will always find some kind of threat in the present to focus on as a reason to be angry. So, what we need to do is help you resolve your issues from the past.
Here is what I recommend: do all of the exercises described on this FAQ page. This will help you tremendously.
I can tell that you are a good person, Candace, and that's why you want to understand your anger and manage it better. Focus on that goodness inside you, and that will help you to feel better about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the less likely you are to get angry.
Believe in yourself, use these exercises, and you will get the results you're looking for.
My very best to you,