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Being Controlled By Anger

by Christie
(Nashville, TN)

Well where do I begin? I am a 30 year old woman who is almost always enraged. Everything seems to make me so mad. Today I got so angry I was screaming and yelling and slamming doors. I also pushed and shoved and raised my hand at a person I love deeply.

I don't know what to do anymore. My father was an alcoholic and he was very abusive towards my mother. More verbal than physical, I remember hearing them fight because my father was always drunk. He was also very controlling. He was not very nice to my mother or I.

He used to call me an idiot or tell me I couldn't do anything right, or that he could do it better. He would yell at me at my baseball games and embarrass me. I hated him for a long time. When I was a teenager we had a birthday party for my father and I watched him as he got drunk and high and I was so angry I ran, and I didn't stop until I couldn't run anymore.

It killed me to see him smoking pot and I don't know why. When I had calmed down I returned to the party. He asked me where I went and I told him. He called me a liar and his exact words were "If you were messing around with boys I will kill you." I balled my eyes out for hours.

I was so scared of him. I returned home where my mother was asleep. I warned her that my father was drinking and smoking pot and he is on his way home. He arrived screaming and yelling and threatening to shoot both of us. He got his 22 pistol out of the gun cabinet and said, "If you don't open that god damn door I am going to blow it down."

My mother was crying frantically dialing 911. I told him the cops were coming and he called us both bi**ches and walked downstairs outside and waited for the cops to pick him up. I swear I am scarred for life.

To make a long story short I am him. I verbally and physically abuse the people I love, I try to control everything around me and if I can't control it I get enraged. I don't want to be that person anymore. I just want to be happy. Please help me, I will do whatever it takes.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Christie, and thank you so much for telling your story here. Your story is powerful, and it is clear to me that as you say you don't want to continue this way. That's very good. I will do my best to help you.

I want to encourage you. I've helped lots of people solve the kind of problems you're dealing with. You got a good start by telling your story in the detail you used here. The first thing I'm going to recommend is more of that.

Here is what I recommend:

1) Write a detailed account of all of the abuse, abandonment or neglect you received as a child. Don't hold back or leave anything out--this will include your memories of your father's alcohol and drug use, by the way. Describe every detail. Write about everything that has ever hurt, frightened or angered you. I know it might take a while, but it will really help. This is for no one's eyes but yours, so don't worry about that. The benefit is how it will help you to revisit these memories from your present position. What's the point of this? It's where your anger comes from--all anger comes from some kind of emotional pain and/or fear.

2) Now that you have brought up those memories, use the guided imagery healing processes you will find on this page to heal emotionally from the abuse. Use these techniques, and keep trying until you get some relief. They are powerful tools, that work very well if you use them. This imagery process will give you a chance to "re-parent" yourself.

When you deal with your past experiences in this way, it will make the following techniques work much better for you. So be sure and do the above exercises before moving on to the following ones.

Use the journaling processes you will find described on this page to understand, heal and manage your anger more effectively on a daily basis.

And here is a process for releasing your parents--this will really help you separate yourself from your father and start to see who you are as a separate individual:

1) Write down all of the ways in which you are like your mom and your dad. Look at that list and ask yourself if there are any of those qualities or behaviors you want to keep. In other words, choose what you like from the list.

2) Then write down all of the ways you are different from your mom and dad. 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.

4) 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. Get it all out, and write it down--but picture their faces while you're writing. Now tell them, "I'm not your child any more. I'm a grown woman, and I take total responsibility for myself. It is time for me to take charge of my life and make my own decisions, without your influence." Then, when you feel a sigh of relief in your body, say "Goodbye" to them and let their images fade.

I do not suggest you say these things directly to your parents, unless that absolutely feels like the right thing to do. This is just for you.

Believe in yourself, Christie. You get to choose, moment by moment what kind of person you're going to be, and these exercises will help you make the right choices, again and again until it becomes second nature--because it is your first nature.

Feel free to write again, or comment on this story if you like. I'd like to hear from you about how you're doing.

Never, ever give up on yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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