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Broken Heart Leads To Angry Man

by Joseph

I grew up a happy kid. As I became an adolescent things were a little different, but I still was pretty decent to people. Then my family began to move around and my life changed. I left the friends I had grown up with and my first girlfriend.

After my last 3 years of high school, I went to college for a semester and dropped out and got married. My parents were not happy about it, and I believe it was the real beginning. I would get into fights with my mom and dad, thus resulting in not seeing them for long periods of time.

I decided to get a good job and stay with it and buy my first house with my first wife. By the time I was 21 I had bought 2 houses and was doing just fine as I thought. When my first daughter was about 12, my wife decided she didn't love me any more.

Now I know she had reasons, since we did fight a lot, but we did makeup all the time. I thought this was okay since I had saw my parents and grandparents do the same thing. Truth of the matter, I thought that one day she would be coming back but that did not happen.

I became involved with another, and I basically let her take the first one's place. I did not get to see my first daughter very much and so I had to give my attention to my new stepsons, and then we had 2 more kids. Now I see the same cycle happening and I do not want the same thing to happen especially with 4 kids.

It seems that I just fly off the handle about things I shouldn't. I think I am maybe a little controlling and that is the problem. What can I do to stop this cycle from happening again?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Joseph, and thanks for telling your story here. I support you in your efforts to manage your anger, and to protect your family.

First, consider that you have very good reasons for your anger, although those reasons are most likely not fully grounded in your present circumstances. In other words, you have older issues that are triggered by your present situation, making your reactions stronger than they need to be.

I recommend that you take a good long look at your history, your anger patterns, and your mental focus.

First, do the three journaling exercises on this page. This will help you to identify some of the prior issues that underlie your anger. Also, look at the influence of role models. See if you can figure out where your patterns of controlling others came from.

Controlling behavior arises out of fear. Make a thorough list of all of your fears, and one of the other exercises I will recommend will help with that.

The anger journaling process is especially important. Do this daily, as a way of staying "on top of" your anger. Be aware that this is a way of containing your anger, and bringing it under your conscious control.

Then do these imagery processes for emotional healing, as a way of addressing and resolving your past trauma and fears--which by the way, are the problems that underlie your anger issues.

Finally, begin shifting your mental focus to what is good, right and working in your life, with the positive journaling process described in the link above. This is extremely important. Do this daily, for the foreseeable future, and it will gradually help you to re-train your brain and shift your habitual focus from the problems to the good things in yourself, your family, and the world around you.

I have a strong feeling that you can and will do this, Joseph. I think you're a good man, who wants to do the right thing for your family.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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