(La Crescenta, CA U.S.A.)
I am a man, early fifties, undergoing counseling and neuro feedback therapy to treat my anger issues. My wife is threatening divorce while we have two beautiful children, an eleven year old and a three year old. Essentially, my wife is at wits end with my behavior which has exhibited bursts of non violent anger (mostly yelling), and evidence of my need to control.
My history as a child was one of abuse. My older brother would beat the crap out of me, or allow his friends to beat the crap out of me while he watched. He had also conducted sadistic experiments on me with electrical wires plugged into a socket while he would probe the energized current on to my body. He had also sexually molested me when I was nine years old, and he was thirteen.
All of this must have hard wired my brain to protect myself at a moment's notice -- almost like a knee jerk reaction.
Since my brother wasn't big and strong, my dad tried to teach him how to fight. When we were kids, there was a bully on the block who kept harassing my brother. While my dad gave my brother fighting lessons, I would watch attentively and pick up on the tricks. As it turned out, I learned to fight and my brother didn't.
We lived in a tough neighborhood, Hawthorne, California during the early sixties. At this time there were white gangs claiming territory to various street corners. Being challenged by some of these gangs, they would pit me against a kid who was about my size and let us duke it out. In short time, I gained respect by holding my own in the neighborhood. And, I'm talking about a time when I was six, or seven years old.
There was one day when my older sister and I had an argument which evolved into a fight. My dad was there watching. Instead of breaking up the violence, I can clearly recall my dad coaching my sister through every move until she had me in a choke hold and I almost went unconscious.
Bear in mind that my father is an educated man. He has a degree in psychology that he received from Pepperdine University in the late 1940's. My mother, a U.C.L.A. graduate, was a career elementary school teacher. My father served in WWII as a battlefield medic. Both of my parents were raised by immigrants who landed on Ellis Island.
My father's father was a very successful Los Angeles business man who essentially turned the business over to my father and uncle. My mother's father came from more humble means as a diner chef. I was always afraid of my father's father. Yet, my grandfather on my mother's side was my best friend while growing up. The only caveat is that he had a very bad temper.
As my siblings and I grew older, both my brother and sister became high school drop outs. They had both experimented with drugs during the early seventies, and my sister eventually developed a serious bipolar condition that she has to this day. I was the only child who not only graduated high school and community college, but I was also a celebrated athlete with many awards to my credit.
I became a work out freak in high school where I could bench press over 400 lbs. I was built like Hercules, and could throw people around at will if I had to. And, I did this all with a 5'-8" 185 lb. frame. Eventually, I won the National Championships in my weight division in professional arm wrestling.
The day came where my brother had challenged me to a fight. I'll never forget how I dominated him like a cat teasing a mouse before it decided to have it for dinner. I can't begin to explain the satisfaction I derived from that experience.
Meanwhile, my dad's family business began to fail, largely due to the negligence of my brother. My dad had put my brother in charge of the business that my grandfather had built into an empire. Sadly enough, there was no chance of recovery from the errors that my brother had made.
At this time, I had received my A.A. degree and was accepted to U.C.L.A. It was my desire to study English. However, my dad -- who I forgot to mention is an alcoholic -- refused to pay for my education unless I majored in business. As a result of his lack of support, I never finished my formal university education.
Through many more episodes of feeling obligation to my dysfunctional family, I eventually became a building contractor and built a home on my parent's 10 acre property with my parent's material financing. I finished the project just prior to getting married. I was thirty eight years old at the time. And, the project took me nearly two years to complete since I had performed the task with my own two hands.
This was the time that I decided to unload a great secret that had vexed me throughout my life. Since my brother lived on the property as well -- still flaunting about as the number one son in the family, and continuing to treat me as a subordinate -- I decided that I couldn't take it any more. Now that I had become married while matching the same marital status of my brother, I felt it was necessary to tell my parents about the abuse that I had experienced from my older brother: right down to being sexually molested.
I had decided to tell the truth about the issue because I fervently believed that I would receive the compassion, understanding and support of my parents. After all, now that I had become married, I wanted to rid myself of the nearly thirty years of anger and resentment that had built up like a pressure cooker.
Instead of receiving any kind of compassion and understanding, my parents asked that my newlywed bride and I leave their property.
So, for the past fifteen years of marriage, I have been so resentful of my parent's decision that it is unimaginable. For years, I did not speak to my parents or brother. Yet, from time to time, we rekindled and then flickered out again. I even tried to forgive my brother and start life fresh. However, my brother has always maintained a position of poisoning my parents with horrible claims against me whereby they have been brainwashed.
All the while, my brother has been granted the opportunity to build his own 4,500 square foot home on the 10 acre property and conduct a business there as well. To my parents, my older brother is the "perfect" son. And, I am the ingrate.
I had discovered recently that my parents have essentially "given" the house that I had built from scratch to my brother whereby he has found a tenant and receives rent.
The bottom line, my relationship with my parents and brother has tormented my life. My anger and resentment toward them has infected me in a way that I have treated my precious wife in a manner based on what I had experienced while growing up.
I want an end to all of my anger and resentment so desperately that I can taste it. I have been attending therapy three times a week over the past several months (since my wife had threatened divorce). I have noted great improvement in my thinking and actions that are nothing short of a miracle to me.
Although any notice of my improvements must follow a much slower evolution with concern to someone like my wife -- who no longer trusts me, and sees me daily -- I am patient, and pray that she hang on long enough to witness my transformation.
Nevertheless, there is the need for forgiveness. And, as far as my parents are concerned, I believe that -- in my heart -- I can forgive them. They are both in their mid eighties, and my father's health is weakening. I can understand that they probably tried to do their best according to what they knew.
Yet, as far as my brother is concerned, I have great difficulty in forgiving him. He is a man in his late fifties who is a marijuana addict and lives in evident paranoia. He would not lift a finger to help me if my wife and children were drowning in a flood. He would much rather contemplate the "illumanati" and how there is a "select few" who control the world -- all the while toking on a joint.
My brother sickens me. If I could legally kick his ass, I'd do it in a heart beat.
I have lived with great resentment for nearly my entire life. I have repeatedly been told by my father to "go f___ myself.... you're an a__hole.... you don't know what the f___ you're talking about," etc., etc., while my mother has repeatedly told me, "You're an ingrate... you don't have the proper perspective.... we've given all of our children the best we can provide...." etc., etc., etc.
All the while, my parents have embraced my perpetrator, and have abandoned me, my wife, and my children (their grandchildren). Furthermore, my brother, his wife and two daughters have received every advantage and opportunity that my parents could possibly provide.
I have struggled as a sole provider to offer my wife and children the best that I have to offer -- all of my own effort.
Please note that what I have attempted to explain isn't even a fraction of the circumstances that I have experienced from my parents and brother.
My first priority is to heal myself. That's why I have stumbled upon your website. My wife and children are my world, and I would do anything not to lose them -- not to mention becoming the best and most loving husband and father that I can be. I really mean this most sincerely.
In addition to therapy, I have explored book after book.... from Wayne Dyer to Eckhart Tolle to Lao Tsu to Don Miguel Ruiz to Dr. Norman Vincent Peale to Esther/Abraham to The New Testament... you name it....
I am ready for complete transformation!
I welcome any supportive input that may enable me to become an empowered, loving and virtuous man who is willing to eradicate anger and control issues once and for all.
I welcome your suggestions with an open heart and mind.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello George--you will find my response here.