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(San Diego CA)
Last night me and my girlfriend got in a argument over an event that had occurred that evening. As we were talking to each other I could feel that my anger level was raising and taking control. From there is where it got a little heated. Mid argument I had turned and punched a fan that I had, and then I left the room.
I can honestly say that I have never thrown a blow over an argument. Now I know that I would never strike her but this has caused her to fear me. This is something that is not of my nature, but I do not blame her for being afraid.
I tried talking to her and reasoning with her, but when it comes down to it I know that the problem is within myself. She had been noticing that I do get a little angry when I am on the road, but I would have never imagined that it would effect our lives.
I am in desperate need of some advice and help to overcome this problem of mine. I know that I have some anger issues and for the most part I would say they are rather moderate. Regardless of how moderate or severe my anger issues are, I want help before problems get worse. If you could please provide me with any information that may help my case i would greatly appreciate it.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Chase. Thanks for writing your story on this site, so that you and others may benefit. It is clear from what you wrote that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions, and that you really want help. That is a very good first step.
You want things to get better with your girlfriend, and you don't like your anger reactions. That's because you're a good person inside, and you want your actions to match up with the goodness you feel in your heart.
I want to explain some things to you about your anger that will help.
1) Anger comes from the Reptilian brain--part of the Limbic system, where the fight-or-flight reflex resides.
2) Fight-or-flight reactions are subconscious, sending rapid signals to your emotions which then take over, and that's why you feel out of control.
3) For some reason (which you can find out), your primal, Reptilian, fight-or-flight reflex is being triggered in your relationship, causing you to react for a brief moment as if your girlfriend was the enemy. She's not your enemy, so you want this to change.
There is something in your personal history, some memory or story, that must be told. That is where your unconscious anger is coming from. The untold story/unexplored memory is stored in your Reptilian brain, and situations with your girlfriend are triggering a reaction from that place.
Here is what I want you to do:
1) Review your personal history, going as far back as you can, and write about all of the frightening, painful or shaming experiences you have ever had.
2) This writing is just for you--unless you want to submit it as another contribution on this site. While you're writing, rest assured that no one will read it unless you absolutely want them to. You can shred or burn it when you're done if that feels right to you.
3) Use the guided imagery process on this page to work directly with these traumatic memories and bring about your emotional healing.
4) Begin writing from your anger. Let it flow out on the page (again, this is only for your eyes), and don't hold back. No matter how foul, vulgar or whatever--just let it out. This gives you an opportunity to look closely at this unconscious part of you, which helps to heal and give you conscious control.
5) Also write daily about what you are grateful for, what you appreciate, and what you are looking forward to in your future. Keep doing this after your anger is winding down--I suggest you do it for the rest of your life.
6) Write about what you appreciate about your girlfriend--all of the little and big things about her that you love, admire, like or appreciate. When you're ready, tell her about these things.
7) Make up your mind to stop all criticism of your girlfriend. Focus only on her positive aspects. This will help you to remember who you are, and why you chose to be with her.
Most important of all--do not give up on yourself. Ever. Stay with it, follow these recommendations, read the free information on this site, keep writing, and you will get there. Nothing will stop you from reaching your goals unless you decide to stop yourself. You have what it takes. You can do this. You are a good person.
My best to you,
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