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Hair Trigger Anger In My Marriage

by Anonymous
(Ontario, Canada)

How can I manage my anger? It happens so fast I cant stop it, and I really don't want it to happen. I yell right away, and I feel sorry after that. But it feels like I can't stop it from happening. I want to have a better relationship with my wife, but it feels like it gets worse.

Sometimes a small thing she will say ticks me off...and really from the inside of me, I don't want the anger, but it happens anyway. There's nothing I can do about it.

How can I stop all this from happening. I am sick of this. I don't know where to lay my head anymore. I know it isn't just me but I want to start with me, and see from there. Please help me soon before I anger my self to death. I don't know where to go or where I live or else I would have gone already. Thank you. I hope I hear from you soon.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Thank you for asking for help on this site. Your story is heart-felt, and readers can tell that you are sincere, and that you truly want help. You are taking responsibility for yourself, and that is excellent. That is why I can say with confidence that you are going to get the help you need here. Your integrity comes through in what you say.

You want things to get better with your wife, 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 am going to give you a lot of help here, because I have the feeling you will follow through and do the work to heal your anger.

I want to explain some things to you about your anger that will help.

1) Unconscious, hair-trigger anger like you are describing comes from the Reptilian brain--part of the Limbic system, where the fight-or-flight reflex resides.

2) Fight-or-flight reactions are literally light-speed in the brain, sending signals to your emotions, and that's why you feel out of control.

3) This is all happening at a primal, unconscious level in your brain, so your conscious mind seems to have no control at all over what is going on.

4) For some reason (which you can find out), your primal, Reptilian, fight-or-flight reflex is being triggered in your marriage, causing you to react to your wife as if she 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 wife 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 share it with your wife, or submit it as another contribution on this site. But 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 daily 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 wife--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 wife. Focus only on her positive aspects. This will help you to remember who you are, and why you chose to marry 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,

Dr. DeFoore

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Jan 04, 2017
Me Too
by: Kate

I have the same issue with hair trigger rage, and I've spent much of my adult life hating the roller coaster I've been on. I've been put on many antidepressants to help the depression but I can get through that, as unpleasant as it is.

It's the rage that I have trouble with. While mine takes something upsetting to trigger it, I'm off my block before I can control it. I've told myself for years that I have to be able to control it. Who would in their right mind really believe I can't control this rage?

It's my job to control it! It's practically destroyed my marriage and every other relationship I've had. And now I am the sole caregiver of my spouse with all of those additional stresses. I fear the antidepressants have made me worse than better, but it's dangerous changing meds and having to wait for a new drug to kick in.

I'm walking on a tight rope, I get no help or support from his family who live close by, so the isolation and inability to get away, get any relief is eroding my love of life. I fear I will snap one day and take my own life.

Response from Dr. DeFoore
Thanks for reaching out here. You can get a handle on this. I strongly encourage to check out this resource for help for caregivers. I know you feel alone, but you’re really not, unless you choose to be.

I know that your anger is more than just a response to being a caregiver. Use the resources on this site to help you with your anger, especially the anger test and the FAQ links in the left column.

You are a good person, and that’s why you want to get better. You will succeed, if you set your heart and mind to it.

Believe in yourself and the goodness of your heart.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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