I Am Always Provoked To Wrath
Hi Dr. DeFoore
I really would like your help with dealing with anger issues. I find myself being verbally and physically abusive to the people that I am angry with which I know does not help the situation.
I am in a relationship with a man 14 years my senior. He is the love of my life and we get along great except for when we are having issues concerning the mother of his 5 year old son. Because she has lived with him for 4 years, she is very much threatened by me and we have fought before which I am not proud of.
But these fights are never something I initiate; it's always a case where I'm attacked and I retaliate. Now, she has moved from attacking me physically to spreading rumours and lies about me to his family members, and I am now seeing a change in their behaviour towards me. So now I'm the "bad guy" because I am seen as only the girlfriend while she is the mother of his child that still lives in his family household. Financially, she is unable to do otherwise and quite frankly my boyfriend does not care because we are seeking an apartment for ourselves.
But I am so upset and angry as to what she has done that I have become obsessed with finding out about her, for example, on social networks like Facebook. She blocked me but I am still finding ways to get to her profile.
I feel so emotionally drained because I want to get past this but it's so hard for me. I feel so much anger towards her. I really think bad things about her and ridicule her pictures to feel better about myself because I can't get back at her in anyway for what she has done. Can you please help with this?
Also, I realize that my boyfriend and my mother have a tendency to swear at me when they become emotionally heated, which I really don't like. I despise it so much, I get so angry and swear at them and even hit them physically--hoping they will get the point that I won't tolerate them being verbally abusive.
I know two wrongs don't make a right but the other night I hit my boyfriend so hard in his head, he had a headache for days. Please help me figure out how to control my anger.
My mother has been abusive for years, and I realize now that it is only when I retaliate by hitting her that she leaves me alone! I'm only 21 and have so much to look forward to in life. I've prayed about my anger issues, sought advice and it just seems I can't get past this built up frustration and pain I feel inside.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Sandra, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell you're a good person, and that is why you don't like all of the anger and abuse--your own and others'. I will do my best to help you.
First of all, what you say makes sense--that you learned in your past that the only way to stop your mother from abusing you is to hit her. That set up a pattern, and you have continued to use that pattern in other relationships. As you know, that just won't work, and it could destroy your life if you let it, not to mention the damage you might do to others.
So, let's figure out how to break the pattern.
Every one of these steps are important. Do not leave any of them out, if you want to get better.
First, write your own personal story out in full detail, as described on this page. You have to write out everything that has ever happened to you, all of the abuse, neglect, and anything that caused you pain.
Also start doing a daily anger journal, as described on that same page. This gives your anger a "safe place to go" so that you're less likely to explode and become violent.
Use these imagery processes for emotional healing, to resolve and heal the emotional pain from your past. This will really help you, if you do it.
Finally, start training your mind to look at the positive things in you, your life, and the people around you. The people you are angry at are not all bad, any more than you are. The third of the three journaling processes described in the first link above will help with that.
If you do each of these steps, Sandra, I think you will start to feel better, and you will be less likely to be violent. Your behavior, as you know, has become pretty extreme, and it is very important that you take action for change. These steps just might give you the focus, healing and control that you need.
I hope so. You are a good person, and you deserve a good life.
My very best to you,
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