I Am Stuck And I Want To Stop Hitting Things
I have been bullied since I was in Primary School (Elementary for that matter), all the way till I was past Secondary School (High School). I only ever had one or two close friends in Primary and Secondary school. That was often enough for me to get by.
I'm currently studying in polytechnic, and am trying to put those events behind me, but I can't seem to. Back in primary school, I didn't have that feeling that I was about to explode at any time. Only after I got pushed down the stairs by a bully secondary school and fractured my knee, then did my anger issues start to get worse.
I wasn't violent, but I did quite a bit of shouting and swearing at people, including my parents and my older brother. At that point in time I remembered I didn't care about what happened any more as long as I got that pent up frustration out. I didn't want to tell anyone about what happened in school, especially my parents, since they would just brush it off as us being "playful children". Which of course just made me more annoyed.
These anger issues have continued all the way till now, with the addition of me punching inanimate stuff when I get angry. I never take my anger out on anyone but myself since most of the time I think that the fault is mine and not someone else's. A lot of times I have gotten angry, and either broke something, or just punched a wall repeatedly. The pain somehow always manages to calm me down. Though later I do regret it.
Another thing I found that calms me is playing my guitar, which I have been playing since secondary school, but stopped a bit as the bullying got worse. I do actually need some way to save my hands for that, since if something happens, I wouldn't be able to enjoy playing the guitar any longer.
Another thing to add is breathing deeply does help, but often, I act (punch something) before I could think to breath deeply. I have tried different methods, like counting to 10. Breathing deeply calms me the most.
I also got some form of mood swings going on (even though I'm a male), but they mostly swing between happy and angry. The happy periods are more of short bursts of "high time", which lasts for about 1-2 days up to a week, then the "irritation with everything around me" comes the day after the happy period. Then randomly a happy period decides to pop up again. During the happy periods though, I NEVER seem to get angry at anything. Even if someone comes up to me and swears in my face I wouldn't mind during that period. Take the complete opposite for those non happy period days.
But I would really like advice on how to stop and think before I act. That would probably allow me to breath first before deciding to punch a wall.
Advice on how to increase the length of the happy periods would also be a great help.
Thanks a lot for your time.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I appreciate the clarity of your writing, and your very specific questions. I will try to help.
You asked for ways to stop and think before you act, and to increase the happy periods. The methods I will recommend will help you do exactly that. You seem to have a good level of self awareness, and that's good. Awareness is the first step to change.
Do all of the recommended exercises on this FAQ page, and you will definitely see improvement in your self control, and over time, your periods of happiness will grow.
I want you to consider that the person you are when you're happy and not angry is who you really are...your authentic self. And the reason you don't like the unhealthy anger is that it doesn't match with who you really are. The anger is there for a reason, and you'll determine that reason as you to through the exercises I've recommended.
The more you use these tools, the better they will work for you...like any tools.
And keep playing that guitar! Making music is good for everything.
My very best to you,
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