I Chased The Man I Love Away
Dan and I were together for one year. We had a lot of ups and downs, and this was our second major break up. When we met, we were both working, but I became unemployed shortly after we met. Because of that, I became very insecure and I started second guessing him a lot. By March of this year he said he had enough of my insecurities and my controlling behavior, so we broke up.
We kept talking during that time, and I apologized for the ways in which I hurt him. I told him I would change, and I did for a while. We got back together at the start of May. Things were good for about two months, then I started being verbally abusive to him again. I'd curse at him, threaten to break up with him, and turn minor fights into big blowouts.
Mind you, we didn't fight all the time. But, in the last two months it became much more frequent, to the point where he said he only enjoyed my company 50% of the time. The last straw for Dan came two weeks ago when we started off having a nice night, but I picked a fight. As usual, it escalated and I grabbed his arm to pull him to me, and accidentally left nail marks. He still claims I did it on purpose, but I didn't and I really regret it.
He says he doesn't trust me anymore, and he doesn't think he ever wants to be with me again. I know I have a problem, and I know I need help. I broke his heart and his trust and I never meant to do either of those things. Is there any way to fix this, and possibly get him back? I love him dearly, but I also want him to be happy.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. It is great that you are taking responsibility for your anger and aggressive behavior. That is the first step to change, and now that you have taken that first step, I will give you some other steps to take that might just help you get to where you want to be.
I think it's clear to you that your anger has a mind of its own--and yet it lives in you. Here is a process that will help you bring that unconscious emotion into your conscious control so that you can act more like the good person you really are.
Try these approaches, and see if it helps:
1) Come up with a mental picture of your anger. Keep searching for an image until you have a clear picture in your mind. Amplify it, making it larger than life, even if it is cartoon-like. It needs to fully embody your anger, so that it is completely consumed and illustrates exactly how you feel when you're filled with anger. Keep going until you know for sure that it is accurate and really "captures" your emotion. It needs to not look like you--you are much more than this emotion. This image has to be purely your anger and rage, nothing else.
2) While picturing it in your mind, say this to it: "I can see that you are a part of me. I created you a long time ago, for my protection. If I let you run my life, you will destroy it. I'm not going to try to kill you or make you go away. You have a place here, but you're not going to be in charge any more. I'm taking over, which will keep both of us safe. I know you're strong, but your strength belongs to me, and I choose to use it for good things."
3) Notice how the image responds or changes in your mind while you say these things. Keep working with it in this way until you begin to see a healthy anger image start to emerge. Ultimately, you want to transform it into a loyal ally--that's what happens when your anger is healthy.
4) Every time you start to get angry, picture the unhealthy image of your anger--the first one you saw, and keep at it until you can see it clearly. This is called "See It Don't Be It," and it will help you to manage your anger.
5) Next, do the anger journaling exercises on this page, to give your anger someplace to go on a regular daily basis.
These are tools. Like any tools, they are useless if you don't use them. And, like any tools, the more you use them the better you will get at it, and the more you will benefit.
Believe in yourself--the part of you that wants to have good relationships. Believe in your good heart, your courage to face your anger head-on and transform it into something useful.
You can do this. You are a strong young woman. Use that strength to face the goodness in your heart and soul.
This has nothing to do with "getting Dan back." This is about getting yourself back. Only then can you have a healthy, lasting relationship.
Whatever you do, never, ever give up on you. Believe in yourself and the goodness in your heart.
My very best to you,
P.S. If you found this to be helpful, please consider making a donation to this site to support our mission to help you become your own best anger management resource.
P.P.S. If you got something of value here, we would also greatly appreciate it if you would click the "Like" button at the top left corner of this page.