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I Don't Know If I Need To Talk Or Listen

by Joel

I'm a 22 year old freshman at a community college, and I'm just always angry about everything. I have a problem where I just get frustrated with anything from driving to just hearing people say stupid things.

I have basically been angry since the beginning of high school and my grades reflected it. Although my grades say otherwise, I'd consider myself to be smarter than most, but I don't apply myself for some reason.

I've moved out of my parents home and gotten a "big-boy" job before at a machine shop, but I was treated like a child so much that I ended up waking up every single morning angry already. I would get into yelling fights with the management when people would break something/do something wrong and blame it on me even though it was completely out of my control.

Since I was so angry with my job and angry with the type of people working those types of jobs, I decided to go back to school and learn. HOWEVER, even the people at the community college made me so angry I just quit going. I've made a bunch of stupid decisions in my life.

I drink heavily but not alone, nor am I an "angry" drunk. All of my friends have turned into angry drunks, so now I don't even go to bars with anymore, so I just sit at home angry. My parents are normal, aren't physically abusive, haven't ever drank, and have good jobs.

Long story short, I hate everything, I hate everyone, I hate myself too much to even hurt myself, I hate that nothing ever goes as planned, I hate that nobody will ever help me, I hate all of my friends now, and I hate that I don't know what to do.

I just don't know if I have an anger problem or whether I'm bipolar or depressed or what. Even my family tells me they are worried for me. I just hate being around them so much I'm embarrassed of what they will think of me if I ask for help from them.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Joel, and thanks for telling your story here. You sound (and write) like a very intelligent young man, and it's very clear that you're having serious trouble with your anger. I'm sure this is very painfully frustrating for you, especially since you don't know what causes it, or what to do about it. I will try to help.

First, I want you to consider that if you don't deal with your drinking as a first priority, nothing else you do to help your anger will work. This is based on my professional experience, and the entire understanding around treatment of alcohol and emotional issues--the addiction has to be addressed first, or the emotional healing process just won't be effective. The reason for this is that the alcoholism occupies so much of your physical, mental and emotional energy that you don't have enough to do the challenging work of emotional healing.

I encourage you to read this page on alcohol abuse as one of your first steps. This is very important to your overall process of getting better.

Once you've got some focus and momentum going in that area, start using the anger healing exercises you will find on this page. These exercises are really tools, and if you use them regularly and consistently, you will get some good results. It's not a matter of whether they work, it's only a matter of whether you use them or not.

Even though you don't know what it is, Joel, you do have good reasons for your anger. Hopefully, doing this process will help you find out what those reasons are. There is nothing wrong with you--your anger is there for a reason, and you need to find out what it is.

The way you talk about your family makes me wonder if you somehow got a "role" in your family, that you're now subconsciously fulfilling. This is pure guesswork on my part, of course, but often the family role of "black sheep" or "golden child" can be very powerful in setting up a person for difficulties.

If there's something in your family that is part of your anger problem, that doesn't mean it's their fault. Even good parents with the best of intentions create family dynamics that can be very stressful for their kids.

To help you get started with the first of your writing exercises, try answering these questions for yourself in writing:

1) What are your earliest worst memories?
2) Who did you love the most growing up, and how did they treat you?
3) Describe any sexual or physical abuse you experienced.
4) Describe any experiences of abandonment or neglect.
5) Who loved you the most? What happened in that relationship?
6) What are the memories you keep going back to in your mind? Write about those in full detail.

You can do this, Joel. Think of your past as a gold mine, and you'll be digging through the dirt to find the gold...and the gold is the healing you're looking for.

Believe in yourself and the goodness in your heart.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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