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(Jamaica, New York)
I know I have anger problems and I want to fix it but there are times where I just don't care. My parents have been on and off since I was seven. I use to get sick because I kept feelings to myself.
When I got older I stopped keeping my feelings to myself, instead I choose to take my anger and my frustration out on my mother. It seems like I'm always arguing with her and it's over little things. She tells me I need to stop being so angry like my father and just let it go but it's so hard for me. I've cursed and put my hands on her.
As a matter of fact the day before I was supposed to hangout with my friends and my mom told me no, I couldn't do it, after she said yes earlier. I started to scream and curse at her until my former friend/neighbor stepped in and told me off. He told I lost my mind and I have no respect.
I was so angry I destroyed this small TV and glass table that was in my basement. I was actually thinking of throwing a brick through the windshields of his and my mom's car or just slashing their tires. It actually felt good thinking about it.
After I cooled down I apologized and I explained why I get so angry. Even though I wasn't mad at my mom anymore I was still mad at my neighbor for getting in my way. The next night when he came over I punched him in the face twice. He said he doesn't want to have anything to do with me.
Part of me doesn't care, and was glad that I hit him, and the other part is feeling guilty right know. My mom told me if I don't apologize to him then she's gonna kick me out and send me to my dad's.
I really feel like I drove everyone close to me away just like my dad and I want to fix my problem. I've tried to fix it, but I haven't had any luck. I just need someone to talk to. I don't want to ruin my life.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Justin, and thanks for telling your story here. It is really good that you're asking for help. The kind of behavior you're describing does not need to continue, or it could lead to incarceration, or worse. So, let's see what we can come up with.
First of all, you need to take charge of your anger. Do all three of the journaling exercises on this page, and also use these imagery processes for emotional healing to resolve any past trauma you identify.
I'm guessing you're a teenager, but if you happen to be 18 or older, I suggest you move out and get a place of your own as soon as possible. I don't know the conditions at your dad's, but maybe that would be better if it would help you with your anger. If you're still a minor, then you're just going to have to do your best to control your anger at home.
You say you feel like two different people, and you refer to "part of me" that likes the violence and doesn't care about other people. I suggest you try this exercise to help with that:
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 rage. Keep going until you know for sure that it is accurate and really "captures" your emotion.
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 this image of your anger--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.
I hope you're serious about wanting to get better and control the anger and violence, Justin. Nothing less than your freedom and perhaps your life depend on it.
No one can fix this but you, and you have total power to do that. Follow these recommendations, and if you can, seek counseling for your anger.
Believe in the goodness in your heart. That's what made you tell your story here, and ask for help. You want better than what you've had with your anger, and you are worthy.
My very best to you, Justin
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