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(Chandler, Arizona, USA)
I find ways to get angry at every single thing in my life! Even when I am not winning on a silly Ipod game, I start hitting myself and I find the urge to yell and throw things. When my parents refuse to let me do something, I scream and scream at them and recount every mistake they made when raising me to make them seem like horrible parents.
When my friend doesn't answer my calls every time or call me when she's at home, I yell at her for it. Sometimes when someone says something at home, I become so infuriated I beat my dog when she's right there simply because it's the only thing I can hit without getting in trouble--I mean I can't hit my parents.
What's worse is, when I make a mistake, I am angry at everyone else and blame everyone around me but myself. Just recently I caused a minor car accident and I didn't have my license with me. When I had to go to court, I was angry at everyone involved, the woman I hit, the police officer, and my parents for criticizing me for it. Why do I get so angry at these things? Is my life simply unfortunate or am I looking at it in a bad way?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Maci, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell you're having a very hard time, and that you really want help. You want help because you know it should and could be better. There is goodness inside of you, and the anger does not match up with your internal goodness.
I want you to consider that there are very good reasons for your anger, and you need to figure out what they are in order to heal emotionally. I suggest you start by practicing the anger management techniques (link on left) on a regular, daily basis. Don't stop trying, even if it seems like it's not helping. It will help, if you just keep doing every one of the techniques.
Also, to get to the story behind your anger (the reasons for it), do the writing exercises on this page, on a daily basis until you're getting relief. Then if the anger comes back, start doing them again.
I think you may have been abused or neglected in some way in your past. One thing you mentioned is being criticized by your parents. Even if that's the worst that has happened to you, it's enough to create an anger problem. Criticism is very destructive, and it can eat away at a person on a deep emotional level.
Use these imagery processes for emotional healing regarding each of the traumatic memories you wrote above in the journaling exercise. This will really help you, if you do the exercises.
You're a good person, Maci. This anger is not who you really are.
Please stop hurting your dog, Maci. She's innocent and cannot defend herself. Hit a pillow, scream into a pillow, or take a long walk. Don't hit yourself or anyone else.
Some of what you're going through might have to do with your age, and trying to become an individual separate from your parents.
You might want to try the following exercise for letting them go
1) Write down all of the ways in which you are like your mom and your dad. Look at that list and ask yourself if there's any of those qualities or behaviors you want to keep. In other words, choose what you like from the list.
2) Then write down all of the ways you are different from your mom and dad. These are the things that make you unique as an individual. Look at this list, and choose what you like from it.
3) Make a third list, that includes only those things you like from the above two lists.
4) Next, picture both of your parents in front of you. Thank them both for all of the good things they've done for you, leaving nothing out. Then tell them both about the things you didn't like. Get it all out, and write it down--but picture their faces while you're writing. Now tell them, "I'm not your child any more. I'm becoming a woman, and I take total responsibility for myself. It is time for me to take charge of my life and make my own decisions, without your influence." Then, when you feel a sigh of relief in your body, say "Goodbye" to them and let their images fade.
I do not suggest you say these things directly to your parents, unless that absolutely feels like the right thing to do. This is just for you.
Believe in yourself, Maci. You get to choose, moment by moment what kind of person you're going to be, and these exercises will help you make the right choices, again and again until it becomes second nature--because it is your first nature to be good and happy.
My very best to you,
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