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I Think My Anger Is Leading To Depression

by Jane

Currently, I am feeling pretty hopeless. I lack interest, motivation and energy and I am constantly angry with everyone and everything about the smallest of things. This angry disposition shows in my face - I can see people reacting to it almost before I've said anything. And of course it is aging me and strangely, making me look masculine (I am a 52 year old woman).

I am relatively successful and well-educated and my success at investing enabled me to give up employed work at the age of 48. However, although my investment business takes up some of my time, it is not enough, so I do volunteering work too. But I am a results driven person and need the pressure of work - however I haven't quite been able to find what I want to do.

I am based in the UK. I can see that anger has played a huge role in the recent riots here and in the public reaction. I was so angry and anxious and indignant at these rioters, I went on to the streets in my local area to keep an eye out for trouble (luckily encountering very little). Everyone thought I was mad.

My husband is being worn down by my constant angry responses and my complaining about everything.

I cannot remember too much about my childhood. My parents split when I was about 13 and my 3 younger sisters and I lived with my Dad. Since he was mostly working, we looked after ourselves. Up until she left (due to domestic violence and adultery by my father) my mother beat us regularly (belts/combs/slippers being weapons of choice) - usually for not carrying out some chore, or not doing it properly.

It was my choice not to go and live with my mum, and my other sisters followed me. Although I have a fairly good relationship with her now, I remember turning rigid with disgust when she sat me on her lap, trying to hug me or apologize (which didn't happen very often).

My father died when I was 25. He was very keen on teenage girls/young women members of the extended family - I have no recollection of any sexual or physical abuse from him but he did try to inappropriately touch one of my sisters. He was highly respected by his extended family 'back home'.

In the first 13 years of my life, my sisters and I suffered physical abuse from my mother and in the first 6-7 years, sexual abuse/molestation from 2 older brothers and a male lodger. Until recently I thought the lodger (who had lived with us since I was a baby) had only abused one of my sisters once, as I had witnessed it.

A few months ago, while quizzing my mother about this lodger, I found out that she had thrown him out of the house when I was about 5-6 yrs old because she had discovered that he was abusing me (I had no memory of him abusing me - but i did remember that he regularly collected us from school and bought us sweets). Apparently he died shortly afterwards of the cold, as he had been living on the streets after he had been thrown out.

My mother had me and my three sisters in quick succession (barely a year between each of us) and she worked throughout her pregnancies (she had to - we were an immigrant west Indian family with meager means). I believe that this lodger 'babysat' us and abused me (and my sisters) from babyhood. I am now beginning to suspect some things that may or may not be true - and I may never know.

My 2 older brothers (who were born in the west indies) did not arrive in the UK until I has about 4-5 years old. They were about 10 and 14 years old when they arrived. I distinctly remember the older one offering me sweets, pulling my knickers down and making me touch him. He did this (and perhaps other things) to my other sisters too.

I am now having a suspicion that I might have directly encouraged the younger brother to engage in these acts, though I am not sure. I have come across a situation where a severely abused 3 year old was adopted - her birth mother was a prostitute and this child automatically approached all the men/boys in her new family and tried to touch them inappropriately - she even did it to shop manikins. Both my brothers were involved in sexually molesting me and 3 other sisters.

I have had counselling at certain periods, especially when I realized that I did not want to have children and this was causing huge problems for me and my husband (who, strangely, is still with me). I found out very little, save that I had some narcissistic personality traits. I like to be right and sometimes have a heightened sense of entitlement. I seem to sometimes lack empathy for anyone except children.

I have a keen interest in psychology and parenting - possibly so that I can understand myself better but also so that I can give other people the benefit of my opinion (not always invited). It's quite easy to have an opinion on others when you haven't dared be a parent yourself.

Why am I not a parent? It is too intimate a relationship and I remember thinking that being pregnant is abhorrent - like having an alien take over your body - and of course once born, that's the end of your life. I have friends, but not any close friends - I have never been keen to have close friends. Though my husband and I are of course friends, we do not have a sexual relationship (which I used to get upset about but much less so recently - especially since it is mostly down to me rejecting and alienating him).

I recently found out (through short counselling courses) that I feel deeply dirty, and my husband (who comes from a good, stable family and is a good, clean-shaven, white middle-class man) is my way of acquiring a veneer of cleanliness.

I think my anger problems arise mostly from early abuse and neglect. My mother says that I was the most troublesome of babies, as I cried a lot, especially at night. I believe I have some insight into myself but seem unable to deal with my general miserableness and anger which at times makes my husband feel down (although he is remarkably resilient), and it is affecting almost all my encounters with others.

It looks like one of your worksheets/anger management packages would be a good way forward - but perhaps you can point me in the right direction.

Incidentally, the fact that all your content seems to be free is amazing and I know therefore that you are coming from a place of love - and it is wonderful that you do this. With all the anger that there is in the UK at the moment, anger management skills/love are the only things likely to be able fix things. I would dearly like to be fixed. I am well-off, live in a nice house and have a lovely husband. If you can help me lose my anger and find my gratefulness, I'd be....... grateful.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Jane, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you are a very bright and capable woman, who had an extremely traumatic beginning to your life. To me, it is very clear that your anger emerges from the physical and sexual abuse you experienced in your life.

Consciously, you know the abuse is over. Subconsciously, however, in a way it is like it is still happening. I say this because emotional memory "freezes" traumatic events in portions of the brain, holding them there until we begin healing them. That's one reason you're so are protecting yourself against all of the potential abusers in the world, and from the subconscious viewpoint of the child/victim inside you, that could be anyone.

The good news is that when you work with these memories in a conscious, compassionate, therapeutic manner, you "unfreeze" them, and it becomes clear to you that the trauma is over. This is going to take some time for you, Jane, but I have a strong feeling that you're willing to do the work.

My first recommendation is that you consider getting counseling to help you heal. If you'd prefer to work on your own, I suggest that you try the exercises you will find on this FAQ page. These are highly sophisticated processes, which of course only help if you use them diligently and consistently.

I encourage you to believe in yourself and the untouched goodness inside you, Jean. As deep as your trauma is, there is a part of the human soul that is untouched by abuse, and it is from that source that healing emerges.

And I encourage you to hold to the possibility of peace, serenity and joy for yourself. That is who you are inside.

Your husband's loyalty to you, your success in business and everything good you've ever done in your life reflect who you really are inside.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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