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Hi Dr. DeFoore. I hope that you can help me or provide me some possible solutions to the way I problematically handle my anger.
I love my boyfriend and we get on so well. I believe that we are not a toxic couple, in fact I feel like we are mature and happy and healthy. We don't fight very often and when we do, we move past it pretty fast because we put our egos aside and move forward respectfully.
Sometimes we have to compromise as I don't like to move on so quickly and prefer to talk it out and feel validated for my emotions. Over the 2 years we have been together there have been a few "big" fights and the way I react has made me believe maybe I need to find some help. I'll outline some scenarios below.
Last night we fought over something small that really blew up. When we fight, I don't like the way he speaks to me and he doesn't have to call me stupid but I sure feel like I am.
I'm sure the way I talk back isn't constructive either but I genuinely feel like he's in the wrong this time, communication-wise. He was being snappy, and asking me rhetorical questions and repeating what I said in a sarcastic tone, making me feel like an idiot. I wanted the argument over so I said that I really don't want to fight and I calmed my tone but he was still acting cold so anger built up inside of me instead.
The anger started to rise up and I threw my phone across the room where it hit the wall and smashed to pieces. This is not the first time I've thrown my phone. I had done it a year earlier during another fight. I think it's a way to hurt myself. I then had an overwhelming urge to get out of the house, I felt like I couldn't breathe so I walked to a park nearby to sit and cry.
In the past, during a "big fight" I have walked/run away. My brain stops working and all I can think to do is get away. To calm down. To breathe and cry. My partner hates it and probably thinks I'm crazy for running away.
I can't explain it but I have to get away. With the anger, I also get the urge to hurt myself physically. In really bad arguments (with my family too) I have hit my head on walls or with my fists so that they bruise. I also scratch myself on the arms so that the bleed. I think the pain is a distraction or punishment to myself. I deserve the pain after throwing my phone and smashing it.
Am I a monster? My dad is. I grew up in a family where my dad physically abused my mum. We are now safe and they are separated. I always used to protect my mum and I was the one who called the police on my dad. But, I can't help thinking that I have his anger inside me, and that bursting into anger and throwing things is abusive too.
I feel so emotional right now, I feel like everything I have just said sounds horrific but if you met me in real life you would never know. I'm nice, patient, understanding and helpful in all other aspects unless I'm out of control like this. I feel like this will all be forgotten by tomorrow and I will carry on like always. I just want it to stop happening.
p.s. I'm 20 and female
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