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I'm A Teen Struggling With Bad Anger

by Alyssa
(Branden, FL)

I'm Alyssa and I'm 16 years old. I often find myself struggling with my anger, I feel as if it is getting out of control.

I have always noticed this problem with myself but I never really wanted help. Now that I see that my temper has taken a big toll over my life I tend to wonder what's actually wrong with my anger and I. Whether it be a little argument or a big one my anger always sky rockets and I wonder how to maintain it.

I tend to always feel like if I'm correct in a situation then other people need to get it. I have tried to calm myself down by not talking when I get angry and I have tried talking calmly. Unfortunately at any point I feel like I'm being disrespected, I snap. I have been arrested twice and been into several fights and other altercations.

I feel as if some could have been prevented and others were provoked by others. Half of my time in high school was thrown down the tubes when I know I could have done better with myself. I always tend to think about fighting whether it be before sleep or in the middle of a school day.

Whenever I get mad my body starts to hurt and in all honesty I just want to flip out. Sometimes I feel as if holding in all my frustration isn't helping the situation. As I speak I am doing so with something that occurred. I hate the feeling of being angry and I want help but I believe other people don't take me seriously, another thing that gets me quite aggravated.

I don't know what to do, what to say, or who to go to when it comes to this topic but finding help would definitely help me out.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Alyssa, and thanks for telling your story here. I think I can help you. It will only work, however, if you feel connected with the suggestions I make and are willing to try them.

One comment is that you have formed an identity of a fighter. That's not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just the way it is. The fighter in you is strong, and "she" might think you'd get pushed around and walked on without her. You will need to begin developing a new identity that is just as powerful, but won't get you in trouble and make you feel bad. If you follow my suggestions, I think you'll be able to do that.

Here is what I recommend:

1) Come up with a mental picture of your anger. This will also be a mental picture of your "fighter." 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 the urge to fight. Keep going until you know for sure that it is accurate and really "captures" your emotion. It needs to not look like you--you are much more than this emotion. This image has to be purely your anger and rage, nothing else.

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 the unhealthy image of your anger--the first one you saw, and 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.

5) Next, do the anger journaling exercises on this page, to give your anger someplace to go on a regular daily basis.

6) You probably have some unresolved and/or unaddressed emotional trauma from your past, based on what you've told me about your anger episides and aggression. I strongly encourage you to do the "Trauma Writing" on the same journaling page, to revisit your past pain and trauma that is underlying and most likely causing your current problems.

7) Then, use these imagery processes for emotional healing, which will give you a chance to "go back" to your past experiences in your mind and bring healing and resolution.

These are tools, Alyssa. Like any tools, they are useless if you don't use them. And, like any tools, the more you use them the better you will get at it, and the more you will benefit.

Believe in yourself--the part of you that wants to have a life. Believe in your good heart, your courage to face your anger head-on and transform it into something useful. The positive journaling exercises on the journaling page will help you to shift to a more positive focus. This will really help you.

You can do this. You are a strong young woman. Use that strength to face the goodness in your heart and soul.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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