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Imaginary Enemies

by Scott
(Blowing Rock, NC)

Hello all!

I am in desperate need for answers. I have an issue where I tend to make up things in my mind to get angry about. For instance I will imagine somebody in my family either saying something about me or doing something to purposely oppose me. And even though neither of those happened I get really angry anyhow. Not just anger but almost rage. It's like I can see it all unfolding in my head and the imaginary story plays out as far as my imagination can stretch.

I have done this my whole life and I really hate the way it makes me feel. Check that....it is destroying me. I have written off so many people in my life over thoughts I have had and let them run the full course in my head. I do struggle with insecurity but I am not sure if that has anything to do with it.


I am now 41 years old and I can remember dealing with this my whole life. Can someone please shed some light on this...I am really desperate for answers.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Scott, and thanks for telling your story here. I find your problem fascinating, in a way, while I also certainly understand how much pain it has cost you over the years.

The part that is interesting to me is the avid use you have made of your imagination. The imagination is the creative mechanism of the human mind, and it can be used to create wanted or unwanted outcomes. Obviously, you have been creating unwanted outcomes. I will try to help you use this powerful creative mechanism to work for you instead of against you.

The "default" program of the mind is fear--it is survival based, and is just looking around to see if there are any threats. However, if we let that default program run full force, it can create the kind of problem you describe. You see problems where they may or may not be. Fear is actually a creative mechanism, but the outcomes are never happy.

Before I help you to create more of what you want (instead of what you don't want), it is important that you do the writing exercises on this page. This will help you review any past trauma that might be underlying your current anger and fear.

Also do the anger journaling described on that page, so that you're giving your anger a safe place to be, instead of letting it constantly rattle around in your head. Read over your anger journal, and you will notice that the angry part of your mind is not really that smart.

Now for the "retraining your brain" part. Do the positive journaling exercises described on the same page every single day, no matter what. It would be good to do this after your anger journaling. You'll find that the positive journaling reflects a much more intelligent part of your mind, and that's what you want to develop.

Use these tools, Scott, and you'll get the results you're looking for.

Believe in yourself, and never, ever give up on you.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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