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I've been married for nine years. My wife requested a week long break from me. She says it is largely due to my anger issues. I admit I do blow up at my wife and children for really no good reason, but I don't realize it until afterwords. Now I fear it is too late. I need to learn to control this, but I don't know how.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Thanks for asking for help here. You're a good person, and that's why you want to change to make things better in your marriage. I'm going to suggest some things that will help, if you do them.
There is something in your personal history, some memory or story, that must be told. That is where your unconscious anger is coming from. The untold story/unexplored memory is stored in your Reptilian brain, and situations with your wife are triggering a reaction from that place.
Here is what I want you to do:
1) Review your personal history, going as far back as you can, and write about all of the frightening, painful or shaming experiences you have ever had.
2) This writing is just for you--unless you want to share it with your wife, or submit it as another contribution on this site. But while you're writing, rest assured that no one will read it unless you absolutely want them to. You can shred or burn it when you're done if that feels right to you.
3) Use the guided imagery process on this page to work directly with these traumatic memories and bring about your emotional healing.
4) Begin writing daily from your anger. Let it flow out on the page (again, this is only for your eyes), and don't hold back. No matter how foul, vulgar or whatever--just let it out. This gives you an opportunity to look closely at this unconscious part of you, which helps to heal and give you conscious control.
5) Also write daily about what you are grateful for, what you appreciate, and what you are looking forward to in your future. Keep doing this after your anger is winding down--I suggest you do it for the rest of your life. You will find more detailed help regarding this journaling process on this page.
6) Write about what you appreciate about your wife--all of the little and big things about her that you love, admire, like or appreciate. When you're ready, tell her about these things.
7) Make up your mind to stop all criticism of your wife. Focus only on her positive aspects. This will help you to remember who you are, and why you chose to marry her.
Most important of all--do not give up on yourself. Ever. Stay with it, follow these recommendations, read the free information on this site, keep writing, and you will get there. Nothing will stop you from reaching your goals unless you decide to stop yourself. You have what it takes. You can do this. You are a good person.
My best to you,
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