Learning To Deal So I Can Be A Good Wife And Mom
Hi. I know that I have anger issues and I think I know why, but I do not know how to prevent it. My husband and I really want to get pregnant, but we both feel that I need to work on my anger first. I love children and I would never want to do anything to hurt my child in a fit of rage.
I guess I will share a little of my background with you and maybe you can give me some suggestions. I was the 6th child out of 7. We were very poor. So poor, we lived in our car from time to time while I was growing up. And there was never much love in our house. I can remember being very young and thinking to myself, "I am going to be different."
My oldest sister moved out and got married before I was born, and she has had a good life since. One of my brothers was killed in a car accident when I was 12. The last words I said to him were, "I hate you," because I did not want him to leave. Both of my other brothers have been in and out of prison since then. Two of my sisters are on drugs and so are their children. I am the only one out of my family that graduated from high school and then I put myself through college as well. My dad died a few years back and me and my oldest sister take care of our mom who is in a nursing home.
My mom was always depressed and never did anything to better herself. I always thought everything was my dad's fault, because I was close to my mom. I see things way different now that I am older. My mom would take her depression and anger out on us by slapping us in the face or head when she was upset about other things. My dad would work and bring home money, but instead of paying the bills my mom would go spend the money on other things. Then when we would get evicted or the lights would get shut off, she would blame it on my dad.
My parents never treated each other with love or respect. Even though I realize all of this I still talk down to my husband and fly off the handle. That is why I am nervous about getting pregnant. I would never want to treat my child like my parents treated us. These are just a few of the reasons that I have anger--of course I could go a lot deeper, but then we would be here all day.
Any advice or help you can offer would be greatly appreciated!
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, Angela. Thanks for telling your story and asking for help here. It is so great that you want to make sure and be the best mother and wife you can be.
I congratulate you on the decisions you have made not to repeat your past, and to become the person you choose to be. You can definitely do this. It's great that your older sister has broken the pattern and is having a good life. She's showing you that it can be done--and you have demonstrated that yourself as well.
You are obviously a very good and very intelligent person. You can do whatever you set your mind and heart to. And I will help you.
Here is what I recommend:
1) Write out a conversation between you and your brother who died. Tell him how you feel, and how you regret your last words to him. He has already forgiven you, because he never condemned you. He knew that you said what you said because of your anger and fear over losing him. But write out the conversation anyway, and when you put yourself in his role to answer, you'll find him saying that he loves you, and that he wants you to be happy and well. And he will tell you that he is okay, and for you to go ahead and create a beautiful, loving life for yourself.
2) Write a detailed account of all of the abuse, abandonment or neglect you received as a child. Don't hold back or leave anything out--this will include your memories of your mother slapping you, by the way. Describe every detail. Write about everything that has ever hurt, frightened or angered you. I know it might take a while, but it will really help. This is for no one's eyes but yours, so don't worry about that. The benefit is how it will help you to revisit these memories from your present position. What's the point of this? It's where your anger comes from--all anger comes from some kind of emotional pain and/or fear.
3) Now that you have brought up those memories, use the guided imagery healing processes you will find on this page to heal emotionally from the abuse. Use these techniques, and keep trying until you get some relief. They are powerful tools, that work very well if you use them. This imagery process will give you a chance to "re-parent" yourself, and be the loving mother that you always wanted and never had--to yourself.
When you deal with your past experiences in this way, it will make the following techniques work much better for you. So be sure and do the above exercises before moving on to the following ones.
1) Use the journaling processes you will find described on this page to begin managing your anger more effectively on a daily basis. This will include a daily journaling process of writing from your anger and then shifting to positive journaling about the good things in yourself, your life and other people.
2) Moment by moment, day by day, shift your focus from what you don't like to what you do like. The things that trigger your anger are all things you don't like or don't want. Train your mind to look at the things you do want and like. Use this to extend the benefit of the positive journaling process above.
And here is a process for releasing your parents:
1) Write down all of the ways in which you are like your mom and your dad. Look at that list and ask yourself if there's any of those qualities or behaviors you want to keep. In other words, choose what you like from the list.
2) Then write down all of the ways you are different from your mom and dad. These are the things that make you unique as an individual. Look at this list, and choose what you like from it.
3) Make a third list, that includes only those things you like from the above two lists.
4) Next, picture both of your parents in front of you. Thank them both for all of the good things they've done for you, leaving nothing out. Then tell them both about the things you didn't like. Get it all out, and write it down--but picture their faces while you're writing. Now tell them, "I'm not your child any more. I'm a grown woman, and I take total responsibility for myself. It is time for me to take charge of my life and make my own decisions, without your influence." Then, when you feel a sigh of relief in your body, say "Goodbye" to them and let their images fade.
I do not suggest you say these things directly to your parents, unless that absolutely feels like the right thing to do. This is just for you.
Believe in yourself, Angela. You get to choose, moment by moment what kind of person you're going to be, and these exercises will help you make the right choices, again and again until it becomes second nature--because it is your first nature.
Feel free to write again, or comment on this story if you like. I'd like to hear from you about how you're doing.
Never, ever give up on yourself.
My very best to you,
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