Livid Over Little Unimportant Things-Please Help Me
Hi, I am 40 years old and have three children. My oldest, 24, is living nearby, and my 3 year old son and my 2 year old daughter are the greatest gifts and my entire heart.
I have put on weight--about 25 lbs in less than a year. I have explosive fits of rage where I am screaming (literally) at the top of my lungs and go on and on about the smallest little things. Sometimes I'll get so angry I black out.
Once when my oldest son punched my brand new stainless steel fridge when we were arguing, I don't remember leaving my chair, but I flew over to him and put him in a head lock and punched him a dozen times in the head.
When my kids are misbehaving I'll scream at them and sometimes can be quite rough with them. I'm so scared I'll hurt them. I am currently on 20 mg of Cipromil (Citolapram) and have been on that since 6 months after my daughter was born (I was diagnosed with post maternal depression).
My mother went through the change of life at 40 and I am feeling I am going through it now on and off as well. I have always had a bad temper, but it subsided for a few years. Now it's worse than ever.
Please, Please help me.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Tara, and thanks for telling your story here. In spite of your anger problems, I can tell that you are a good person, and that you don't want to hurt your children. Besides that, I can tell that you want to be able to live a good life for yourself.
I will try to help you get to the root of your anger problems, so that you can live a more peaceful and enjoyable life.
Start with the writing exercises described on this page. That will help you review your past trauma and confusion, which by the way is where your anger comes from. This will also help you process your anger in a healthy way, and begin shifting your mental focus in a positive direction.
Then do these imagery processes for emotional healing, to actually correct what happened in your past. Don't leave this part out, it is essential to healing the underlying causes of your anger.
I also suggest that you sincerely apologize to your son for violently assaulting him, if you haven't already done so. It might be easier to do this and really mean it after you have done the above exercises for a few weeks. Just make sure that you really mean it when you apologize.
One more step, Tara, that will really help you.
I want you to picture the face of your anger. Then give it a body, posture, etc. It may be human, beast-like or a mix of the two. It won't look like you, by the way. It is pure anger, and there's a lot more to you than your anger.
It would also be good to draw a picture of this image. Be sure you can see the eyes and mouth.
Now, (I know this might seem weird, but it works)...I want you to talk to this angry part of you. Here's what I want you to say:
"Thanks for revealing yourself to me. You are a part of me, and you have a place here. You have been in charge for a long time, but that is coming to an end. You can stand by my side, but you don't get to be in the driver's seat any more. I know you have just been trying to protect me, but your methods have caused me a lot of trouble, so I'm going to use some better ways of protecting myself that don't get me in trouble. Thanks for all the years of effort you have put into trying to protect and stand up for me. You can take a break now, but I know you're here if I need you."
Then put the anger image to rest somewhere. Don't fool yourself into thinking you've killed it--anger is part of your humanness. You just want this toxic anger to take a long, long break--maybe for the rest of your life.
Then, every time you start feeling angry, picture that angry part of yourself, and that will make it easier for you to make other (non-aggressive) choices. This is called "See It, Don't Be It." When you can see an image of your anger, it is less likely to take over and cause you to be aggressive.
I hope this helps, Tara. Feel free to write again.
My very best to you,
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