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Living With An Explosively Angry Parent

by Danusia
(Phoenix, AZ)

Due to the economy, my husband and I were invited by my 60 yr old mother to come and live with her until we got on our feet. Since there was
nowhere else to go, with great hesitation, we had to accept.

The reason for the hesitation is because my mother physically and verbally abused me all throughout my childhood. I had to seek counseling to help center myself and become a productive person in society. And I have also chosen not to have children because of my own very unhappy childhood.


I feel as though I never got to be a kid. Most days she's happy to have us because otherwise she says she'd be very lonely and has admitted that we are helping her by paying rent and 1/2 of all the utilities.

We are shocked and happy to hear this as she is a fiercely independent person. Living at her home, my husband and I have to be so very careful to make sure we hide any trace of our living there as she is always quick to point out and criticize any little thing that may be even a tiny bit out of place.

Ok...no problem. I make sure that everything goes back where it belongs and just as I had found it. I spend most of my time hiding from her because this drives me crazy and I know we will never see eye to eye about the little things. Example: Living in a rural neighborhood across the street from a park, for some reason a lot of crickets seem to somehow find their way into the house.

As soon as I noticed this I quickly tried to clean them up so that there was no trace of them. One morning she got up much earlier than me and freaked out, going on an explosive rampage on how it must be our fault. She was literally screaming at the top of her lungs whenever we would try to talk to her about the subject, refusing any other possibility.

Needless to say we still have a cricket problem and she now sees that she was wrong in accusing us, but she won't admit it. This is just one example of many irrational episodes.

Once I tried to match her anger by screaming back at her. That was horrible. I immediately apologized. I feel so alone in this matter and it is a tough situation. Any advise to help me cope? I feel like a bunny living with a grizzly bear.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Danusia, and thanks for telling your story here. First priority is for you to heal from your past abuse by your mother. I know this is hard, or maybe impossible while you're living with her. But you need to try anyway--and also try to get out on your own with your husband as soon as possible.

Do the three part journaling described on this page to review the abuse in your past, channel your anger and begin shifting your focus. Then use these imagery processes for emotional healing to resolve your trauma.

Be sure to do the anger journaling described on that same page daily, just so it does not build up inside you.

Also, your life is not all bad. Focusing on the good things will help to ease your pain and anger--that will be the third step in the journaling process.

Believe in yourself, Danusia. Focus on yourself, your life and your husband, and work to let your mother go.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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