Me Being Me
I like the people I work with as long as I don't have to work with them. Most days I get to work by myself. But on the days I don't, if someone does something even little to aggravate me I start yelling.
I usually apologize after and feel bad. At the time however, I don't seem to be able to stop myself. I'm like a maniac. I'm a widow and a single mother. I sometimes yell at my son also.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hi Laurie, and thanks so much for telling your story on this site. You titled your story, "Me Being Me" which is a good title, and I think it communicates how you feel very well. That title gives me a starting place for what I want to say to you.
It is very clear that you don't like how you react to other people at work. The reason you don't like how you yell at your coworkers and your son is that the anger and the yelling do not match with the good person that you really are inside. That's why you wrote your story here, and that's why you apologize and feel bad afterwards. I am going to help you so that you can feel better about your actions and reactions at work and at home.
I think the real "me" inside you is a good, loving, kind person who wants to get along with others. I think the anger the comes out of you is just residual emotion from unresolved issues from your past. We're going to take care of that here.
You mentioned that you are a widow and a single mother. That's a tough road for anybody.
One possibility I want to explore with you is your grieving process over the loss of your husband. The reason is that anger can often come from unresolved grief. I don't know if this applies to you or not, but if it does--or if you're feeling a twinge inside while reading this, go to this page on the stages of grief and how to get through them. If you feel you may have unresolved grief or an incomplete grief process, please read this web page in great detail, and do the grieving exercises recommended there. It will really help you.
Another area to explore in addition to your grief process is your personal history. Anger comes from pain inside. The deeper the pain, the more likely it is unconscious and coming from early childhood experience.
Here is what I recommend:
1) Write a detailed account of any abuse, abandonment or neglect you received as a child. Don't hold back or leave anything out. 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.
2) 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.
When you deal with your past experiences 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.
One more thing I want you to do each day before you go to work. Take a few minutes, relax, breathe deeply and picture yourself smiling, being friendly with folks at work and maybe even laughing with some of them. This may not be easy at first, but the more you do it the easier it will get. Then move from picturing it to imagining it actually happening. In other words, first picture it from outside as if you were watching yourself in a movie, then imagine it actually happening with you there at work interacting with your coworkers.
Believe in yourself, Laurie. You can do this, if you set your mind to it. 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.
Use these tools, and they will help you.
My very best to you, Laurie