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Messing Everything Up

by Hood
(Dallas)

I've been with this chick for the past 7 months, things have been more good, really awesome. But when it's bad it's bad.

I've gotten more out of this relationship in 7 months than I have any other relationship with anyone else and have found out a lot about the person I am.


Everything's good but we butt heads over the smallest things you could possibly imagine. It's mostly me because the way I deal with problems that bother me isn't in a way that anyone should. I just blow up, and at times I have gotten so mad that I've put my hands on my chick, not in a way that I hit or punch or choke her but I will grab her just to get her to pay attention.

I've left bruises and even poked her in the eye one time causing it to be red for at least a week. Now I'll say right now that I resent myself beyond belief for causing pain to someone that I love and truly care about, and I wish I could go back and change things, but that will never happen.

I hate acting like this and I got it in my head that I want to stop being so aggressive not only with her, but with everyone I encounter throughout life. I hate that I hold on to all these grudges and I won't let things go. I want to change that. I want to be happy with myself and with others even if they aren't doing what I want.

I'm my own person and I need to understand they're their own person just the same. And there are so many people out there that care and love me, and I need to stop pushing them away and realize what I have in each one of these relationships.

Now there's been several times before that have risen before this with this chick I'm with that have shown signs that I have problems dealing with my anger. But this is the first time I've cared enough to change the way I'm doing things because of how important this relationship is to my life.

Even if I do lose her, I don't want this to be a revolving door type of problem for me. Hurting others is hurting me at the same time. And there's no way to be happy carrying around constant pain and misery resulting from my actions.

All I ask is for people to just let me have my space and to let me walk this off and deal with what's upsetting me. But I know I've got to return the favor, and I haven't been very good at doing that. At the same time I know that holding it in isn't the best idea either because it will build up and then I'll really blow my cool.

But talking about what's bothering me isn't always the easiest to do because what I get upset about I feel like other people won't get it or understand the reason why it bothers me. And even when I do try to talk about it it always seems to come out of my mouth in the wrongest way possible and with an aggressive tone.

Sometimes I just get so mad that I don't think. I know what I need to do and ways to chill with all this anger, I've actually known for a while now, but this last incident was like a slap in the face to myself. I can't do this any longer to myself or others. I can't live with this hate and for once I'm serious about change.

I'm serious about making myself happy first and then making others happy and I'm serious about no longer being that person everyone is just waiting to blow up. I know what I need to do and I'm open to anything and any possible ways or tips to help me make sure I do it. I want to make this change and become this "man" I pride myself so much on being.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Hood, and thanks for telling your story here. It is very clear to me that you're a good person and that you really want to change. I am impressed by how you express yourself, and how deeply you have thought through your situation.

You're taking total responsibility for your problems, and that is the first step to change. I will offer you some suggestions, and if you follow them I believe that you will see significant improvement.

Here are the steps I recommend:

1) Come up with a mental picture of your anger. Keep searching for an image until you have a clear picture in your mind. Amplify it, making it larger than life, even if it is cartoon-like. It needs to fully embody your anger, so that it is completely consumed and illustrates exactly how you feel when you're filled with rage. Keep going until you know for sure that it is accurate and really "captures" your emotion. It needs to not look like you--you are much more than this emotion. This image has to be purely your anger and rage, nothing else. (Hood, this is the part of you that "takes over" when you're angry--as long as you're "seeing it" you won't "be it.")

2) While picturing it in your mind, say this to it: "I can see that you are a part of me. I created you a long time ago, for my protection. If I let you run my life, you will destroy it. I'm not going to try to kill you or make you go away. You have a place here, but you're not going to be in charge any more. I'm taking over, which will keep both of us safe. I know you're strong, but your strength belongs to me, and I choose to use it for good things."

3) Notice how the image responds or changes in your mind while you say these things. Keep working with it in this way until you begin to see a healthy anger image start to emerge. Ultimately, you want to transform it into a loyal ally--that's what happens when your anger is healthy.

4) Every time you start to get angry, picture the unhealthy image of your anger--the first one you saw, and keep at it until you can see it clearly. This is called "See It Don't Be It," and it will help you to manage your anger. (Over time, your anger will heal, and this won't be necessary any more.)

5) Next, do the anger journaling exercises on this page, to give your anger someplace to go on a regular daily basis.

These are tools, Hood. Like any tools, they are useless if you don't use them. And, like any tools, the more you use them the better you will get at it, and the more you will benefit.

One other thought is that you might want to drop the word "chick" from your vocabulary. From the way you express yourself, I think you are mature enough to leave that behind and start referring to your girlfriend as your girlfriend or as a woman. No woman who truly respects herself wants to be called a chick.

Believe in yourself, use these tools, keep at it until you get results, and don't give up.

You can do this.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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