My Anger Is Threatening Our Marriage, Please Help
My name is Kristi and I am only 23 years old, married for almost 2 years now.
A little about my past real quick. My father died when I was 2, and my older brother molested me when I was between ages of 3-6. My mother had a bit of an anger problem, which I rarely saw because I was her "Princess", the only girl. My older brother got most of the abuse. But she knows she has a problem now and We know my older brother has major anger problems also.
So its only natural for me to realize my anger is a problem. Its not healthy at all! All my life, if I don't get what I want, I throw a fit. As I am older, the fits are more "fights". Sometimes I will fight till my husband finally just gives me what I want to shut me up.
We really do have a great marriage. We are loving and joke with each other, do things for each other and we're considerate of each others' feelings and wants. But lately, he wanted to help a friend out and have him move into our home, and things have been a major mess! His friend never cleans up after himself, and I always have to, and it really pisses me off, but I don't say anything.
I keep it in and I can literally just feel it building up inside me, until I finally explode. There was a stray kitten outside crying, I wanted to bring it in, his friend answered before my husband could and told me "No."
I flew off the handle, slammed our bedroom door shut and threw the ashtray at it and kept yelling stuff until he would come into the door. Then I said things I knew I didn't mean, such as divorce and blaming him for stuff I know was not his fault.
I left him that night to stay at a friends, came home same night, we talked it all out, he talked to his friend about his behaviors. It was cool. But not really. The next night I blew up again towards his friend, obviously my problems with him were never cleared up. To wrap up that story, it ended up day before thanksgiving, he asked me for a divorce. We're working on things again, but we both agree I need help. Its not just that I get upset. Its a bunch of things.
1. I hold things in, don't want to hurt anybody, but in the end I do.
2. Just when things are going great, for some reason I will make it bad.
3. I always feel guilty afterwords.
4. I will do things and say things I know will hurt them. Its almost like I crave the drama.
5. I throw and break things like my mother used to do.
6. I will "forgive" people but never really do.
7. Sometimes I will think of worse scenario possible and think of ways to get back at them worse to make their lives a living hell.
8. It's always the smallest thing to make me snap, and then I bring up everything that has been bothering me.
9. Sometimes I will take it out on my animals and yell and scream at them, which I hate myself so much afterwords. I cry and hold them.
10. Things I find make me blow faster than other things: When people interrupt me, if I don't get what I asked for, people ask me something that I don't feel like answering, when people don't act how I feel they should be acting, and people who think they know what they're talking about (even if they really do).
I am really confused. I guess I want to know what type of anger problems I might have, if you think it is serious, if so, how bad? There are many other instances probably worse than what happened, but that's the most recent, so it is fresh in my head.
Oh, also my senior year in high school, some girl was just gossiping about me and I beat the living crap out of her and had some jail time.
Please help me!
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Kristi, and thanks for telling your story here. You've come to the right place. This site was built for good people like you with anger problems.
I'm not going to label or diagnose you. But I will suggest you assess your own anger problem with this assessment. That should answer your questions about how serious your anger is.
Now, let's look at how you can get the help you want.
Do the three journaling processes described on this page. Use these imagery processes for emotional healing to resolve old issues. You can use the imagery to deal with your childhood trauma, and that's very important. That could be where a lot of your anger is coming from.
Also, take these steps to really get a good grip on your anger:
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.
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.
These are powerful tools, and if you use them they will help you. If you don't use them, of course, they are useless to you.
Do this work for yourself, Kristi. You are worthy of a good life and good relationships, and only you can provide that for yourself. Believe in the goodness in your heart.
My very best to you,