My Anger Is Threatening To Destroy The Only Stable Thing I've Ever Had
I have been with my boyfriend for a little over 2 years and we are planning on getting married, though nothing is official yet. We have been talking about it for a while and have committed our selves to each other. We've even begun discussing financial arrangements and such.
The one thing that seems to threaten to drive us apart and prevent our future together is my anger and difficulty managing it. We will go through periods where I am in a great mood and we are having a wonderful time together. This period may last hours, days, and I would like to say months, but that is likely incorrect. Just hours and days. And then that pesky anger weasels in there and unkind words are yelled, objects are thrown, and damage is done.
I am a generally happy person, but when I enter the vortex of anger, that happiness that I usually feel seems worlds away. I cannot even imagine thinking rationally, being loved, or enjoying my life in these moments.
We have gone to couples therapy and learned some great communication techniques. My boyfriend seems to use them when discussing matters with me or reacting to something that he may disagree with, but I seem to have pushed them out of my mind. At first, I was very good at using the techniques, but after we stopped going to therapy (it was very expensive), I rarely even think of using them when faced with potential conflict.
I feel extremely belligerent and irate. It is getting increasingly hard for me to control my anger and it seems like the more we fight, the more angry I get, because now I am angrier than ever at myself for letting it get to the point where we say things like "I can't do this any more," and I threaten to break up, which I absolutely do not want to do.
This really is miserable. I am not only destroying my relationship, but I am destroying myself. Every time I flip out like that I feel like I become less and less of a "real person," and my self respect decreases. I love this man so intensely and we have such an incredible bond, one that we both know cannot be broken, unless the irrational behaviour, anxiety manifesting through anger, drives us both away from each other.
He is not an angry person. He often does not even get angry back at me, just sad because of how mean I can be and how much this fighting hurts us. I think I may even be fighting to self sabotage because of all the hurt I have already caused in this relationship. I feel so guilty about it.
I think a lot of my anger is triggered by unmet expectations. For example, I expected to have a grilled cheese after work today. I worked a long 9 hour shift on my feet serving other people food, being unnecessarily polite and fake smiling for way too long. I refrained from spending any money and eating unhealthy food in order to come home and make a cheaper, healthier grilled cheese.
And then I called home and declared that I would eat a grilled cheese sandwich, except wait, there is now no bread. I instantly begin to feel the tension inside me build and I get silent. I am thinking, "All I want is this grilled cheese and you ate the last of the bread and of course didn't go to the store and you should have known that I was going to eat that."
I then semi calmed down and drove home. Then I discovered that my cat had been let out. I wanted to cuddle with my cat. My icy response earlier had set the tone for the evening. I then flipped out, said I was going to leave angrily (as opposed to constructively or with intention to calm down), but fortunately wrapped up the argument and retreated to the couch.
I attempted to make amends throughout the night before storming out of the bedroom over a comment he made. Geez! This was a rather tame incident considering the other day I was literally screaming at him, stormed out of the house and had an "episode" of some sort. These are the emotions that I feel in the moment: panic/anger/fear/distress/hatred. Maybe the key word is "fear."
As I mentioned before, I have been having freak outs like this since I was a kid and interacting with my parents and siblings, although I am not really sure when they started. I know my mom would go crazy over little things sometime and was overbearing in certain situations causing lots of tension and anxiety for all, and now that I am thinking of it she threatened to leave our family multiple times.
I guess I am using a threat that I myself have been exposed to in the past. Also, in the past I have been physically violent, but I now restrain my physical urges, with the exception of throwing inanimate objects (I am throwing less breakable and dangerous objects now though). It's almost like I want to be angry, or it is comfortable for me to react that way to stressful situations.
I think that pretty much sums it all up. How can I stop being so angry and reacting with intense negative emotions to things that come up in my daily life? Or in discussions, disagreements, and arguments with my boyfriend? What is a strategy that I can develop so that my body no longer tenses up and negative thoughts do not fill my head? How can I have a peaceful sense of self and spirit when dealing with any stressor that may come my way?
Thank you so much for reading this and taking the time to respond. I think this is the best that I have ever explained these emotions and the damage they have caused me in such an articulate and detailed manner. This behavior has gotten so out of control and I need help managing this anger so that I can really be the happy, loving, energetic person that I feel I am and want to be for my family.