My Experience With Anger Management Issues
Ever since I was a young kid I recall becoming easily bothered by things that seemed to breeze past others. Something as simple as my favorite show not being on TV could throw me into a blackout rage.
With my parents being old school Italians, they resorted to yelling and using a belt to deal with the situation. While their approach surely left its mark on me, I know it’s not what I needed. I could have benefited from a more logical solution to my problem, like anger management therapy. Unfortunately, my family was not knowledgeable about this kind of treatment or any underlying mental health issues that could have caused the anger. I was born in 1953, it just wasn’t something we, or really anyone, talked about openly.
Over the years I became very confrontational, costing me a handful of jobs and friendships. I overgeneralized everything, making comments like “You’re never there for me!” “After all I’ve done for you!” and “How could you do this?” This is all common behavior for people struggling with anger management issues. I would easily obsess about how I thought things were supposed to be and I’d blame everyone else for all my problems.
My anger issues led to a variety of problems in my life; from failed relationships to a 20+ year addiction to alcohol and drugs. I went through nearly a dozen rehab centers, but it wasn’t until 12 years ago that I finally found some answers to my problems. My therapist dug deep into my emotions and my life, revealing things I didn’t even know were there. I fought, I screamed and I struggled the entire way, but in the end she succeeded. She helped me find the root of my anger management problems.
My therapist told me it was caused by a variety of internal issues including; depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and self-image problems. She also helped me realize that my anger is rooted in fear. When I looked at it this way it started making so much sense to me.
My anger was a direct result of me feeling threatened by something and a lot of the time the threats in my mind were not even real. They were just fear-based scenarios I created, wasting space in my mind. These feelings of fear and constant self-defense lead me to relapse on alcohol time and time again.
Thankfully I’m sober today and receiving the proper therapies to help guide me through my recovery. My fuse is still shorter than I’d like, but I’m not perfect.
I make progress daily through meditation and mindfulness training. Never in a million years did I think I'd find myself meditating, but it works. I also go to anger management workshops, attend support groups and continue to see a therapist. Most of the time I have no idea why I’m even doing it, but hey, my life is good. Why stop now?
About the Writer
Our guest writer is an Outreach Specialist for YourFirstStep.org, a useful resource for those struggling with addiction and substance abuse related disorders. As a recovering alcoholic himself, he is very passionate about spreading awareness and advocating long-term sobriety.