Seemingly Out Of The Blue
My boyfriend and I are on vacation. We were having a really good time one night after spending the day at the beach. We were drinking beer on the beach and in the water most of the day. Afterwords, we went to the local pizza/beer place and had dinner. I had several more beers. I was definitely drunk. But, like I said, we were laughing and joking all night!
When we were done, we left the restaurant. The next thing I knew, he said something rude and I had punched him. I was driving too! He tried to get out of the car, and I tried to prevent him. He was out of the car, running down the street and I stopped and got out. He got in the car and I got back in on the passenger side. I punched him again! He pushed me out of the car and drove off.
I had to walk home about 20 - 30 minutes and by the time I got there he had packed all of his stuff and was walking down the street. I saw him and ran after him. When I caught him, I wasn't going to let go and fell on the ground. Then I kicked him. He ran away again, and I couldn't find him. He got picked up by a taxi and was gone. However, the police had been called and they found me. Once they realized he was gone and I was alone, they left.
I feel so terrible. He came back the next day and I've apologized profusely, but he doesn't know if he wants to be with me anymore. He's sleeping in the other room and we're hardly talking. It's been a week since it happened.
Something like this has happened a couple of times before but not as bad. I'm 47, was married for 8 years, and can't remember ever hitting anyone before, but I haven't been able to stop this! When it's happened before, I've vowed to never be violent again and he's forgiven me, but, here it is happening again. He doesn't know if he can trust me anymore, and I don't blame him.
I know I'm not real good at controlling anger.. usually, when I'm irritated or hurt, I try to hide it. People who are close to me always know when something is bothering me, though. However, sometimes, I lose my temper and yell, and I hate that about myself. I've been praying for help and direction and I've bought a couple of books but I'm so afraid that whatever I do will be temporary. I'm afraid that if he does forgive me again, it will happen again. Or if I find someone new, I'll do it again.
Plus, I know I've not taught my children well. There has been a lot of yelling and a couple of times I hit them in anger. They are older now and my oldest daughter seems to be having the same problem as me.Occasional violence with her boyfriend and lots of yelling.
I recognize this is my problem and it runs pretty deep. Probably my outbursts are due to my bottling up my emotions. I just want to figure it out and find a way to change.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Vicki. Thanks for telling your story on this site. You sound really serious about changing, and that's good. You want to change because the anger and violence does not reflect the good person you really are. You care about your boyfriend and your family, and you don't want violence and anger destroying the relationships. You are simply a good person with a significant problem, who wants things to be better.
First priority, Vicki, is to talk about your drinking. You can't deal with anger and emotional issues if you have a drinking problem, which you definitely do. I say that because of what you've written. You will simply not be able to deal with your anger in healthy ways as long as you drink heavily. You may or may not be someone who can drink moderately--that's for you to decide. Most alcoholics cannot moderate, and so they have to quit drinking.
Consider joining an AA group. It will really help you. Take a look at this article about the early warning signs of alcoholism, and you will see that you are definitely over the line.
Once you are in recovery from alcoholism, you can begin the emotional healing process. If you want to just quit drinking on your own, you can try that. Either way, only proceed with my other recommendations when you've made a commitment to getting sober and starting your recovery.
Here's the emotional healing process:
1) Write a detailed account of all of the abuse and mistreatment you received as a child. Don't hold back or leave anything out. Try to describe every detail. 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) Use the guided imagery healing processes you will find on this page to heal emotionally from the abuse.
3) 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 you, your boyfriend and your family.
4) Moment by moment, day by day, every time you think of your boyfriend, think of his positive aspects--what you like, admire, and love about him. Use this to extend the benefit of the positive journaling process above.
5) You might consider one of our anger management programs, if the above exercises do not help you get control of your anger.
Most important of all, Vicki, believe in yourself. You can do this, if you set your mind to it and never give up. 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.
Never, ever give up on yourself.
My very best to you,