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Well, I have been seeing my girlfriend for about a year now. When it comes to us, things are perfect. Our biggest and only issue is the kids.
She has two, ages three and five and I have one who is four. It seems like when we are all together, her son and my son fight or hit or argue. Its tough for me to sit back and let this happen. For one, I grew up in a very strict home and sometimes got physical.
I have never hit my son or any other person out of anger. But it brings arguments with my girlfriend and I leave her wondering if this is really going to work. Because, when I start to get in a little but of a bad mood, everything seems to set me off. From one of the kids not listening to what they are told, or doing stuff they aren't supposed to do.
I know kids are kids and they will do these things, but I can't seem to keep my cool about it and just go with the flow. Recently it got pretty bad and she just ended things.
From this, I have learned that something needs to change...and it is me. I don't want to lose her. I believe with all of my heart that she is the one. I just don't know what to do from here.
I think some of the twelve steps may really work.
I am really going to try to focus on putting myself in their shoes when issues arise.
But what else can be done? Do I need to see someone because I have past issues, or what should I do?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Josh, and thanks for telling your story here. I respect your willingness to take responsibility for your anger and the problems you've been having. That is the important first step to healing. Congratulations to you for not being caught in the "blame game."
That being said, now it's time to answer your questions.
I like your ideas of using empathy (putting yourself in their shoes). That is very helpful, if you can remember to use it. This information on empathy will help.
Also, the twelve steps are useful for dealing with and overcoming virtually any problem you may have. I highly encourage you to get involved in a 12 step program and work all of the steps--whether you focus on your anger or any addictive patterns you may have.
Also, try the three journaling processes you will find on this page. This will help you review your past trauma, contain your anger, and begin shifting your focus in a more positive direction.
After writing about your past trauma, use these imagery processes for emotional healing to resolve those issues.
Believe in the goodness in your heart, Josh. Focus there as you go through your process of healing. Until you feel some healing and benefit from your anger, I suggest you avoid doing any parenting of your girlfriend's children (if you have contact with them). Defer to your girlfriend as their mom, even if you don't agree with her approach.
You can do this. Don't settle for anything less than the man you want to be.
My very best to you,
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