Something Is Wrong With Me
I know I have a bad anger problem. I'm 30 and had a really rough life. Eight years in prison, never had friends, have a lot of trust issues with women, always feel like everyone is against me.
I have a very bad attitude but I've been through a lot in my life.
I just want to calm down, be patient, have someone truly love me for me. I have good in me, but always lived my life with the motto, "I treat everyone the way they treat me." I know it's not healthy. I need help.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Carlos, and thanks for telling your story here. I respect the wisdom and integrity of what you wrote. You're not hiding from your problems, and you openly admit to them. I think you even identified one of the reasons, in your motto.
Here's a new motto for you to try out, and see if you like it better: "I treat everyone according to the good person I am inside." That way, who you are and how you are doesn't depend on others, it comes from you. This motto puts you in charge, and the old motto put others in charge.
I also recommend you do the three journaling exercises described on this page. This will help you to review your past, contain your anger, and begin shifting your mental focus to the good in yourself and the world around you.
You also might want to try these imagery processes for emotional healing, which will help you resolve any past trauma you may have had.
Focus on that goodness, Carlos. That is who you really are. The anger is a symptom, a reaction to the bad things that have happened to you.
Here's a technique that will also help you with 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.
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 this image of your anger--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.
Believe in yourself, Carlos. Be a champion to that goodness inside you, and act from that place. The more you do that, the stronger you will become.
You're a good man. Make up your mind to become who you really are.
My very best to you,