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Teen Anger! What else?

by Alyssa

I guess this is my anger story. Well, I'm fourteen years old, and I KNOW I have anger issues! You might think, well she's fourteen, of course it's all in her head. Well, no!

I get mad too fast, and I've always had a bad temper since I've reached middle school, when I was about twelve. I can't really have a good conversation with someone because I channel out, or if I get bored I just make noises that sound rude.

And if you put up a fight with me, you might as well lose! I can't go out in public because if I see someone laughing or whispering, I think they're talking about me and I get mad and I usually would walk over to them if someone didn't hold me back.

Let me cut to the chase, everything is bothering me. I used to have serious mood swings, but now I'm always mad. I HATE when people tell me about their problems, I usually just tell them to their face that I DON'T CARE!

I want to be happy, and not picking a fight. I also have a dry sense of humor, says my mom. Help please!

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Alyssa, and thanks for telling your story here. I believe you when you say you have anger issues. If anyone would know, it would be you.

I also believe you when you say you want to be happy, and not picking a fight. That's because that happy person inside is who you really are, and the angry person is something you've developed unconsciously over the years as a defense mechanism.

Here is a process that will be helpful to you in understanding, healing and controlling 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 wanting to pick a fight. 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. You will become my ally, instead of my enemy."

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, companion and friend--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.

5) Next, do the anger journaling exercises on this page, to give your anger someplace to go on a regular daily basis.

6) You probably have some unresolved and/or unaddressed emotional trauma from your past, based on what you've told me about your anger episides and violence. I strongly encourage you to do the "Trauma Writing" on this page, to revisit your past pain and trauma that is underlying and most likely causing your current problems.

These are tools, Alyssa. Like any tools, they are useless if you don't use them. And, like any tools, the more you use them the better you will get at it, and the more you will benefit.

You can do this. You're smart and strong. Make up your mind to be the good person you want to be, and don't let anything stop you.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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