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That Inner Volcano

by Lauren
(Tucson, AZ)

I just need some place that I can anonymously release my anger. It's just really hard finding and correctly using an outlet for this anger, seeing as how the root cause of my anger is generally my family.

Unlike my wretched mother, however, I don't have these outbursts of anger, loud voices that range from one aspect to another and are just reasons to allow me to yell. I listen, let her yell, occasionally defend myself with her heinous and preposterous accusations, but I don't really tell her how I feel, how she makes me feel.

It's like she likes to demean other people - her own DAUGHTER - to make herself feel better about herself. I then have the need to leave the room, which also upsets her and she comes up with any excuse to yell something at me as I peacefully leave. Once in my own quarters, the tears are uncontrollable.

When I talk myself through it, I realize it's not those tears of "how could my mother do this to me?" but rather "how is THAT my mother?" My tears are my release of anger; my tears also build more anger. Once I've calmed down, I have sick "fantasies" in my head of actually countering her arguments with me yelling back, calling her names, even hitting her.

I know it's sick and I hate calling it a fantasy because it's really not something I wish I could do but it's something that just comes into my imagination, and then I feel out of control. Sometimes I giggle thinking, "how could hitting my mother across the face account for that half an hour yelling battle resulting in a beating from her just make it all even?" In reality, it wouldn't. But I think, I imagine, it would be a wake-up call for her.

I don't feel that I will actually ever become violent, but I wish she knew how to remove herself from a room and avoid the yelling which is then the reason why I have a compelling urge to hit her. No one speaks for me. My father won't intervene in our arguments. And my mother and I are not those TV mother-daughter partnerships where you can talk about everything and laugh at things together.

If that ever happened I'm sure that I would be in The Twilight Zone. My anger is just a volcano inside me that explodes whenever it feels right and I wish it never had the need to, at least not as often. I'm sometimes jealous of people less well off than I am because they have a story to tell and my anger issues feel so petty. But they're just always there.

It's like I'm in this in-between place in life that constantly sucks. It's not bad, but it's not good, it's just in-between. I sometimes suppress the tears too, thinking she doesn't deserve my tears. I just kind of wish karma would slap her across the face so that I don't have to.

My cousin angers me less, but angers me nonetheless. When we try to discuss problems, she immediately resorts to tears and bringing up past altercations, ones where I've already made my problems with that situation clear. She waits and lets all these little things pile up and then brings them up.

Then when we make an agreement that will continue our friendship, she goes back on it and then I retaliate, which causes her to explode. And she doesn't recognize when she does it either, even if I bring it up with her. To be honest though, if we weren't related we wouldn't be friends at all because we have no similarities and she thinks she really gets me, but she doesn't.

Just wish it were someone other than my family making me fume.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Lauren, and thanks for telling your story here. You sound like an intelligent adult woman. It also sounds like you're still living with your parents. I'm not sure about this, but if the above is true and you are an adult living with your parents, you may need to consider that you won't be happy until you're on your own and supporting yourself.

I think your main issue is that you're not standing up for yourself--and I'll tell you what I mean by that. First, you're not standing up for yourself in your relationship with your mother. You need to let her know, in words and actions--especially actions, that she will either treat you with respect or she will not have the pleasure of your company. I suggest further that you do this in all of your relationships.

The violent fantasies you're having are because you're allowing your mother to abuse you and not standing up for yourself. Nonverbally, you're telling her that it's okay for her to continue abusing you.

Standing up for yourself would take the form of a statement to your mother like, "I just want you to know I don't like it when you talk to me like that. I want you to treat me with respect." Those are the words, and they need to be spoken calmly, firmly and clearly. The actions are to keep a distance from her that allows you to relax and be comfortable. It sounds like you're much too close to your mother right now. It is not healthy for her to be your best friend or closest social relationship, if that's what's happening.

Use the steps on this FAQ page to heal your anger, and on this page to let go of your parents emotionally.

Be sure and use these positive journaling exercises to shift your focus to what you like about yourself and your world.

It's time for you to shift your focus away from your mother, Lauren, once you've done some of these exercises. Create a wonderful, joyful, fulfilling life for yourself. You are worthy of that.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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