Very Much Angry
I can't afford a therapist so I thought I'd give this a try. I am an angry violent person and I can very well admit it. I can even tell you what bugs me what causes me to lash out and what I am thinking at the time. I just can't seem to find a good way to stop it, prevent it, or just walk away from it.
I'm not like this to anybody except my girlfriend. I am a bisexual female in a 4 year relationship that has had it's issues, but usually are resolved over time passively. Neither one of us is more masculine/dominant than the other, I just have a hard time with my anger. Usually when I am upset with someone, I get over it quickly (about 15 minutes to an hour) but with her it takes over 2 hours up to 48 hours before I calm down.
If she acts aggressively (pushing or hurtful verbal abuse) I will start experiencing uncontrollable anger. Recently I've been working on calming down by breathing techniques or just smoking a cigarette. Unfortunately sometimes she does things intentionally to provoke me (blasting loud music; I need silence to think to myself and the fact that I know she is doing it to irritate me irritates me) and I lose it. I admit I am violent towards her even though the whole time I am saying it's wrong, stop while you're ahead, just walk away. Recently I've learned to direct it elsewhere and throw things (books, papers, small things that aren't hazardous) and of course away from her. I something kick doors and punch walls too, and that usually keeps me away from her. But that alone gets her mad and she verbally abuses me which upsets me more because I'm just trying to keep myself away from her.
I've also learned to walk away and smoke and feel much more calm afterwords and will resolve the issue right away. Sometimes she will say "yeah walk away, that's what you do best" and I get stuck. I know I need to leave to avoid dangerous situations, but if I do she will get meaner and not want to work it out later.
I try to walk away many times but recently have stopped. I fear she will say what she usually says and assume I walk away to avoid the issue and that I am too proud. I tell her I just need space and time but she feels that I am just being arrogant. So it turns into a physical battle because I stayed. She often kicks me out and I go willingly. But it hurts me and she gets mad when I express it on inanimate objects and will come out and yell at me then it ends the same way, with me hitting her in an attempt to make her stop yelling at me and telling me how I'm this or that. I know it's wrong but it gets uncontrollable.
It gets pretty bad; it will happen once every few months. Not everyday or week but at least 2-3 months. Can happen in the car or at home. It got so bad that she gets self-destructive and then I have to stop her (knife to wrist or elsewhere) and then I damage her emotionally but I am calm then, and it's too late. She has forgiven me many times and I keep trying to control it but I can't help it. It always happens and I can't guarantee it won't anymore because I have tried and tried on my own so many times and it won't stop me.
I keep trying to be the bigger person and let her be angry and let her hate me during the moment, but she pokes at me until she hits that button and I let loose. I don't know what to tell her anymore. I love her and I don't want to let go, but I don't want to hurt her anymore. I know it's an ugly awful thing. We get along well 90% of the time. But when things get off track it really goes insane. I don't know what else to do. I've tried so many things but I don't think I can do this on my own. I don't blame her for any of it even though I know sometimes she pushes it but that's no excuse for my behavior. I just want it under control for both our sakes. I can't take it anymore. Please help me out. Thanks for listening.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Thank you for writing your story on this site, so others can benefit. I'm glad you want to change your situation. You and your girlfriend are both getting hurt, and you want it to stop because you're better than that. This violence is not an accurate reflection of who you really are, so you're wanting help in order to change. That is very, very good.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
1) You and your girlfriend are both responsible for what's going on in the relationship as a whole. In that larger picture, there are no victims, just two responsible adults creating a mix of good things and destructive behavior.
2) In the smaller picture--one given incident of violence, for example, you are 100% responsible for your actions and reactions. This is your realm of freedom and responsibility, therefore your only realm of choice. You can't do anything about what she does, but you have complete freedom to change your own behavior--although I realize that's easier said than done.
3) Take a look at this page on abusive relationships if you haven't already. You need to decide whether it's best to stay and try or to create some distance between you and your partner. The abusiveness needs to stop, as you know. The dangers of it continuing are serious.
4) If you stay in the relationship, start trying to heal your anger right now, and work on it daily. Practice the anger management techniques (click on "Techniques" on the left column of this page), until you know them by heart.
5) Journal from your anger every day. After writing from your anger until you can't think of another thing to say, start writing about: (a.) What you're grateful for from your past, (b.) What you appreciate in your present, and (c.) What you are optimistic about in your future. This will help you shift out of the anger cycle that has been leading you to become violent.
6) By the way, walking away is always, always better than getting physically violent--and it's also better than staying when you or she is emotionally/mentally abusive. Forget what she is saying during these fights--you have to be in charge of yourself, and you know what is right for you, deep inside.
7) Use the above journaling process about yourself (Gratitude, Appreciation, Optimism). Begin building your self-esteem, until you are no longer willing to act differently from who you really are--because who you really are is a good-hearted, healthy woman who wants to do the right thing.
Let me know if I can be of further help.
My best to you,
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