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What Could Have Been

by A.B.

I was on my way home from work, on a day that was definitely not one of the better ones, and I made a right onto my neighborhood street that has a laundromat & convenience store on the corner. Right after I made my turn, on the opposite side of the street there is this woman in a truck coming right for me (not dramatization). I thought in that short moment that I was about to be in a head-on collision,

Then she turned left on a dime & went through somebody's front yard just to pull into the laundromat, all because she couldn't wait the extra 1.5 seconds for me to pass. This made me so angry that I stopped dead in my tracks, put the car in park, rolled down my window and just sat in my car with my hands up as to say "What on earth were you thinking?!?! You almost killed both of us!"

I was in front of the driveway to the mat and I saw her sitting in her truck and just looking at me in her side mirror. She just sat there until I eventually drove away, so I know that she knew she did wrong.

I headed home (which is only 3 blocks away from where this happened) and when I walk in the door, there is my boyfriend on the couch. I immediately start ranting about my near-death experience, rather loudly. He argues with me that he does not know why I am upset, it is over and I should be happy that I am not injured. This is true. I explain that the day went sort of badly at work and this was just the icing on the cake.

The problem I have is when I tell him about any of my bad days or experiences I happen to curse and tell the story loudly, which in turn makes him feel like I am taking it out on him. I am really trying not to. It just feels good to yell and get these things off my chest in a primal way. So him feeling like I am taking it out on him starts an argument, which just makes me louder and more vulgar. We just end up fighting with each other.

I do not know if I am one of those people who unknowingly like to be angry, or if he just kind of takes advantage of the fact that I am already upset and adds gas to the fire. Any help or comments would be greatly appreciated!!

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello A.B., and thanks for telling your story here. I surely understand how a near-miss like you had can be very upsetting. I think most people would be angry in that situation. The important point is how to deal with your anger so that it doesn't cause you any new problems.

It is interesting that you describe how "It just feels good to yell and get these things off my chest in a primal way." Your method of venting this toward your boyfriend creates new problems, however. The anger needs to come out, but in healthy ways so that it doesn't hurt you or anyone else.

Here is a healthy way to "get your anger out" that will help, not hurt--just do the journaling exercises you find on this page, which gives your anger somewhere to go where it will do no harm.

If you have any emotional trauma in your past, do this journaling process to review that trauma, and these imagery processes to heal it.

The fact that you feel good when you release your anger does not mean you are a bad person, or that you are just someone who likes anger. You are a good person, and it is natural to feel good when releasing anger--especially in healthy ways.

You can do this. I encourage you to do the exercises I recommended above.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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