What Is Wrong With Me?
Hi, I'm Jordan. I'm 17 years old and going into 12th grade after the summer. I've been going to a couple of anger management courses since I was 12. The courses do work well, but not well enough. At the moment, I'm furious with the one I called my best friend.
He makes me mad because he thinks it's funny. He talks behind my back. He's deeply in love with my girl that doesn't like him one bit. He grabs my girl in front of me, thinking it's all good. As I've seen these and heard these things, I've thought up vulgar and sadistic ways of killing him. Please help me out.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hi Jordan. Thanks so much for writing on this site. You are smart to do this, especially as a way to prevent violence or harm. Not to mention you are probably really tired of the anger all of the time. Good for you for doing those anger management courses--I'm glad they have helped you. Now it's time for some more help, maybe a kind of help you haven't had before.
Here are some things I want you to think about:
1) Your friend knows how to push your buttons. He likes the power it gives him to be able to make you angry. This doesn't make him bad, it is just something you don't want to keep happening.
2) How would you like to be in charge of your own buttons? You can be, and I'm going to show you how.
3) If you have a button on a wall, and you push it and all of the lights in the room go off, you know that it is wired to all of those lights--right? If you push the button and nothing happens, it means that it's not connected to anything, or there is a short circuit somewhere.
4) I'm going to tell you some ways to change the wiring behind your buttons. Right now, when your friend pushes your buttons, you start thinking about violence. You're smarter than that, and that's one reason you're asking for help here. You're smart enough to know that if you give in to violence, you lose as much if not more than the person you attack. When you do the things I'm going to recommend, you will have new choices when your buttons get pushed.
This is what I want you to do to re-wire your buttons:
1) Write down all of the times you have been hurt, scared or angry, going back as far as you possibly can in your memory. Those stories are the "wiring" behind your buttons.
2) Write in total and complete detail, leaving nothing out. Keep writing until you start to feel some relief.
3) Then, start writing from your anger every day. This gives it somewhere to go, instead of letting it just rattle around in your head. Don't hold back in your writing. When you start to feel some release and relief from this, take a look at what you've written. You can see that your anger is not coming from the smartest part of your brain.
4) Then, when you're feeling more calm from writing from the anger, write about what you feel grateful for from your past, what you appreciate in your present, and what you look forward to in the future. This will help you to shift your mood and your focus. Do this every day, as a way of "setting the tone" for your day. Writing the positive stuff also reminds you of who you really are--a good person.
5) Write about the positive aspects of all of the people in your life, including your girlfriend and your "best" friend. Write about all of the things you like about them. This will help you re-focus on what is the most important.
By the way, this writing is for your eyes only--unless you want to publish some of it on this site, which you can, if you want to.
If your friend continues to do these things, maybe it's time for you and your girlfriend to find somebody else to hang around with. You and she deserve respect, and it doesn't sound like he is showing respect to either of you.
One more thing...come up with a mental picture of your anger. Make sure it is a good, clear picture that really "captures" exactly how you feel when you're angry. It needs to have eyes, a mouth, arms and legs. It doesn't have to be completely human.
When you have a clear image of your anger, keep it in focus and ask yourself if you want that part of you to be in charge of your actions, or your future. It's not bad or evil, it's just a protector. You have be smart enough to stay in charge, so that it doesn't take over and get you into serious trouble. This is called, "See It, Don't Be It." When you're seeing the image of your anger, you aren't being it. Use this as your anger management tool, and I think you'll get good results.
All the best to you, Jordan--and keep writing on this site if you want to.
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