Who Is Really To Blame?
I have had anger issues for as long as I can remember. Perhaps because I witnessed my father physically hit my mom, bash her head into the kitchen door and wall over and over as I was growing up.
I used to think it was because as soon as he was done, she would sneer at him, look at my face and say, "You did this to me, aren't you proud?" I used to tell her to please be quiet so he will stop.
Or maybe it is because I was afraid that my parents would continue to take their anger out on me if I did something or said something that would set mom off.
I have been in therapy for anger on and off for many years. I am now in my late 40's and have witnessed my own children's anger issues. It is a circle. I tried and tried when I was raising my children not to teach them anger. But, after all these years, my own 3 children tell me they were afraid of me and they were afraid to set me off. The very same fear I lived with.
Who changes it? How can it be changed?
I am now married for the 4th time. Big suprise! Not because of MY anger. I refuse to deal with things, and then I run away. I left all 3 of the previous husbands, and in time filed for divorce. They were all abusive, physically, mentally and emotionally--just as I had witnessed as a kid.
My own husband just recently told me that he keeps alot inside because he never knows what kind of mood I am in. He never knows what to say to "not set me off".
Is this still the circle? Have I bred three more angry people? Is there anything to do to stop this?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Lisa, and thanks for reaching out for help here. It's the good person inside you that has been working so long and hard to deal with your anger. You didn't ask for what happened to you as a child, and you have tried not to repeat the patterns. Pretty hard to do, though, especially when you were blamed for insane abuse between your parents that had nothing to do with you. That was so wrong, and so incredibly confusing to you as a child.
I want you to go and get that little girl out of that memory you described--the one where your mother is being brutalized by your father and blaming you for it.
Picture the house you lived in, and imagine yourself as the woman you are today, walking back into that house with love and goodness in your heart. Go into the kitchen where your parents and the little girl "you" are. First, go up to your mom and dad, and say, "That's enough. You are wrong. You have to leave." Then, as if you had a force of love and justice coming from you, move them out of the scene, until they are completely gone. Then go to that little girl who got blamed for what happened. Look into her eyes and say, "It wasn't your fault. You're a good little girl. You didn't do anything wrong." Say it over and over, until that child you starts to believe it--you will feel the relief in your body. Then pick up that precious little girl and take her to a safe place for her healing. Continue to tell her she is good, and that it was not her fault.
You will find a full description of this type of imagery healing process on this page. Use these methods repeatedly until you are getting the relief and healing you need.
Also, write a detailed account of all of the abuse, abandonment or neglect you received as a child. Don't hold back or leave anything out. Describe every detail. Write about everything that has ever hurt, frightened or angered you. I know it might take a while, but it will really help. This is for no one's eyes but yours, so don't worry about that. The benefit is how it will help you to revisit these memories from your present position. This is where your anger comes from--all anger comes from some kind of emotional pain and/or fear.
Continue to use the guided imagery healing processes with these memories, whenever you feel the need.
When you deal with your past experiences this way, it will make the following techniques work much better for you. So be sure and do the above exercises before moving on to the following ones.
Now, to manage your anger on a daily basis and continue your emotional healing...
1) Use the journaling processes you will find described on this page to begin managing your anger more effectively on a daily basis. This will include a daily journaling process of writing from your anger and then shifting to positive journaling about the good things in yourself, your life, your husband and your children.
2) Moment by moment, day by day, shift your focus from what you don't like to what you do like about yourself and your family. The things that trigger your anger are all things you don't like or don't want. Train your mind to look at the things you do want and like. Use this to extend the benefit of the positive journaling process above.
This is how you break the circle--by taking responsibility for your own healing and your own anger. Think of your journal as a "container" for your anger, and keep it there and don't let it come out at those you love.
Lisa, I know you can do this. Make up your mind to do what I've recommended, and I assure you that you will get results.
By the way, as a child you were not to blame for anything that your parents did (or blamed you for). You are responsible (notice I didn't say "to blame") for what you've done as an adult, and you can heal that--but you have to start with your childhood.
Believe in yourself. Make up your mind that you're going to stick with this until you become the kind of person you want to be.
You've got what it takes.
My very best to you,
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