Dr. DeFoore I don't feel as if I have anger problems, but I think it's trust issues. I always get into relationships and end up the same way. All we fight about is cheating. But I don't do the cheating, it's always my girlfriend, or my latest was my wife of seven years. I always treat my partners well, but they always cheat. I thought it was just me but found out it's not.
But anyway my question is how do I control my anger when I find out about the cheating? I don't react this way to any other problems. Only when get cheated on. I mean nothing else upsets me as this does. Should I give up relationships? Or can I get help? Other than at those times am I violent, I handle all other problems rationally. Any other time it is very hard to upset me, what can I do?
Usually the person I am with will lie and lie until I can't take any more. I don't just beat women. It usually happens after I have been lied to over and over again. But the crazy thing is I always tell new girlfriends about this. I tell them the only thing I don't tolerate is cheating. And they always say I don't do that (cheating), but it always ends the same. Should I stop having serious relationships or can I stop this cycle? Please help me.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for writing and asking for help on this site. I get that you want to control your anger better, and that it only comes up when the woman you're with is cheating. You are a good person inside, and you don't like your behavior when you are angry and violent.
I will do my best to help you.
Here are some things I want you to think about:
1) It doesn't matter what the reason is, your anger makes your problem worse, not better. We will talk about the trust and cheating later, but first I want to make it clear that you are 100% responsible for your anger regardless of what the other person has done or is doing. I think you know that, and that's why you asked for help here.
2) You ask if you should stop having serious relationships--you actually asked that twice. My answer is definitely yes--because you have also made it clear that you have been violent, and that you have beaten women. The violence and abuse has to stop now, and the best way to do that short-term is for you to not be in a serious relationship until you get some serious healing from your trust issues.
3) As bad as cheating and infidelity is, it does not justify violence. Your job at this point is to protect yourself and others by focusing on your own healing, rather than starting another love relationship.
And here are some things I suggest you do for your healing:
1) If you can, get some counseling for your problem, or look for a support group in your area for others who have similar issues.
2) Write a detailed account of any 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. Focus especially on any memories of being betrayed. 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. What's the point of this? It's where your anger comes from--all anger comes from some kind of emotional pain and/or fear.
3) Now that you have brought up those memories, use the guided imagery healing processes you will find on this page to heal emotionally from the abuse. Use these techniques, and keep trying until you get some relief. They are powerful tools, that work very well if you use them.
4) 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 and other people.
Believe in yourself. You can do this, if you set your mind to it. You get to choose, moment by moment, what kind of person you're going to be, and these exercises will help you make the right choices.
If you try these techniques and you're still having violent and angry outbursts, please seek professional help in your community.
Never, ever give up on yourself.
My very best to you,