Hi. I'm a newbie, this is my first post here.
I have a hair trigger on my temper - I'm not physically violent but I am verbally abusive, I recognise and accept that. I don't want to be like this any more. I've been in my current relationship for 8 years and have a one-year old; I don't want to lose them. My temper can be set off by the most innocuous things. I'm terribly over-sensitive and have trouble reading other people. My temper is a flash in the pan, explosive type - I escalate very quickly and when I feel I've been hurt by another, . I often don't see any warning signs and before I know it I'm saying things I don't mean and deeply regret to the woman that I love. I hate it and I hate myself for it. After years of broken promises, worthless apologies and telling myself that I can deal with this by myself, I now realise that I can't do this by myself. So the question is what to do about it. Has anyone else had experience with counselling for anger issues? I've got appointment with a counsellor next week but I'm wondering if there are more effective ways forward, specialist mutual aid groups that people can recommend?
Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm pretty low at the moment and need some hope that change is possible.
Welcome to the forums and it is such a great thing that you're doing for yourself and for your family that you've realised you have a problem and are reaching out for help.
Have you ever approached your GP to discuss your temper? They may have some ideas of local places you could get help. You also said you are going to a counsellor but you could also get your GP to refer you to a psychiatrist (who will be able to prescribe medication if it's appropriate).
I only suggest this because you have a 1 year old. As a mum of 2 small kids I know that would be my breaking point (if my children were frightened) and you said you love your family and are worried they will leave.
I hope I am not hurting your feelings I honestly don't want to make you feel worse. I hope you get a reply soon from someone who has experienced what you're going through.
In the meantime please feel free to talk about whatever you need to. This is a safe place and everyone here just wants you to feel better. Take care.
Thanks for the reply Quercus. I haven't spoken to my GP yet because quite frankly I'm so ashamed of myself. I thought I'd speak to this counsellor first and see what they suggest. I do know, however, that I can't go on like this. I'm also an alcoholic (just to put icing on the cake). I've not taken a drink in four years and attend AA meetings regularly. I feel like I have that side of things under control, but now I wonder if anger was the underlying cause of alcoholism. I drank to escape myself, which is ludicrous in itself because I have a good life; I love my job, I earn a good salary, I'm educated about as highly as you can get, I have a wonderful family - I just can't keep negative thoughts out of my head and don't think much of myself.
My temper tends to flare when I feel that I'm not respected or my feelings considered. As I said in my original post, I'm terribly over-sensitive and it's all in my head. I know all this. I just need strategies to stop myself from reacting, but I can't seem to get an intelligent thought in before I snap, and once that happens the damage is done. Any original issue then replaced by my reaction and behaviour. I'm so over myself.
Shame is a beast of a thing isn't it. How many people don't reach out for help because they are ashamed to (myself included). The good thing is you've made lots of positive steps already!
Firstly...You go to AA (good on you for that by the way). Are there people there who you are already comfortable enough to approach about the topic of anger management with and who can give you some support? Maybe there are others in the same boat as yourself? You're managing your alcoholism that is a massive achievement and something to be very proud of.
Secondly, you are reaching out for more help and I think talking to any professional is a positive step to take. You know yourself best and it is your choice to seek help from whoever you are comfortable with.
Personally, I saw a psychologist first who said I was normal. I had told GPs etc how bad I was feeling for years without getting taken seriously. Finally at the point of being suicidal I was finally given a referral to a psychiatrist and he diagnosed me with major depression and prescribed meds for me which helped enormously. I was relieved to have a diagnosis at last and to have relief so I think that is why I have more faith in a psychiatrist of all of the professionals. However that is just my experience and everyone is different.
Finally I wanted to say you are human and we all have faults. Anyone who says they are perfect must be lying I think! Your GP probably has faults of his or her own don't forget that. Maybe you could ask your partner to come to the GP or counsellor with you so you can support eachother?
First of all welcome and I applaud you for your honesty and openness but most of all for recognising that there is an issue here. That in itself is a huge step in the right direction. I don't have many suggestions to help you as I think you are on the right path and Quercus has made good suggestions but wanted to post to you because i am on the receiving end of anger issues from someone who does not see any issue. I want to encourage you to continue to deal with it.
You say 'My temper tends to flare when I feel that I'm not respected or my feelings considered. As I said in my original post, I'm terribly over-sensitive and it's all in my head.' . What i love here is that you have recognised and acknowledged what triggers your anger and you are willing to work on it for the sake of your family. You recognise it is 'your feelings' and not necessarily that you are being disrespected or not considered. In my case there is a complete lack of acknowledgement and everything is everyone else's fault. We are not together but have a child whom he hasn't bothered to see since xmas after verbally abusing me. You are already a step ahead.
What does your partner say/think about it all? Is she aware you are seeking help and supporting you in this? If i may point out, sometimes people on the receiving end become conditioned to the behaviour and become accepting as it is easier than trying to argue with the person or try to change the situation.
I am really proud of you for reaching out and wanting to fix this. I'm very interested in following your journey and if you ever want some perspective from the receiving side, please don't hesitate to ask.
Wishing you all the best
Thanks for your response cmf, I really appreciate it.
My partner has at the end of her tether, and rightly so. I'm generally a very compassionate and emotional individual so I'm totally aware of the consequences of my behaviour. Losing my temper is not my preferred response, obviously. She mandated "do something about it". This is long overdue, I recognise that. She deserves so much more. I don't want my son to grow up thinking that this is normal behaviour and god forbid, emulate it. At the moment he's young enough that if I can get this under control, he can grow up without witnessing my (infrequent but still) terrible behaviour.
Thank you for the well-wishes. I'll keep this thread updated as I progress.
Having a short or long fuse on our anger is a learned behavior. For some of us it is what our parents were like, and for others that's how people treated us when we did something wrong. What taught us this helps only in recognizing that we were taught the behavior.
Here is some important facts:
- Only one person has the ability to make you angry, and that person is you.
- Only you can control how you react to any situation.
- Only you can control when you react to any situation.
If you seriously want to change, then fix the above three facts one fact at a time.
First, let's change when.
** whenever something happens, good, bad or otherwise, you are to wholly exhale, and then wholly inhale, BEFORE you allow yourself to react or respond. You can ask family members and friends to help you with this by whenever they notice you getting angry about something to tell you to "breathe" (which is your queue to exhale and inhale; first).
This breathing is crucial. It allows the brain a sufficient amount of time to "think" about the best way to react/respond to the situation. It also allows time for the initial shock to pass, and empowers you to respond/react more rationally than if you were not to breathe.
Because you are breathing, you naturally and automatically start to change the how. And, if you actively think about passive and calm reaction, on a regular basis, you will become that which you want to be.
Lastly, because we are controlling both when and how we react, we then and only then get angry when we allow ourselves to get angry.
ps: I found that having poster notes that said "BREATHE" around the house and office helped constantly remind me to do just that.
This is my first posting , however in terms of the breathing exercises would having a physical prop help to trigger a signal to brain to stop and think of the avalanche that’s about to start as the argument escalates . My issue is around depression triggered by a career that fallen short of expectations, and ignoring my partner and the successes of my children . Ie my ego has been pricked