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Mastering Anger/severe anger problems


I have a severe anger management problem. I have had a problem controlling my anger for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, my anger is affecting my relationships with my family and I don't know how to change my behaviors.

My family tells me I am quick to get angry about things that no one else would get mad about. They tell me I am mad when I don't even feel like I've been that bad. They are constantly telling me things like, "I don't even think you hear yourself" or "why are you always yelling?" But, I don't even realize that I am yelling. Sometimes I think my family is just too sensitive, but they tell me that they are very upset by my behavior and it is affecting their lives.

My friend says I need to find a way to relax when I feel myself getting angry, but how do I do that when I can get so angry in such a short amount of time? I know I need to be less sensitive about things, go with the flow and relax. I just don't know how to do that. Also, I can replay something I got angry about days and days ago and get enraged about it all over again.

I used to be a more relaxed and mellow person. I was happier and I liked myself better for that. I feel like I am always on edge just waiting for something to get mad about. How do I get back to a peaceful state of mind?

Hello Amy

It is good that you want to get back to a peaceful state of mind. You've built up a strong pattern with your anger, and it's sort of taken on a life of its own. But you can fix that.

To heal your anger, and begin creating a stronger pattern of healthy responses to replace the anger pattern, you will need to get the cause of the problem, begin there, and work into creating and practicing healthy thought processes and behaviors. I can help you do that.

By the way, the reason you get angry so fast is that the fight-or-flight part of your brain that governs anger operates at light speed. It's unconscious, and survival based. Even though rationally you may know your life isn't in danger, your subconscious process is operating as if it was. This is the patter we need to interrupt, so that you can be more conscious and make better choices when you're upset.

First, I suggest that you begin a journaling process to review any past trauma you may have experienced, including unhealthy role modeling from a parent or parent figure. This should take you back to some of the emotionally traumatic events from your past, that are the underlying issues causing your anger in the first place.

Also, I suggest that you begin an anger journaling process on a daily basis, and you can use it when you find yourself starting to get angry as well. Keep doing this until you are experiencing long periods of calm and control, with no anger outbursts. (I will provide a link below that will guide you through the steps for each of these exercises).

You will use imagery processes to revisit some of your past trauma, and bring emotional comfort to the traumatized parts of yourself. These are powerful tools, and you have to use them enough to become skilled with them, in order to experience the benefit you want.

Simultaneously with the above exercises, you will begin a positive journaling process to begin shifting your focus from things that trigger your anger toward the things in your life that are good, right and working.

From the sound of your question, you have a lot to be grateful for in your life. You have a family that loves you, and a good friend who is trying to help you. These are blessings beyond measure. Do not take them for granted. The positive journaling will help you to be more focused and deliberate in the gratitude and appreciation process.

Here are some guidelines to follow in implementing these journaling and imagery processes.

Use these tools Amy, and you will definitely feel better, and you will be able to treat your family and others with respect and kindness. You are a good person inside, which is the reason that you don't like the anger, and want to be peaceful.

You can do this. Believe in yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Mastering Anger

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William DeFoore, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about: * How to deal with your own anger * How to deal with somebody else's anger * How to help an angry spouse * How to help an angry child or adolescent * How to let go of resentment and forgive * How to keep anger from ruining your life and your relationships * How to let go and get out of abusive relationships


I have been in practice as a counselor for over 38 years. I have published two books on anger and 10 audio CD programs on anger, health and building healthy relationships. I have helped thousands of people overcome their anger by healing the cause instead of just treating the symptoms. I have a positive approach, and believe in the basic goodness of each person. Anger is basically healthy, but when it is expressed in unhealthy ways it is very destructive, and that's why most people think anger is bad. Learning to understand and accept yourself for who you are is the first step to healing and recovery from anger issues.

I am the author of: Anger: Deal With It, Heal With It, Stop It From Killing You. Health Communications, Inc. 2004. Anger Among Angels: Shedding Light On The Darkness Of The Human Soul. Health Communications, Inc. 2000. Serai: Bringing The Children Home. Wingspan Press, 2007.

B.A. Sociology; M.A. Clinical Psychology; Ph.D. Counselor Education; Licensed Professional Counselor. You can view my full resume here.

Awards and Honors
Adjunct Faculty with the Cooper Wellness Program, of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas Texas.

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