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Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.
I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. Your question is very evocative that there is so much behind the simple few words you write. I will try to give you an answer that touches on why most people who find themselves defending themselves angrily and compulsively do so in spite of themselves. My answer is based both on my training as well as my experience working with people who are so frustrated with this problem.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. Taking offense by lashing out at others often feels like it is obsessive. But it's most often not so much an obsessive disorder as it is a problem of self-worth and self-image.
Interestingly, I just finished a few months ago working with a man in my office who came with this exact problem to therapy! In his case it was this need my client had to create an image of competence and of being right. What do I mean?
If you look "as a psychologist would" at the act of lashing out at what feels like an offense, you will see that in a case like my client's, every such action has one of a number of common purposes: anger at criticism, feeling of disappointment that one may not look good in someone else's eyes, feeling secretly that one may have been "exposed", etc. See the problem that is emerging here?
That problem is one of not feeling able within himself to make himself be the person he wants others to believe he is. That was my client's situation. Yes, it's a self worth problem. And it does most often relate to one's childhood and youth experiences. In fact, my client was bullied (not sexually) very much in middle and high school.
I can't recommend the things we did in therapy because you're not in my office in therapy. Though therapy might be something you might consider to undertake. But let me suggest some things you can do on your own as well. Here's the first:
Take some time and feel what you feel when you feel the flush of anger and the need to lash out. You have to get familiar with that feeling and need. And when you feel that feeling in front of someone who you feel did something to offend you, you need to tell yourself to hold on and not speak. To take a minute, a full minute if you need, and breathe and not do the automatic lashing out to make yourself feel better. Just that. Get to know the feeling and then not make the lashing out automatic. Take a breath first and choose how you want to answer. This self help step is very powerful if you do it faithfully.
The second step is a self-worth building exercise for self help:
And in our society the best tools we have for popular consumption when it comes to confidence in self and building self worth is the motivational speakers. Here's a simple YouTube search I put together on "motivational speakers":
Some like Tony Robbins are the classic big guys. Some are newer. There are now wonderful women speakers as well. There are now great women speakers as well if you're interested as well. Watch them all. Get inspired. Buy a book or two. Here are some possibilities, but they are only suggestions as there are so many good ones.
The first book is the father of all these type of books. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There are classes in these books now! It was written in the 1930s and still has something to say to us today that is very worthwhile.
I think very highly of the second book on my list, which is a real classic: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is the book that has helped more people than probably any other. The third book is by Anthony Robbins. He's one of those speakers who fills up huge auditoriums. For a reason. He's a terrific speaker and writer. The particular book (if you like it, try his others): Awaken the Giant Within.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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I was bullied most of my young life cause we moved around so much. I was also systematically raped by my uncle when I was only three. I have been abused in most all of my relationships with my boyfriends. I was almost choked out by one in college. I have been single since 2001 because I do not want to be abused any more although I wish I had a boyfriend. I take care of my invalid mother since 2004 and I have a serious job where I help people with disabilities get work. This year alone I was assaulted by a delivery man, my mom almost died on me, my young godson had a brainstem stroke and is parazlized completely. My Aunt died last month by falling and cracking her head open. I am helping everyone through their grief but am not considered for mine. This has caused me problems at work because I have been griefstricken for so long. I want to feel better I want to do the right thing I am responsible for so much and have taken symbolically and realistically the head of the household. I am an accomplished artist but I can not work cause my mom is a horder. I do not know what to do I do not have a support net
My worry for you is that you need psychotherapy but that you might not be willing to make your needs a priority. I am concerned because you must. You must take care of yourself and help yourself heal. PTSD most frequently necessitates consistent, regular therapy. Because there are so many emotions and they can be fragile. There needs to be a strong relationship formed with the therapist.
Here is the Mayo Clinic entry on PTSD. They're very medically oriented, but I think they're fair:
Psychotherapy that is helpful for PTSD is some form of Exposure Therapy. I have found EMDR can be very useful especially for one time traumas. It is a type of therapy specifically for PTSD originally. Here is the International Society's website:
I am trained in it and have found it useful. Exposure therapy is also very helpful. I have found that you need to combine these types of therapy with a more introspective, humanistic or psychodynamic approach. If we actually look inside, we can find great relief and meaning. And we can feel whole in ourselves in ways that we haven't for decades. But many EMDR practitioners and therapist working with Exposure Therapy do not take the time to insure the emotional safety of the patient and so that's why you need someone who is more humanistic or psychodynamic in approach.
If you don't have a good referral source, here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (you can see a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list working with PTSD and EMDR and also some form of psychodynamic or humanistic therapy in their orientations. You will need this for the work on the self worth problems as well that you need to address. And make sure you are confident in them as a therapist and they share your values. http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/
Thank you so much. I have tried counciling before in the past and have always ended up counciling them. I hope that I can find someone in Amarillo texas a very backwards town. I thank you so much because I have not had anyone help me so much in the short amount of time that you have. I will be agressive to find someone if i can here in this town as I can not live like this the rest of my life. I want to heal because I want to become a councelor myself. Thank you again Dr. Mark. :) God bless you