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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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For a while now and mostly evident within my relationship

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For a while now and mostly evident within my relationship with my boyfriend, I Find that I can become easily upset or agitated and that anger blocks any other emotion.
SO while I am upset at him for whatever reason justified (usually), or not, the anger shuts everything else out. It is even hard for me to say I love him when I feel this way. Because I don't have feelings of love, only anger in that moment. Only later do I realize i was hurtful or over reacted and I do love him. Also, I find it difficult to feel compassion for him in my anger. He could be crying and it would have no effect on me nor would it cut thru the anger i am feeling. During my feelings of anger i could convince my self i dont care about him and can leave him anytime, or I dont care how he feels- and in my defense.. I am usually justified in my anger.. but i handle it wrong.
I am not violent or anything serious like that but I just wish I could not become angry or as affected by things. I get angry in other parts of my life as well, like when I receive bad customer service, or encounter people i feel to be stupi or idiots- it angers me, and bothers me for a while before I will let it go.
Yesterday my boyfriend had to go to the ER, and he kept calling me but because I was upset at him I ignored him. When I finally did call him back, of course I felt bad that I had missed his call and was not there for him, but I did not feel bad enough to make the trip to see him ( 45 mins away). His sister was with him. If he was alone I would have went. I felt mostly bothered by it. And in my defense again, I am always the one commuting to see him. he does not drive and he lives 45 mins from me. i also work with him in his business..., and I commute all the time there as well. I work a full time job and then after my 9-6 I drive there to see him/ wk the business etc.
Usually when he is sick it makes me upset rather than compassionate after a while. i compare myself in the same situation i know i would not act like as much of a baby as he is acting and it makes me feel like.. ughh here we go again with the dramatics. He is ok by the way just had high blood pressure and heart palpitations. This is a result of him using cocaine.- which he stopped 2 months ago and only told me about 2 days ago when I had to take him to the ER the first time for the same reason. Apparently he had been doing it on and off every other week for a year behind my back.
THis upset me and hurt me as well.
I am not sure if I am just a mean person and need to learn compassion or is it something else? I definitely have it and can express it but sometimes it is expressed more with strangers than with close loved ones. I also do find it hard to focus on something for very long periods of times.. mostly evident when my boyfriend speaks to me, my mind wanders.. but i feel its because he talks to much about his /our business which i understand, but I sometimes don't necessarily care so i tune him out and /or interrupt him a lot too. he is the man behind the ideas and great ones too so he is ALWAYS thinking about ways to improve the business which is a good thing i know. but sometimes i just dont care.
I once tried to make an appt to see a psych. but they did not show up for the appt. and so I was discouraged. sometimes i think i dont need one. i just need to recognize my behavior and make the conscious effort to react differently and other times i feel like may be i need help.
my boyfriend calls my bipolar jokingly, he says my mood can change in an instant. i can be happy then sad or angry in minutes.
Maybe i just am full of emotion? lol..
I am a smart, professional and independent woman. i think maybe I have feelings of resentment that he is not the same. He has eveything tied to this business which I am practically 50% a part of and for the most part enjoy- but it takes its toll on me. I am over worked.
I am not sure I've even framed this info into an answerable question or have I just rambled.
Thanks for any advice, info you can share.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
When someone feels angry a lot as you describe you do, it is usually because of a need to protect yourself from being hurt or it can be a learned behavior, such as witnessing a parent being angry all the time when you were a child. Anger issues are often seen in people who have been abused as children or hurt in some other way by other people. Or if you learned as a child that people who are hurt or vulnerable, like your boyfriend is when he is sick or hurt, are an annoyance, then you might lash out when you see he needs you. Anger is also a natural response to repeatedly being hurt and feeling out of control or it can also be a modeled behavior. If you have seen your parents be angry all the time, for example, you may have learned that anger is an acceptable response to those around you who are vulnerable. Being angry also creates a "barrier" between you and other people, helping you maintain control over how much someone else interacts with you and at what level.
It helps to know where your anger might come from so you can get to the root of the issue and resolve it once and for all. Therapy is an excellent option for exploring why you feel as you do and how to resolve it for good. But for now, it helps to recognize that your anger is probably due to feeling vulnerable and wanting to keep distance between you and the other people or that you might have learned this behavior during childhood. In either case, your anger is a resolvable issue.
To deal with your anger, it helps to use psychological tools to keep yourself calm. One way to do that is to focus on your breathing. Deep, consistent breathing keeps you relax and feeling less agitated. Another way to help yourself is to change your thoughts when confronted with something that makes you angry. For example, instead of feeling agitated when you have an argument with your boyfriend, try imagery. Think of things that relax you such as a beach. Listen for the waves, think of how the sand feels. By "escaping" you can feel more in control and pull yourself out of the situation emotionally and mentally.
It can also help you to leave the situation when you feel angry. So if you feel upset that your boyfriend needs you in some way, try taking a walk first before you respond. Getting out of the situation, using anger reducing exercises or even talking to someone about your anger can help you calm yourself before you deal with the situation.
Try getting out your anger through healthy means such as exercise. Kickboxing, running or sports can help expend your energy and you will feel calmer.
Here is a resource to help you:
Anger Management for Everyone: Seven Proven Ways to Control Anger and Live a Happier Life by Raymond Chip Tafrate, Ph.D. and Howard Kassinove
I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok , yes

I did already know that I respond with anger usually to avoid feeling hurt or feelings of vulnerability. so then The answer is really to speak with a therapist then? to get the root cause of the anger? what if i think I know the root causes... then what.. is it just a matter or making a conscious effort to make that change- which is so hard to keep up, i have tried. or is it better coupled with real therapy.

You can try to work on this on your own. But given the nature of anger issues, it is probably best that you seek the help of a therapist. And like you mentioned, it is hard to keep up on your own so having someone to help you can make a big difference. You can also consider group therapy if you feel that might help as well.

Self help is also a good option in addition to therapy, particularly if you feel you already know the root cause of your anger. Then you will know what resources work best for you.


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