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Please help with my anger

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Lostdream22 posted 7/21/2014 12:42 PM

Hello. I'm new here.
I'm a BS with anger issues. For nearly two years I've been attempting to accept my spouses EA/PA. Worst time of my life. There have been many mistakes made along the way by the both of us. Mine are verbal/emotional abuse. I have never been so angry. Unpredictable outbursts due to strong triggers or feeling completely overwhelmed by this pain. Of course I've felt justified, yet I've been abusive. I don't have that right. It has to stop. If for no other reason that it's wrong than it's counterproductive for reconciliation, and hurts the one I love. My WS can't excuse this behaviour anymore.

As difficult as it may seem to be at times, my WS needs my support and love to help her recover. I understand that. I just become so mean when I'm hurting and her feelings aren't important to me in those moments.

I have had anger issues before the affair. Now it seems to have escalated terribly. Does anyone have any experience with controlling/managing their anger through this? Any tricks or therapeutic techniques you could recommend? I need to forgive and save my family and myself from any more pain and heartache.

ItsaClimb posted 7/21/2014 13:00 PM

I really admire you for putting this out there Lostdream22. It's tough as a BS to admit fault - well it is for me!

I have a huge issue with anger. Anger has been my over-riding emotion for the last 2 years, it's kind of "drowned out" my pain, resentment etc etc. I am pretty much a walking ball of anger.

My therapist pointed out that anger is a secondary emotion - it generally hides an emotion that makes us feel vulnerable - masks it with something that makes us feel powerful. In my case the pain of WH's infidelity and fear of what it means for us as a couple makes me feel vulnerable, so I shout and scream and that makes me feel powerful.

It helped me quite a lot to work out what is actually going on inside. It didn't take the anger away, but it helps when I get angry to stop and think "what is actually going on here? what am I really feeling?" Sometimes (not always!) that diffuses things a bit.

It also came up in therapy that some of my anger isn't actually directed at WH, some of it is about other stuff (childhood hurts) and WH has now become an easy target for me to chuck all my anger at. Not sure if that applies in your situation, but it might be worth examining.

What my husband's therapist once recommended is taking a time out when things get heated. (This only worked for us when it was done in the right way. On one occasion WH kind of sarcastically rolled his eyes at me and made the time out gesture in a very passive aggressive way.... didn't work out so well ) But if we can catch things before they get really explosive and take a time out, it helps a lot.

Breathing exercises help me a lot. If I feel myself getting worked up I shut my eyes and focus on sloooow breath in, hold it, and then slooooow breath out. I do that a couple of times and it calms me.

Journalling also helps to release the anger, to work out what is causing the anger, to get my feelings into a coherent place.

BUT I am still very much a work in progress. I still struggle with anger a lot. I think it's partially a childhood trait... the "I don't get sad, I get mad" thing was born in me at about the age of 6, so it's had 40 years to become an art.... it's taking a while to break the habit!

Hoping you can work through this. It's toxic to be dealing with all this anger. {{Lostdream22}}

[This message edited by ItsaClimb at 1:03 PM, July 21st (Monday)]

Lostdream22 posted 7/21/2014 14:40 PM

Thank you ItsaClimb. You're spot on.

I have discussed anger and it's management with a number of councillors in the past two years. Quickly identified with it being a secondary emotion and have struggled with identifying where it's deriving from.

The time outs are effective yet I am reluctant because the emotions feel so strong I feel they need to be expressed( I know they can wait but try to tell me that once I'm mad! )

Most definitely this behaviour is stemming from my childhood. No doubt. I have been scarred from my parents fighting and eventual breakup. I'm so afraid I'm repeating the cycle and can't stop it. And yes my WS is now my outlet. Boy do I sound like I have issues

My feeling lately is that I am addicted to the chemical reaction that occurs in the brain. Once the madness begins I get an adrenaline high. Then I crash and burn. Often feeling terrible or shameful.

My spouse cannot converse with me and have any confidence that I won't use her pain, her vulnerability, or anything against her. I have.

Just need to let the anger pass and not act on it.

I'm going to try writing it out again. I did that in the beginning of recovery, I was in survival mode then and wasn't sure it was helping. Thank you for recommending.

If wasn't hard enough to cope with the betrayal, I've got to deal with the monster in my closet too. I guess that's the point.

Thank you for your help ItsaClimb. I already feel better knowing I'm not alone.

veronique12 posted 7/21/2014 16:14 PM

I am dealing with anger too and so I really appreciate any posts about it.

It also came up in therapy that some of my anger isn't actually directed at WH, some of it is about other stuff (childhood hurts) and WH has now become an easy target for me to chuck all my anger at. Not sure if that applies in your situation, but it might be worth examining.

Yes, this was such a revelation for me at IC the other day. I have been angry at my father for 30 years had stuffed it so far down I couldn't even recognize it til my therapist honed in. When my Dday came it was like reliving the childhood nightmares all over and the rage came fast and hard, though even still I couldn't really make the connection that I was livid at my dad. I'm learning that when I trigger and fall into a rage re the A directed at my H that I should direct some of that anger toward my father--not literally, but just to allow myself to fully feel the anger that I should have felt as a child. So far it's just involved me thinking a lot about the past and crying, talking it out with my H (which has been amazing). No journaling about it yet, but I might tackle it next. The experience so far has been really powerful for me and has actually made me feel a little closer to my H.

[This message edited by veronique12 at 4:15 PM, July 21st (Monday)]

ItsaClimb posted 7/22/2014 07:14 AM

One other thing I wanted to say, that I forgot to mention yesterday is this:

Don't bottle the anger up. I found that I was so ashamed of and horrified at the rage that was flowing out of me that I then tried to stifle it. It was so counter-productive. What happened was I would have no outbursts for as long as I could sit on that rage and then, like a volcano, it would erupt out of me... sometimes even at the wrong target altogether (I can remember one time I flew off the handle at my teenage daughter for some very minor thing she did, it was horrible)

I find it far better if I face the anger I am feeling while I am feeling it, deal with it as best I can, rather than ignoring it and hoping it will go away - it never does...

I could be way off base here Lostdream22, but I sense that you are feeling shame about your anger. I have felt that too and I don't think it's a good thing. In some way my shame resulted in even more anger and some of it was directed at myself... I went through a horrible period of self-loathing and even got into a bit of self-harm at one stage, horrible! Shudder

Our anger is an understandable, if sometimes misdirected, emotion. Our circumstances have given us just cause to be very angry and there is nothing wrong with feeling angry because of what we are going through. The thing is we have to control how we express that anger. That is the key. We have to express it in a decent, healthy way. <= I struggle with that a LOT.

Last thing - I read somewhere that anger is energy. That energy has to go somewhere. (In my case a lot of that energy was spent hurling coffee mugs at brick walls before I learnt better....) The book I read suggested that we need to find a way of releasing that energy, it mentioned using exercise as a tool to rid ourselves of the energy, or even tearing up telephone directories, hitting punch bags etc. That may be something worth thinking about too.

I need to spend some more time working on this myself! Thanks for the nudge

[This message edited by ItsaClimb at 7:16 AM, July 22nd (Tuesday)]

rachelc posted 7/22/2014 07:22 AM

Last thing - I read somewhere that anger is energy.

our MC suggested that anger is what I'm using to move forward. It IS energy.

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