My mom and I both have anger issues and its tearing us apart

Postby retrohp » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:11 am

I (18F) am living with my mother (59F) and brother (26M). My dad passed away when I was 11 and my mother was left to raise me on her own.

I think I've always been an angry person though I can't exactly place a finger on when it started. As a child I do remember yelling a lot, and when I got a bit older (9 or 10) I remember throwing books, kicking bags, and slamming doors whenever I got mad (and this was all when my dad was still alive). After his death, I actually mellowed out a bit, but it was clear that my mom was understandably getting stressed with all the new responsibility that just shifted on her. I think this is around the time when she started to become more weary and snap more often.

I think my own anger stems from years of being bullied at school and annoyed by my brother. In school I always managed to not show my anger, and to this day I don't show a hint of anger when I'm around other people (I actually am quite carefree and joke around whenever something triggers me in public). However, with my brother it's a completely different situation. I don't remember a single moment in my life where he talked to me seriously. His only aim is to find what triggers me and constantly annoy me throughout the day based on that. For example: his room is right next to mine, whenever I'm trying to focus and study he is constantly making random noises in the room next to me. He constantly passes by my room, tries to see what I'm doing, annoys me, and leaves. Whenever me and my mom fight he always sticks his head in, and instead of trying to help, follows me around whispering "it's your fault," "fix this." He makes racist jokes because he knows I'm sensitive on social issues. I know these things would be minuscule at first, but in my 18 years I don't remember a single moment in which our interaction wasn't one of annoyance. I remember I tried to tell him to calmly stop at first, I tried to ignore him, but none of those worked. When I was seven or eight I remember hitting him and yelling. That was the only moment he shut up. I don't hurt him when I hit him but it's of course still violent nonetheless. I was never able to control this impulse as a child, and as a result I am violent and yell whenever my brother does the tiniest thing to this day because it's the only thing that shuts him up. It's completely ruined my relationship with him. Whenever I try to talk to him about it he shuts me out like he does with everyone.

My relationship with both my mom and my brother has completely deteriorated. With my brother, we only fight, violently and verbally. With my mother it's become moments of happiness and great relations, and sudden outbursts from both of us. For the past two years, we've fought almost everyday. Whenever she looks at me she constantly picks on my acne. Whenever we go out she insults my clothing style (she just thinks I'm not fashionable). Whenever she cooks me something I don't like she always yells asking me why I don't like it. I always make things worse by yelling, cursing, and insulting her, and no matter how much I tell myself to shut up, it feels like my brain will explode and my body will convulse if I don't yell and throw something. At its worst I also lightly push or hit my mom sometimes. For example, yesterday I really wanted to see some fireworks and everything was fine with us at first, but my mom wanted to record them to send to my cousin in Australia. I spent the entire minute trying to teach her how to record on her phone and missed the fireworks. Instead of being grateful for the live music and food we just experienced, or thanking my mother for being with me and bringing me, I stomped off and started yelling at her when we were alone. Of course, 5 minutes later I felt a deep sense of shame as I realized how shitty my behavior was and started crying and apologizing to her. This has also been a constant with me since I was a kid. Most of our arguments happen because she is obsessed with appearances rather than experiences, and I am obsessed with having every experience happen as perfectly as I envisioned it in my head. We're both extremely stubborn and she is constantly trying to push her own ways onto me as well.

I hate who I've become and have suicidal thoughts once a week (these thoughts come and go have not harmed myself). My mom and brother are the only family I have, but my relationship with them is terrible as you can see. But most of all I'm scared for my future. If I can't control these violent tendencies now I'm afraid I'll become physically abusive in the future. I'm ready to go to a psychiatrist and I've created an anger management tracker for 2019 but Day One and I've already failed. Please give me any suggestions for improvement. Will I be able to improve my anger in an environment like my home? I know I may sound spoiled or entitled but I'm just trying to work on myself

TLDR: I'm fighting with my mom and brother everyday over small things. I've become violently angry and feel like I will explode if I don't hit or throw something. Management suggestions?
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:01 am

The #1 management suggestion is to create distance/space. At 18, this means finding a place you can live other than with your mother/brother.

This won’t necessarily solve the problem, but it will be a huge step towards managing the issue.

Because you are 18, I will go ahead and cover a typical response, that moving out is not feasible for reason X or Y or Z, or some combination thereof. Understood. It is not necessarily easy to move out, but it is a reasonable goal. And it is also the #1 way to create the distance/space required to then begin tackling the root cause of your anger issues.
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#2

Postby Leo Volont » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:18 am

Hi RetroHP,

Wow! I hope you go to a Psychologist instead of a Psychiatrist. A Psychiatrist will just put you on some kind of a serotonin reuptake inhibitor anti-depressant because the pharmaceutical companies will give them a kickback every single time you refill your prescription (these shrinks, after a few years of writing script, don’t even have to go into work… they can live on those kickbacks) , and the things are habit forming, even after you build up such a tolerance to them they don’t do anything anymore, but just try to quit and you will be a basket case. But even a Psychologist will not have a cakewalk with you. You see, you have two problems. The first is that you have been under daily stress so long that your hypothalamus or amygdala or whatever gland secretes Cortisol, has just gotten leaky with the stuff. Really, this is what they mean when they say that somebody could use a long vacation, to give your neural glands a chance to heal and return to normal. Also, there is all that conditioning. Conditioning is powerful. I’ve known people in their forties who have been away from their families for 20 years and when they go home for the holidays, they find that they slip right back into the Pattern they were in before they left – quarrelling immaturely with siblings and being rebellious and fault finding with parents. And the whole time they are going “this is NOT who I am”!

Maybe I can give you some advice to make your situation incrementally better, but it will all be on you, because your mother and brother will still be doing their best to trigger you. Anyway, to minimize the effect of being triggered, realize that when you are triggered, what is actually being triggered is a Cortisol Release. The first symptom of a Cortisol Release, 2 or 3 seconds before you even begin to start cussing and swearing is that your Jaw Muscles Will Tighten Up… You will Clench Your Teeth. Simply unclench them. And don’t wait! If you can relax your jaw muscles the very instant they tighten, THAT turns off the Cortisol, and will save you the Cussing, Yelling and Swearing Episode. If you want to know more about this Cortisol Thing, read a few more of my Reply Posts.

But then there is your Conditioning. You have been following this pattern for years. You really need to restructure how you respond, and to do that, you need to restructure how you THINK, that is, you need to reshape your Internal Dialogue. Your Internal Dialogue is kind of like the Devil Whispering in your Ear. You need to start evaluating these passing thoughts and argue with them. One book I read says to “Dispute” your internal dialogue whenever it is just trying to start a fight or get you into trouble. For instance, your brother trying to bait you by making funny noises from his room (yeah, if you listen hard enough I can only imagine the disgusting stuff you might hear), well, the helpful thought would be to not take the bait and to just let it go. Here’s something to think about: you know how people talk about Meditation, well, what they don’t tell you is that Meditation NEVER works, in the sense that every time you try to concentrate on something, it will effectively ‘vanish’ with your mind saying “yeah, I got it already”. So if he is making some repetitive noise, then just TRY to pay attention to it and you will soon find that your mind wonders away from it, which is what you want.

Your best play or game plan in the short term is just silence. I can’t remember any kind of trouble that didn’t begin with WORDS. It is the Quiet People who can keep their Jobs and their Relationships. But, yes, being suddenly quiet might provoke a reaction. If Mom or Brother make a fuss about your “silent treatment” then tell them that a Therapist you met in line at the store told you that Silence is the next best thing to taking a vacation, and that you will start talking again if you believe that everything has finally cooled down, which it hasn’t if they keep ragging you about choosing to be quiet for a while.

But, yeah, it is good that you are dealing with this now. I was an angry kid, and like you I am typically a happy easy going social person, BUT at work I would be triggered only once or twice a year. THAT is enough to screw up anybody’s career. So, yeah, you need to take care of this. Get familiar with Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Most Anger Management Books written by Psychologists are based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (essentially, the therapist doesn’t care WHY you are getting triggered, that is, in historical terms. It’s the Behavior that is getting you into trouble. You only have to stop the Behavior and everything will be fine. But the way you THINK effects behavior, and so you have to monitor how you think and REVIEW and REVISE what goes through your head. It’s basically, keep an eye on your habitual behaviors and habitual thoughts, and always be thinking of how you SHOULD HAVE acted and how you SHOULD be thinking. To keep your head in the game, and you need to do an hour of Anger Management a day to keep In Practice, you should read all the books and become an Anger Management Expert. I recommend the author, a psychologist, Ronald Efron-Potter. He has a lot of cheap affordable popular books out there as well as college textbooks. But, yeah, with the reading, you will get a better idea of what you are up against.

Oh, it would be great if you could go to College and live on campus, but remember, your habitual anger will creep back in other phases of your life. In relationships…. Well, yes, with Social Acquaintances, you are well under control. You have conditioned yourself to be chilled in public, but anytime you get familiar with a person, there is a danger that you will let them into your Dark Side. So, yeah, you need to take care of yourself. Oh, therapy would help, but your Therapist will tell you the same thing that I am telling you. All the work has to come from you. Really, you have to deconstruct all that hostile thinking and behaving – habits layered on habits. You have to Create a New You. Oh, don’t worry about your family saying that you are acting phony. Ask them if they would rather you acted like yourself and chased them around with kitchen knives?

You know, a lot of people say “just be yourself”. Well what is that even supposed to mean? Don’t we have a choice about who we are. It’s something we should have a choice in, right? Now, I hear there are baselines… like happiness baselines… but, who knows. Without all the Stress, you might actually have a High Happiness Baseline, right? I do! You can have once had an Anger Problem and still have a High Happiness Baseline (… yeah, it pisses us off when people rain on our friggin happiness parade).

So, yeah, RetroHp, good luck. Let me know how this goes for you. I’m sorry that I took a while to read your post. I am going back to school to get a 2nd Degree, so there was some studying I had to do.
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