RAGE problems

Postby Voyager989 » Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:21 pm

Hey guys,

I am a male, 31. And I think i finally admitted to myself now that I have problems controlling anger. So now I am searching for some help.

I remember having anger problems since a child. I was always throwing things when I got angry, hitting my head into the wall... And I got into a lot of problems because of that. Always making my life more difficult that it would needed to be.

So this still remains to the day. And in the last months, now during the quarantine and isolation, this got worse. There was some things that happened, I lost my job also. So this time is quite difficult for me but it is not much different than it was before. And I was loosing my cool even in times where I was very satisfied with life in general. Somehow I think I was always saying in the back of my mind, this was because that happened. And if they wouldn't say that I wouldn't get angry. So my anger was justified. But now i must say it really is a big problem and it is destroying my life. Relationships don't last, jobs don't last. Sooner or later I lose my cool and burst into flames.

In the last couple of months i was staying at home a lot more than before. I am living also by myself, but I have a cat. I was playing a lot of online poker now. And also some other mind boggling games, I am even starting chess now. But all games I play have one thing in common. When I lose, I often fall into the rage pattern. I start hitting things, breaking stuff, shouting loud. Everywhere I look is some sign of my rage. And lately I am going further and further. I am afraid where the next rage episode will lead me. So I need help.

I see that I am very prone to rage when I play games. So I believe that if I will be able to control my rage in this online world, I will be able to control my rage in the real life situations. So my plan is still to play some more and try to observe what is happening in me when I go angry. And then I want to control it. You think this is a good idea or should I just avoid games altogether? I was avoiding situations for some time, I was without internet, I had also a very relaxed job, but BANG, even there I exploded. There will always be situations in life that will be triggers and I really want to control it.

I had broken so many things in my life. I don't even want to buy myself something new, because I think I will destroy it in the next episode.

This rage is the main thing that is stopping me to go for the life I want. So please your comments are welcome. Do you know any good books on subject?
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#1

Postby Leo Volont » Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:59 pm

Good Morning Voyager,

I've written a good general piece on Self Help dealing with Anger in a post entitled "Anger Management Short Term and Long Term". I left a reply to the last comment in order to bring it up to the top where you can more easily find it.

May I ask some questions? Do you fall into rages even when you have no 'audience'? A lot of Angry People use Anger as a form of communication where if they screw up in front of others they use a demonstration of anger to show everybody that they themselves understand the gravity of the situation. Really, I've been on Quick Response Failure Analysis and Repair Teams where we would need to go into a factory and get a stopped assembly line going again, and it is not uncommon to pull off a panel and while troubleshooting to blow something else up. "We have to fix the new problem before we can get back to the original problem". But usually it is one of our best guys who make the screw up, which was why he was the one inside the panel, right? So nobody even wants him to get all Dramatic, all he needs to do is roll his eyes in a certain way and we all know he knows. You already have enough insight into anger to know that it doesn't help. The advice I would give all new Failure Analysis People is NEVER CURSE, that is, never let the Gremlins know they are pushing your buttons. "keeping your head" means what it says.

So if you only blow up when you have an audience then that is one problem: you communicate with Drama. But if you explode all by yourself, well, that is frustration that is stressing you. Oh, questions on top of questions.... I reread your post to make sure and, yeah, you don't say but how frequently do you have these anger episodes. You'll understand the question if you read my "Anger Management Short Term and Long Term". The hormone Cortisol is secreted when we are under stress ( I call it Anger Juice) and it takes about a full day for the cortisol from a significant anger episode to metabolize out of the system. While the cortisol remains in the system it keeps us wired up and so it is that much easier to trigger into another episode. Well, some people are so chronically angry that they get angry once or more per day and so you can see what might happen at that point, that they are perpetually juiced on Cortisol whereby they are either outright angry or at least irritable every waking moment. So I'm interested in regards to where you place yourself on that scale.

This brings us to your gaming. No! You need to avoid as many of the stressors that you know about as you possible can. Nobody can give up going to work, or coming home to a nagging wife after work, BUT you can certainly give up Gaming. It doesn't have to be permanent, but you need to address this stress thing and how you react to triggers first.

Oh, yeah, by the way, you're right about your case being on the serious side of the spectrum. Property damage, especially when you break nice stuff, well, that's self destructive, isn't it? You're punishing yourself. You know, all else considered you really seem like a nice person. You're expectations for yourself are really far too high. As a Human Being it is difficult NOT to expect too much of ourselves. We as a Species have idealized and spiritualized ourselves as being intrinsically and substantially ABOVE the rest of the Animal Kingdom. I grew up in a Day when they still taught children that People have souls but animals don't. We were created in the Image of God and that kind of stuff. That is putting a great load on the shoulders of us Apes, isn't it?

I once read this short book in the University Library where I would walk the aisles and just pull down books with curious titles and take a look. It was translated from French and was an essay on what it is about humor that makes it funny. There are two things that make us laugh, well, three but the third really isn't comedy. The first is ambiguity in language. You see the sense of the Human Ideal involves our use of Language and Primitive People understood their Language was Magical, the Language of God and that Words were connected to Real Substantial Spiritual Things in the Spirit World. SO when you could make a pun or a double entendre then the Sense of the Spiritual Ideal of Language would short circuit and we would laugh about it. Words aren't so real after all, right? The Second Cause of Laughter is presenting a sense of our own Mortality and Animalness. Remember, it is a deeply primitive thing that goes way back in us that Humanity is transcendentally above the Animals, that we are Earthly Angels, practically Gods. So this is why poop jokes and sex jokes are funny, because only an animal would poop and have sex, right? Even Death Jokes are hilarious... well, except at funerals. The Third cause of laughing is just discomfort and embarrassment in regards to watching somebody else being stupid or inappropriate. Actually a lot of Comedians use that (Stupid Woody Allen) but the French Guy considered it too vulgar. That guy really took his Humor seriously. But, yeah, all that was so I could stress the point that you set up this Super Idealized Image of yourself that is impossible to live up to. Yes, Frustration is often a trigger for anger, but look at what you are getting frustrated about! You need to work on paring down goals, objectives and expectations down to what is reasonably achievable for a Higher Primate that can walk and talk and who writes pretty well.

Well, that should be enough to show that I care enough so that you will feel welcome enough to write back and tell me if any of this helped. Oh, and read that larger essay. There really is some good stuff in it.
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#2

Postby Voyager989 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:53 am

Thanks for the quick reply.

So lately, when I was playing more poker online, I was blowing up about once per week lets say. Otherwise, when I wasn't playing so much, I blew up less often. In the best times it happened just a couple of times in a year.

I am living now alone, and I am blowing up also when nobody is around. Just the computer and my cat. However, in my rage I was sometimes also screaming over the window and cursing so the neighbors could definitely hear. And they did. I feel pressure boiling up in my head and somehow I need to let it out. So then I punch or throw something. Break things.

I still believe if I would be able to control this rage when gaming, I would be also able to control any real-life situation. It is the same in life - I will lose sometimes. And things just become worse if I blow up. I was blowing up in real-life in similar situations like in games - when things don't go my way, when I wasn't able to get something new as fast as others, when there was some injustice...

But yeah I am also concerned now because I am blowing up more often. I am concerned that with every blowout this pattern is stronger and more engraved into my brain.
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#3

Postby Leo Volont » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:33 am

Good Afternoon Voyager,

Well, good, your anger episodes aren't nearly 'every day' which would be really difficult to deal with. Oh, and you have some really good insights into anger. One of the things I have to deal with on this Page is people who think that "letting off steam" episodes do anything to 'relieve' anger, when they just contribute more to it, as you say, intensifying the pattern of unwanted behaviors.

Voyager, have you had a chance to read through my "Anger Management Short Term Long Term" yet? The reason I ask is because you really might be able to benefit from my Short Term Advice. The Long Term advice is to become familiar with the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is Head Stuff. But my favorite Anger Management author, Dr. Ronald Potter-Efron wrote a book "The Angry Brain" where he points out that the neuro-chemical workings of the brain actually kick in BEFORE the Higher Mental Functions, whereby we actually Trigger into anger before our brains have the first clue. It is embarrassing to read the more recent books by Aaron Beck, the Founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy where he asks his patients "What they thought" just before they flip out.... I guess he twists their arms for an answer and refuses to go along with the typical response of "I don't know... I JUST BLEW UP". Anyway, even in Ronald Potter-Efron's book he doesn't come right out and say what I found for myself BUT when Cortisol is being released, because the Amygdala Gland is so close to the Jaw muscles ( the Amygdala is at the brain stem, you know, the swivel point that your head rolls around on, and it is right there an inch from the jaws, right? Well, the FIRST sign that Cortisol is being released is a tightening of the jaw muscles. IF you can notice that and then IMMEDIATELY relax your mouth it is like sending a FALSE ALARM signal to your brain and the Amygdala instantly shuts down the Cortisol. How do I know? Well, look down the threads and you can see I've been beating the same drum for a few years now. The concept has been proven in empirically or at least it is a GREAT Placebo, you know, something to Believe In so much that it actually works.

So, yeah, check out that longer post: "Anger Management Short Term and Long Term".
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#4

Postby Voyager989 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:48 pm

Hey. I think I already saw a little bit of improvement. I become very moody again. I stood up took a walk and I was just trying to see what is happening in me. I focused also on my jaw. So at the end I really calmed down. However, I think it is still too early to break glasses. I will try to stay in touch with the forum and my progress. I will write down also if there will be another rage episode. But so far I need to thank you for your time and the advices you are giving, Leo.

And just to tell, I am not American, I am from Europe. In my country we have still quite big lockdown. And lately I really feel lonely and this is probably also helping to push my anger further. So it is a great chance to work on it.
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#5

Postby Leo Volont » Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:12 am

Thanks for looking over my advice and commenting back. There is another thing that I think might help: to keep your head tin the game, to help you remember on a constant basis to be on guard against anger you might want to take up some daily reading from self help Anger Management books. You seem very comfortable with English so I would recommend Ronald Potter-Efron who has written range of books to help with Anger Management, with some focusing on mild irritability (which might not seem like such a big deal, but many careers have been stymied and relationships lost just over mild nastiness that people get tired of putting up with), up through moderate anger (your anger is actually moderate. The property damage raises flags, but your episodes are spread out and you seem to have strong inhibitions in regards to physical violence), and he has books dealing with rage (and his strategy in dealing with that is interesting: he wants his readers who are subject to rage episodes to know that they should feel positive shame unless they immediately take serious steps to correct such behavior because it is not just a danger to themselves but to others). But, yes, as daily reading material they would all be worth while reading.

I've read some of the books in regards to the Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but have found that the Self Help Books that put the theory into applicable terms is probably the better choice, just because it makes more compelling reading.

But, yes, Voyager, good luck and stay in touch.

Oh, I myself have 7 cats. Maybe 8. I took in one female that I want to have spayed. I had to put down a large chunk of money as a deposit for the appointment for the day of her surgery and so I took her into my home so I would be more certain of being able to get her into a carrier on the day of her operation. She is also far advanced with pregnancy and so she might be doing protective nesting behaviors to keep clear of the other cats, but it is not very endearing. After the operation I will keep her around for awhile to see if her behavior changes for the better as her hormones go back to normal. But if she still can't relate to my other cats, well, I got a good pair of boots for kicking cats out if I don't like their attitudes. From the Parking Lot she came and to the the Parking Lot she'll go. But I hope she can stay... she has lovely green eyes.
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#6

Postby Voyager989 » Thu Feb 11, 2021 6:50 pm

Hey,

Today I am again very moody. I was quite OK now for some time, but now ii am again slowly losing it. I think I had today very bad monologue in my head. I was thinking how crappy I am and then this is just making me angry. I am calling myself with bad words. Somehow the other part of me disagrees with that and I go into a fight mode. And after I have this kind of self-talk I am much more likely to explode.
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#7

Postby Leo Volont » Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:07 am

Hi Voyager, Sorry I missed your post by a few days. Sometimes I forget to check. But, okay, what went wrong. What is your day by day Anger Management Routine? What book are you presently reading. Some of the books even insist on doing Workbooks and sort of homework assignments. That wouldn't hurt if you are the kind of person who needs structure.

What I am thinking is that your first post was about a month ago. That is three weeks where you might have been doing some kind of Anger Management activity every day. I guess you blew it off, right? You see, it happens again and again like this, that a person comes to Anger Management and they think that the REALIZATION that they have a problem is itself the cure. Well, yeah, that helps. But all your Conditioning and Habits are still in place. You need to actively get into your own head and deconstruct all that stuff. Nothing happens without hard work.

But, yeah, you did say that you only had so many episodes a year. It might be like the way manic depressives cycle over time. But, yeah, if you can't help your compulsive bipolar thinking, then at least keep up on the Cortisol Control. You remember what I said about Cortisol and relaxing your jaw muscles. Some lady wrote in and said she just has to "breath three times" whatever that means. I asked for clarification but she was already on her way into a bright and sunny tomorrow and we here were already history to her. But, yeah, control the Cortisol, do not let yourself swear, don't raise your voice, don't pound on any tables. For one time in your life prove that you can control yourself. I have a feeling that a lot of people indulge in the drama of being angry... it makes them a Tragic Figure in their own eyes. What they dread most in life is being insignificant, but with a BIG ANGER they feel they've escaped insignificances. Well, Anger is WORSE than being insignificant. An Angry Person is not only insignificant but a negative, a detriment, a cancer on the face of the Earth. TV, Movies and Medea have trained us to look for drama. the better Model would be to think of it like a Circus and that when we act up it is simply being a CLOWN. No more Drama. No more self indulgence. Get a hold on yourself, and do what it takes to get better.
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