Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Sharing thoughts and feelings with my therapist is one thing – acting on the advice being given to me is an entirely different beast.

– by Anonymous Talkspace User

This is my current dilemma: It’s been a few weeks since I jumped into this therapy thing full throttle, and my therapist now knows more about me than many of my friends and family members. And even though I think sharing my emotions is a good thing, what I really want is an effective action plan to keep them from doing exactly what they always do – interfere with my otherwise blissful existence. 

I have a lot of anger. It’s not like I walk down the street, flipping people off whenever someone does something I don’t like, but I feel it bubbling inside me more often that I’d like to admit. The moment my trigger flips from neutral to HULK mode, I am aware of the shift in my mood, but not always of how it makes me behave. By the time I realize what’s happening, I’m green and mean and there’s no talking to me; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. And while I tend get a grip of myself soon after I lose my temper, it’s a little to late to do anything about it.

My therapist and I are actively working on identifying my emotional triggers as well as finding ways of dealing with them constructively. I am provided with tons of helpful reading material, and exercises to try on my own. So far, I’ve been able to implement very little of what I’ve learned. That’s because my list of triggers is too damn long, and figuring out which one of them causes this or that overreaction is proving to be extremely hard. Furthermore, because I get fired up so quickly, my ability to reason away my emotions in the moment is essentially nonexistent, making almost every confrontation a lasting one.

I believe my therapist is trying to teach me diplomacy – to respectfully walk away from an argument rather than jumping at the opportunity to assert myself and engage. I need to think first and act later – perhaps after I’ve had time to determine what my reaction is going to be. But because patience has never been my strong suit, I want to compress the lessons I’m supposed to learn over the course of several months into a pocket size guide to consult whenever I need advice. But that would be possible only if every therapist used the same treatment plan for every client, which they do not.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not taking back what I wrote last week. And I am beginning to feel hopeful about getting to a place where my temper is under control. But I wish it seemed a little more attainable in the immediate future, since I deal with people who have no regard for my boundaries; have relationships that need to be repaired; and am involved in conflicts that need to be resolved. I know that I am eventually going to work through all of my issues and become a better person for it. But damn it, it’s so much easier said than done.

And yet, thanks to my therapist, this Hulk is now a little less angry.

 

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