I am “The Anger Guy” and this is my story
I grew up in a world of chaos. My father was an angry, aggressive alcoholic lawyer who used his brains and power to bully and brow beat my family into fear, darkness and submission. My mother divorced my father when I was five, but by then it was too late. I had seen and experienced too much. As my brother said, “You had to live with him. I didn’t.”
By the age of seven I had concluded that I was not worth loving–that I was no good. I felt that my spirit of goodness and gladness was foolish and not to be rewarded. I clearly understood that I was to perform and exert power in order to gain approval. I understood that I existed for his happiness and not my own. This is what my life was really all about. The rest of me, I truly believed, was expendable–a complete waste of both body and soul.
Powerless, Fearful and Emotionally Alone
By the time I was ten I had become an angry and lonely young man. I can remember relying on my brains and artificial smile to cope with most everything in life. I meticulously positioned myself to keep people away–both at home and at school. I found myself making the most sense of life in the early morning hours, before the day began; staring and becoming lost in the television ‘snow.’ I remember imagining life in that visual chaos; seeing the ‘nothing’ that I actually felt.
On one occasion, my mother found me hidden under the bathroom vanity, with my hands over my ears; blocking out their voices angry and arguing, as usual. I recall my anger and unwillingness to talk with my mother about anything important. I had shut her out. I was alone and I knew it. Years earlier, I had learned how ‘not to trust.’ I was a ten year-old child with near total repression of primary feelings (fear, pain, rejection). I knew only anger, but this I knew well.
As a teen, I converted my chaos to fear and fear to the need for control. I utilized yelling, raging, punching holes in walls, verbal domination, defiance, alcohol and drugs, and other intense, self-centered behaviors as substitutes to mask my real feelings: constant fear and emotional pain. Years later, I discovered that my need to dominate, bully and control was directly proportionate to my perception of myself as powerless, fearful, and entirely inadequate. My constant fear of ‘being seen as a phony’ and being seen as ‘irrelevant’ created a lonely, burning sense of panic that manifested through ego, anger, and arrogance.
By the age of 25, I saw myself as a mirror image of my father, and still without his approval. My life was a mess. I still felt lonely, powerless, and full of fear; just as I felt as an innocent little boy, hiding from life beneath the vanity.
On Thanksgiving Day, 1998, my father died. I was 35. I remember feeling sad and confused, yet relieved. “Now I can be me,” I remember saying to myself.
But the anger continued to grow. No matter how hard I tried, the ‘angry’ me always showed up. And I could no longer blame my father for my troubles. He was gone. I could find no more excuses for my own verbal abuse and angry behavior. I was lost and completely baffled by the voice of my father: criticizing, disapproving, and seeing me as a failure. His voice drowned out my intuition; my repressed inner voice pleading for help from within my still chaotic mind. I could see only an unmanageable view of the world. I did not know what to do.
After another crisis filled with chaos and controversy; with me, of course, in the middle of it all, I finally ‘gave up; admitting to my inner most self that my way of life was no longer working. After tens of failed job opportunities, a painful marital separation, a mountain of debt, burnt bridges, alcoholism, and severe depression, I was given a moment in time of crystal clear understanding as to who and what I really was. It was at that moment that I became honest with myself, and then became honest with someone else. This was very hard to do since I still trusted no one. But I had nothing left to lose. As uncomfortable as it was, I forced myself to become open to new ideas. I ceased fighting to be right, and instead, focused on being happy. I became willing to try new strategies and behaviors in almost every area of life; taking instruction instead of always pointing out where you were wrong. I fundamentally began to change. Everything and everyone began to look different.
I am no longer my own worst enemy.
• I understand and accept that I am entitled to nothing. That everything in my life, including my physical health, is a gift.
• I accept that I have no control beyond my attitude. I recognize that no one can ‘make’ me feel or think anything unless I choose to let them.
• After many months of struggle, doubt, and often painful work in counseling,
I have put my father’s problems to rest. His problems no longer belong to me.
• I am able to appreciate the awesome gifts life gives us. I can give to others without expecting affirmation in return.
• Today, I believe in me. I can have anger without being an angry person.
• I no longer get my anger out at another person’s expense.
• I can choose not to act on how I feel.
• I can identify the underlying causes that fuel my angry feelings.
• I no longer believe that everything is my fault. I don’t have to try so hard anymore, and I don’t have to be perfect.
• I firmly believe that it is what I do when no one is watching that determines my level of self-respect.
• Today, I can be happy and I can trust. I don’t always have to be “right.”
• Today, I’m a decent, respectable guy. I like me and so do other people.
• I no longer have to be afraid of what you might think should you see who I really am.
Today, I have become the quality man I have always wanted to be.
Contact me today. Let’s talk about what You and I can do together.