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Doc@DrIrene.com

My Story: Busting Anger

My Story:  Your ALT-Text here Busting My Anger

September 10, 2004

Dear Dr. Irene,

I am writing this not for help (I am seeking help locally), but to let others know how devastating verbal abuse can be. I hope you publish this letter for the sake of others’ education.

I have been verbally abusing my fiancée of four years, not knowing it even though she had told me. Never any physical abuse, but just as devastating. Last month we were on vacation, she said something to somebody in a bar I
didn’t like, and I started berating her in front of friends. The argument escalated, and even though she is a victim of physical abuse from a previous marriage I foolishly grabbed her by the arm to stop her from walking away.
She did what her instincts told her and she hit me. I was somewhat stunned, she was still fearful and when she began to hit me again I tried to block her; I missed and hit her above the eye with the butt of my hand. She went
to the hospital, and I went to jail.

Even though I didn’t hit her intentionally, she thinks I did – there were witnesses who said that as well as witnesses who saw her hit me first. She has to believe the former versus the latter for her own protection. The witnesses make no difference to me, because I know I didn’t strike her on purpose – that’s not my modus operandi – I’ve never struck anybody before, but I do have a controlling nature and a razor sharp tongue. But she now thinks I did hit her intentionally, and for good reason – I had verbally abused her enough in the past that she thinks I have “crossed the line.” Little did I realize that there really is no line to cross – verbal abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse.

When I got home from vacation, I bought several books dealing with anger management in order to educate and eradicate any of my controlling, manipulating, profane and abusive behavior. It was only when I read one
book by Newton Hightower called
Anger Busting 101 that I realized how badly I had behaved with her when I was not in control. And I never even knew it, even though she kept telling me.

Some of the negative consequences as a result of this incident include my being arrested and thrown in jail; being struck on the top of the hand while in police custody with either a nightstick or a flashlight because I was a “woman beater”, causing broken bones most likely requiring surgery and that associated expense. I have to deal with legal issues and expense from the vacation incident. She has asked me to move out of the house (rightfully so, and I did). She has initiated legal proceedings to protect our son’s interests (again rightfully so). I have to pay for all the costs of attorney’s fees associated with our civil proceedings. I have lost the respect of friends, family and coworkers, and I have sacrificed my integrity. Different consequences motivate people in varying ways, and while the above listed items can be demoralizing to some, the most devastating consequences to me lie in me having hurt the woman I love. She has had to completely change her life, being fearful, resentful, ashamed, or uncertain only to name a few. She has to worry about finances and the house. She has to juggle getting the broken hose on the washing machine
repaired and repairing the window in the back of the house, while throughout three year old boy is running around the house doing what boys do and dinner is burning on the stove. She has to worry about taking care of swimming
lessons and a visit to the vet both scheduled for the same time. She has to worry about mowing the lawn and taking out the trash. She has to explain to a three year old why Daddy isn’t coming home or why Daddy isn’t around
except for every other weekend. And she will most likely be afraid of others for a long time. Not only have I lost my family, but she has lost her family too because I treated the only person I have ever loved really badly. Now those are negative consequences, and all because of my insecurities and stupidity. And I never even knew it, even though she kept telling me.

I am now doing the right things I should have done long ago. I know I have detrimental behaviors which I must eliminate. I went to see the author of
Anger Busting 101 . I am in counseling with another psychologist. I have had two conversations with priests (with more scheduled), seeking out spiritual guidance. I have told coworkers of the incident and enlisted their help identifying loud, controlling or angry behaviors. I am scouring the Internet for any and all information I can find to better educate myself (and others – hence this letter). While all these efforts are good and I know I will be a better person as a result of this, I am so ashamed of myself and my behavior I could simply die. Actually, it sounds to me as though you've made a decision to live.

Although I pray we reconcile, I have little hope of that happening. She is a loving and caring person and has agreed to some minor level of counseling and seeking out spiritual advice, but make no mistake, she is like a wounded
animal – it will take much time and effort on my part to regain her trust, respect and love. I have completely admitted fault and accept full responsibility for everything that has happened. I am actively pursuing help, and I am willing to invest whatever time is necessary to transform myself into the man she trusts, respects, wants and loves more than any other. And lastly, with her or without her, I never want to treat another human being this way again. Especially yourSelf!

Thanks, JF

Dear JF, Thank YOU for sending in your story. You are not alone, and I think you will plant a seed or otherwise inspire others who have similar problems to seek help when they are ready.

In case anybody wants to "chat" with you, I've attached a board. Please feel free to reply.  My very best wishes to you and to your lady, and may God bless you guys. Dr. Irene

Please press "Submit" just once. And wait...      I just want to read the posts.