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Squirrel Update!
April 12, 2000
4:32 pm
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Squirrel
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Hello - i bet you thought my lack of response meant that i did not go yesterday to see anger management counsellor. But I DID IT!!!
She was so nice, i didnt even cry! well not much anyway. we spent about an hour going over issues in my past. it seems clear that yes my mother has had a big impact, but also the fact that i was bullied at school - i now go to the other extreme of being defensive and hostile before being put into a situation of being bullied. not that this is an excuse but does make me feel a bit better about myself.

she said that i need to deal with the issues of my past, but not to lay all blame here as this may make it more difficult for me to move on, as i am unable to change the past. She said we would look into the possibility of exploring my past in further detail in a few weeks. She gave me a tape for some breathing exercises, for times when i am not angry, adn for times when i feel the anger brewing. She also gave me ideas on how to be aware of the anger rising BEFORE it takes over. this of course will need the support of my hubby (who i might add was so concerned that he completely forgot to ask how i got on!! and then when i did start to tell him, began to read the newspaper!! so dont think i am doing so well with his support) She also gave me a few model charts to work through - in order to have an outcome that does not involve violence. Needless to say, all the models that we worked through I came out the classic Road Rage Candidate! So will have to work on the area of not allowing myself down the 'Maladaptive' path.

She did pinpoint my main problem - which I have discovered through talking to you - and that is my eagerness to jump into everyone else's problem, be taken for granted - and feeling guilty for letting go. she gave me a few exercises to try out on (reliable)family and friends where i can practise saying - and meaning, 'no'- it seems easy to do that when "thinking" about it, but i am dreading the first time i have to say no!

I decided to quiz my sister today - as she also faced a rough period during the past few years. She suffers with endimetrosis, and had been trying unsuccessfully for a baby for about 7 years when she was finally given the chance for IVF - all of which failed and caused her great distress. (there is a happy end to that, in that she finally gave up the trying and decided even at young age to have a hysterectomy - but then, after a total of 9 years - found out she was pregnant naturally, and i now have the most beautiful niece) BUT, back to the plot... she was very down after the first failed IVF, and has apparently took my mother to task over her own unhappy childhood. My sister does not get angry - quite the reverse, very subdued. so talking to her and explaining that i also have come to the conclusion that my childhood was not as wonderful as i first thought was really useful. She did not joke or judge me, i just hope she does not tell her hubby who is a real git for making fun of people's problems - i did ask her to keep it to herself, so we'll have to see. But it was really quite strange to hear her say very similar things to what i have been going on about to you. i am going to talk more to her than any other member of my family - i may not even need to approach my mother! What i dont want is to make the effort to apply the necessary changes to control my temper, only for mom to continue her attitude towards me. But how do i make her see that I AM going to be different, without her flying off the handle and trying to make me feel as though its all my own doing? God she is a difficult character! My sister did say that she found it a comfort to write down all her confusions and obstacles from the past, and then try to sort them into order. i am going to give this a try. not sure where to start though!

All i want is for people to see that i am serious about this, and not just another opportunity for a joke. so far the people i have confided in have taken me seriously which is making me feel a whole lot better than i felt a week ago. all i have to hope now, is that i can put some of these theories into practise - especially the next time i feel the temper rising in me.

Thanks for being there guys - its nice to know someone really cares, even though we've never met.

I have another meeting with counsellor next week. but will keep in touch as i mull over more problems to a point where i am dizzy!

Thanks, Squirrel

April 12, 2000
6:02 pm
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janes
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Wonderful!!!!!Great!!!!Good for you.

It is so heartening to hear your step was so positive!!!!!!

Don't woory to much about th ehubby..he may just be nervous about the new wife he is going to get out of this.

to write this stuff down..just start writing and then sort it out.

Just remember that people fear change (we all do) and some people willjoke about it to quell their fears.

You should really pat your self on the back.

Good work.

April 12, 2000
10:44 pm
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Ima
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Squirrel--it's so much fun to read your accent into your writing! Just what is a "git"?
Actually, I thought maybe some advice I got, might be useful...
Write out your life in a time-line, include events and how they made you feel. Takes forever. I think I'm up to age 9. Sure helps to see it in some context. Let me know if it helps...

April 13, 2000
4:41 am
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Squirrel
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Janes - thanks for your vote of confidence- must admit, did feel pretty good afterwards!

Ima - not quite sure how to describe a "git" - but someone who is a bit of a sod!! A bit like most of my family by all accounts! Not sure if its a Black Country word - as that is the area I come from - the place with a strange language all of their own (and its vile and crass so i dont use it much!)
Anyway - thanks for the tip on writing, may need to invest in lots of notepads! Do you write all events? good and bad, or just the ones that you think may have had an impact on the way you are today??

April 13, 2000
6:12 am
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janes
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Just start writing and see where it leads.

April 13, 2000
6:51 am
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squirrel,
i am so glad you have had such a positive result. It sounds like the councellor really knew the subject well, i have heard many different people on the subject and it sounds like you got some very good advice and excersises to do. she seems to have a very common sence approach in helping you understand the past, but realising that the way forward is to "re train" your anger responses here in the present.
i too am well aware of gits and sods being english!!! maybe the americans use the term S.O.B in a similar way! not particularly rude, but a way of describing a selfish person. for example my brother can sometimes be a total git, and we all tell him so when he is!!!
peace all
Hazza

April 16, 2000
9:20 am
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Squirrel
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Hi there all

Have been trying some of my 'No' excersises - and still find it pretty difficult to not feel guilty - and these are only practise runs! I like the suggestion made by my counsellor of keeping a whole chocolate bar to myself, and saying no when someone asks for some it!!! could get used to this exercise - although might put on a little too much weight!!

Went out with mom and sister on Friday night - and had to say that i looked at mom in an entirely different light than in the past. I think, with a little more work I might get to grips with accepting her the way she is. i think i am going to try and deal with the issues without presenting them to her - which i know will only blow up out of all proportion. I am hoping that if i am strong enough to just stay back a little, then this will be sufficient evidence for mom to realise things are different. She kept fishing all night to see "if anything was wrong..." She has this 6th sense that she always knows someting is going on - then of course we get the "I knew you were doing something....I know best."

I am slogging through finals at uni at the moment, and think that when they are over - i can use the "release" as a turning point for my family to see a different person. well perhaps not different yet - but quieter perhaps! less "in your face" shall we say!!

Jokes were still being made over weekend about my temper, but my sister was great she was able to make the whole thing light hearted, and i did not feel so.... whats the word...
angry!!

I have found myself being a whole lot calmer towards my hubby - and on one occassion handled a situation without losing my temper quite so much - ie; no violence! we have sat and talked about ideas for him to try when he can either sense a temper coming on with me - and also for times when its too late - i have gone overboard, lost the plot completely and madness takes over. We are both now eager to put them into practise - but dont want a situation to arise where we have to!! if you see what i mean!

I have been giving some thought to my journal - and like the suggestion of writing down all the memories i can, as far back as i can. I keep getting the pens/paper out but get stuck!! With kids on holidays now - its hard to find a quiet place to think - and not to be disturbed coz of crying etc. Could always go upstairs and pretend to do the ironing one evening - most people stay away then!!

Thats enough for now - have to take kids to park - cant really say 'no' here can I??

Bye for now

April 16, 2000
4:33 pm
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janes
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I deal with my issues with my mom without tlling her about it. There's no way she would understand so why fight it. The change is within me anyway and with how I deal with HER not with what she thinks of me.

Keep practicing the "no" thing and just banish the guilt. It is very unproductive anyway. Waht does guilt do for you or for the other person. Just makes you feel crappy and resentful of them.

Take your journal to the park...

You know your mom doesn't really have a sicth sense . she's just is observant. Probly cuz that way she can manipulate people.

Start making light of your own temper. If you have realized how bothersome it is make it a "small" prlblem in your head. Visualize that temper of yours going away, turning into something else.

You sound so chipper. Have a great week. Glad hubby is more responsive.

Hang in there kid!!!

You are gonna make it!!!!

April 17, 2000
5:06 pm
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Sorry - last night was a time for putting ideas into practise, and they failed.

Although i will say, that i was able to walk away from the situation initially, and felt as though i was more in control. unfortunately hubby decided to follow me, and tried to "talk" only then he decided to storm out which made me flip!

I have today written everything down - why he made me mad, what parts of the incident i felt in control, and when that control was overpowered by the temper. i think i have to conclude that i was angry for him walking into my space and then walking out on me! is this a control thing?? I was also surprised to notice i had written that i did not like the fact he was standing up. i think i felt threatened by that (not physically!!) but this has to be a sure sign of the need to control. Is this another problem i have to overcome??? Am i really so desparate to be in control of everything??

I felt as though i was doing ok til now. Its all come back again now, the feeling of failure and that this thing is going to get the better of me. I dont know if i was more upset at the argument, or the fact that yet again my anger had got the better of me.

When i think about it in hindsight, again, it was someone else that had made me angry - but it was my hubby that took the brunt. To cut a long story short, he was asked to go do a job for someone, he promised he would be home at a certain time and he was nearly 2 hours late. I was angry at the person for keeping him there longer than he intended - and promised me - that he woudl stay. I know this sounds really petty - but lateness is another one of my pet hates. perhaps if he had phoned to say he was going to be so much later, i would not have been quite so angry. who knows. but the upshot is that it all erupted out of proportion, and i didnt handle situation very well.

I felt less confused after i had written everything down. should i now show these emotional writings to hubby - or just discuss the bits where i think i went wrong, and ideas to try for next time?? I'm not sure he would understand the things that i have written. i dont want him to judge me - just work with me. this is a nightmare.

April 18, 2000
6:24 am
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janes
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Don't say fail. Have you ever before initially felt "in control"? What insights you have for someone so new at this. Plus you started out in control....major step there.

You view your temper as controlling you so perhaps by controlling others you will feel better.

Noone likes to have their space invaded. But noone else MADE you angry. You allowed yourself to lose control rather than managing it. Isn't that why you are coning to anger management?

Before you show the writing to hubby show them to your conselor.

I think you do have more issues than just your temper. But a step at a time a day at a time.

Be proud of what you have accoplish and DO NOT PLACE BLAME OR FEEL FUILTY. (WHY THE PERFECTIONISM?)

yes it is a control thing. Control or power. If hubby had been sitting would you have had more "power?

Just repeat to him your hatred of lateness...and apologize for the anger.
And keep practicing!!!

I'd say you did a great job.

April 18, 2000
7:22 am
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Squirrel,
You are still doing really great, this is all just part of it.
You will never wake up one day and have it all just dissappear, there will be times like this when you don't do so well and other times when you do better, it is all practice towards the goal of better control and understanding of your emotions.
Even these events are good, look how you have spent time learning from this, look how you did walk away, but your husband didn't maybe give you the space you needed.
take what you have learned from this and be pleased. You now know you can walk away. You now know that you must be given a little time to yourself when you feel your anger rising, demand that of your husband, he must be working WITH you on this.
Nothing like this changes overnight, but the way you are dealing with your anger has already changed so much, be proud of yourself as you go along this road, you have no reason to feel like you have failed - You havent.
Peace
Hazza

April 20, 2000
7:42 am
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hey there squirrel,
hows it going? give us an update!
Hazza

April 21, 2000
6:32 am
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Sorry for taking a while to get back to you all. Have been slogging away on dissertation for uni! and with kids on holidays they often beat me to the computer!

Went to Anger management on wednesday. explained about the "lapse" and like you have all assured me, it wasnt so much a 'fail' because for a while i was in control. We talked at length about the issues i had written down after the said outbreak of violence, and have tried to see at exactly what point i lost the control. it is clear that when mark went to walk out of the room, i felt as though he had taken control of the situation and i became aggressive. there was also a point about the fact that he was standing up at the time - which i may have subconciously felt threatened by. not so sure on this - but i suppose it could be right.

she then talked about decision making in our house, who makes what type of decisions. mark has to make an awful lot of important decisions at work, but will not make even the smallest ones at home. after talking this over with her, it seems possible that i actually dont LET him make the decision. for me to be in control, i have to decide what goes on and when etc. even to silly things that do not affect me. so i have to ensure - as part of this standing back from others lark - that i allow him to make decisions for himself. To begin with, these will be based on matters that will affect him only and not me. over time, i can then relieve myself of other decisions and get mark to make a few more. this is going to be tricky!! But both mark and i did laugh over this!
He knows how difficult it will be for me to 'not decide' for him!

what i found strange was that i strongly encourage my daughter to be independant and make her own decisions, ones which if she gets wrong she has to take the consequence. obviously, there are decisions that she is not able to make as she is unaware of all the facts/implications. but i fear the risks of her taking drugs/smoking/breaking the law - just because some of her friends might do it. so i try to make her see that self respect is more important that whatever anyone else does. if she things something is right or wrong, then she should make that decision for herself and not in view of what others are doing. this is something i feel so strongly about that i found it difficult to understand why ( and at first i didnt accept the fact!) that i do control all aspects of mark's life in the house. You see, to me, some things are just plain common sense, but mark doesnt get it. i dont think he hit the common sense queue at all! again, i have to try and accept that not everyone makes the same decisions as i would see as simple and straightforward. it took a lot of talking/convincing to make me understand that just because mark does not see things the same as me, that is not to say he is wrong. in fact, i only began to click when she asked if i would be happy living with another me - someone who could make decisions to my standards! i did not have to think about this - i would have to kill either myself or the other me with an axe before a week was out!!!!
so yet more practise of letting go can be done around the house. should be fun! i liked the idea of keeping chocolate to myself a whole lot better!!

After Wednesday i talked over the writings to mark. we sat and thought about ideas to try next time. Counsellor did say that for me to walk out of the conflict BEFORE it got out of control was in a way accepting responsibility for the situation. so i explained this to mark. we have agreed to try : if i walk out, he will not follow me. when I am ready, i will come back into his space - and that can only be done when i am totally angerless! in the past i tend to come back after him merely to start the whole lot off again! But because this time i was actually aware of the situation (not the case in past times - i have usually lost the plot by this point) hopefully i can spend the time alone to practise relaxation rather than thinking up a whole new load of words to spout off at him.

One thing i was - no texactly disappointed about - but .....disappointed! was that i had this image of me not getting wound up over silly things - or this control thing i have. but apparently, this training will not solve that - it will just tach me how to diffuse the feelings rather than allowing them to get out of control. i suppose it is a bit much to ask to expect me to be totally different! i just want to "chill out" and give my poor hubby a break! but learning to diffuse the anger instead of beating him up has got to be for the better - so i am happy enough with that. you never know - the rest may come over time!

I have also taken advise given here by one of you about my pet hates. i have explained - again! - to mark that these are real issues that are likely to cause me to get angry. and so, he needs to be aware of them. the two main ones, are being ignored, and people being late. (Hence sunday night) its not so much as being late - but doing something totally different to what they SAID they were going to do! So i suppose it could relate to many things - not just lateness. its often the same when my mother promises to do something or have my daughter for the day, and then doesnt bother. it really winds me up!!

I still cannot get to grips with my mother bit. everytime i speak with her i feel different - almost difficult to talk! why is this? did you all experience this when coming to terms with things? I am not hostile to her as such, but i am less enthusiastic to talk at length - is that normal? Maybe she will take this as the first signs of change, and eventually stop hassling me over "why i am quiet"! but i feel guilty (there's that word again!) when i she thinks there is something wrong. I suppose i have the ideal excuse - being pregnant makes your hormones run riot anyway - so i can put it down to that!

Well there goes another page! As it is now the easter holidays mark is off work - so lets hope that 4 days together dont bring a situation to require the need for practise! I am going to focus really hard on the ideas given for allowing mark to make some of the decisions. i was also given an extensive questionnaire about what things make me aggressive. this is quite in depth, so will keep me occupied for a few days!!

Thanks all for listening - again. I will tune in again soon!

April 21, 2000
8:20 am
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SQ- I think the not getting wound up over silly things WILL come in times. Up to now thay have been a reason to "be in control" even through anger and I bet you have never stepped back from them and analyzed the WHAT of the outbursts before. I think as you gain more control you will be able to choose your battles better rather than having everything be a battle

I am raising my daughters independently too but still...we mom's really like to have control (or we like to think we do)

The mother bit is a very tough one. To deal with that you may want your anger counselor to recommend someone to help you with those relatinships issues if the anger management sessions isn't going too. It's tough to get to the point where you "don't care" what your mom thinks and even tougher to get them to be quiet about it..You are not alone there.

You are doing so well. OUr best to you, Mark and the kids

What is your dissertaion on?

Happy Easter.

April 23, 2000
9:12 am
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Hi Squirrel,
as Janes said, i think in time you will naturally find that not so many things trigger you off. You will chill out naturally and find that the things that make you angry become less and less and also you will be able to see what it is that is REALLY bothering you rather than having lots of little things setting you off because maybe you are not dealing with the biggie, so i do think that not only will you learn to deal with your anger, but also you will slowly feel less angry too.

Youa re doing so very well, it sounds like your therapist is very good and also you are a very good patient! it is not easy to be objective about oneself, and many things in this kind of therapy become a blow to the ego if we let them, so well done!
Happy Easter.
Hazza

April 27, 2000
5:56 am
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just wanted to let you all know that i am still around - just being kept busy with exam revision etc etc....

the ideas/comments/suggestions put forward by you all, and my counsellor have been great springboards for hubby and i to talk openly and regularly about this issue. something i have not been able to do in the past - i think i was in denial!

i am finding it easier to be honest with myself when asking difficult questions. i dont get quite so "ashamed" at some of the things i have to admit to. i dont always like what my answer is - but i try to focus on the fact that now i am aware of some of these things, i can learn to put them right.

Did fail on the first opportunity of keeping my nose out of other people's problems. mother phoned and was bleating on about the apparent "hostile" attitude my sister had towards her - she wanted me to go digging around to find out why. i had agreed to do this several occassions throughout the call - when the big alarm bell started to ring saying "you're not suppossed to be doing that anymore...."
it did rather show me just how easily i get dragged into such things! anyway - did the dirty deed as subtley as possible, without jumping in with both feet! I will try to be more alert next time!!

I have been a little better in putting my foot down when being taken for granted in running around etc. long story - but briefly: my dad usually comes on holidays with us as we have to pay for 6 berth accommodation even though there used to be only 5 of us. basically, he came along and had free holiday. now - being as we no longer have access to the two step daughters, we do not need to pay for the extra acccommodation on hols. but dad still wants to join us. choice was: go to different place to where hubby and I wish and not pay extra for dad. OR go to where WE want to go, but dad has to pay towards costs (as cost based on individuals in party). Dad moaned and groaned about having to pay - but i was firm in stating our choice of holiday destination. he could either join us with cost, or not join us.
I didnt really feel THAT guilty about it either!!! i was very impressed with myself!! no-one else ever volunteers to take him on holiday, so if he wanted a holiday himself he would have to pay wouldnt he???

well - i suppose i shall keep trying, and will keep you all up to date. my next counsellor session is May 10th due to the easter holidays etc.

bye for now

April 27, 2000
6:35 am
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Hey there squirrel,
you are doing really well! you have practiced being assertive on your dad and soon i am sure you will be with your mum too.
my mum sounds so similar to yours!! she is so sly with her nosiness! she got alot better when i told her in a very light hearted manner that if she wanted to know something she must ask herself, i was not going to spy for her!

i think it is great that this whole thing has opened up comunication with your hubby on the issue, he sounds like he is supporting you with this. Just make sure you let him know what it is you need from him too, it is easy to forget and expect people to read our minds sometimes.

you sound better and happier each time we speak, keep us posted and good luck for your next session. it is really hard to admit our own problems and even more difficult to talk openly about it with those mearest to us. You are doing very well and taking responsibility for your own growth. a true inspiration!
peace
Hazza

April 27, 2000
8:44 pm
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Congratulations once again.

You are doing just super!~!!!!

Our best to the hubby too.

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