Letters from readers: controlling outbursts of violent anger

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“I am very concerned that sometimes I can’t cope with negative emotions (anger, resentment, and pain). When something like this happens, these emotions seem to paralyze me, I boil to such an extent that even my hands and voice start shaking. I can’t handle them, though I know I should stop. The most terrible thing is the fact that I get back to normal only when I shout at someone, or even hit the. It seems like a way for me to release my pain and anger. I understand that this is totally wrong. Help me, please! Is there any way to calm myself down before I want to hit someone?  Thank you in advance!!!”

Hello and welcome!

I am very glad that you think about the issue and want to change your negative manifestations. You are absolutely right that you need to calm down “before” these states. Here are recommendations on how to do this.

  1. Please note that a strong condition rarely occurs immediately. Usually, in order for it to appear, you need to reach a boiling point or accumulate emotions. It’s important to recognize this fact.
  1. Take 2 situations with strong emotions and analyze the way you used to reach that peak. Make a story about it in the third person. 

For example, “N. came tired from work. She found out that the children had trashed the apartment, and she had just put everything in order one day before, having spent half of the weekend cleaning. Her hands dropped. She found out that the child got “F-” at school, while the second one never started doing homework. She should have made dinner, but she forgot about buying salt. She was quite upset. Her husband is on a business trip and does not answer the phone, which prompted her to think about him cheating. In the evening, when she cleaned the apartment, she yelled at the children and cooked dinner. A bit later, when she was in a rage, she decided to beat both children. At night, she couldn’t sleep, so she had to take a sick day and work from home.”

What is important in this example?

  • First thing.  N. was initially tired. 
  • Second thing. The house is a mess, although she cleaned yesterday. It seems that her work is useless. She can’t cope with this fact. 
  • Third thing. She didn’t buy salt and got upset. If she could get rid of fatigue and other things, she could go to the neighbors to get some salt and chat a little. 
  • Fourth thing. She doesn’t ask her children to help her around the house, but she is angry at them for it. 
  • Fifth thing. The children made her angry with their approach to the homework. 

Sixth thing. She trusts her husband, but at times when she is completely tired, all sorts of terrible thoughts come into her head. She forgets that her husband is loyal and decent and begins to draw terrible pictures in her mind. 

Add her fatigue to all these things. She continues to cook and clean, which further aggravates the situation. She shouts at the kids and then can’t sleep at night.

It was a very heavy load for N. that evening. This is just a fact.  But it’s not everything. Only N. is able to provide herself with normal conditions. This is HER direct responsibility to be able to cope with tasks and to allocate and schedule them. 

Look at the following 3 important things.

  • How your condition reaches the “peak”? What should one do to you to make you start yelling or become capable of hitting a person?
  • What emotions you are experiencing and for what reasons.
  • What makes it even worse? Which factors, events, and thoughts?

3. By having discovered the entire chain, you need to look for a moment when you already understand that you are not well. At this point, it’s worth stopping. N., for example, could have some rest after a working day. Her children would be safe and it would be easier for her. 

You can try to recognize your condition and give yourself support. In our application, you need to find the Psychosutra section, You will find ways to cope with different conditions. 

4. It turns out that such affective states usually show that the problems have already accumulated. In the case of N., she has a lot of things oh her shoulders. She can’t cope with the children, put the apartment in order, and think about their homework. It would be nice for you to discover what you are not coping with in your situations. 

If you think that what I am writing about is too difficult, you can go to a psychologist and work with your states. But first, learn to take care of states, learn to rest, and listen to yourself. You need to be able to give yourself what you need. 

For example, I can say the following about you according to the letter: You don’t really care about your emotional background, most likely you don’t know how to deal with it yet. You should start learning to understand yourself and your emotions and look for ways to work with them. Then you will be able to avoid such outbursts. 

I recommend you take a look at the “Psychocleaning” educational course. It teaches one to get to know their emotions and understand their inner self better.

Take care!

Natalia Nikulina, Consulting psychologist