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Anger Management Institute

Blinding Anger

©2011 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC  

Question: I don’t know much about this forum, but maybe someone can help me understand what’s wrong with me. Tonight my mother came into the basement (where my brother and I sleep), we have our home theatre setup down there. Since there are no bedrooms in the basement my brother and I usually lay a few matresses down in front of the tv and watch tv before we sleep. (He’s on school vacation, I’m 21 just quit my last job, looking for another). She came down with the intent to watch a movie – it was about 11:00pm, and since we’re of east asian decent, she wanted to watch an east indian movie – which are 3 hours long! Anyway, I was annoyed, because I was already laying in bed, and may have sounded frustrated when I said – “come on mom – your movies 3 hours long! can’t you watch it tomorrow?” She got upset, so I was just got up and said – “fine, i’ll just go upstairs” (possibly with some attitude) and i picked up my laptop, and started walking away…she stomped her way behind me after throwing the dvd across the room…. I went straight to the family room – where I sat down, and started using the laptop, and she went upstairs to her room.
Anyway, she came back down to the family in about 5 minutes and was yelling at me, saying – “are you happy now, you hurt your mom, blah blah blah blah” and I mean literally yelling in my face about nonesense, when I had gotten up and left the area where she wanted to watch the movie. I understand I didn’t walk away happy, but I *THINK* it was okay to feel frustrated. For some reason, I lost it right there as she was yelling – I was about to throw my laptop, but I didn’t, I kind of collected myself and set it down, and I got up in her direction and asked her – “what did i do?” in a angry yelling voice – “did you want me to prance up all happy?” “what did you want me to do, why are you telling me all of this stuff, why are you yelling at me in the middle of the night”. All in a very angry upset yelling tone of voice (matching her tone). I was raging – I know it…I start seeing black, not clearly at all, my fists are clenched, and at that point I need to release the anger and it’s normally through those fists when it gets to that point. I hit the wall, and put a hole in it. I feel horrible instantly about what I did, and try to walk away, but my mom is just continuing to yell – I don’t know what to do at this point so I sit down on the couch, close my eyes, and try to ignore everything shes saying – and everything my dad is now saying (who joined us after he heard). I look back at the reasons why the “fight” broke out, and I can’t help but feel STUPID, because there is NO reason it should’ve got that far.
Yet somehow it does…I know my parents don’t make it easier for me to get over my problem because they almost feed the anger into me with the things they say when they get angry. I hate myself for the way I am when the anger comes over me, and I sit back and wish I would’ve just never have gotten frustrated with her wanting to watch a movie, but alas….tonight was unavoidable. Maybe some of you can help diagnose what I’m feeling, or what kind of rage I’m experiencing. It’s quite scary when I reach that point, I’m literally blinded, and even though I’ve come to a point where I can try to control it, it still gets out of hand sometimes. Tonight it was a wall, but what scares me is, what if it’s something else next time? After the anger/adrenaline calm down – I get a massive headache, and self loathe over what I did/said. Signed, Anonymous

Answer: Dear Friend, thanks for posting. It’s normal for you to feel frustrated and angry at your Mother for imposing her demands on you at an unreasonable time of night. And you already know it’s unhealthy to explode and put your fists through walls because that reaction doesn’ t resolve the situation and causes you to feel guilty and depressed. The kind of anger you are experiencing is what I call “blinding and uncontrollable anger”. You get to a certain point in an angry situation where you no longer are thinking straight and feel the need to express the rage built up inside of you. Anger has a physiological basis – early intervention is needed to prevent escalation. Anger is still a choice though!

Prevention: We have found that it is important to have a strategy prior to triggering events in order to prevent an angry outburst. Why not sit down with your parents and talk about setting some boundaries and make some reasonable requests to prevent this conflict in the future? Boundaries need to be set such as: 1. No watching tv after midnight unless we all agree to it.
2. Please request permission to watch a different program (this applies to everyone)
3. Plan for some times of privacy. You should request certain times when you will have use of the family room or the basement alone. Part of the issue is that you quit your job and are not able to live alone and support yourself. This makes you dependent on your parents and obligated to them. It’s hard to be independent and have freedom of choice about the way you want to live when you are still living with your parents. It’s hard for them to stop parenting when you are still dependent on them. The best scenario is to move out as soon as you can.

Make a Plan: But, if this situation happens again and your parents won’t respect your requests – take your laptop and go to the family room and don’t fight with them. Once anger raises it’s ugly head – it’s hard to control it. You can control yourself though. If you respectfully leave the situation/room and your parents follow you- yelling at you. You can leave the house because no good will come from trying to resolve an issue when people are fired up with anger!
See the Anger Management Institute for resources and articles to help you manage your anger! God bless!

© copyright 2005 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger? and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.


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