Do you find that you are a successful competent adult with a solid education, respectable career track record. Perhaps you even have a set of good friends and a romantic relationship, yet you find that something can set you off. In this moment you become a raging, hysterical disproportionately emotional monster to those closest to you? In the moments you are in a rage, do you feel absolutely out of control, with no way to stop it? Do you feel like you are a passenger in your body, watching yourself hurling verbal and emotional abuses at the people you love without being able to stop?
After you come out of the fit of hysterical rage are you consumed with guilt, deep shame and remorse? Do you look at your loved ones and see the shock, disbelief and fear in their eyes? As you try to explain or make excuses that your loved ones are tired of hearing, do you give way to anger and shame and withdrawal? Do you feel lonely, swear to yourself and your loved ones to try harder, to do better, to cut out alcohol, read books, do mediation, anything to stop this vicious cycle…but it never seems to work or last. The next trigger or episode is just around the corner.
If this happens to you, there is help for you. If you have a history of witnessing domestic violence or emotional and verbal abuses by your parents, and perhaps they were even verbally and emotionally abusive to you, the source of adult histrionics may actually be tied to your past.
The biggest landmark study ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, found that childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future emotional regulation and interpersonal behavior of the adults. Adverse childhood experiences fall under the categories of Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse and Sexual Abuse.
You may be thinking to yourself, but I grew up in a “good family.” My present day emotional regulation issues can’t be a result of my childhood. You may feel or think that you have a “good childhood”. But if you think of the details to support that you may find yourself drawing a blank. If you can’t really remember at least 5 examples to support a good childhood, this can be an indication of emotional neglect.
Many “good” families were neglectful and not attending to the developing child’s emotional and psychological needs. This can be because the parents were incapable to do so because of their own mental health issues. Poor marriages that had constant fighting between themselves. A parent, or both, suffered from serious mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse or bi-polar or schizophrenia would be impaired to provide to the developing child or children their emotional needs. Any significant mental health disorder can distract from the care and emotional world of the developing child.
If a child grew up in a family where they parents were dealing with job insecurity, gambling, substance abuse or infidelity, anything that pre-occupied the parents from attending to the child’s emotional need can result in present day anger and emotional regulation problems in the child.
Acts of Omission (Child Neglect)
Failure to provide needs or to protect from harm or potential harm
Acts of omission are the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm. Like acts of commission, harm to a child might not be the intended consequence. The following types of maltreatment involve acts of omission:
o Physical neglect
o Emotional neglect
o Medical and dental neglect
o Educational neglect
o Inadequate supervision
o Exposure to violent environments
See the following reference document for more detailed information:
Leeb RT, Paulozzi L, Melanson C, Simon T, Arias I. Child Maltreatment surveillance: uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements, version 1.0. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2008.
If you are finding that you get “triggered” by your children, or stress of what many people can “normal” daily living, this can be indication that you have experienced early childhood incidents that affect hour ability to self-sooth and emotional regulate. You are not a bad or evil person. This is a treatable condition to improve the quality of your life
If you find that there are times you are dissociation or feel disconnected and numb when overwhelmed, this can be another indication of what lacking in your childhood is affecting you today.
Lastly, if you find you struggle to regulate your emotions and self-sooth in a healthy way, which can look like compulsive masturbation to porn, alcohol or substance abusive, self harm in term of cutting or you have ruminative and compulsive thoughts, this can be another indication.
You may not exactly have an Anger Management Problem. You may have a childhood that didn’t set you up with the emotional regulation and self-soothing skills you need. Good news, if you have the courage and what a better life, there is help for this.
I help many people deal with these present issues stemming from childhood problems. Unfortunately, many of my clients before coming to me have be consnumed by shamed and embarrassment. They have tried various interventions from self-help, to crystal healing, to mediation and nothing works. They feel broken and defective. They are not, they just weren’t recognized and identified correctly.
If you feel some of this speaks to you, reach out for an initial consultation.
If you’d like to find out how we can help you, please contact us for an initial session to learn more about how we would collaborate together.
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