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Anxiety and Anger taking over my relationship

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  • #161648
    Halle
    Participant

    Hi,

    I am very new to this group and I enjoy it a lot. In the short time i have known about Tiny Buddha it has helped me reading the forums and blogs.

    However, i just do not know what is wrong with me. Recently i have been noticing that i get angry very easily (over the silliest things) and i cant really pin-point why. With my boyfriend in particular this is really putting a toll on my relationship. Ive been trying to research online why I get the way I do and i have not really found any answers. What usually happens is when my boyfriend goes out with his friends, or changes the plans that me and him had i get angry. So angry. And i feel this pit inside my chest and stomach, i feel like crying, and honestly i just overthink every possible bad outcome that could happen (which i believe is anxiety). I really do not understand why i get like this. My boyfriend is honestly a great guy, he treats me better than any other guy i have ever dated previously. He deserves the best and right now i dont think i am giving it to him. I get angry and get an attitude with him everyday just because i am mad that he changes the plans we had planned. And i understand that everything doesn’t always have to go my way but at the same time it upsets me that i dont get to spend as much time with him, or i am just constantly worrying about all of the bad that could possibly happen. He has told me that he really is getting tired of dealing with my constant attitude towards him, but honestly i feel like i cant even control what i get angry over and how mad it makes me.

    Does anyone have any advice? We have been dating for 7 months now and i really do not want this relationship to end because of me.

    Thank you guys in advance,

    Halle

    #161758
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Halle:

    We feel angry when hurt or scared. Sometimes it is about hurts and fears that we only imagine, that are not happening in reality and at other times they do. For example, if your boyfriend of 7 months changes your plans frequently, then it really is, in reality, hurtful behavior. If, on the other hand, he changed your plans only a couple of times because of understandable emergencies or unforeseen circumstances and you feel hurt as a result, that would be hurt not based on reality.

    Which is the case, in your relationship?

    anita

    #161778
    PearceHawk
    Participant

    Hi Halle 🙂

    Other than your b/f what else sets your anger off that easily?

    Pearce

    #161880
    Halle
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    I feel that often i will explain to him some things that i want to do during the day and he agrees that we will do them and instead, he will just go hang out with his friends or do whatever actually interests him more. For example ill say i want to go to the pool for the day, or go somewhere, or ill ask him to dye my hair and at first he will happily say yes, but in the end it never ends up happening because he makes other plans. One day he even said that the whole day was about me, and i could do whatever i wanted. But of course, whatever i wanted to do i had to do after we got through what he wanted to do (go to the gym, meet up with friends at the house) and after that it was too late to do what i actually wanted to do. That is what usually upsets and angers me the most.

    Dear Pearce:

    I have noticed that some of the other things that make me angry are when someone uses my stuff without asking, like a roommate. It’s not that i dont want them using my stuff its that i just wish they would ask first. I have also noticed that it sometimes i get mad when someone does something that i dont personally agree with morally. But the anger I feel when getting mad at those things isnt really as strong as the anger/hurt i feel when my boyfriend cancels plans with me. I have been starting to think that i maybe show anger and get an attitude when someone hurts my feelings, instead of being sad i get mad. It all really confusing to me although i have been trying to remain calm and not get attitudes.

    #161886
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Halle:

    Reads to me like that “pit inside my chest and stomach” that you feel when your boyfriend does not attend to your needs and wants as his number one priority is an awakened feeling from your childhood when a parent did not attend to your needs and wants as their first priority. Do you think this is the case?

    anita

    #161914
    Eliana
    Participant

    Hi Halle,

    I understand your frustration, is this something he does all the time? Where he has plans with you and changes them? Sometimes, we all reach “out tolerance” until we think “enough!” which may be happening in your case. You say he treats you well, in others areas of the relationship, however, a key to an effective relationship is not having resentment, which is what you are experiencing right now, in turn the resentment turns into anxiety and manifests into anger outbursts, because you can only “stuff” your feelings for so long.

    Many men, like their space and like doing things with their friends. Is there anyway, that when this happens, you can make plans with your friends so you are not sitting home alone seething and angry. Show him you have a life “outside” of him, and you don’t need to be constantly with him “to be happy” show him your strong independent side. Maybe take up some hobbies or outside interests, volunteer, etc so that your life and world does not revolve around him. Men like strong independent woman, and don’t like that “being smothered” feeling.

    However, if he does this on a continuous basis, ask him if you can come along? Why not? Why does he always leave you out? Making plans with you then cancelling is a sign of disrespect for you and your relationship and is a red flag. I would sit down and talk to him and tell him how this makes you feel. If he gets defensive or continues to disrespect you, it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship. Keep us posted.

     

    #161940
    Free Moon
    Participant

    Hi, @Halle!

    I am the same way as you. I noticed that I’ve been easily getting frustrated with my boyfriend lately… which is something I noticed with myself when I was with my ex-boyfriend before.

    What Anita said about feeling angry when we’re hurt or scared, I can account for. When I’m hurt or scared, I don’t know how to place my feelings properly which manifest into something I cannot control, like anger. Unfortunately, my anger likes to latch onto someone I’m very familiar with, which is my significant other. The closest conclusion I can come up with is that my insecurities are projecting on to him. I fear of being abandoned, so my ego does its silly dance with emotions.

    Like you, I am struggling, as well. In my case, what I do is I communicate my feelings and fears to my boyfriend to help him understand why I am upset. It’s difficult for me to even do because I know deep down my anger has nothing to do with him, but with myself.

    With you, be as open and as honest with your boyfriend, and don’t sugar-coat anything of your feelings. When you feel like you’re about to lash out at him, try to keep quiet for a few seconds, close your eyes, and breathe slowly. Ask yourself, “What am I angry about? Is it reasonable? Is it something that won’t matter the next day and I should just let go of?” Write down the attributes you love about yourself and the ones that you think need serious improvement on. Ask your boyfriend what are the things you say/do that he doesn’t like, and likewise, he to you. It’s better to find a compromise now than pushing it off at a later time when it’s too difficult to handle.

    Best regards,

    Free Moon

    #162040
    Cantthinkofone
    Participant

    Hi,

    I still struggle with the same feelings you have too.

    I found looking at the “wheel of emotion” really useful. You can google it and see its image clearly. If you firstly look at the wheel and pinpoint the word that best describes how you think you’re feeling. Then look at the words underneath that.  The wheel basically shows us that even when we think we are feeling a certain way, it may be something different.

    For example, I was very angry, at everything, everyone and felt very low. I selected anger on the wheel. What was underneath was hurt and frustration so I started to think about that.

    It then became clear that I was actually hurt from a past event and frustrated with where my life was (or wasn’t ) going. When I was clearer on that I could then address the real issues individually.

     

    i really hope this helps, and I wish you peace and clarity.

     

    xxx

    #162234
    Halle
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    It could possibly be the case. When I was a child my dad was always working, overnights, weekends and overtime. He still does to this day. As for my mother, me and her are not on talking terms anymore. When i was about 16 (i am 19 now) my mom started not coming home at night, coming home early in the morning drunk and this would really anger me. Mostly because i could see hoe much my dad was hurting because of her actions. She would stay out all night partying leaving us to prepare dinner. Now that i am older i now know that she is addicted to coke and i believe it started around when i was 16. Since i have went to college, my dad filed divorce on my mom. But i still deal with the drama, stress, sadness, and anger from her actions.

    Dear Eliana:

    I really did like your ideas! I do try to keep myself occupied and busy when he goes out but the majority of the time when he goes out it is late at night to a bar. Since i am not old enough i cant go with him and since its so late i usually dont go out with my friends to do anything i usually just sit at home and watch tv, clean and play video games if i’m really bored. I have tried talking to him about my feelings and since i did i am noticing a change, we are doing more things that i enjoy doing and say i want to do so I hope it stays that way! “show him your strong independent side” is my favorite part of your post, and I am going to try harder to show that to him!

    Dear Free Moon:

    It feels great to know that i am not the only one with these feelings! You talked about sitting down with my boyfriend and asking him what it is that he doesn’t like that i do and vice versa. We have done this after our most recent fight and i can honestly say i think that it is working. He seems to be showing a lot more interest with my plans and what i want to do and i have been trying to control my anger and attitude towards him. I hope the progress keeps going in a positive direction. I also am going to try to write down the attributes you love about myself and the ones that i think i need improvement on. I feel like i could really benefit from that exercise, ill let you know how it goes! (:

    Dear Cantthinkofone:

    I have never heard of that before, but i like the idea. I am going to try it the next time i am feeling angry because i feel like i could benefit from it. As i explained in my post to anita above, my anger very well could be coming from another emotion i am feeling way deep down and just trying to ignore. I can’t wait to try the wheel and i will let you know how it works out!

    Again, thank you everyone you have no idea how much you guys help me out!

    -Halle

    #162270
    Miranda
    Participant

    Hi Halle,

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I’d like to talk about your boyfriend last and address the issue with anger with others first.  In your roommate example, I sense (from statements made about getting upset when people take your things without asking) that you may be holding in your feelings a little too much and not appropriately expressing how you feel when you need to.  When a roommate, for example, uses your things without asking, that’s the time to say something in the form of setting boundaries.  Actually, it’s best to have these conversations before anything happens such as when you first set up house together or when entering a new relationship.  Sitting down and discussing boundaries or the rules, helps everyone involved to know where the lines are, outlining each person’s jurisdiction and what works for them and what doesn’t.

    For example, you could tell the roommate to please ask you before borrowing your things and when she takes them without asking that you feel disrespected.  You can relay whatever that feeling is for you.  But having a brief conversation to share with the other person (1) what the problem is i.e. taking your things without asking and (2) how you feel when that happens will help you to set boundaries that prevent future occurrences which will minimize how often you’re getting angry over such things.  And other benefits are that the other person now knows exactly what you expect of them and how you feel about their behavior, and your anger doesn’t build up and cause you to overreact when things happen.

    Regarding your boyfriend, what comes to mind as I read your post is what Anita suggests, that your boyfriend’s behavior may be triggering memories from your past.  Your anger may be caused by fear, frustration, anxiety or insecurity.  I do agree that you’re overthinking things but not for the reason that you may think so.  While you may simply think that you’re overthinking about what your boyfriend is either doing while he’s gone or about his wellbeing and safety when he’s away from you, I feel you’re simply thinking far more than you are taking action to empower yourself.  Sitting at home upset while your boyfriend is gone only serves to make you a victim in the situation, and that only makes you approach the situation from the perspective of weakness and not strength.  Not that you are weak but your approach is weak so your approach won’t do much to help you.  And that pit inside you chest and stomach may be a reminder that you’ve already seen this situation play out in your mom and dad’s relationship, and you don’t want to relive their scenario.  According to what I understand of our post, you watched your dad do the same thing to your mom through his excessive working, leaving you and your mom to yourselves longer than you both needed to be.  But, then you mentioned that when your mom started going out and drinking, you watched how it affected your dad.

    However, it’s important to remember how all this with your mom got started, which I hope will help you to see your mom with eyes of mercy.  Things with you mom got started very similar to your situation now, sitting at home and waiting for the person you care about to come home to you.  Unless I missed something, your mom took her life on this other path only after, I can only assume,  she got tired of being frustrated, hurt, disappointed and alone consistently over time.   Only after your mom took her life in the other direction, did it appear that the shoe was on the other foot so to speak, meaning your dad now is experiencing some of what your mother went through when he was working all the time.  Now it’s your dad who is waiting for your mom to return home because she has given up on  him changing his pattern of behavior, and in the process seemed to have given up on herself.  Your mom seemed to have lost a part of herself in that process that she may have never recaptured.  At the time, your mom may have felt that your father thought work was more important that her.  That work was his first priority.  And I can only assume that some of those days that your dad was at work that she probably wondered if he was really at work all that time or if he may have been doing other things without her.  And you seem to be experiencing some of what your mother experienced when your dad was working – as well as what your dad probably felt when your mom was out drinking and not coming home.  So these experiences, I’m sure, where traumatic for you then and probably still are resonating with you now, unless you’ve resolved those feelings associated with your parents.  And it would appears that those feelings have not been resolved if you are not talking with your mother based on her past.  However, is your mom is still into drugs, you may be limited in what you can do with her except to pray for her if you believe in the power of prayer and to forgive her.

    Out of her pain, your mom took her life on a not-so-good path. When people hurt, they often just want the pain to stop, and it becomes a little easier to poor choices when we are desperate to stop or at least to dull the pain at any cost.  I think that if you can see your current circumstance in your mom’s situation with your dad, you may be able to find your way back to your mom (on some level) and forgiveness toward her, and help yourself deal with your relationship with your boyfriend. Remember that forgiving your mom releases you internally to be at peace; it doesn’t mean that you agree with how your mom handled the situation.

    The next thing that comes to mind is the age difference between you and your boyfriend. You mentioned that you are 19 now, and there are places that your boyfriend goes that you can’t go. What is your boyfriend’s age or the age difference between the two of you?  It may be that the age difference is a problem, depending on how large the age difference is between the two of you.  Consider that your boyfriend is old enough for you to be unable to go where he goes  so that’s probably placing stress on your relationship and distance between you if he’s longing to do things that you can’t do.  There may be a part of his life that he enjoys that you are not old enough to be a part of yet. While an age difference isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is something to consider especially given the issues you’re having in your relationship. This isn’t simply something that you are doing to him because you get angry when he backs out on your plans, and don’t allow your boyfriend or anyone else convince you otherwise.

    Life is not one size fits all. We are all unique and have different preferences, likes and dislike and desires. What works for one may not work for another – and especially in relationships. So, do those things that you love doing even if you have to do them alone or with a friend.  Spend time with those people who you simply love being with because you enjoy their company and have so much fun when you’re around them. When you do these things, you begin to create a life that you love simply by making loving choices for yourself and your life and how you spend your time.

    And the next thing is, where are your friends?  Everyone needs at least one friend to talk to, spend time with and have fun with. One thing that women may do a bit more than men is they may stop seeing their friends when they get into a relationship, and that’s not a great idea. I don’t think this is done intentionally. I just think it’s so easy to immerse ourselves in our significant other because we’re so happy and infatuated that we leave little to no time for our friends. However, a good friend can be a leveler and help us to stay balanced when we meet a guy. A good friend is a good person to bounce ideas off of and to share your feelings and experiences, and may be able to see things that we can’t when we are blinded by the light of infatuation.

    So, here’s my advice…..

    If you do nothing else, stop waiting for your boyfriend to come home.  You are 19 with a lot of life ahead of you:  LIVE IT.

    Living is not waiting and stressing at home while your boyfriend freely chooses to spend his time elsewhere.  If you make plans and he changes his mind, you move forward with your plans without him.  You go to the pool anyway.  You go out to dinner anyway.  You go to the movie anyway.  If your boyfriend is committed and interested, the change in you may make influence a change in him.  BUT, don’t do what you do for that reason.  Do it for yourself.  The only person you can change is yourself so do what you for the right reason and it will be fine.  You will be disappointed if you do this for him, and he shows no change in his behavior so save yourself from more unnecessary pain.  Liberate yourself and don’t allow yourself to ruin your life in despair over a boyfriend who won’t hang out with you.  Hangout with yourself and your friends or simply make some new friends.   Just make sure that you do what you do out of love and respect for yourself, and avoid blaming yourself or taking your anger or disappointment with your boyfriend out on yourself.  Avoid attempting to punish yourself for what you think you’re doing to him.  He’s doing it to himself every time he chooses to not relate, communicate and actually date you like you want your boyfriend to do.  Also remember, your boyfriend is not your husband. This is the time in your life that you do not have to stick with a guy “for better or worse” if it’s not working for you – because he is not your husband. And just remember if you are having problems now that cause you upset and anxiety, marriage only intensifies what already their, and usually does not make a problem better.

    Be happy Halle!

    #162280
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Halle:

    This is what I think is happening: when your mother stopped coming home at night, partying, while your father was working overtime, you were alone those nights, and when your father came home, you could see how hurt he was. You were scared, not knowing what will happen next, imagining every possible disaster that can happen next.

    You were filled with fear and anger at your mother for hurting your father, and for making your life unsafe, unpredictable, full of hurt and fear.

    (“When I was a child my dad was always working, overnights… When i was about 16 (i am 19 now) my mom started… coming home early in the morning drunk and this would really anger me. Mostly because i could see how much my dad was hurting”)

    It is that very anger that keeps being triggered in the present, in the context of your relationship with your boyfriend, when he goes out at night with friends or otherwise changes his plans with you.

    It is an intense anger, triggered “very easily (over the silliest things),” and it is felt intensely:  “i get angry. So angry. And i feel this pit inside my chest and stomach, i feel like crying”- it is the same anger you felt when your mother didn’t come home, (and maybe before that, when she withdrew from you and from your father earlier, in other ways).

    When you get that angry you also “overthink every possible bad outcome that could happen”- just like before, home alone, at night, wondering what will happen next; with your father, painfully witnessing his hurt, wondering what that hurt will do to him.

    What do you think of my understanding?

    anita

    #162810
    Halle
    Participant

    Dear Miranda:

    First I would like to say thank you, you post really opened my eyes to many things. As far as you asking where my friends are, i am about to start my second year in college and i stayed and got an apartment in my college town for the summer. So i left all of my friends in my old state, and, all of my new friends i had made at college moved home. There were some that stayed and i do hang out with them sometimes, but i work overnights so while they’re free i am usually sleeping and vice versa. However, i feel like it is kind of hard for me to make friends. I just feel like if i have to forced relationships are not genuine. Idk, i just feel like i need to have a genuine connection with someone to have a friendship. If i just talk to you while i am at work or a party, its not like they wanted to hang out with me, we just happened to be in the same place. I hate feeling like people are only talking to me because i’m there- not because they actually want to. It is probably all in my head and i can only blame myself for feeling this way, but idk why i feel this way. Maybe its my own way of stopping myself from getting hurt.  My boyfriend went home for a week so i have just been by myself. I have been hanging out with my friends when i can and enjoying my alone time although i do miss him. I feel like this break from each other is good for us. And soon i will be moving to a new apartment and school will be starting up so hopefully, we are moving in a good direction.

    Dear Anita:

    I honestly believe you are right. I think i am scared of living a life that my parents did. I hate having anger towards my mother but i can not help it. I do believe that she ruined my life my dads life and her own. “Ruined” seems like the wrong word but i cant help but use it. Ever since my mother starting acting the way that she did i have developed new views on many things. I view drugs differently, i view relationships differently, and she is the one to blame. I really have no hope for her. I try to text her but she never responds and that does hurt my feelings but there is nothing i can do. Everyone tells me its not her its the drug, but me and my mom have never had a good relationship even when i was younger. She was constantly punishing me (for months at a time), she was distant, she was mean and rude. My biggest fear is that i am going to end up like her (not drug wise, i believe i am smarter than that) but attitude wise. Everyone always talks about her behind her back saying how rude and nasty she is towards everyone, and i dont want my anger to be like hers, and end up like her where no one likes me or wants to talk to me. My two sisters and I all don’t talk to her, she refuses to speak to us. Every daughter always wants to have that “Mom is my bestfriend” relationship, and its something i envy.

    #162870
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Halle:

    You wrote: “Everyone tells me its not her its the drug”- people say things so to feel better themselves or to make another person feel better when those things are not true to reality. When people tell you that it is not her, it is the drug, they mean to tell you (don’t they), that you have a good mother and the drug she takes is what is bad.

    It is a very good idea to evaluate what people say and determine what is true to reality and what is not. And you determined that “me and my mom have never had a good relationship even when i was younger”, before she took drugs. You know reality. Our mental well-being, I believe, is in seeing reality for what it is, not compromising it with feel-good thinking.

    You wrote: “i dont want my anger to be like hers, and end up like her’- the fact that you feel anger does not make her like your mother any more than it makes you like any human being on the face of the planet, as every human feels angry. Many animals do too.

    I suppose what you mean is that you don’t want to be abusive, punishing like she is. It is her expression of her anger that you don’t want to emulate. It is a good thing that although anger itself is hereditary (for all humans), any particular expression of it is subject to our choosing.

    anita

    #162968
    Miranda
    Participant

    Hi Halle,

    Making new friends can be hard. However, it takes time to get to know people so you will have to select those people whom you might want to know better, and take a leap of faith to get to know them.  This is the only way that you can go from a casual acquaintance to a genuine friendship.  Relationships are built and developed, and that usually won’t happen in a single meeting; it will be a process.  So, some of what you feel when you meet new people may not be that they are not being genuine or don’t like you; they simply don’t know you or you them.  And consider thinking of new people that you meet as simply strangers who don’t yet know you well enough to have a deep, personal and more meaningful conversations, instead of as people who are not being genuine.  This way, it offers you a more positive perspective about the people that you meet, and you may feel more positive about getting to know them because if you think that most people that you meet are not genuine, it will impact your ability to befriend them.

     

    Regarding your mom, there is no doubt that her choices influenced the course of your life. But my mom has an old saying, “just because you were born that way doesn’t mean you have to stay that way,” meaning no matter how we grow up, we can be different. We can change.  You are an adult now, and you are free to write your own story. Your story doesn’t have to be like your painful youth or like your mom or dad’s stories.  Our lives are built upon our daily choices and decision, and even our mindsets/perspectives.  So, your life doesn’t have to be ruined forever and you don’t have to repeat your mom’s mistakes, even if it requires your getting counseling if it will help you. However, it requires  (1) a quality decision to go in the direction you want and (2) to go in the direction you’ve chosen for you life. If you do those two things each day, or at least do them more than you don’t do them, you’ll create the life you want by continuing to make decisions and choices about you life that move you close in the direction of your goal. And if your mom doesn’t speak to you and doesn’t respond to your contacts, then let her be, and you keep being good to yourself and those who do respond to and appreciate having you in their lives. Just pray for you mom and let her go.  Don’t concern yourself with who’s not in your life and enjoy those who are and who are willing to be a positive part of your life.  And if it’s meant to be, your mom will reach out to you when she’s in a better place instead of you continuing to feel hurt by her lack of response especially while you’re in such a vulnerable place in your life.  I’m confident that you will do fine and will make new friends and build those genuine friendships that you long for.  All the best.

    Miranda

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