Explosive anger leaves me feeling ashamed

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    Hi there.

    I have made other posts recently, they are all related.

    For the past few months tensions have been high in my house between my parents and I. The same pattern has been repeating itself and I feel stuck. This is probably the thousandth time I have gone over this.

    The pattern is goes like this:

    -I spend a few days biting my tongue, silently building up anger towards my mother. Whenever she makes comments like, “I do so much for you”, “Nobody appreciates anything I do”, complains about something, acts like I owe her something, or goes on about how all her problems are someone else’s fault.. I get angry.

    -Eventually I start to crack, I become passive aggressive. I make bitter comments and judgments.

    -There is an opening to start an argument and I take advantage of it. Even though I am aware I should not do it, it becomes as if I am just watching myself spin out of control. An argument can be over the smallest thing (her misplacing something of mine, her making a direct criticism to me, her crossing some overly sensitive boundary I’ve created.. Basically anything that reminds me that my feelings and I are not important)

    -She usually takes the stance of “I have never done anything to hurt you”, “You’ve lost your mind”, “You’re overly sensitive”, “You forget everything I’ve done for you”, “You can’t handle your own problems so you blame others” and has even gotten to the point that she believes my therapist creates these “false” feelings.

    -I usually yell at her, saying things along the lines of “I could not possibly be this angry if I was not hurt, I was not born this way” along with other rash statements.

    She now responds mostly with dismissive or mocking tactics, she says she is tired of hearing it. I am tired of being angry, it wears on me and I feel ashamed each time.

    I am trying to figure out my life. I turned 18 today. I know I need to move out. This pattern is not easy for me to deal with, it drains my energy and motivation. I am aware that there are things inside of me that need to be healed (as that is also the case for most of us), but it seems impossible to do so while living in this house. I live in a constant state of defense.


    Hi Janine,

    I am new to this forum and I have some experience with this. My ex partner used to say things to her daughter, very similarly to what was being said to you. I have questioned if my ex had Borderline personality disorder or Narcissistic personality disorder. I am not qualified to diagnose or judge that so I will say no more on that topic.

    But I used to see how it was draining my stepdaughter to hear ‘after all I do for you’. The girl just wanted to be a teenager, meet her friends, live. She wasn’t concerned with how her Mum does chores around the house and she wasn’t into guessing what needed to be done next. instead, I would urge my ex to make a list of things for her daughter to do, then give her the freedom to do them her way.

    I used to do things like you, bite my tongue etc, so did my stepdaughter. My ex would keep going, it was like arrows landing on the person she was talking to, until me or my stepdaughter would snap. Then one of us would say something and it would be all out war. I really hate the dismissive/mocking tactics.

    It is not healthy. I tried to talk to my ex about things but it didn’t work. I didn’t think she was a bad person, I loved her to bits, but when she would go into this ‘nobody does anything for me’ mode, it was hard to take as I felt I’d done a lot for her. If I listed the things I did, she would then say ‘you keep bringing up money etc’ and I was only doing so to defend myself. In the end it became draining.

    I know how you feel. I hope my post has helped.



    Dear Janine:

    When you feel anger at your mother, you are reacting naturally to being attacked. Animals naturally, automatically react with either fear or anger or both when attacked. You feeling anger toward her repeatedly is a consequence of her attacking you. She is not only responsible for attacking you; she is also responsible for all the consequences that naturally take place when you are attacked. Not only is she responsible for your anger, she is also responsible for the secondary consequence of you feeling (unjustified) shame over feeling angry at her and over behaving angrily toward her. No person can be repeatedly attacked, feel naturally angry, again and again and NOT behave angrily. It is impossible.

    Let’s say a prisoner of war is being tortured, physically, by his captors, beat and starved and so on. The prisoner at one point blurts out: *&^% you!”

    Now there is a court case, after the war. The lawyer for the captors make a case: “Now let’s see: true the captors, my clients, shouldn’t have tortured the prisoner, but the prisoner wasn’t right saying *&&%% to my clients. We have two guilty parties here, so both parties should be freed, both guilty.”

    Would a case like this make sense to you? And yet, when your mother blames you for being angry, and when you blame yourself for being angry, it is like being angry at the prisoner of war in my example.

    When your mother “takes the stance of ‘I have never done anything to hurt you’, she is lyin. When she says: “You’ve lost your mind” she is working in practice on destroying your mind. When she is saying:“You’re overly sensitive” she is saying: don’t react to my abuse, pretend like I am not abusing you; hey, it works for me, I am pretending I am not abusing you and it feels pretty good. When she says:“You forget everything I’ve done for you” she is telling you, again, to forget her abuse of you. When she says:“You can’t handle your own problems so you blame others” she is stating what is true for her: she can’t handle her own distress, so she blames it on you and proceeds to relieve her distress by abusing you, the hallmark of abuse. This is what abuse is about.

    For as long as you live with her; for as long as you have contact with her, and no matter how hard you will try to make her love you, you will fail. You are in a no-possible-win situation. You need to get out of there as soon as possible, maybe even before it is possible.



    I know I need to move out.

    It’s great that you have a plan on how to deal with this, but keep in mind this is avoiding the issue, not solving it.

    Anger is an interesting emotion, because more anger begets more anger. You’ve found the pattern: it’s a cycle that keeps getting worse. You found the trigger, and it’s your mom and all the things she says to you. The question is why does this get on your nerves? What is it that you’re looking for in your mom that’s so different from how she is. Why are you looking for this in your mom?

    This delusional inconsistency between what you see her as vs. how she behaves comes from somewhere. What is it that you want? What are you looking for? It’s great you two are fighting because these are chances to clear things up. But when we don’t understand where we’re coming from and focus on what we’re trying to achieve, because it’s so easy to get drawn into a bicker about what’s in front of you, then you’ll get lost in the details.

    You may not be able to change your mom, and you shouldn’t because she reacts to you and you react to her. It’s how we are. When you begin to focus on what you want, like feeling happy and enjoying your time with her, you can make these little corrections and talk and feel something better.

    It’s expected you won’t change over night. You will get into fights and it will become worse. You know this, so work on yourself and ways you can shift your perception and focus on what you want in your relationship with mum and dad.

    What’s something that you’ve done before that really excites you and instead of draining you, was actually fun to the point where time flies? Check out how you saw these past, good times and compare the emotions and thoughts of how you are now with your parents. Where’s your focus?


    Hi there again, thank you for all of your responses.

    I appreciate your sharing. Before seeing your post, I had also been grappling with the idea that my mom may have Borderline or Narcissistic personality disorder.. But then I fall back into questioning if whether or not it’s me who is the crazy one, and maybe it is all me.

    Everything you have responded on all of my threads has made sense to me, but for some reason there is resistance in me in taking any steps towards healing. On days like today, there is little hope and lots of shame, and I cannot even see the possibility of healing. My therapist says I am just perpetuating my pain for no reason.

    The reason I want to move out is so I can deal with the issue. I have tried to deal with it at home, thinking I was doing things rationally by sharing my feelings and being honest.. but everything I say or do or feel is wrong and is perceived as a threat by my parents. You asked many questions I have not been asked before. I will do my best to address them all.

    I think it would be helpful for me to describe some of the main attributes of my mom and our relationship (how it has always been). From her perspective, I have always asked for “too much”, I waste her money and time, I am always out to get her, my personal belongings are threats if they are in “her” space. Over the years, these perceptions have left me feeling ashamed, and I am defensive about these things now. Once I experienced a relationship with unconditional love, I realized I had never felt like I received that love from her. Her “love” has always left me feeling uneasy and confused, like I had done something wrong. As a child, the only thing I wanted from my parents was their love, like any other child. I really wished my mother would see me, I wanted to be precious to her and for her to embrace me.. but she is incapable of that. The only thing I want from them now is financial support until I can move out.


    Dear Janine:

    I am thinking you are still hoping, still waiting for your mother (and father) to love you. You are stuck still waiting, still agreeing with your mother that you are the one at fault.

    I sure hope that moving out and further therapy will get you unstuck. I was stuck for many years. One day it will happen, may be soon, you will .. wake up and realize that really, there is nothing wrong with you, that it was never you. And you will get unstuck.


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