I grew up in a very negative, dysfunctional household (screaming, yelling, hitting, etc)…

Hey, I grew up in a very negative, dysfunctional household (screaming, yelling, hitting, etc) and it has impacted all of my past relationships. Most of my romantic relationships have ended because I was too critical of my partner or because of my anger. I find myself losing my temper at the people I care for the most, my mother, sister, and friends. Whenever I am triggered, I try to count to 10, control my breathing and reflect on what triggered the anger, but it seems very uncontrollable. I always feel so bad about it. What should I do?

It seems that you’re doing great so far! You’ve recognized that you have a problem, and you’re trying to come up with coping mechanisms that will help you grow, and I am so proud of you for that! You’re doing great by zeroing in on what triggers you and recognizing those triggers.

Instead of beating yourself up and being so self-critical, establish some positive self-talk. Talk to yourself and say you know that you’re trying and that you’re doing a really great job. Let yourself know that it took years for you to establish those characteristics of being too critical and losing your temper and that it will probably take just as long to remove those characteristics from your personality. Just don’t beat yourself up that the process is taking longer than you thought it would.

And just continue what you’ve been doing. Try to catch yourself whenever you react in situations that you should respond in. The difference between reacting and responding is usually one’s frame of mind. When you react, you usually come from a place of anger and hurt feelings, when one responds, they come from a place of centeredness, groundedness, peace and calm. You can also try journaling and sitting with the anger. Whenever you’re angry at someone or their actions, sit with your anger and journal about why you feel what you feel, what set you off and how you reacted. Once you do this consistently, you will begin to see a pattern and what triggers you, and it will allow you to get to the root of the problem. Just don’t give up and keep working at it. You’ll get there!

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