I Was So Angry I Totaled His Car on Purpose

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Reader’s Question

I’m 19 and very angry. I have two young children and have been with my boyfriend for 5 years. I get angry often, mostly at my boyfriend. I think I bottle up anger from many sources, and then just blow up on him.

Well, it has gone way too far. I recently had a big fight with him and totaled his truck on purpose because I was angry. What do I need to do now before I completely destroy my relationship and life?

Psychologist’s Reply

There are two issues here: how you manage your anger, and your legitimate reasons for being angry.

Once your anger has reached the boiling point, then it is beyond your current abilities to express it in a way that might actually solve problems. There are classes, and techniques you can use to manage your anger, and I do encourage you to explore those anger management classes.

However, without chipping away at the stress you’re under and directly addressing those causes, anger management doesn’t stand much chance of succeeding. Some of the stressors are understandable at a brief glance: a 19-year-old mother of two, unmarried, probably without the respite care for your kids that would allow you time to reset your baseline sense of calm… Who wouldn’t get frustrated from time to time! Talking about these frustrations with your boyfriend may not always be the best choice, for the reasons you gave. I’m wondering if there is a single mother’s support group near you that you could join, or if there is a clinic nearby that offers individual therapy on a one-to-one basis. Either or both of those would give you an outlet to talk and be heard, maybe solve a problem once in a while, and accomplish this outside of your normal circle of friends and family.

One thing is for sure: the pressure cooker has either got to come off the fire or you’ve got to vent it in a constructive way. I hope you can find outlets for your legitimate, pent-up needs for expression, and also that you can find understanding. We all need these, as do you and your young family.

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