Family and Anger Issues

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

It’s a mixture of family issues and an issue with my own self. I’ve been told I have anger issues. I’m 14 years old, my name is Danielle. I live with my mom who is a single parent. I do have an older sister who’s 23, she lives in the downtown area of my city though. My mom is an alcoholic. She’s pretty ok when she’s sober. She’s annoying though, but whose parents aren’t? But when she drinks, she becomes horrible. A complete replica of Dr. Jekyl and Mr.Hide. She becomes verbally abusive. I know its only words, but, they hurt. Deeply. And kind of sensitive but I don’t show it. It reminds me too much of when I was elementary school and used to get picked on by this one boy. I’d cry when I got home. But when she drinks, she calls me ‘stupid’, ‘whore’, ‘bitch’, and any other name in the book. She makes me feel like utter trash. She becomes physically abusive also. She’s slapped me before, pulled my hair, choked me. But now that I’ve become older I fight back, words and fist. I’ve beaten her with her own crutch, beaten her in the head ’till there was a gash. Actually this just happened not too long ago actually. My left cheek still has a slight scar from when she scratched it about last week. I get so angry at her whenever she tries to tell me she’ll change, and that she’ll get better. I get angry because I know its a complete lie, and I despise getting lied to. Its happened too many times to me. I’ve gotten so emotional and angry that I punched a hole in the door of our bathroom door, and another time when I was angry I threw a glass cup at the wall and a hole is now there too. I get angry at any other thing too. Sometimes I feel like screaming and pulling my hair out. Many times I feel insane and crazy because of that. I’m a ‘cutter’ I’ve cut myself multiple times due to the depression,sadness,and pure hatred I feel. I’ve wanted to commit suicide by either hanging myself, or over-dosing on pills, any kind. At times I feel bipolar because I can change my emotions quickly. I don’t know what to do. I feel myself spiraling out of control.

A. Your mother physically, psychologically and emotionally abuses you. In addition, she is teaching you that violence is okay. Whenever you become upset or angry, you either react with violence (i.e. throwing things or punching holes in the wall) or physically harm yourself. Your reaction is understandable, given the situation but it is important to recognize that violence, in any form, is never acceptable.

When you are upset, angry or anxious, it is important that you have alternative ways to handle your feelings. Physical violence and self harm are maladaptive reactions. Consider the following alternatives:

  • remove yourself from the source of the anger
  • punch your pillow, instead of the wall
  • watch television
  • listen to music
  • call a friend
  • write your feelings in a journal
  • engage in deep breathing exercises
  • engage in intense physical exercise

Your mother’s abuse is unacceptable. Child abuse, in any form, is against the law. Child Protective Services (CPS) could assist you. I would suggest that you call them and discuss your situation with them. CPS can help you find alternative living arrangements which may include moving in with your older sister. They can also help you access counseling and other necessary psychiatric treatments. The fact that you are considering suicide is indicative of how serious your situation has become.

Calling CPS might also force your mother to seek help for her alcoholism. I understand that reporting your mother may be very difficult. I worked with many children and teenagers who suffered greatly at the hands of their parents but who were very resistant to reporting the abuse to the proper authorities. On one hand, they were very upset with their parents. They were abused and harmed by them. They were very resentful of their parents. On the other hand, they were protective of their parents and didn’t want them to be punished. You may not want your mother to get into trouble but she is abusing you. Her behavior is causing you significant psychological, physical and emotional harm. It is unfair to you and it needs to be stopped. To find the phone number for your local CPS, do a Google search for “child protective services” and the name of your state.

If you are unwilling to report the abuse to CPS, then you should strongly consider living with your sister or another trusted relative, if possible. Another option is to speak to someone at your school. It could be a guidance counselor, a teacher, the principal, the school nurse, etc. These individuals are trained to intervene in abusive situations. In addition, they may also help you access counseling. I believe you could greatly benefit from outside help.

I hope that you will consider one of the aforementioned options. Your home environment is toxic. It is driving you to consider suicide. It is a very serious situation that requires a significant, positive change. If you feel that you cannot control your behavior or that you may harm yourself, call 911 or go to an emergency room. The hospital can keep you safe. The hospital can also help you access psychiatric services. You can also call the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. You need to reach out for help and I hope that you do so. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jan 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Family and Anger Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/01/15/family-and-anger-issues/