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Subconscious Anger

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My boyfriend is 40, I am 38, we have been together 3 yrs, living together most that time. He is a professional artist and is very talented. I work in a call center, but play music on the side and also dabble in painting myself. I have been working on a painting for about 3 weeks. When we came home from dinner tonight, he had started drinking and said he would help me with my painting. I like the thought of working on paintings together. He asked what I needed help with, I asked him if he could outline my shapes in black since he is a lot better at that then me. He said he would be happy too. I look over about 10 min later and he has taken black paint and just scribbled all over my painting and looks at me as says “I guess I ruined it,” not mean or anything just like “whoops.” I was wondering if maybe he really did it on purpose this is the second time he has done this.

Subconscious Anger

Answered by on -


Thank you for sending your concerns to us here at PsychCentral. He ruined your painting? Think about this for a minute. A 40-year-old man ruined your painting. There is nothing other than resentment and anger being expressed here. You’ve asked for his help — and he responds by destroying your creation.

Since this is the second time it’s happened I wouldn’t let the relationship progress without a very intense, serious, and deliberate conversation about his thoughts and feelings. The reason why I’m encouraging you to have this conversation sooner rather than later is that none of the motives for his behavior are good. Either he was drunk, being aggressive, or trying to provoke you. In any case, these issues need to be addressed.

I’ll encourage you to have the discussion first, but you’ll probably want to make a an appointment with a couples therapist. The “find help” tab at the top of the page can help you locate someone in your area.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Subconscious Anger

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Subconscious Anger. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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