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I Sometimes Feel Detached and Only Experience Anger

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The other day my family and I were out at a restaurant, and this child in the booth behind us kept screaming and yelling and wouldn’t stop. Around the third time he yelled I had an image flash in my head of me strangling and then cutting up the child. I felt an immense anger for some 5 seconds. Then after that, the thought faded and I was very emotionally detached for the rest of the dinner. I felt no emotion whatsoever and said nothing. I had no urges to do anything but sit and stare at the table. I don’t know why I had such a violent thought, or strange feeling after. I did not act on my thought (just to be clear). (From the USA)

I Sometimes Feel Detached and Only Experience Anger

Answered by on -


  Thank you for being able to confront this violent thought by talking about it here. What is important is that you noticed all three components of the experience. You knew the child’s crying was the trigger, the violent image followed it, and a detachment followed. Being able to notice this process is a big part of learning to correct it.

Talking about these thoughts with a professional is important. Letting your parents know that you are having trouble managing your anger, or letting your school counselor know how quickly you get angry and then shut down is the next step.

Trying to manage this without help can be difficult. Many people have angry thoughts and feelings — and counseling is a very good way to figure out how to manage them.

Reaching out to us was a very good first step. Letting others know is the next.

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

I Sometimes Feel Detached and Only Experience Anger

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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). I Sometimes Feel Detached and Only Experience Anger. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Apr 2018 (Originally: 25 Apr 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Apr 2018
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