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Blacking Out Over Rage?

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Me and my girlfriend were in my car in a parking lot. We got into a verbal dispute. I called her the c-word. She punched me in the face. She was very angry. I grabbed her arms so she would stop punching. When I grabbed her arms, her whole body shrieked. She yelled, “you hit me, I’m calling the cops”; immediately said, “I didn’t hit you”;.after she calmed down, I let go of her. She got out of the car and took off. that was 6 months ago. she will not speak to me. I do not want to get a restraining order so I have kept my distance. She told my mom in a text a month after this happened, that she “wasn’t sure what I told my mom(i sent my girlfriend a letter explaining what had happened), but that all she knows is that she is not safe around me”; I truly believe that she believes that I hit her. is there a condition of a “blacked-out rage”; where she can’t process true events like this correctly? once I said the c-word bruce banner became the incredible hulk (From the USA)

Blacking Out Over Rage?

Answered by on -

A.

Black-out can happen on both sides. Whenever there is anger involved that becomes rageful there is very often a distortion on what is happening. You saying she has had a blackout when you were as engaged in the process as she was might be inaccurate — as much as you might think or convince yourself it is.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widely studies phenomenon. Articles about it such as this one, this detailed one on the process, and this quiz, are all good resource for you to check out.

You explaining your version to her when she feels threatened by what happened is not going to help. A person who feels threatened and afraid of someone who has broken ties with them isn’t looking to be told how inaccurate their memory is of the situation. Being told that they are wrong about what they are feeling, don’t have a need to protect themselves, and were really the person at fault for causing it is exactly the kind of approach that tries to shift blame rather than taking responsibility for your part in it.

The “c-word” is verbal violence and part of exactly what is studied when they look at intimate partner violence. What you’ll need to focus on is your verbally abusive reaction — not her response and your interpretation of what happened. Trying to convince her she is wrong for protecting herself, that your interpretation of what happening is more accurate, and that she blacked out don’t get to what you need to do to help yourself and future relationships. The primary work on your side of the coin is to figure out what your other options are and what you can do to exercise them when there is a heated argument. How can you control your verbally abusive language during an argument? What prevented you from getting out of the car when you were punched rather than your reaction? These two things are where the work is — not trying to convince her that she is wrong for protecting herself because she blacked out.

I’d highly recommend you check out your reactions in individual therapy. The Find Help tab at the top of the page can help you find someone in your area who specializes in anger management.

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

Blacking Out Over Rage?

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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: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Blacking Out Over Rage?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/05/26/blacking-out-over-rage/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 May 2020 (Originally: 26 May 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 21 May 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.