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Repressed anger from childhood?

(11 Posts)
Notsure999 Wed 22-Feb-17 21:32:02

Hi there, hoping someone has some experience to help me understand why I'm feeling and behaving like I am. Bit nervous about posting so apologies if anything is incomprehensible.
I started seeing a counsellor a few weeks ago as I'd reached a point where I couldn't really function. My anxiety (general) was out of control and I felt paralysed to the point I couldn't do anything other than cry. I was also snapping at my husband for anything and everything and it was driving a wedge between us.
So my counsellor has been helping and has encouraged me to discuss my history and childhood. She thinks I may be displacing anger I feel towards my mum onto my husband and that my upbringing is contributing towards my anxiety.
As a bit of background, I have a (what I thought) pretty good relationship with my parents. They have their faults but I choose to spend time with them and they are great parents to me and grandparents to our daughter. I do remember my mum being quite different when I was younger. Everything had to be clean, tidy and perfect and I was scared to put something in the wrong place etc. I remember her being very stressed and anxious herself and shouting and stressing a lot of the time. She was a sahm so I spent a lot of time with her. I developed anorexia at university which I 'recovered' from in a year or so but which I think I still have some scars from. I'm not sure if this is related.
Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about this and do think the anger I feel towards my husband is not really meant for him, but could it really be something to do with my childhood? I'm quite confused and would appreciate any advice.
Thanks in advance.

Notsure999 Thu 23-Feb-17 08:16:44


Guavaf1sh Thu 23-Feb-17 09:28:11

I think that's one of the standard lines counsellors come out with that in your case simply isn't true. It seems finding better ways of coping with your anger is what you need not these invalid excuses. Perhaps another counsellor would be best

Onlyonce Thu 23-Feb-17 09:30:28

I am in a similar situation. Went to counselling for a specific thing then realised that there was lots of other 'stuff' too. All I can say is really, the counsellor is trying to get the whole picture about you, where 'you' come from and that will involve looking at your childhood. It doesn't necessarily mean your relationship with your parents is bad. It could mean that your mum was struggling and that has had repercussions for you. That could be part of the issue now but you need to explore that possibility with your counsellor to gain more understanding.

Onlyonce Thu 23-Feb-17 09:35:13

Can I ask why you think your eating disorder is causing issues now? Perhaps you need to address that within therapy too. I had a similar experience. My family didn't know how to handle it so they dealt with it by yelling and making me sit at the table for hours. Obviously that wasn't really the best way to help. I'm sure they thought they were doing their best at the time but I am still dealing with some erratic eating pattern. Much better than before though. Again I would say keep an open mind and discuss all these things with your counsellor. Sometimes we all have 'stuff' going in that we don't realise is part of the bigger picture. You may feel worse before you feel better as you are processing things but you will get there

Notsure999 Thu 23-Feb-17 09:36:17

Thank you both. I'll give it a bit longer with this counsellor and see where we get to. Onlyonce, sorry to hear you're in a similar situation. I'm just so bad at knowing why I'm feeling/acting in a certain way. I expect lots of things have contributed and I'm certainly not trying to find an excuse, more just a better understanding and self awareness. Thanks for taking the time to post.

MrsandMrsSmith Thu 23-Feb-17 09:37:45

Talking from my own experience, I have been living for decades with issues I can directly link back to my childhood experiences. I found it useful to talk about it in counselling at first, but after a certain point talking about it did not improve my behaviour/feelings and made me feel angrier about my past, stirring up unhelpful emotions.

The most important thing is not necessarily the past causes but learning how to manage your emotions effectively and that might mean another form of therapy would work better for you.

picklemepopcorn Thu 23-Feb-17 09:44:34

We learn how to handle emotions in childhood.
You didn't learn good techniques, so are struggling as an adult. You were taught to repress anger, that it wasn't safe to express it.
Maybe now as an adult you feel safe enough to express it to your DH, but are not doing it in a controlled safe and appropriate way.

Just a guess, does it make sense?

Onlyonce Thu 23-Feb-17 09:46:31

If you haven't been going very long then I would give it more time. Perhaps tell the counsellor you are struggling to understand certain actions and behaviour. They might be able to give you some things to try when one of those situations occurs, to slow things down so you can think about what is going on for you at that time. If you are comfortable with your counsellor and trust them to open up to them then give it more time. Pp may be right in that you may decide another therapy suits you better but only you can decide that based on what you think you need and the relationship between you and your therapist

Onlyonce Thu 23-Feb-17 09:51:49

Of course you aren't making excuses. It's a very difficult thing to deal with. Could you maybe try and say to your dp something like 'im really struggling to process my feelings right now. I need a bit of time to think about what's happening just now. ' Then when you feel a bit calmer try and talk to him, assuming he is receptive to sitting and listening to you.

Notsure999 Thu 23-Feb-17 17:24:33

Thanks all. Everyone's comments make sense and I think I'll keep going with the counsellor and see how far we get. I think it will be useful for me to understand how early life experiences may impact the way I am now, but agree perhaps therapy dealing with coping mechanisms for now will ultimately be useful for me as you suggest. I like my counsellor but don't take everything suggested as the truth. It's just a good starting point for me. Luckily my long suffering DH is very willing to listen and help, and actually much more emotionally intelligent than me! Thanks again.

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