Anger and depression after break up


Anger and depression after break up


your avatar   Ashvi, 25-year-old woman

I was doing well until 2009 when I met a guy. I thought he was everything I wanted in a guy. He was very nice and loved me a lot but he was very short-tempered. Whenever he got angry, he used to shout and sometimes abuse me. He used to say anything that could to hurt me and expected me to return to him as the same girl before the fight. He asked me to send him all my chats with my guy friends. When I said "no" he shouted even more that I must be having an affair. This continued for years but I couldn't leave him because I was very attached to him.

One day after 6 years of a relationship and 5 years of continuous fights, I finally ended things with him. Now I was the bad person here because I dumped him (he used to break up with me and leave me crying, and then after a week or so he used to return and say he was just kidding). All this ended but the anger in me didn't go. I was a happy-go-lucky and fun loving girl. All this de-motivating, underestimating, false accusations, and fights sucked all the happiness out of me.

Lately I have been facing difficulties at my job too. It's been 5 months since I have completed my Master's. My parents and relatives are all expecting me to get a job soon. I am working as an intern in a research lab but not getting paid. I stay with my brother now who's really strict.

I am getting angry with the pettiest things possible and somehow I am not able to control it. Today my brother and I got into a small quarrel to which I reacted so badly, even I am shocked at myself. My veins were strained, I was throwing things around and shouting. I threw my cell phone at my head. I got two big bumps and blood clots. After my breakup, self-inflicted harm was confined to slapping myself and hitting my hands against the wall. Today I was extremely violent.

I do not like myself. I feel like a failure. Job pressure, anger, and stress are taking a toll on me. I am getting depressed. Nobody is happy with me. I haven't even taken up a job and I'm stressed. I feel like I can do nothing in life.

1) How can I control my anger?

2) How can I come out of my depression?

3) How can I build self-confidence and not be negative about life?

I want to live happily. I don't want to die or commit suicide. Please help.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Ashvi my dear,

All your current behavior problems are the result of being the survivor of a severely abusive relationship. Thank heavens you've broken the bond. You might want to read Erin Ireland's book A Voice in the Night. This man you described is the classical domestic abuser. Had you stayed, it would only have got worse and worse.

You do not like you, because part of abuse is to make a victim feel that way. He groomed you to that self-view. You have escaped him in fact, but are still being abused by the traces he has left behind.

Use your anger! Be angry at HIM! Every time you notice a leftover of the abuse, use your anger to defy him, and act in the opposite way. If you notice an impulse to be angry at your brother, remember that the anger is good, the target is wrong. Smile at your brother, say, "Hey, this little thing is not worth fighting about," and direct your anger where it belongs. Find a suitable object like a big, firm pillow, draw his face on it and punch the hell out of it.

The depression is also a natural reaction of having been abused. When you feel yourself sliding down in mood, again say to yourself, "This is that bastard still abusing me. I will not stand for it." Then, do something to lift your mood. Suitable activities include seeking out some beauty, doing acts of kindness, playing with a child, watching birds or other animals, listening to peaceful music, tidying and cleaning to make a space welcoming, and reading an inspiring or exciting book.

When you start feeling bad about yourself, put the negative thoughts into his voice. So, if a thought is, "I'll never get a paying job. Who'd hire a stuff-up like me?" instead hear him say, "You'll never get a paying job. Who'd hire a stuff-up like you?" Put in here the exact words that suit your situation - I am only guessing. Then of course you can reject his abusive put-down and enjoy being angry at him.

You will find that, with practice, these new reactions will become well-established habits. Some will become unnecessary. For example, I predict that the anger will fade away, and instead you will start feeling sorry for him, because he will go through the same cycle with other women, and never find happiness until and unless he starts making changes. And once you are in a good mental space, good things will start to happen.

Good luck,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:

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