Anger and Depression Nearly Ruined My Life

…and the lives of my children.

In 1970, I gave birth to a lovely baby girl, who had been conceived consciously. Within 5 months, my young husband realized that even though he had agreed to create her, he was not ready to be a father. When she was 10 months old, he left us. I fell into a months-long depression that negatively impacted me and my baby.

My early childhood and life up until that time had been very difficult. I had been neglected in infancy, removed from my birth mother at age 2, placed in boarding schools from ages 2½ to 4½, was sent to live with step-grandparents from ages 5-6, and lived a life of constant moving (every 18 months to three years) in my career military family. In addition, I was abused in almost every way: emotionally, physically, financially and sexually, by members of my own family. By the time I left for college at the age of 17, I had lived in 14 different homes and attended 17 different schools in the US and in Europe. Understandably, I never returned home.

And, I was angry! Understandably.

I was also afraid of being rejected, very fearful, easily hurt, quite jealous, and believed myself to be unlovable. When a charming young man I met while attending the College of William and Mary in Virginia asked me to marry him, I said, “Yes.” Even though I knew I was unlovable, HE loved me enough to ask me to marry him! At age 19, I became his adoring (and angry) wife.

We actually really helped each other step into adult life. His own family was in deep trouble, financially and emotionally, so our union allowed us each to have a “family” with someone in it who cared about what happened to us and worked to make life better for us. Together, we finished 6 years of college each (we both worked our way through). We moved a continent away from our dysfunctional families, coming to live on a little houseboat in Seattle, Washington, the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. There, we discovered snow skiing and backpacking. We took road trips together into Canada and explored the San Juan Islands. Under the watchful eye of Norma Wandesforde, a mentor who stepped in to help us grow up, we each enrolled in psychotherapy.

We came to live in San Francisco because of the Vietnam War. It was there, while my husband was in the Army stationed at the Presidio, we agreed to conceive our daughter. But as it turned out, our time of helping each other through life was over. He moved out and left me with an infant to tend to while I completed the last year of my master’s degree in social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.

And, I was very, very angry. Understandably.

Soon, I realized that the anger inside of me would destroy my young daughter, something I really did not want to do. I searched in the stacks of the Library at the School of Social Welfare.

“These people prepare psychotherapists to help others with their emotions,” I reasoned, “so they will have materials on what to do.”

It was 1971. There was NO such information!

There was no information about the cause of anger, whether anger that had built to the levels I had in me could be corrected, nor could I find effective, long-term ways of dealing with anger.

“Count to 10” distraction behaviors and other essentially ineffective techniques were purported to “manage” anger. They were woefully insufficient for what I needed.

Desperate, I decided I needed to do whatever I could do, on my own, to alter my relationship with anger. So, after years of reading, experimenting with myself and my psychotherapy clients, exploring spirituality and working with myself nutritionally and in psychotherapy, I began to create a system that allowed me to bring that anger under my direction, and keep myself from building up more anger. Furthermore, the changes I made lasted over time. As I shared it with my clients and speaking audiences, I received reports that the approach I had developed also worked for others.

My daughter is now past the age of 45. I was able to fully forgive my former husband for leaving us during those tender, challenging years. I consider myself to be a “Recovered Angry Person.” I cannot remember the last time I felt depressed, and seldom experience anger. Since developing my understanding of emotions—why we have them, what brings them up, what we need to do to deal with them and why they act as “friends” for us in Life—I have become an Expert in Emotions.

I am driven and dedicated to help people understand what emotions are really all about. I want us all to be able to get maximum benefit from them when they appear in our lives. I want us to end the tyranny that so-called “negative emotions” wield over so many people. I want people to become “masters over emotions,” so they can partner with the emotions that arise and benefit from the growth possibilities emotions bring to us.

Emotional Mastery for Life has been created to accomplish this. I hope you will take maximum advantage of what you read in this blog, the products and courses that are available to support you and the years of learning and wisdom I bring to the task of helping you to become Master over the emotions that arise in you.

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You will have a 30-minute call with me—free to you—to determine the work you need to do in order to bring yourself to Emotional Mastery. I am excited to work with you on this vital project. Call now!

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