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Huntington's Disease and Anger

heart to heart Question
I have a problem, I have an uncontrollable temper, I have destroyed over $4,000 worth of household items such as PC, eye glasses, etc. I have done everything I could to control it.

I have most of it inherited as I have the Huntington's Disease gene. My father was also hot tempered so I got a lot of abuse... a beating for almost anything. I am now 50 and still in the first stage of HD. However, I feel that I am going to hurt someone before too long and I am not willing for that to happen.

I believe in natural ways, and I refuse to take medications that I feel will only speed up this disease. Do you have any options... Do you have any tried and tested methods for dealing with quick tempers.

Maurice Turmel
There are 2 things going on with you...
  1. The Huntington's Disease (HD) gene you claim to have inherited is credited with leading to emotional mood swings and occasional violent outbursts.
  2. The fact that you were abused and terrorized as a child. It does not matter how well you understand the HD condition and the fact that your father carries the gene; all you know is the terror you experienced when your father attacked you.
The net result of being abused and terrorized as a child has produced the large deposit of rage that resides in you now. This type of rage has a primitive self-protective component which is activated whenever you feel threatened, or frustrated. What this rage is covering up is deep seated hurt and shame. Every abuse victim has a large deposit of hurt and shame.

You also likely have feelings of abandonment resulting from being beaten by a parent who was supposed to be a protector. The shame comes from feeling diminished as a person because of the physical abuse which is usually accompanied by verbal insults and condemnation. The rage itself is exacerbated by feelings of powerlessness, because you cannot defend yourself physically as a child. All of this explains your rage without adding in the HD component.

My brief look at HD research suggests that anger may be present, which is far different than saying I have HD therefore I am angry. The material talks more about irritability and frustration which are common to persons suffering dementia symptoms of any sort.

My deceased father-in-law had dementia for over 5 years prior to his death. He was never violent or angry in any threatening sense. But he was easily prone to frustration when dealing with technology in particular. My father, still with us, has advancing dementia but shows no signs of violence or even frustration even though he was physically abusive to us children when we were growing up.

What is the answer?

I believe your rage is more related to your childhood abuse than anything else. The HD may aggravate it, but a majority of HD sufferers do not descend into rage. You need help with the psychological underpinnings of your rage reactions which are directly related to your history of abuse.

You need to become fully informed about the HD component of your distress. The Internet will provide all you need on that front including online self-help and support groups for exactly what you're going through.

You need to tackle your rage as a psychological issue first and foremost because it is directly linked to the abuse and terror you suffered as a child. This means therapy for physical and mental abuse, group counselling for abuse victims and anger management therapy. For the parts you can address on your own here is a link to the main Trans4mind resource page for this life challenge and some recommended personal growth approaches to complement the therapy you undertake... Letting Go.

Read more questions on this topic


Sivaraman, in July 2009, comments:
A violent temper is the result of an agitated mind. A mind that has been allowed to be restless; it rejects 'inactivity' as too passive and so not dynamic enough. I would recommend the simple technique of quietening the mind.The mind needs to be willed and trained to be quiet. This is entirely achievable, especially as the person understands that he has a problem.

It is better not to get too analytical by learning too much about the process. Believe in the path you take to release your violent anger; believe it will work. Importantly, have patience. The habit of 50 years will offer stiff resistance to the cleansing process. Stay with it.

Find a calm suroundings; sit quietly; breathe normally. Close your eyes. Concentrate on the breathing. Be conscious to keep the mind free of any thought. Be sure to stick to this routine at the same time every day. It helps to regulate practice and allot time for this most important way to eject this unpleasant habit of violent anger. It works if you give it time.

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