Daily Share – How Do I Help My Girlfriend With Her Anger?

TDL_FB-iconI am a single father and primary parent to two amazing and beautiful children. For six months I’ve been dating a girl that has been struggling with a few things about my situation. She said it’s difficult to let go of her dream of marrying and having kids with someone for the first time. Also, just the mention of my ex-wife brings out anger in her. She gets furious when I have to go to appointments for my children and my ex is there too. She understands that there are no feelings there and I really don’t even have a friendship with my ex. But we are both committed to healthy co-parenting and this isn’t going to change. Is there anything I can do to help my girlfriend with this anger and help her uncover what’s causing it and how to come to acceptance? She feels terrible for feeling this way, but she doesn’t know how to get past it.

Help please!

A TDL Reader

  • Jeannie

    I totally get where she is coming from. I don’t think she should feel bad about being angry though. Think you have pinpointed where it is coming from. She wanted to have the experience of starting a family with someone who is also doing it for the first time. If she stays with you, that will not happen. It will be an unfulfilled dream and dreams are sometimes hard to let go of or reframe. She may be angry at herself for not being able to let that go and angry that she gets angry :). I think we need to be more gentle with ourselves. Anger is ok. Feel it, exam it and hopefully release it. Is she in love with you enough to let go of her dream? Also, time spent with your ex and kids is time away from her and even if you have no feelings for ex, is still hard cuz you did at one time and you have a history with ex and share a special bond with ex because of kids. Your girlfriend is totally excluded from this part of your life. I don’t believe we need or should be involved in every part of our partner’s life but this one is tough for her I think because that is what she wants-a family of her own. Just my take. Would it be possible for her to join all of you from time to time? She would feel included and could see your interaction first hand. Some couples like Will and Jada Smith do this beautifully. Think Everyone needs to be really open and put all their stuff aside and focus on what best for children. Can be a challenge but a great learning/growing experience for all.

  • Renee

    You may want to explore the possibility of your girlfriend having a narcissistic personality. This may not be the case, but narcissists are very manipulative and often charming, fooling the most intelligent individuals. The truth is, you can acknowledge her feelings to a point, but the bottom line is that your children come first. If she can’t seem to be an adult and control her anger, that is a huge red flag and I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of taking a long hard look at your relationship. It is a good thing for you to try to work with your ex-wife with your kids, and the notion of your girlfriend having issues with this could be a big reflection of her own insecurities. A narcissist can ruin families.

    • :)CanYouSeeI’mWearingAMask-No

      a narcissist has nearly one more victim not six hours ago….me:( I’ve written on other posts today…So sad and traumatically destroying really and they didn’t even know they did it I just realised right here as I write this. I let all my pain and yes Hate for them today as its the only way I say. Done everything. I mean everything. And still nothing I do escapes the torment. Maybe a lobotomy may solve this…no I’d rather do what I nearly did this morning. Secret & no one would ever know unless they read this here as I don’t wish to be a selfish coward who was so strong before them not one year ago and now I smile thinking about it. Luckily I am there for one last family member then I can do so if I still feel so. I disgust myself morbid and all. Seriously you’d never pick it…masks of life can deceive all I promise you as I’m always making ppl happy, laugh, helping, lending money, a hand anything as that’s who I’ve always been even charitable events I volunteer. Good bye TDL as this site saved me for so long and I am a disgrace to write this on the best site I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Truly Mastin is not an angel but GOD himself, he is just to modest to admit it:) And all the other main bloggers….his angels.

      • Somphone

        Dear :)CanYouSeeI’mWearingAMask-No,
        Your post concerns me. It seems like you are going through a very difficult and dark time…a lot of pain, suffering, and dispair…but trust that you are not alone. You are deeply loved. It sounds like you have many gifts to share with the world…take time to nurture your soul, practice self-love and take care of yourself so you can continue to give from an overflow of love and not feel depleted. I hope you continue to use TDL to find inspiration and heal. Also, find people you can talk to…the family member you mentioned, friends, support groups, psychologists, etc. Sending love your way…

  • Andrew

    Hi Anonymous,
    I hate to be blunt and just put this on you, however, you need to hear the tough love. It is never going to work with this girlfriend! Your kids come first and you have identified this by stating that you have a healthy attitude to co-parenting even though you no longer even have a friendship with your wife. You are doing this for your children because they are your priority.

    I know exactly where you are coming from because, I separated from my wife of 20 years last year and we have four kids together. Things between us are very strained but we work together and are very kind to each other – for the sake of our children.
    If your girlfriend can’t accept your ex-wife’s role in your life (and that of your children) or even tolerate it in a mature fashion (without anger, resentment and fury), then I see no hope of a future for you both together. There are certain things in life which we identify as “deal breakers” and I see that compromise with your children is definitely a deal breaker for you (and I see myself in this same position). Eventually, your girlfriend will back you into a position of choosing between her and the childdren. She might not do this intentionally or even knowingly. However, this is what she is doing every time she vents her anger.
    I wish you luck and happiness in the future.

  • Susan

    Wow, these are all really good comments so far! All have good points to consider. I guess I’d ask: why is your girlfriend giving up on her dream? If she doesn’t know yet – she needs too. Does she have a new dream with you, and if she’s truly excited about that, I’d think that would outweigh jealousies. If she only feels that she’s giving up things for this relationship, resentment seems obvious. It’s pretty clear this woman does not know herself or value her needs. This is easily addressed- though will most likely will take some time, and not well served by enabling: is this the best place for your girlfriend to grow? She can be the loveliest person, but she is not ready for this situation. The real Q here is about you- is she really meeting YOUR needs if you think she needs to change; do you really want to “parent” her too; is she/this relationship a good role model for your kids? There are thousands of women out there who are ready for a family situation such as yours: why are you choosing this relationship? Bet you can figure that out.

  • Hi. There are a few things to consider here. One thing is clear, her anger is caused by her arguing with reality and attaching to the thoughts. That’s always the case for any of us, whether it’s anger, joy, sadness…there are wonderful teachers like Byron Katie who help us to “do the work” and show us how we upset ourselves when we argue with reality. She can be watched on YouTube or at http://www.thework.com. Your girlfriend does have to “want” to stop being angry in order for it to be effective. Like the others mentioned, is she angry because she’s giving up her dream for you and then, how dare you spend time with your ex when I am making these huge sacrifices? You can see how her “thoughts”about the situation and not the situation itself are what are pissing her off. The only way to release the anger once we’ve created it, is to allow it, to sit and observe it without judgement. When we resist it, it only gets bigger. So, once we do the work and understand we’re responsible for our own feelings and emotions due to our thought processes, it’s easier to figure things out rationally. if she asks for guidance from her divine source she’ll get her answer. Only she knows if this is something she can let go of and move beyond which will enable her to build a life with you and your kids. I hope some of this helps.

  • Aurora

    Having been a stepparent who then had a baby with someone who was a 3rd time dad, I feel compelled to reply. I dont agree that your girlfriend has a personality disorder diagnosis simply based on what you wrote (Im a psychologist!) I think your girlfriend feels a real sense of loss and is projecting her anger and disappointment about that on to your ex wife. What she needs to do to overcome these feelings, if that is waht she really wants to do, is focus on what she truly wants out of life (the big picture) and put less importance on your experiences with having already had children (a detail). Who cares if it will not be your first baby? It will be your first baby *with her* and that will be totally new! Every baby is different so it doesn’t matter that this will be not be your first diaper change ever; it will be your first everything with this unique and brand new person! Your girlfriend is missing the point of parenthood if she thinks it matters which baby was born first. It matters not, unless she chooses to make that a focus. Each child is precious in his or her own way. Your gf should also realize you are not with your ex, you are with her now – and that if something occurred where you two split, wouldn’t she want a friendly co-parent for her child?! It seems to me that your gf has a life long fantasy (as many of us do) about what marriage and kids would be like, and you don’t represent that fantasy. But what is more important to her? Her “dream” of being a first time mom with a first time dad or the reality facing her now? Only she can know. And any truthful answer she finds to that is legitimate. Finally, most importantly, she must consider her feelings about being a stepparent and how she feels about her new potential baby with you being the half-sibling of your existing children. Maybe having a blended family is not what she really wants deep down, even though she loves you. Explore your feelings and she should too before you make any life changing decisions! Both of you should consult your inner guidance on this one. Good luck! – aurora

  • Shannon Nelson

    Honestly, I really identify with the place your gf is coming from. My place is similar. I am with a really wonderful man I love who is the father to three boys.

    is a deep sense of loss for me to know that having a child of our own really isn’t practical. There’s a lot of pain as I’m a bystander to the decade of his life with this other woman… I often feel overwhelmed by this sense that I simply can’t compete with history.

    We want to get married, but really I have no idea when it will be feasible.

    a very difficult situation to be in… in many respects, a father can’t put in the time, energy, or resources into a relationship without feeling guilty. And the woman tends to feel guilty for feeling frustrated.

    I disagree with the people calling your gf narcissistic or manipulative. It really just is a lot to take in for a single woman who’s never had kids. She needs reassurance, she needs to be babied once in a while to really know you love her. Be patient with her and let her be a part of your life with your kinda–don’t keep her out-of-the-loop. Make her feel valuable so she knows there’s a place for her in your life too.