More threads by WhatTheGuy

I have been having moments, more and more frequently, about fantasies where I am confronted in an unjust situation. My mind wanders, playing out the scenario in my mind. It usually puts me in a bad mood, or hyped up ready for a physical confrontation. Sometimes when I'm at home I'll find myself somewhat acting out the fight. (Never in public though, but sometimes I catch myself mumbling to myself, but rarely). In these confrontations are police, racist people, criminals, or jerks. Sometimes I'll be in the position of helping someone or defending someone.

I am a foreigner living in Japan with limited language ability, and run into this racism at times, so I feel it may have made it worse.

Generally I have noticed a slight increase in these negative thoughts and the behavior itself worries me greatly. I am trying to understand why my mind jumps to such thoughts of aggressive confrontation so frequently during the week, and I am hoping to calm myself and reduce it and my bad moods. What worries me the most of all is that I might act out on someone else who in my imagination is some sort of perpetrator of sorts, someone that I might just be sitting next to when my mind wanders off into "day dreaming" of sorts.

Generally I try to just get my mind on something else when I notice myself being negative or thinking of aggressive thoughts. I want to understand what is going on, and what might be triggering this. I don't feel it is normal.

Please, does anyone with similar experience know whats going on? How can I deal with this or understand it? Thank you...

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
You're dealing with a different culture and a different language and you likely have limited knowledge of either. This is a breeding ground for misunderstandings and misinterpretation. Add to that some negative self-talk and you have all the ingredients for chronic anger.

I would recommend seeing a competent CBT therapist but I'm not certain what would be available to you in Japan.

Do you have any sort of support network over there? Is this a short term posting or a long term relocation?

As an interim measure, you might find some of the articles here on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and anger management useful.


Anger Management:

Thank you so much for your reply. I've been here for over five years now, and will be here for at least four more, maybe longer. I have generally some sort of support network and friends, but things have been rough as I lost a few friends recently due to a disagreement. Finding a CBT therapist in Japan may be very hard to do, especially since this country shuns therapy in general.

Before I left for Japan, I was in a very stressful environment which involved extremely noisy small pets. It drove me half mad and I barely avoided doing something violent to those pets, especially when it was late at night and the noise wouldn't stop past 3am. This could have been a build up off of that.

This mostly occurs now when I'm out in the public by myself, or before I go to sleep. I'm going to read up on those links you sent. I really appreciate the recommendation.


Is there an association of Ex-Pats you can join or communicate with, that might have recommendations of local support resources?
Not too many really. Few have been here long enough to really give advice, and those that are I don't know personally close enough. I was hoping to be able to deal with this problem myself rather than go elsewhere. I was hoping maybe if I focused more on language and such, the confidence of being able to express myself would improve.



I have a resource where I may be able to make some inquiries on your situation. Let's see what we can come up with.
Thanks, I appreciate it. Any advice helps. If this is getting worse, while manageable now, it bothers me a bit and I want to deal with it if I can.


I don't believe you mentioned from what Country you emigrated to experience such a dramatic cultural difference.
Sorry, the USA.

And not sure it is always due to cultural differences. I understand a good deal about the cultural situations at times, but there can be serious problems when they cause negative affects and harm to others around that I know or myself and there is great frustration in not being able to defend or fight back in some way.


Have you ever been evaluated medically for mood disorders..anxiety or depression or have you ever received treatment for mood or other disorders?

Are you living alone at this time? What about interactions with friends, co-workers or other social activities?
I live with another room mate. 8 years ago I had rather severe depression but that was a hard time in my life and I got past it. I'm not entirely isolated by any means, and meet up with people pretty regularly actually.


Your experience sounds a little more volatile than my own, but I know some of what you're feeling. I moved 10 or 12 times before I turned 18 years old and I've lived in the UK, US, Germany and Canada. People from the new locale have a nasty habit of insulting where you came from. I've been angry and frustrated and imagined violent outbursts. Although, I wasn't too worried about acting out on them. My uncle also lived some years in Japan. I remember hearing some of his more frustrating experiences there.

Can I guess you're dealing with assumed superiority from locals? Japan isn't the only country that you find this arrogance. It can test anyone.
Does sound a bit similar in some aspects. I'm always in control of my physical actions I feel, but the fact that I have my mind wander and feel the emotional effect makes me worry that it may get to the point where I flinch and do something stupid. Hence why I am trying to find out the source of this early.


Usually a new country starts get better for me after a couple of years. Still, I've been in Canada since my teens and I still get treated like an outsider sometimes. Citizenship isn't enough for Canadians if you don't have a Canadian accent. People who say incredibly idiotic, racist and insulting things exist in all of the places I've lived or spent any significant amount of time in. Xenophobia is unfortunately everywhere. Some places are worse than others. I've found having a sense of humour and not taking myself too seriously helps.

Have you asked your family doctor or general practitioner or whoever your main healthcare provider is, for access to a therapist?
It's pretty damn Xenophobic here. Not as severe as mainland China or other third world countries though, but not far off. I don't have a doctor or regular healthcare provider here actually. Just go to the local hospital I guess...

Is there anyway I can deal with this myself though? I'm a guy who likes to do it myself, rather than pay others to do things for me. I don't mind help, but I would like to avoid therapy if possible...


Thanks to a friend who is an ex-pat living in Japan, here are some resources for your consideration:

There are resources available for ex-pats but it requires a bit of tracking down to find based on need and location.

One nationwide organisation that recognises the need is the 'International Mental Health Professionals Japan'.

IMHPJ | International Mental Health Professionals Japan | Counseling, Psychotherapy, Mental Health Services in Tokyo, Osaka and other areas

This offers regional support and can be found in regional magazines and on embassy websites (USA, UK, Australia).

Specific support in the two major regions:

Tokyo Counseling Services

English Counseling in Kansai (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto) Japan. Counseling, Psychotherapy, psychiatry, and therapy by Skype or phone for foreigners in Kansai Japan: English speaking psychiatrist and psychotherapist in Kansai.

English Counseling Kansai, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Japan
Thank you Steve! I will check them out.

I was mostly trying to avoid it for a combination of financial, time, and maybe just pride issues. Trying to deal with something that is a problem for me, by myself.


Trying to deal with something that is a problem for me, by myself.

Sometimes, though, when struggling with thoughts that cause distress, an objective helping hand is what is needed. We are not sufficiently objective to resolve our own issues, which is why consulting an objective third party, such as a therapist or mental health professional can help figure out what's going on, and provide rational options to resolve the issues.

If the resources are available to you, use them; you should not be judged and you should receive strategies to deal with the issues you have described.
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