I’ve been sad, disappointed, and lonely, but haven’t spent enough time with/on my anger. As some of you have noted, this can be the fuel to help me move forward. Some tips and my commentary on anger from the fabulous Melody Beattie (Codependent No More, page 153, 158-160):
- Understand the following myths about anger, often believed by codependents:
- It’s not okay to feel angry.
- Anger is a waste of time and energy.
- Good girls don’t feel angry.
- My spouse will go away if I get angry with him.
- If I feel angry, Husband made me feel that way and he is responsible for fixing my feelings.
- If I feel angry, I should punish husband for making me feel that way.
- Now, stop believing the above myths. I have years of subscribing to these myths under my belt. Being raised in a family system poisoned by alcoholism, I came to believe these myths were true as a child, and I carried this baggage into adulthood. Stop believing them? They’re as second nature as breathing. However, I can work on first knowing them, then thinking about them, then processing them through writing, and then trying replacement thoughts instead. For instance, today I started to feel angry that Husband has chosen drinking over his family. I was in church, alone; he’s chosen not to attend in the past. This made me angry. Normally, I would’ve brushed the feeling off and told myself, you’re strong, you don’t need him, quit wasting your mental energy on him and just be present. By constantly brushing aside my anger because I’ve not believed it was okay, a good use of my time, or befitting of an upstanding citizen, I’ve not allowed myself to go through an essential part of the grief process. I recognized that I was engaging in this cycle today and put a stop to it. This is huge for me. I’m patting myself on the back by indulging in writing mid-day (I usually save it for after I tuck my kids into bed) followed by a round of muffin baking, one of my favorite hobbies.
- Give myself permission to feel angry. Today I allowed myself to feel angry, and then turned it over to God. I’m still working on this right now. I refuse to repress it any longer, and then allow the guilt from my anger to eat me alive.
- Feel the emotion, and feel any underlying emotions too. Today I was not only feeling angry; I was also feeling abandoned, lonely, and sad. I need to feel these emotions. I will not put a time limit on feeling my emotions. After all, 2013 is the year of me.
This is just a light, adapted version of what I’m reading and thinking about now. If this got you thinking or acting in a different way, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Beattie’s Codependent No More and reading chapter 14 all the way through. It’s heavy, and I can only digest a few pages at a time. I’ve been working through this chapter for several weeks now. That’s okay. I found it when I needed it and you will, too.
I have so much more to write about anger. This is only part one.
Fellow bloggers, I’m wondering: How do you deal with your anger? Have you unknowingly subscribed to any of those myths about anger?