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Handling anger and resentment

Old 06-13-2012, 05:06 PM
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Handling anger and resentment

I want to pose a question regarding anger and resentment. I keep thinking that I'm doing good at forgiving and releasing my anger, but I believe that I'm just kidding myself. For me to move on with my life, whether it be with our without AH I know I need to release the anger and move past the building resentments. What are your suggestions in dealing with these things and what processes did you use to find peace despite the chaos the alcoholic in your life causes(d)?
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:19 PM
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Honestly, I could never let it go while I was living with him. And even for quite a while after he left I still had some major anger. It took me a really long time and a lot of space to work through all that. Not surprising, considering it was twenty years in the making. The thing is, most people just want to "get rid" of anger because they think it's bad, or because it feels uncomfortable. But, anger is a sign. It's an emotion that lets us know something is wrong, something needs to change. You cannot really get rid of the anger without addressing its cause.

Having said all that, the best tool I found for dealing with anger was journaling. I could use ALL CAPS and lots of !!!!!!!!!! and double and triple underlines and just get it all out there on the page. In fact, I labeled my notebook that I used "Book of Anger," lol.

L
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:31 PM
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Yep, i was angry all the time when i lived with him. Now it's much easier to let the feelings go.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:34 PM
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Get some books from the library on anger management. Journal.

I like LaTeeDa could not get my anger totally under control until I tossed my exabf
out, then the healing really started.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Honestly, I could never let it go while I was living with him. And even for quite a while after he left I still had some major anger. It took me a really long time and a lot of space to work through all that. Not surprising, considering it was twenty years in the making. The thing is, most people just want to "get rid" of anger because they think it's bad, or because it feels uncomfortable. But, anger is a sign. It's an emotion that lets us know something is wrong, something needs to change. You cannot really get rid of the anger without addressing its cause.

Having said all that, the best tool I found for dealing with anger was journaling. I could use ALL CAPS and lots of !!!!!!!!!! and double and triple underlines and just get it all out there on the page. In fact, I labeled my notebook that I used "Book of Anger," lol.

L


This is where I am at in my life - in order to really give up the anger, I had to give up the relationship. For good. Now, I feel much lighter and free-er although when I think back, I sure can get angry all over again!

In the end, I couldn't forgive certain things. And as long as I can't forgive, I hold that anger inside. Some day I will forgive, but its not day and tomorrow doesn't look likely either.

I am so much happier and more grounded out of this relationship.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:08 PM
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Well, LOL, that wasn't really what I wanted to hear. Actually, I guess I was hoping that, with enough work, I could get past some of the anger and not keep letting little things turn into resentments. I'm at the point right now where his presence just makes me 'feel' negatively and I want to get past that.

My therapist was telling me that she can 'feel' my anger about AH and that it would benefit me to start working on extending some compassion to him, to finding that happy medium where I'm neither a doormat nor a flaming pissed off angry woman, LOL. I'm just not sure how to attain that and she claims it's because I won't take down any walls if I really want to give the marriage last shot at success. And, truly, I do. I am not ready to walk away, maybe I'm just hard headed but I guess I feel that I should at least try. If I fail, then I can at least say I gave it my all, which is NOT what I've been doing now. Mostly, I just sit around and complain about him and get angry. That's certainly not being productive.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:07 PM
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For my anger two things have helped. One is yoga and the other is examining the expectations that made me angry in the first place. I reached peace & serenity when I went No Contact from my primary qualifier, my brother, fully and completely. That was when my life truly began.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:26 PM
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Aren't you really asking- how do I become totally and completely ok and accepting of everything my husband has done, ok and accepting of how he treats our Son and me, ok and accepting of his drinking etc. and ok and accepting that all will likely continue on as it has because I don't see myself ever leaving?

If memory serves me and pls correct me if I am wrong, your husband hasn't done anything to date to make any real changes for himself or your relationship. A successful relationship takes two people communicating and moving forward in the same direction toward common goals.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:29 PM
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I have not been angry much of my life.

At 35 I am FINALLY feeling anger, and boy howdy is there a lot of it. I am at times having pyschosomatic symptoms from it.

Talking about it in therapy (most of it is not A related), most of it has been there from way before but the implosion of my relationship with A has helped me to access it.

The Dance With Anger (book) has helped immensely. How Do I Forgive You and the Freedom not too also has helped (Janis Abrahms Spring). Honestly for me I am learning that there is an emotion (which is okay), and what I do with it (which is often where I get caught up).

I do some writing, but a lot of therapy, bringing it up as a topic in Al-anon (which is a way for me to see how others do it and gives me a chance to try).

For me it could not happen quickly. I had to feel it, be present with it and in a way thank it (it has allowed me some boundaries I was not capable of before). Beating myself up for feeling it, only made it worse.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
because I won't take down any walls if I really want to give the marriage last shot at success. And, truly, I do. I am not ready to walk away, maybe I'm just hard headed but I guess I feel that I should at least try. If I fail, then I can at least say I gave it my all, which is NOT what I've been doing now. Mostly, I just sit around and complain about him and get angry. That's certainly not being productive.
Pardon the snip, but what I've quoted above seems to be the pertinent part. I think you might want to ask yourself what this means. Because I was at the same crossroads when I began therapy. I wanted my marriage to work. What I soon realized, though, is that my "marriage working" really meant "him changing." If that is what you want, then you may as well give it up now and save yourself a lot of heartache.

If you really want your marriage to work, the only way is to accept him, exactly as he is and stop expecting him to live up to your standards. This was a hard one for me, because I couldn't understand how you cannot have expectations for a husband. What I learned was, it's okay to have expectations for a husband (the role of husband), but it's futile to expect a person to fill the role just because you have cast them in it.

So really, it's your choice to make. You can accept him as he is and modify your expectations of the husband role, or you can uncast him in that part. There is no molding him into who you want him to be, no forcing a square peg into a round hole. I believe that is why you are angry and you have total control over your own expectations.

L
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Pardon the snip, but what I've quoted above seems to be the pertinent part. I think you might want to ask yourself what this means. Because I was at the same crossroads when I began therapy. I wanted my marriage to work. What I soon realized, though, is that my "marriage working" really meant "him changing." If that is what you want, then you may as well give it up now and save yourself a lot of heartache.

If you really want your marriage to work, the only way is to accept him, exactly as he is and stop expecting him to live up to your standards. This was a hard one for me, because I couldn't understand how you cannot have expectations for a husband. What I learned was, it's okay to have expectations for a husband (the role of husband), but it's futile to expect a person to fill the role just because you have cast them in it.

So really, it's your choice to make. You can accept him as he is and modify your expectations of the husband role, or you can uncast him in that part. There is no molding him into who you want him to be, no forcing a square peg into a round hole. I believe that is why you are angry and you have total control over your own expectations.

L
Ditto again. This was such a hard lesson for me to learn. Took over a year and a half to get it through my thick head that it really was unfair to keep going to the hardware store for bread and berating the owner when he didn't have any in stock. Ever. And to top it all off - the owner made it clear to me over and over again he had no intentions of ever selling bread. Yet I kept going back, and being pissed off, and going back, and on and on...

He didn't have bread, but he tried with other items he could sell. It just wasn't what I wanted or needed. In the end, we were not doing each other any favors by beating each other up because the other didn't have it to give in the first place.

I couldn't not have expectations of a husband. I tried...really. tried. damn. hard. But the life I was being offered, that I knew I had to accept, was not a life I wanted.

I wish I had a better story to tell, Lizatola. I wish it would have been what I was promised it would be when I got married. I signed up for that life, not the one he ultimately ended up offering. I would have liked to hold him accountable, but what purpose would that serve?

God I hope your marriage is one of the rare success stories here. I pray that for you and your family. But if its not, best to be realistic about it all, right? Maybe counseling would help...we tried both marriage counseling and individual. I got a heck of a lot out of the individual counseling.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:49 PM
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The political writer Simone Weil says something like this: "To forgive: We cannot do this. When we are harmed by someone reactions are set up within us. The desire for vengeance is a desire for essential equilibrium. We must seek equilibrium on another plane."
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:50 PM
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The political writer Simone Weil says something like this: "To forgive; we cannot do this. When we are harmed by someone, reactions are set up within us. The desire for vengeance is a desire for essential equilibrium. We must seek equilibrium on another plane." Worth considering, I think.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:30 AM
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Like LaTeDa and TuffGirl, I had to let go of the relationship to let go of the anger and resentments I had toward the EX. What I discovered after, was the anger I had toward myself, for the expectations I had as to what I wanted out of our relationship.

Working on letting go of that anger was the hardest for me - having to admit to myself that my expectations of the life we should have had together were never going to be realized. The more I stewed about that, the worse the anger got. Two books that really helped me deal with this were "From Anger to Forgiveness" by Earnie Larson and "The Missing Peace" by John Lee. I journalled, I had a great counselor, Al-Anon meetings and my sponsor helped me deal with all of this, but it was ultimately up to me how I dealt with those feelings.

Along with the anger and resentment, I dealt with the loss - not only of the relationship, but of the dream of spending my life with someone I truly loved. That was a big blow to me, and it was like grieving when my dad passed away, genuine feelings of loss.

No, this was not what I signed up for when I got into this relationship, but coming through on the other side, I survived all of it but I had to let go of the relationship in order to move on.

I've learned a lot about myself, the patterns of my previous relationships, how I dealt with the feelings there and now, feeling a whole lot better about myself.It's a daily struggle, but one that was for me, an eyeopener and lifesaver but one that has helped me achieve more stability and peace than I thought possible.
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:11 AM
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(((((((((((Lizatola)))))))))))...I admire the honesty in your posts. I can relate so much to what your feeling and going thru because I went thru the same process with my exah.

Everyone has to find their own way. I used to beat myself up for not 'getting it' sooner. I was a seething ball of anger for a long, long time. I was clearly very angry with my exah for the continued drinking, the lying...all the consequences and behaviors that go along with alcoholism in a marriage.

For me, personally, I didn't begin to heal until I stepped out of my comfort zone and begain attending al anon meetings regularly. I also took the uncomfortable step of finding a sponsor. When I worked the program regularly and worked the steps under the care and guidance of a loving sponsor, I began to heal for the first time in a long time. All of my other attempts were just bandaids on the problem. Al anon has given me the tools I need to get past the anger and make decisions in my life that are healthy and not all intertwined with what my exah might or might not be doing at any given moment.

I was one hell of a pissed off woman too for a very long time. Truth be told, I was way more angry at myself than i was angry at him because I kept falling for the empty promises of sobriety and 'trying harder' on his part only to always find myself right back at square one...him drinking...and me pissed off about it.

The most important step in my recovery has been admitting my part in all of the disfunction. I was a willing participant in this dance of disfunction. I stayed in the marriage and kept coming back for more with unrealistic expectations that things would really change this time. This time would be different. ONly it never was because my exah wasn't committed to recovery...he didn't want the same things I wanted. His thinking and actions were governed by addiction despite the fact that I think underneath all that he really did want to find sobriety. He just wasn't willing to do the hard work it takes to get there.

Anyway, I dont' post here alot. I've been working on recovery in the real world. I don't know if you've given al anon a try yet. I dabbled in al anon for years but it wasn't until I got serious about it that I found true serentiy and peace.

My son (13) is in al ateen. Its been a HUGE help for him too.

Sending huge hugs of support and understanding...
Mary
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:11 AM
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I've been told forgiveness & compassion. So far it hasn't worked well. Whenever I'm in AW's presence I don't seem to be able to do either. But I'm trying to forgive, for MY sake. I hope you find your answer, whatever that may be.
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:20 AM
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For me, I learned to deal with all those emotions while working my own program of recovery in Al-Anon & coming here (SR)

I got a sponsor, worked the 12 steps, attended meetings, journaled, prayed, cried, journaled some more, attended open AA meetings, listened to speaker tapes (al-anon & AA), read & read & read lots of recovery literature ~

I actually did all this while still living with an alcoholic/addict/gambling husband ~ as I got better, he continued to get worse ~

I did reached a point where I wasn't angry or resentful any longer ~ about 6 months later I left. I realized I really felt nothing but distance compassion for this man that was no longer someone healthy enough to be a part of my life.

BUT the key part is I did find healing before I left.

Just as the Big Book of AA states that the alcoholic can find sobriety no matter what " wife, no wife, job, no job" I believe we can truly find our own recovery regardless

Just my e, s, & h

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:17 AM
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Boy did I have anger when I first started here. I am a hulk fan and watch Bruce get angry and turn into the hulk and then go on some rampage I would sit there and think " is that all you got".

Like most of the others I really started to heal when I separated from my AW. Not having my face rubbed in it over and over was a good start. As for forgiveness I did not forgive her for her behavior, I forgave me for reacting. The compassion I needed wasn't for her it was for me and the anger and the pain and resentment I was dealing with.

Journaling was a great tool for me to work my way through this and get to the point where I could forgive myself. I had to accept it was my choices that lead me to staying as long as I did and my choices that put my hand into a meat grinder. I don't have to forgive the meat grinder for being a meat grinder but I did need to forgive myself for keeping my hand in the meat grinder and wishing it would change.

Your friend,
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:25 AM
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Thank you all for sharing. It's something I struggle with daily. Lately when I get snarky with my thoughts or on edge I ask myself, "Is this really how I want to be? How can I respond differently with my thoughts?" This helps me shut down a negative pattern but I really am not replacing it with too much positive at this point. I know that it's progress, not perfection but some days it's harder to be patient with myself.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
What I soon realized, though, is that my "marriage working" really meant "him changing." If that is what you want, then you may as well give it up now and save yourself a lot of heartache.

If you really want your marriage to work, the only way is to accept him, exactly as he is and stop expecting him to live up to your standards. This was a hard one for me, because I couldn't understand how you cannot have expectations for a husband. What I learned was, it's okay to have expectations for a husband (the role of husband), but it's futile to expect a person to fill the role just because you have cast them in it.

So really, it's your choice to make. You can accept him as he is and modify your expectations of the husband role, or you can uncast him in that part. There is no molding him into who you want him to be, no forcing a square peg into a round hole. I believe that is why you are angry and you have total control over your own expectations.

L
Thank you for this. It certainly gives me a lot to continue to think about, as my AH and I are separated- his decision i did not want to separate. I'm trying like hell to make the marriage work by addressing my shortcomings, counseling, and attending al anon. Wanting to constantly change my husband into what I wanted him to be is truly what I have been doing a lot of the time -- how he treated me, comforted me, on and on. My needs are/were not getting met. My expectations were disconnected with reality.

Again, thank you for this.
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