Trading Resentment for Regret
I've never really understood my father. He's a complicated person. His emotional scars are numerous and violently exposed. Like all troubled souls those scars run very deep indeed.
We've never seen eye to eye. I dismissed him at an early age as the example of everything I didn't want to be; crude, loud, aggressive, and extremely judgemental. Harsh, almost savagely vengeful. Unforgiveably right-wing. Full of undirected, self-consuming anger.
He seemed to be the very embodiment of the worst kind of angry racism, sexism, homophobia, general intolerance and arbitrary discrimination that makes for good reactionary politics. That others, including almost everyone we knew, didn't agree with him he put down to stupidity or blindness. In his own children, of course, it was "communist" teachers.
I didn't have an easy adolescence. Teenagers are trying on any family, but in ours, my increasingly confrontational relationship with my father quickly degenerated into the apocalyptic. He sensed my thinly disguised contempt and responded by constantly humiliating me. I was little better; a self-absorbed, arrogant and naive child.
I remember a different man. A proud father with his young son, snow-forts in long winters, camping, stories late into the night. And it's not just memories. There are countless photographs to prove this man existed. And he's still there, as his reaching eyes often show, though his tongue remains frustratingly still.
So what happened? I've no idea. If I knew, I'd be the greatest pop-psychology guru on the lecture circuit. Howl-in-the-woods men's groups would have the answers to their most frequently asked questions.
. middle of paper.
. imagining things I think we communicated, as best as two adults with almost no common interests can manage.
Wait, no, we do have at least one common interest. He's my father, and I'm his son.
Letting go of the bitterness is hard, and takes a lot of time, but I've managed to shrug away enough of it to admit a few things to myself. In many ways, my father and I are similar. We're both direct. We're both forward. And we're both as stubborn as grazing camels. And I might finally be able to take solace in that we've been slowly but surely building a bridge.
Resentment and anger are easy. People cultivate those parasites with ease. But regret, regret lies on you like an unshakeable weight, subtle and undeniable, an ever-present background theme. If I'm not careful, soon I'll have traded opportunity for resentment, and resentment for regret.
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I was hoping to submit some writing to your site. I just love it and wanted to share some of my story.
Recovery has been one of the most challenging things I have ever been through in my life. I just celebrated my 18 months of sobriety about 3 weeks ago. Even though I have come this far in the journey, I still feel so fragile and unsteady in this world of sobriety.
I starting blogging a while back. I was amazed at all the support I received from others. In a way, though, it makes me so incredibly angry at myself that I waited 15 years to do something about it.
At this juncture in my sobriety I still feel pretty fragile because of some lingering anger and resentments. On one level, I feel like there were people who knew very well what was happening to me and never intervened because they needed me sick. But, on the other hand, I think these same people didn't know what the heck to do with me because I was so out of control, volatile and quite unpleasant to deal with drunk or sober. I really need to forgive them, forgive me and move on. They sure have, and look at me, still stuck back at square one wondering what happened.
I am standing at the doorway of my 4th step of recovery. People have told me this is the step to identify and get rid of all my resentments and anger.
Sounds wonderful, right?
Actually, it sounds like change, and I do not deal very well with change. I get stuck in a comfort zone. I swiftly and quickly got addicted to alcohol. Although I was miserable, I drank anyway because I knew what was going to happen, this was my routine.
Now that I have been sober for 18 months, I sort of feel like my resentments and anger have started providing this same rut/comfort zone. The resentments do make me happy, but it is sure comfortable to stay here. What happens when I am not mad anymore? What if I forgive people?
Anger is righteous to me. It motivates me. It gives me energy. Makes me totally loony at times but at least I am connecting with the world around. Kind of reminds of the reasons I still convinced myself to keep drinking. sigh.
On the very basic level of things, I feel like I am still trying to find my place in the world.
I drank from ages 15-33. I accomplished a lot in those years, especially since I was drunk almost every day for the last 10 years of it. But, I still don't feel settled into a life of recovery.
A life of alcoholism was easy to slide into only because I didn't have to feel anything for 10 hours out of the day. I am just restless and unsure of myself.
When Anger Hurts
When Anger Hurts. Quieting the Storm Within
Anger can be destructive. When unleashed without due consideration for others. it can be disparaging. The negative outcome is usually irreversible. Anger may stem from different reasons which may be seen as justifiable. as in the case of being abused and the offended party gives vent to rage over the transgression or uncalled-for. like anger in adulthood stemming from one 's past. like childhood marred by parental control. neglect. or other traumatic experiences. The book. When
Anger Hurts. Quieting the Storm Within ' serves as a very useful guide for individuals prone to bouts or chronic attacks of anger. It provides a step-by-step guide to empower people not to fall into the anger trap adopt a constructive anger management plan. and enjoy happier. healthier existence with harmonious and lasting relationships with others
When Anger Hurts. Quieting the Storm Within
The book. When Anger Hurts. Quieting the Storm Within ' by Matthew McKay ,Ph .D. Peter D. Rogers. Ph .D. and Judith McKay brings into focus a oftentimes experienced but overlooked - anger. The compelling book thoroughly explores techniques to keep anger at bay. assess and arrive at a resolution. and glean insights for a much better understanding of rage and the many factors that trigger it and wreak havoc on relationships. careers and lives. All these are expertly presented by psychologists Matthew McKay and Peter Rogers. with nurse and co-author Judith McKay. Peter Rogers and Judith McKay create a formidable tandem with Matthew McKay. whose wealth of experience is shown in the New Harbinger Publications. Inc. website. which indicates that he received his Ph .D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1978 that he became clinical director and cofounder of Haight Ashbury Psychological Services in San Francisco. California specialized in the treatment of depression and anxiety and was among the first to recognize the need for research-based and clinically proven self-help books for general readers ( matt mckay ' para. 1-2. 2004
THE SUMMARY IN BRIEF
It will be gleaned from the very start of the book that anger. while a normal part of life. very often tends to imperil the very things that for most people. bring joy. fulfillment and meaning to life - harmonious relationships with family. friends and colleagues. good health rewarding career. McKay. Rogers. and McKay (2004 ,
1 ) aptly stated Anger has enormous costs. If you are often angry. every one of your relationships may be affected. Marriage may become a minefield. Distance grows. Coworkers may withdraw or sabotage you. bosses become critical A bitterness may grow with certain friends. And anger affects your health ' In other words. unrestrained anger can turn a sublime journey through life. punctuated by happy and meaningful moments. into a journey of scars. When Anger Hurts. Quieting the Storm Within ' shows that this need not be the case. If anger-prone individuals make a conscious effort to keep track of their angry moments and undertake self-help techniques that the book carefully lays out. it can be a better world not just for them but for those they come into contact with
Very often. as may be gathered from various anger management readings the quickest way to let out steam may be to pinpoint other people for their flaws or shortcomings and put the blame on them. That is a misguided way of dealing with anger. It may be convenient. but it does not go to the root of the problem to find out what is causing the resentment or flare-up. It does not curb the vicious cycle of getting angry again and heaping the blame on others. McKay et al (2004 ,
5 underscored that the book is focused on anger directed towards others The authors express that effectively handling anger requires time patience. and skills. and is hinged on self-awarenesss. They propose a roadmap that may help the angry-prone to take command of their sentiments. and their lives. in general
The anger management approach presented by the credible trio of experts may seem simplified at first look. but is actually detailed and comprehensive. The authors encourage readers to absorb and then learn and practice crucial coping skills (McKay et al. 2005 ,
1 ) and brace themselves to concentrate on the step-by-step exercises aimed at shedding light on and countering hostile. angry moments. the kind that stifles relationships and impede health and well-being. Backing up the self-help ideas in the book are significant research material. conducted by nurse practitioner Judith McKay. on the physiological effects of anger. with special focus on how parents can better deal with the aggravation of getting angry with kids. which are usually an exhausting and nerve-wracking exercise. and adopting healthier child rearing techniques. Separate chapters on spousal abuse. as well as on road rage also make worthwhile reading
THE COMPLETE SUMMARY
The authors recommend the book for people who are concerned about their anger. who 've gotten tired of the emotional and physical toll that anger takes it 's for those who want less anger in their relationships who seek better ways of expressing needs and solving problems (McKay et al. 2004 ,
1. Among the benefits that McKay et al (2004 ,
2 point out are
The ability to control destructive anger venting. And the chance to protect and rebuild relationships that have been damaged by venting in the past
A reduction in the frequency and intensity of your psychological anger response. There is a wealth of scientific data that anger damages your health. The less anger you experience. the longer you live
A change in the beliefs. assumptions and attitudes that trigger chronic anger. As you learn to restructure anger-triggering thoughts you 'll find that fewer and fewer things upset you
Identification of the stresses and needs that lie below your anger When you 're clear about the real problem. you can move past anger to decision-making
The ability to cope effectively with your stress. Instead of exploding when stress exceeds your tolerance threshold. you can employ specific relaxation tools
Greater effectiveness in meeting your needs. Anger generates resistance and resentment in others. You may get short-term cooperation. But in the long run. your needs will be ignored and you will be avoided. Problem solving and communication tools can help you get what you want without your anger
In effect. the book advocates that individuals will do well to be in command of reining in
their feelings of resentment and anger. instead of letting the latter hold sway over them
UNDERSTANDING ANGER DEBUNKING MYTHS
The book 's first section concentrates on the presentation of key concepts. including circumstances when anger helps. such as when it provides the energy to resist emotional or physical threats (McKay et al. 2004 ,
2 ) to one 's person or to one 's immediate and protected family members. The importance of keeping an anger journal is highlighted. The authors stress. Rather than passively reading about stress. you will explore the patterns of tension in your body. Instead of absorbing abstractions and concepts. you will learn about your own trigger thoughts and anger imagery (McKay et al. 2004 ,
6. A sensible advice offered in the book. Each day record in your Anger Diary the location (s ) where your tension seems to concentrate (McKay et al. 2004 ,
Common myths are also debunked in the early chapters. Coping mechanisms for frustration are offered by the expert authorities who also clue in readers on how to recognize pre-existing conditions that trigger stress and lead to angry instances. The authors persuade readers to think ahead and be personally accountable for the repercussions of anger Among others. McKay et al (2004 ) suggest
1. Learning to set limits
2. Learning about your own needs
3. Learning to negotiate assertively
4. Learning to let go
By the time the reader reaches Chapter 6 (McKay et al. 2004 ,
43. it becomes ingrained that anger is always a choice. Behavioral choices accrue to an effective anger management plan. The ensuing chapters deal with taking responsibility for one 's stresses. hurts and frustrations and raise the need to build skills to counteract destructive anger by combating provocateurs and counteracting destructive anger. Chapter 12 interestingly focuses on stopping rage or anger from escalating to dangerous proportions. Irritable exchanges often appear to be relatively trivial in the early stages. In fact. the beginnings of an aversive chain are often overlooked because they seem so unimportant (McKay et al. 2004 ,
131. Cited as specific instances whereby anger may escalate to undesirable conflict situations are couple interactions. relationships between co-workers. and between parent and adolescent kids
NIPPING IT IN THE BUD
Dealing with anger. it is learned. requires foresight and the ability to nip the triggers in the bud. In the discussion of aversive chains ' the authors point out that instead of finger-pointing who is to be blamed for conflict or tension. identifying points in the process when anger could have been defused had participants refrained from saying something or behaved in a different manner may be quite useful McKay et al (2004 ) cited several behavioral tendencies that are bound to heighten or provoke angry moments. among them. giving advice. global labeling. criticism. blaming. abrupt limit setting. threatening. using expletives. complaining. stonewalling. mind reading. teasing. uttering humiliating statements or profanities. dismissing comments. being sarcastic. flinging accusations. evoking guilt. and making ultimatum
Chapter 13. Coping Through Healthy Self-Talk (McKay et al. 2004 ,
br 149 ) is an eye-opening chapter. especially for couples who normally think that during their angry tirades. they are justified to let off steam. The truth is. adopting a self-righteous stance and narrow-focused judgments can be poisoning to relationships and one 's overall well-being. especially when continually resorted to
The book 's final chapter on Spouse Abuse by clinical psychologist Kim Paleg Ph .D adds
greater substance to the book. offering conflicting couples a way out of their ruffled. agitated states and hopefully reconnect in due time. The chapter may well form a separate book. which is actually the case as authors Matthew McKay. Ph .D and Kim Paleg. Ph .D have written about couple issues and distortion
Oftentimes. people who fail to see trouble while these are still brewing over the horizon end up expending greater effort to battle or counteract the negative effects of uncontrolled anger. or suffer the repercussions greatly. Authors Matthew McKay. Peter Rogers. and Judith McKay take much of the guesswork in dealing with anger and enjoin readers that preparation is key to preventing maddening onslaughts and the irreversible damage of unrestrained anger
Matt McKay (2004. Retrieved May 18. 2008. from New Harbinger Publications. Inc. website
http /www .newharbinger .com /client /client_pages /aboutmatt .cfm
McKay. J (2003. When anger hurts. quieting the storm within (2nd
ed. Oakland. CA. New Harbinger Publications. Inc Anger Hurts PAGE 1.
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Do you ever feel stuck in a cycle of anger and resentment towards your child? Sometimes I swear it’s like a cloud descends on me and I really have to work to get out if it because otherwise everything my kids do – even totally normal healthy kid things, makes me more grumpy and I start to feel mean.
Resentment means it’s time for self care.
From experience, I know the main thing it means when I notice feelings of resentment is I need to take better care of myself – find a sitter and have a break, get to bed early, eat better, have a cup of tea. Self care isn’t easy when you’re taking care of small kids though and it can be hard to shake that angry feeling. What insight could other moms give me?
I love what these wise mamas said when I asked on the Creative with Kids Facebook page.
“Do you have any tips for letting go of anger towards your child? When you notice yourself feeling resentful and mean, how do you get out of that emotional place?”
10 Moms’ Tips for Letting go of Anger
Getting recommendations just for you.
Magnificent Me (blog) Tell someone who won’t judge you for it. Just getting it out helps.
Emma – I had trauma in my childhood so stressful situations trigger my fight/flight response, very primitive part of the brain that just reacts. My counselor says cuing into my senses tracks my brain back to the cognitive thinking brain pathway so that I can use all the wonderful techniques I have been learning but can’t access in “protect” mode. So you stop, identify 3 things you can see, identify 3 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear… Then 2 things you can see, feel, hear… Then 1 thing you can see, feel, hear…