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Anger Chpter 14 Codependent No more book study
March 31, 2007
1:14 pm
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mj
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Frequently, codependents believe the following myths about anger:

It's not okay to feel angry.

Anger is a waste of time and energy.

Good, nice people don't feel angry.

We shouldn't feel angry when we do.

We'll lose control and go crazy if we get angry.

People will go away if we get angry with them.

Other people should never feel anger towards us.

If others get angry with us, we must have done something wrong.

If other people are angry with us, we made them feel that way and we're responsible for fixing their feelings.

If we feel angry, someone else made us feel that way and that person is responsible for fixing our feelings.

If we feel angry with someone, we should punish tht person for making us feel angry.

If we feel angry, we have to hit someone or break something.

If we feel angry, we have to shout and holler.

If we feel angry with someon, it means that we don't love that person any more.

If someone feels angry with us, it means that person doesn't love us any more.

Anger is a sinful emotion.

It's okay to feel angry only when we can justify our feelings.

March 31, 2007
1:21 pm
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mj
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As codependents, we may be frightened of our anger and other people's anger.

We react to anger, both ours and other people's. It is a provocative emotion. We have so much anger that accompanies grief. We have the anger that cdomes from the persecution stage of rescuing and caretaking. We have anger that covers up hurt and fear. We have anger that comes from feeling guilty. Sometimes, we prefer to stay angry. It helps us feel less vulnerable and more powerful. It's like a protective shield. Sadly, some of us have no place to go with our anger and we blame ourselves and the anger turns to depression.

So what do we do with all this built-up steam? We repress and feel quilty about it.

If anger is repressed long enough, it will ultimately do more than leak out. Our angry feelings may one day come roaring out. Or anger may harden into bitterness, hatred, contempt, revulsion, or resentment.

And we wonder, "What's wrong with me?"

March 31, 2007
1:23 pm
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mj
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We have the right to feel anger. So do other people.

On Page 158 there are suggestions for dealing with anger!

March 31, 2007
7:45 pm
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When I used to supress my anger and pretend that everything is ok...I honestly used to hate myself. I admit that there is still sometime in our life where we have to repress our anger; yet there comes a time where we need to confront that person who hurt or is still hurting us. Even if we don't confront, we still need to deal with our anger properly.

Sometimes our retained anger could take more subtle forms such as delay, pretense, procrastination due to improper timing. However, when that right time comes, we should speak up. The offender might not like what we say, but that's ok. He might even deny the accusation, but that does not change the fact that he hurt or abused us. Better still, we need to deal with our anger even if we should not confront our offender/abuser.

There is so much Relief when we let our anger go out. Retained anger is like...timed bomb, it can get burst at any moment and it puts so much tension on us. Why should we put up with all of this pressure?

Here is another vivid simile: Retained anger reminds me of forgotten food in the fridge. The longer you forget it, the more it festers, stinks and the odour is spread all over the fridge. Yuck! Same thing goes to repressed anger folks!!!! It really stinks!

I find crying is very de-stressing to me even tho I'm a lil shy to show it openly. Yet, whenever I feel unhappy or go thru trying time, unfair situation, tears are my best stress-buster. I just wish I couldn't care less about what people think. Tears are not associated with weakness, on the contrary, I find that I regain my strength, power, energy and soul whenever I feel that I need to cry and I just follow my heart.

Thanks Mj for starting this new chapter!

April 1, 2007
2:03 pm
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mj
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Thanks for sharing your experience, strength, and Hope!

April 1, 2007
6:09 pm
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bevdee
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"It's not okay to feel angry."

"Good, nice people don't feel angry."

Boy, these - I had to think for about a half a second before the roots of this one came to me. Any time I tried to express my angry feelings- in my childhood home? I was pelted with some of this ---

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-7).

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Colossians 3:8).

Man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:20).

Let your gentleness be evident to all (Philippians 4:5).

Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger (Proverbs 29:8).

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control (Proverbs 29:11).

There's tons more, but I don't need to post those. This was the message I received first as a child. The second message, the reinforcement was physical punishment.

I have also learned that it is just not productive to express anger at work. I have had to figure out other ways, outside the workplace, to deal with my frustration from the job.

April 2, 2007
7:13 am
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mj
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Thanks bevdee!

April 2, 2007
7:28 am
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mj
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Some of the suggestions for dealing with anger are as follows:

Address any myths we have subscribed to about anger. Give ourselves permission to feel angry when we need to. Give other people permission to feel angry too.

Feel the emotion. If the anger is there, feel it. Feel any underlying emotions too, such as hurt and fear.

Acknowledge the thoughts that accompany the feeling.

Examine the thinking that goes with the feeling. Watch for patterns and repetitive situations.

Make a responsible decision about what, if any, action we need to take. Figure out what our anger is telling us. Is our anger indicating a problem in us or in our environment that needs attention? Do we need to change? Do we need something from somebody else? Much anger comes from unmet needs. One quick way to resolve anger is to stop screaming at the person we are angry with, figure out what we need from that person, and ask him or her for that. If he or she won't or can't give it to us, figure out what we need to do next to take care of ourselves.

We don't have to be controlled by anger. We don't have to lose control of our actions. Detach. Go to another room. Go to another house. Get peaceful. Then figure out what we need to do. We don't have to let other people's anger control us. Don't jeopardize our safety but strive to be free from anger's control.

Openly and honestly discuss our anger, when it is appropriate.

Take responsibility for our anger. We can say: " I feel angry when you do this because.....

Just understand we are responsible for our angry feelings.

Talk to people we trust. Talking about anger and being listened to and accepted really help clear the air. It helps us accept ourselves.

Burn off the anger energy. Clean the kitchen. Play softball. Exercise. Shovel snow. Rake the yard. Anger is extremely stressful and it helps to physically discharge that energy.

Write letters we don't intend to send. Start the letter by asking: "If I could feel angry about anything, nobody would ever know, and it wasn't wront to feel this way, what I would be angry about is this..."

Once our anger is on paper we can get past the guilt and figure out how to deal with it.

Deal with the guilt. Get rid of unearned guilt.

April 2, 2007
7:30 am
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mj
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If anger is a troublesome emotion for you, keep a pencil and paper handy and start writing about your anger as it occurs throughout the day.

April 2, 2007
11:01 am
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mj
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In my Depressed Anonymous meeting which also does Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Recovery they gave me the following information that I would like to share about hidden anger which applies here in a different presentation.

"Checklist for Hidden Anger

If we have a national fault, it is hiding our anger from ourselves.

Here is a checklist to help you determine if
you are hiding your anger from yourself. Any of these is usually a sign of hidden, unexpressed anger.

1. Procrastination in the completion of imposed tasks.

2. Perpetual or habitual lateness.

3. A liking for sadistic or ironic humor.

4. Sarcasm, cynicism, or flippancy in conversation.

5. Over-politeness, constant cheerfulness, attitude of “grin and bear it.”

6. Frequent sighing.

7. Smiling while hurting.

8. Frequent disturbing or frightening dreams.

9. Over-controlled, monotone speaking voice.

10. Difficulty in getting to sleep or in sleeping through the night.

11. Boredom, apathy, loss of interest in things you are usually enthusiastic about.

12. Slowing doown of movements.

13. Getting tired more easily than usual.

14. Excessive irritability over trifles.

15. Getting drowsy at inappropriate times.

16. Sleeping more than usual.

17. Waking up tired rather than rested or refreshed.

18. Clenched jaws—especially while sleeping.

19. Facial tics, spasmodic foot movements, habitual fist clenching and similar repeated physical acts done
unintentionally or unaware.

20. Grinding of the teeth—especially while sleeping.

21. Chronically stiff or sore neck.

22. Chronic depression—extended periods of feeling down for no reason.

23. Stomach ulcers.

This is not about rage. Rage is anger out of control and taking over your whole being. This is about the feelings
we call “irritation”, “annoyance”, “getting mad”, etc. All of these negative feelings share one thing in
common: they are considered undesirable at best, sinful or destructive at worst. We are taught to avoid them—
to avoid having them if possible (it isn’t) but certainly to avoid expressing them. Unfortunately, many people
go overboard in controlling negative feelings; they control not only their expression , but their awareness of
them too.

Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware
of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does get
expressed, but in inappropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old-fashioned wood-burning
stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the chimney; if the normal avenue is blocked,
the smoke will leak out of the stove in unintended ways—around the door, through the grates, etc—choking
everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function.
likewise the normal (human) expression of anger is gross physical movement and/or loud vocalization; watch
a red-faced hungry infant sometime. By age five or so we are taught that such expressions are unacceptable to
others and lead to undesirable consequences such as being beaten or having affection withheld.
We learn to “be Nice” which means (among other things) hiding bad feelings. By adulthood even verbal
expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be “civil.” Thus, expression is stifled, and to
protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step
and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are. Such self-deception is seldom completely
successful, however, and the blocked anger “leaks out” in inappropriate ways, some of which are previously
listed.

The items in the list are all danger signals that negative feelings are being bottled up inside. It is true that each
18
of them can have causes other than anger (procrastination, for example, can be due to an unreasonable fear of
failure), but the presence of any of them is reason enough for you to look within yourself for buried resentments.

If you are human, you will find some. If you are fortunate, you will find few, since you have learned
effective ways of discharging them. If you are like most of us, you will need to unlearn old habits before you
can learn new ways of handling “bad” feelings—ways which are constructive rather than destructive.
Getting rid of a lifetime accumulation of buried resentements is a major task which is one of the goals of psychotherapy.
Whether such a process is necessary for you should be decided in consultation with a qualified
professional person. our immediate concern in this paper is to provide you with some techniques which will
help you stop adding to the pile, whatever its existing depth.

The process of dealing with negative feelings can be divided into three parts for purposes of discussion,
although the living of it is all of a piece. The parts are:

1. Recognition of the feelings.

2. Owning it—acknowledging that it is yours.

3. Discharging it—acting on it in some way.

RECOGNITION: Everybody has her own body signals indicating current, on-the-spot anger. Lookfor yours:
friends and relatives might be helpful, since they may be aware of your irritation before you are, and may be
able to tell you how they can tell whan you are upset. Some common signals are: clamming up; blushing;
shortening of breath; drumming with fingers; foot tapping; shaking or twisting; laughing when nothing amusing
is happening; patting or stroking the back of the head; clenching jaws or fist; tucking a thumb inside a fist;
yawning or getting drowsy; suddenly refusing eye contact with another person; fidgeting; apologising when
none is asked for; a pain in the neck, gut, or back; headaches; a rise in voice pitch. The list is interminable; try
to find out what your signals are.
If you find yourself depressed or blue and don’t know why, think back over the past twenty-four hours and try
to figure outr who did something to anger you. (Depression is usually the result of repressed anger). Forget
that you are a nice person and imagine yourself to be the touchiest, most unreasonable, childish person on the
earth. review your day and look for an incident where this imaginary person might have gotten angry. When
you find the incident wask yourself why you didn’t get angry. Chances are you did and didn’t know it.
Remember what you actually did and said in that situation; try to “relive it”; you may learn some of your own
internal anger signals.

OWNING IT: The anger is yours. The other person may have said or done something that punched your anger
button, but the anger is yours, and so are the feelings it triggers. You cannot make someone else responsible
for your own feelings. Blaming does not help. Nothing the other person does will help, unless it is in response
to something you do.
Accepting anger as your own is easier if you discard the idea that feelings need to be justified. They don’t—
and frequently cannot be. “Should” and “feel” are two words which do not belong together. It is senseless to
say that someone”should feel” some way. Feelings are just there in the same way your skin, muscles and vital
organs are just there. In fact it is downright harmful to worry about what your feelings “should be”. Knowing
what your feelings are is the best start to deciding the best thing to do.

DISCHARGING IT: First, foremost, and always, don’t hide it. You’ll probably not be successful anyway.
Anger demands expression. If you have recognized it and owned it, then you will have a choice of when,
where and how you may express it. Society and your own safety forbid violence. Friendships and other interpersonal
relationships (husband/wife, employer/employee) make explosive verbalexpression ultimately selfdefeating.
Just saying, “That makes me angry,” or “I do not like it when—” may not be as satisfying as bashing
someone, but it is far more satisfying than saying and doing nothing.There are in reality a few situatuion in
which it is in your best interest to delay expression, but none in which you can afford to delay recognition or
owning. —from the New York Adult Children of Alcoholics.

April 2, 2007
4:32 pm
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Rasputin
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(((MJ))) Thanks hon so much for this treasure of infos, resources and knowledge. God bless you!!!xoxoxo

April 2, 2007
8:19 pm
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bevdee
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"If we feel angry with someone, we should punish tht person for making us feel angry."

Yes, and I have done this *punishing* in different ways.

By my words. This is, IMO, how arguments get started. How I start arguments. I feel fear, then anger and I strike out by -

My actions. Facial expression or body language.

Angry, insulting, assaultive words.

Threatening outright, or by implying - to leave or remove myself from a situation or relationship.

Or by doing that- in removing myself from a situation, in the hopes that the person I am angry with will consider the consequences of my possible absence, or in the event of that absence- miss me. In my hope that considering or experiencing these possibilityes will teach that person a lesson. About making me angry.

This makes me think now of something that happened to me once in a totally different light. I was raging at an old boyfriend that I lived with for not telling me that he was going to be gone for several hours. When he came home, I was ranting, and I said, "I am so angry with you!!" He looked at me and said "You'll get over it" It stopped me cold.

When he said that - it's like he disarmed me. That frightened me, and made me more angry. I walked away, expressing my disapproval with my silence.

I'll get over it. Yes- I guessed I would. Get over it. He wasn't gone overnight, and the real reason for my anger was that I thought I needed control over everything, including knowing where he was each and every minute. When I didn't know where he was all my fears and insecurities kicked in. By the time he got home, I was so scared, I was in a full-blown rage. Scared I was losing control over him.

He was right- I got over that night, that particular incident. I have never forgotten it though and the way it made me feel when he said "you'll get over it". Reading this excerpt has helped me figure out this incident and what was going on with me.

April 2, 2007
11:33 pm
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mj
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Bevdee, thanks for sharing your situation and being honest and sharing your vulnerability.

Thanks Ras.

April 3, 2007
2:16 pm
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mj
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Last night I felt anger but I still took care of myself. I yelled a little over my husbands voice and that's ok. I noticed and calmed myself down before I tried to communicate again. Anger is just an emotion. I can feel it and be okay with it today.

April 4, 2007
11:14 am
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mj
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I feel happy today and peaceful.

April 4, 2007
1:20 pm
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Yesterday, I felt angry at a jerky jealous female co-worker. Luckily, my anger dissipated later on toward the evening when I had lovely time at church with fellow believers and we had fabulous worship & prayer time having nice supper with dips, paella, and lovely irresistible strawberry icing cake all done by some male fellows in my church. mmmmmmm already hungry by just reading this!

Life sometimes offers us magical moments...esp. when there is someone who is really jerk around. I really felt so much comfort later. I hate it when a nasty person spoils my day. I forgave that co-worker and moved on to that worship & feast with my church fellows.

I was thanking God yesterday that when I felt angry at that co-worker, that there was some kind of feast waiting for me later on yesterday!!!

April 5, 2007
11:03 pm
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I don't know where to begin on this topic. Bev and I have been discussing this topic for awhile. Until today, I believed anger was one emotion, yelling and maybe rage. That isn't me. I don't raise my voice. People that work with me describe me as calm. I have been asked by some of you why are you angry or what are you angry at? I did not understand. I am not angry. I thought I was being understood. It finally clicked today, (poor bev has been really trying to get this across to me) that anger takes on many forms.

mj, this really stood out to me in your post: " we are taught that such expressions are unacceptable to others and lead to undesirable consequences such as being beaten or having affection withheld. We learn to “be Nice” which means (among other things) hiding bad feelings. By adulthood even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be “civil.” Thus, expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are."

In the chapter this stood out to me, "As codependents, we may be frightened of our anger and other people's anger." Yep, that's me alright. I fear people being angry at all and especially at me.

The first question on the activity: What do you think would happen if you started feeling your angry feelings? I HAVE NO CLUE

Another question asked about family members handling anger. My dad has a very quick/bad temper. It scares me. I remember my brother talking back to my mom and in a second my dad had picked him off his feet and had him pinned on the wall and was in his face. I was petrified. Hearing my dad take off his belt in his bedroom at night in the next room would scare me to death. I even wet my pants several times at that sound..(Omg, I just remembered that)...Even now when my h takes his belt off at night and I am around, I cringe.

Okay, that is enough...gotta back off here down memory lane....

gg

April 6, 2007
3:12 pm
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mj
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Thanks for sharing GG.

I am beginning to understand anger. Anger is just an emotion. Like all of my other emotions. The thoughts I think influences my feelings. If I choose to think that anger is bad then feeling anger is bad. All feelings and emotions are created by the thoughts I think. I am choosing to think positive thoughts today. I like feeling good!

I have decided to change my direction in my study. I won't be participating any longer in this book study. I found it very helpful. I am focusing on another book and wish you all success in your future study! Love to All and Thanks for your support and sharings.

April 7, 2007
3:37 pm
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GG~

There are times...where we need to be Diplomat and NOT express our anger.

For instance, when we meet friends of our parents visiting and we don't like them...in this situation, we have to cut some slack, smile, greet, and shake hands with them whether we like them or not. This is called courtesy, politeness. I used to do that even tho I did not like MOST of my parents friends.

At work, there are some co-workers you may not like to be around, you have every right NOt to like them. However, you need to remain courteous, polite and civil.

Have you ever worked with customer service? Did you hear about being polite, civil and courteous even when people are being jerks? This is called professionalism. We can't vent our anger on people when we don't like them. Yet, we can keep it business & formal with them.

It's like me and that jerky female-co-worker. I remained polite despite her annoying selfish rude behavior, yet I avoided her & did not ever say good bye to her or shake hands with her. Thankfully, I don't have to see her anymore.

Do you see the difference hon!

However, Anger is a legitimate feeling. In fact, people who never feel anger, I am a lil suspicious of them and tend Not to trust them.

Your dad reminds me of my mom. My mother was depressed and anything would set her off or bush her buttons so quickly. Also, my dad would use his belt to take out mom's anger. You probably suffer from PTSD, which I suffer from too being brought up in a dysfunctional family.
Tho I have come a long way in my healing, I still battle with PTSD almost every time someone is being mean or jerky with me. That's why I try as much as possible to surround myself with kind healthy people.

I'm going to see a therapist next week with regard to PTSD and will post a thread about it. You might want to relate or post something you feel the need too.

As for the book study...I can continue with it whenever I can. Thanks mj for taking over so far!

(((GG))) hon...if you need any other questions or comment, Please post and I will reply to you sweetie. xoxox. Happy Easter to you & your family!

April 7, 2007
3:41 pm
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Also gg, I would recommend a good book by JOyce Meyer "Managing your emotions." A book that taught me a lot about this manner.

Joyce is excellent when she explains about anger since she herself has had a dysfunctional abusive life.

April 7, 2007
4:04 pm
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Thanks Ras, I sure know about professionalism...I am a teacher and when I deal with parents at conferences...ugh..(sorry, parents reading this, I am a parent too)...We are under so much pressure on what not to say to avoid the school, the school board, and ourselves being sued, that we must endure abuse ourselves. Some parents blame us for their children's problems and want us to fix them or else! We must sit and smile and come up with that miracle answer to appease them. It is the worst part of my job I think and it shouldn't be. I think we should be a team working in the best interest of the child...okay...enough about my job...

I look forward to reading your thread after your visit to your therapist. You are the second person who thinks I might have PTSD, gee, another label! It is okay, just more to educate myself about.

mj, thank you so much for working so hard on this book study. I am so grateful to you for it. It gave me some accountability and someone to share with. I am going to miss you, but I wish you well.

April 7, 2007
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It's not labelling gg. Its simply a technical psychological term. Don't use the word "label". Label describes something negative and you're FAR away from negativity. In fact, I find you a SMART person, hon. The fact that you have the courage to talk openly about your shortcomings show me that you are an admirable, courageous & great person. It's NOT easy to be vulnerable & expose one's shortcomings and flaws.

As for work at school...I know many ladies here who work as teacher...Readyforachange, either Tiger Trainer or Silent Jaguar...funny I always get confused between u2!!! Your names are almost synonyms. LOL

Ideally, I am supposed to work as teacher. But since I changed my career, I got stuck. I wish I could work as a teacher. It has always been amy dream!!!

So perhaps if you post about your problems at work, many of these folks who work with as teacher will relate to you and be able to give you sound advice.

April 7, 2007
5:24 pm
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Gee, I have a hard time accepting any compliments...why? maybe because I don't see myself that way...but, it feels nice to think others do...
I am not too courageous...I can't even make myself go to a therapist even though it has been suggested by many. It is easy to expose my shortcomings here because it is anonymous. Yet, I know it took me awhile to even to do that and for that I have come a long way. So thanks Ras!

A teacher thread, that is a good idea. Maybe soon...

April 7, 2007
5:29 pm
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Sorry hon about your fight with your hubby, I read so in another thread. If you need to talk, just post a thread on the support side and I will respond to you ASA I can. I will be around and will check out AAC forum today every now and then!

April 7, 2007
6:51 pm
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mj
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Thanks GG!

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