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Need help coping with anger and resentment
May 19, 2008
10:56 am
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soofoo
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Posting this on libs because I'm not opposed to receiving spiritual advice. General support from atheists and agnostics would also be greatly appreciated. Prayer has helped me in the past, but right now my faith is low. Asking that it not turn into a debate on whether or not God exists though. I need help and support.

The question is, how to deal with the natural and justified anger I feel as a result of having been a victim of injustice.

Also, how to deal with the fact that there basically is NO justice on this earth. Good people, innocent people are regularly tortured, mistreated, etc while evil monsters thrive. I don't want to argue about whether this happens. It does. I want to know how to cope with it.

I'm not going into details about what happened to me recently, which is just the latest of a six year long string of attacks because every time I do, I get overwhelmed by the feelings of anger, I cry, etc., and I already did that once today.

I want to have a good life. The very best revenge is living well. I don't want to suffer. I want to let it go. I want to move on.

I don't want to have to pay for something I didn't do, I don't want to give in to a corrupt system, I don't want to fight a losing battle, I don't want to lose anymore.

May 19, 2008
3:27 pm
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eve
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I think that it is fairly normal to feel angry, when you perceive injustice.

As always: anger can be a mighty motivation to help yourself to use all your creativity and potential to find a solution. Or anger can be like a ball of lead round your neck, that makes you feel like you can only sink to the ground.

So it really depends on the situation. And what you make of it. It is important that you don't despair about your personal injustice, and it is easy to run into a whole load of anger, fear, and desperation when you are down, and find so many examples of things that go wrong in this world, and that went wrong in your life.

I think that, in order to be able to get a handle on this, you need to break it down into little bites that you can chew. What would be the single thing that would help you most at the moment?

May 19, 2008
7:54 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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soofoo,
I am so glad to know that you are around again.
Nothing wrong with anger. Anger properly channled gets things done and proves that you aren't a doormat.

No there is no justice on earth.
It helps to remember that this life is sort of like college proving we can make right choices on our own with only limited help from our Eternal Parent.

You said you didn't mind spirtual advice. Okay here's a story you might not know because it's from the Book of Mormon.
The prophet Alma and his sidekick, Amulek have preaching in a city. Only the poor people would listen. the rich and powerful people didn't like that so they rounded up the believers and their scriptures and cast them into a fire. They forced Alma and Amulek to watch. Amulek says, "Alma let's put forth our hand and use the power God has given us to stop this terrible thing. Alma starts to raise his hand and then stops. He tells Amulek that he has been constrained by the spirit not too. That these people were suffering terribly but in an eternal sense it was only for a moment. that God had to let these evil people prove just what kind of choices that made so that couldn't give any excuses in God's final judgement.

Being a victim sucks. ( I am in the throes of victimhood right now) but I believe you are a bridge. You will stop the abuse and injustice through the strength that is in you.

May 20, 2008
4:44 am
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Worried_Dad
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My suggestion: First, let yourself feel and express your anger. Get pissed off. Make a big freaking deal about it.

May 20, 2008
11:18 am
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soofoo
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Thank you guys.

Eve,

I like your idea of little bites. Don't know how I'm going to do it, but I like it.

Tiger,

Thank you for the story. What if I do not have the strength? What if the bridge falls through? I am presently barely functional. I hope my suffering is not in vain, I hope it is noble but I have doubts.

WD,

Thank you. I felt my anger today. My eyes are red and my head hurts. But I feel better inside. I'm thinking my anger is too intense or built up to be useful. What are your thoughts on this?

May 21, 2008
2:30 am
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Soofoo.

Anger and I are old enemies with whom I have had great difficulty parting.

I learnt very early on, as a young child, that anger was a legitimate response when I didn't get my own way. Both of my parents displayed great rage on a regular basis. both instilled great fear in me. That is, they unknowingly programmed my fear based emotional responses to many of life's viscissitudes by their behavior.

Anger is just one emotional response that I can have to a perceived threat.

I unconsciously choose my anger responses without realizing it.

For example, if a whopping great policeman pulls me over in my motorcar, I can feel very fearful. I will try being very respectful if not downright appeasing in my tone of voice. The threat of a whopping great fine or worse prevents most of us from having an anger attack when confronted by a cop. So most of us unconsciously choose to appease the cop to avoid as much pain as possible - unless of course we are powerful 'mafia made' men, in which case we might decide to take the cop out.

On the other hand if someone who I perceive to be weaker, inferior or of no real physical threat to me, threatens me in some other way, like dinting my ego, I might unconsciously choose to get angry and go on the attack verbally or otherwise. I aspire to a much better response these days, I can assure you.

If there is a holdup in a store at which I am shopping and the bandit does not see me standing near the rear door that is open, I might hi-tail it out the back and run like hell. This is undoubtedly an unconscious decision of mine to choose to run.

Thus when a threat emotes fear, I unconsciously assess both the situation and my position of power or lack of in relation to the perceived threat. I then choose to either fight(with anger as the emotion fueling my bodily response), or run, or appease or depress, if I perceive that I am absolutely powerless to do anything at all to deal with a large and persistent threat. I was once treated by a psychiatrist years ago for chronic depression. I threw away the prescribed drugs and cured my own depression by learning to 'see' that my depressing was my response to my deluded sense of my complete powerlessness over my then situation. I soon became empowered, made the changes to both my situation and my misunderstanding of same.

Understanding that my anger is an emotional 'fight' response to a perceived threat was a major step forward in the battle in learning to control anger.

Understanding that anger was/is also a choice, albeit an unconscious one, was/is another huge step forward for me.

Being able to gain insights into what threatens me and when it is happening, and becoming consciously aware of the very nature of the threat was/is yet another step forward for me.

Being able to see that in most cases the threat is not really a threat at all but the result of my past emotional conditioning is yet another huge step forward.

Acquiring most of the above capabilities doesn't come easily to me. I've spent a large number of years learning some pretty simple lessons that many people seem to learn in their teens.

Learning to feel and acknowledge my anger but not to act inappropriately upon it has been an ongoing challenge with which I can claim some moderate but not great success.

Resentments - Ahhhhhh! There is another old enemy that only rarely rears its ugly head.

I was told by a Catholic priest once that resentment is derived from the latin word 'resentere' which means to re-feel.

To re-feel on old feeling, I first have to trigger off that same emotional response by re-thinking about and re-picturing the past event that caused my original emotional response that I am regenerating. Yet I delude myself that it in not me that is causing my emotional pain of resentment that is, my re-feeling old pain. I blame the person whom I perceive as triggering off that original response. How dumb is that???? If someone stuck a pin in me, would I keep sticking a pin in myself to re-feel the physical pain and then blame the person for the ongoing physical pain caused by me and my pin??? No - that would be really dumb of me. Yet when I am stuck up to my eyebrows in a 'shit load' of resentment, it is very hard to see that this emotional pain is self-inflicted.

My world that I experience out there is being created in my own head and projected outwards. This is not easy to keep before my eyes when someone does something dumb like cutting me off on the road in their car.

Anger, inappropriately acted upon, is a poison that regenerates and reinforces itself with each outburst.

Suppressed anger is a cancer that can cause untold damage to my body, mind and spirit.

Anger, appropriately dealt with, can be a wonderful signpost pointing to what is going on in my psyche.

Anger is just a natural emotion that powers up my fight response in ensuring my survival. I sure as hell need to ascertain whether or not my survival is really at risk before I unleash my 'dogs of war' in whatever form that might take.

May 21, 2008
8:14 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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soofoo,
I am glad you liked the story. Barely functioning is better than non functioning. Give yourself a break. You are feeling a strong emotion. I am glad you let it come out. It is even better that you recognize it as anger.
Anger saves you from being like me. depressed and weepy and feeling powerless. Anger gives you power!!!!!!

May 22, 2008
9:22 am
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soofoo
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Tiger,

I have been incapable of anger. I know what that is like and I think it almost killed me. I used to have an automatic reaction to just lay down, give up, and be afraid. I'm dealing with someone who wants me to be afraid. A sort of psychological terrorist.

Tez,
Your insight is amazing. You've worked very long and hard on this and I can see that you've gotten somewhere with it.

I want to get there too. Intellectually, I understand that suppressed anger is bad, and also anger expressed inappropriately, but knowing how to get the right balance and express appropriately is definitely very hard.

Also, there are many things going on. I may need to make life changes. I have a complicated life, so it can be difficult for me to know where my problems are.

I am glad I have come back to this site. I'm going to continue to try to type it out here.

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