Hello! I've never written on this board but have written on others. How do you rid yourself of anger? I'm very angry, bitter, and resentful towards my family. I love them dearly but I can't rid myself of these feelings. I will try to make it simple. I'm 34. Growing up, my parents always appeased my older brother in fear his temper would blow. It was pretty much my mom but my dad kept his mouth shut b/c my mom told him to. My brother would fly off the handle and mom wanted to keep the peach. I watched/listened to so many fights. I took it all in and I feel this is why I put my life on hold. I became the person to try to fix things. I was Little Miss Goody Two Shoes b/c I never wanted to upset my parents b/c my brother took all the chances. He was the risk taker and found trouble along the way. I watched all of his relationships fail. Somewhere along the way I learned to not like myself. I truly believe my parents thought they were doing the right thing at the time. I never really allowed myself to have relationships b/c I was afraid to let anyone in to see what things were like. Yet my brother just lived his life, not worrying about anyone. Our relationship is pretty much one-sided. He really only contacts me when he needs something. We go in spurts. Sometimes we are "close" but when something happens, we go weeks withouth really speaking. He's 38 and his life is a mess. He reached out to me last week asking how he can get help and go to therapy. He's never said this before. I did what I could do and woudln't you know, I haven't heard from him since. I'm so fed up. I've suffered from depression since I was 17. I've been in and out of therapy. I go weekly now. I don't know how to live my life. I don't think my parents will ever fully stand up to him. So how do I live my life, without worrying or feeling guilty? I'm so angry. I know my parents now realize they are the reason my brother is as selfish as he is. Yet at the same time, my mom still has blinders on. I'm PETRIFIED of losing my family. We are small. I always invision a tragedy or bad news that someone died. My therapist believes this is my anger b/c I felt abandoned growing up. She feels that as much as my parents were there for me, I always did the right thing, so they never really had to worry. They put most of their energy towards my brother. So now I feel that thinking of them dying is like feeling abandoned. Keep in mind, they are relatively healthy. The mind does crazy things. How do I overcome the anger? They won't change and I don't want the anger, but it's always there. I feel it seeping into other parts of my life. For example, relationships. I think I want to be with someone but I've learned to put up a wall. So when things don't go as I'd like them to, the anger comes right up. Right now, I pretty much blame them and don't know how to let it go. How do I still love my family and be as close as I can without the anger?
The following user gives a hug of support to Will I Be Happy: Suisse85 (08-18-2012)
It is through your anger that you will grow and get through this. Accept that you are angry and that you have cause to be angry. Don't add unnecessary guilt and shame to this emotion, it will just feed it. I know a few "good kids" who got ignored and they all seem to be angry and resentful in varying degrees, when they remember how the "difficult" child got all the attention. What ou need to do is to use this anger to push your healing. One way is to write letters to all the characters in your life story and tell them about. Tell it IN THE PRESENT tense as if it were happening now. This is quite powerful as it connects the anger to the underlying emotions and, by reliving it, you bring those emotions out to be cared for. Expect to cry. You will come to see that your parents and brother are on a sort of hamster wheel going nowhere, just doing the same unhealthy things over and over and never being able to see (as you can see) how useless it is. Part of your anger is probably frustration that you can see what is going on and cannot chamge it. Well, you will never change it. They will be on that wheel forever until and unless one of them changes the dynamic in some way. You have already demonstrated that you are healthier and more insightful than they are. So, accept tat they are who they are and that you will never be part of the dance that they are in. This is hard, but its like starting at rock bottom with no place to go but up. It is "my family isn't there for me" and reach into yourself for a centre of self-acceptance and emotional strength. Anger is your first stage of forward movement. Many people (especially women) cannot get to anger and stay mired in depression, sorrow and self-blame. You are healthier than you think, and your state of mind is more appropriate than denial, sadness, self hate and lying to yourself. Sera
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Seraph For This Useful Post: Phoenix (08-12-2012), Will I Be Happy (08-18-2012)
Seraph, you make SO MANY good points. Thank you! I feel like I keep hitting a wall. I love my family but don't like the dynamic...at all. I went to therapy yesterday. My therapist asked me why I feel like I have to like my family. I can't change them and you are right, that is frustrating. It's hard being the only person to want to change something or to even see that it needs to be changed. I have to set boundaries when it comes to my brother. I think I'm afraid of that. Thank you for your encouraging words that I'm healthier than they are. I don't know how to do both...be there for my family but live my own life and set boundaries at the same time. I'm tired of being a doormat....especially for my brother.
Last edited by Administrator; 08-14-2012 at 12:55 PM.
I'm having a really hard time with the anger bit. My parents are always there for me. I don't want you to think that they aren't. I don't know how to move passed any of the anger. You are right that I'm mad that I can't change any of it. I don't know how to let it go. For example, I woke up this morning to a text from my brother. He was out last night, with friends, as saw my best friend's soon to be ex husband. He sent me a few texts about what happened. What is amazing to me is that I haven't heard from my brother in a week, since he reached out to me and asked me advice about therapy. That incident is on the "Relationships" board. It doesn't even occur to him that he reached out to me, had me worried, then fell off the face of the earth. Now is writing like nothing happened. It's such a slap in the face. Yet I know this is my brother and unless he gets help it won't change. How do I move forward like this? How do I try to have a relationship with him? How do I not let him affect me so much? How do I "shrug" it off? Like my therapist said he has not awareness of how his behavior/actions affect other people. I feel like it's like talking to a wall. My anger centers around me not being able to change it. But also I'm angry at myself for not being able to let it go. GRRRRR!!!!! I HATE FEELING LIKE THIS!!! It's weighing me down and making me depressed.
Last edited by Administrator; 08-14-2012 at 12:36 PM.
As the late great Carl Rogers taught, "I am 100% responsible for myself, and I am 0% responsible for anyone else".
If you really take this on board in relation to your brother and your parents, you will see how it can free you from anger at what they do. Accept them as they are, accept that it is their preferred dynamic and style, and accept that you cannot, in fact need not change them. They have got this far in their way, you have and are surviving it, your brother will probably always be a jerk and all this will be going on whatever you do. So, who is suffering from unnecessary anger?? If you accept and ignore their stuff and have a happy life of your own, will that hurt them? They are not doing it all to you, they are just being themselves. Think about it. Sera
You make so much sense. My problem is I honestly don't know how to just accept and ignore it. I went to a book store last night. I had books in my hand on narcissism and co-dependency. Parts of both made so much sense. I didn't buy either b/c I didn't know which I needed more. It's all so overwhelming. I guess part of me feels that if I set boundaries or try to change my behavior towards them, it will appear as if I don't love them, which is far from the truth. Sidenote: PMDD does not help the thought process at all. I'm miserable lately. All I want to do is sleep. I feel like I take 5 steps forward and 10 steps back. I can't thank you enough for all of your help. These boards have been a saving grace for me lately.
There's a great book called Women that Love Too Much (men can fit that description, too), which really helped me finally see what I was doing to myself by concentrating on what others feel, say and do. I didn't really get what codependency was until I read that book. I just cried and laughed at all of the examples. An example of codepenency is having to call someone to tell them I don't care what they do. hahaha I just had to laugh at myself when I read that. If I 'don't care' why do i need to tell anyone? I wouldn't care. I saw what I feel is my own problem. and that if I dwell on what someone else is doing I don't have to look at my own misery, loneliness, isolation...whathaveyou.
I noticed that your name "will I be happy" pretty much reveals that you gave your emotional stability over to whatever someone else does or says. You can claim your happiness by taking responsibility only for your own emotions (which is all we can change anyway). Funny thing is that others don't die when we let go of them. In fact they sometimes begin to see the truth about themselves when they no longer have us to dwell on or blame.
One study I did showed that everything which is inside your skin and inward is only about you. The rest of us start and end at our own skin. Codependency is a mish mash of confusion over what belongs to us and what belongs to someone else, so that no one is taking personal responsibility.
You alone can draw the lines for yourself, and you cannot make anyone else act responsibly.
That's what codependence is about...now ask yourself which book do you think you need? One that can help you to love and understand yourself? or one that helps you keep dwelling on things that might be true but that you have no power to change?
Sorry it took me a few days to reply. I will definitely look into getting that book. It's confusing because I don't know if I'm dealing with just codependency, narcissism, or both. So I'm not sure the route to take in healing and letting go.
I'm trying very hard to worry about me. It's kind of lonely! Is that weird? Last weekend I woke up to a text from my brother, which never addressed the issue from the week before. I never responded. My parents are going away at the end of the month and my mom asked that me and my brother communicate to take care of the dogs. He told my mom he texted me and I never responded. My mom told him that I was upset that he reached out to me the week before, I helped him, then he fell off the earth. I told her I appreciated what she told him, but that she didn't need to speak for me and he knows where I am if he wanted to address anything. It just amazes me...I worry sick and everyone else just keeps living their lives.
You said, "Codependency is a mish mash of confusion over what belongs to us and what belongs to someone else, so that no one is taking personal responsibility." It's hard to try to set boundaries when the ones who need boundaries don't get it at all. Is that the codependency part?
I raised 4 children, one of whom had serious neuro/psychiatric issues. He had serious anger management problems. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. His issues managed to bury one daughter who is very angry right now. She is angry with both her father and me, and we understand. She won't lose us for a minute. She was the perfect child for as long as she could stand it. Nobody needs that role.
I recommend a book entitled "Thicker than Water" written from the standpoint of siblings who grew up with a disabled sibling. Every person has a different take on how to relate to that "problem" sibling. It is a reality that doesn't get talked about enough.
In our case, we were at least acknowledging that our son had significant issues and needed help. It still makes the family dynamics difficult.
I think it is probably overdue for you to break out of your role of taking care of the family. It is not your job. Besides, it sounds as though it's making you crazy and isn't changing the dynamics. Try to surround yourself with supportive friends and then perhaps you will have the courage to make new boundaries with your parents and certainly with your brother.
Your parents will always have your brother. Where else can he go? Maybe they need to see a different you.
Thank you Suisse for your point of view. I have a TREMENDOUS amount of unresolved anger that I can't get rid of. I know exactly what your daughter feels. Can I ask you...does your daughter feel that she went unnoticed? My therapist tells me I feel abandoned. I know my parents know and accept/understand my anger issues but it's not helping it to go away. For example, my brother and I haven't really spoken in weeks. I never heard from him after I did my best to give him advice on how to find therapy. I'm hurt by his disregard to my feelings. I'm hurt and angry that he has no clue how his actions affect others. Today, I was having house work done. My mom was here to help me. Randomly, my brother called my phone. First time I heard from him in weeks. So I thought maybe he was calling to see how I was. WHEN WILL I LEARN THAT HE DOESN'T CARE???? He mentioned something about needing a ride to work. I'm sure he left his car somewhere because he drank too much and didn't drive it home last night. This just set me off for the day because once I got off the phone, my anger surfaced. I was very sarcastic with my mother. I told her that I have so much anger towards her and my father for never putting my brother in his place. He is a selfish narcissist. I told her I feel like an only child. But then I started sobbing saying I couldn't do it anymore. That I hated telling her what I feel because then I can't control my mouth and I just go off on her b/c of how angry I am. I throw blame at her. I hate my family's dynamic. It is very long overdue to change my role but it's the hardest thing to do. I feel like this role has ruined other parts of my life. I feel lost in the world, like I have no place. I have friends but they have their own lives. I feel very alone. I have great difficulties in relationships with men and it's really hard for me to meet them. I'm trying to put myself out there. I feel like I'm trying to change various things in my life and getting no where. It makes me want to give up. I feel this all stems from my family. I don't know how to let the anger go. It's so hard to do that when the people around you do nothing to help.
Your anger & resentment is understandable and probably did stem from your early years. You've had enough of it. As you said, he (your brother) doesn't care. He doesn't have to have a care in the world. Why? because everyone else is carrying his load while he goes scott free.
Not to excuse his irrresponsibility, but he has no capacity to care about himself, and the first criteria for caring for others is to care for ourselves. That truth right there has really helped me to stop focussing on wanting others to be different, and to work on taking care of my own needs.
Part of taking care of ourselves is to distance ourselves from people that only care about themselves. You can forgive yourself for not being able to help them, and for not caring about being around them due to how they behave. You can forgive
your parents for focussing so much on your sibling that you are negelcted. When you forgive, the anger will die down, and you will begin to heal. I heard someone say that holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it will get rid of the other person. It destroys you, not the other person.
Why not focus on things you enjoy? take a dance or art class, or if you are studious and serious, take come college classes. Go ride horses. Go run in the park or around the block. A wise person told me once that no one can dwell on two subjects at once.
There may be some things you enjoy about your brother. Enjoy those thoughts and leave the rest between him and his parents...yeah it sucks, but they are his parents too, and they worry. You on the other hand can have a productive life apart from them, and still see them occasionally as YOU choose. When it's all too much, stay away or just leave.
You can be happy. But not while you dwell on your brother's weakness and faults. Take charge and change your own direction.
Holy Moly, I feel so lost. I'm trying so hard to forgive but something seems to keep happening and the anger oozes out of me. I HATE IT!!! It's not going away. I feel like eventhough no one died, I feel like I'm in the stages of grieving. Not a day goes by that I'm not angry or crying. My brother sent me another random text on Saturday. I think it's his way of reaching out. The text was, "I think I want a puppy." Again, a text that doesn't address anything. Keep in mind, my parents have 2 dogs, which are technically brothers. So my response was, "Do what you want, but keep in mind mom and dad already take care of Bosco and Buca." He didn't respond. I'm sure he was waiting for a positive response b/c I love dogs. But it also makes sense b/c I've been told he ended things with his recent girlfriend, who when she stayed by him, had a dog of her own. He doesn't think. Yesterday, my parents were coming to help with with my pool. We were going to get a bite to eat. I'm on the phone with my mother when she says that she was going to text my brother and tell him to come by...MY HOUSE!!! I LOST IT!!! Once again, I couldn't control the anger! I reminded her that he hasn't contacted me out of concern in weeks and that she had nerve to suggest he come over, like everything is ok. I told her it was inconsiderate and a big "______ you" to my feelings. I wanted nothing to do with my parents after that. A few minutes later, who is at my door, but my parents. It was intervals of silence and me going on a rant. I keep telling my mother that I'm so angry but don't know how to get rid of the anger. She apologized for not respecting my feelings. I told her that she ignores everything thinking it will just go away. I told her I hate everything the way it is and feel it's my fault but that I can't go on just ok-ing everything for everyone else's benefit. She just sat there and cried, which kills me. But then there is the angry part that wants to say, "Deal with what you created." How terrible am I? I'm so angry that no one takes responsiblitiy for years of me having a role I shouldn't have had. Now I feel I just have to suck it up, swallow it all, and find a way to move on. I feel so lost, confused, and alone. I haven't spoken to my parents since and the guilt is eating away at me. Will my family ever get better?
I think you need to get better first and take a break from your family now and find someone to talk to who can help you grieve and slowly get rid of your anger, bitterness and resentful feelings. You need to get healthy emotionally and mentally and pull away from this toxic situation. It is your choice to distance yourself from your family. Find things you like to do and fulfill your time with them. The more you rehash and open up the wounds from the past, the more you will stay stuck in your anger and bitterness. You are only hurting yourself. It may take months or years to get healing but you have to decide and stop being the victim. You can be a productive member of society and reach out to those in need and start forgetting what you have gone through. We all have gone through many abuses and toxic people in our lives but we must move on to be healthy and happy within ourselves. You are making choices for you. Stop pointing out what people have done to you and start growing up and stop being the victim. Take charge of your life and find some help and positive support.
I'm not really sure how to respond to your posting, Renko. I actually find it a little harsh. I'm not sure if it's just because it's typed and I can't tell your tone. I love my family very much and I'm trying to find a happy medium. Learning how to change is very new to me. I'm sorry if that seems that I'm not grown up or that I am a victim. Change doesn't come overnight! I'm dealing with many emotions. Maybe you healed a lot faster. I'm not you!