Forgiveness is for those who forgive, not for those who offend. It does not preclude taking precautions to avoid further offense,
but it frees us to think coherently instead of clouding our minds
with the hatred that prompts good people to do hateful things.
We see a lot of people in early recovery who are angry — angry at their parents, their bosses, the world, and often at themselves. Anger can be a useful tool. Nearly always a result of fear, whether obvious or hidden, anger prepares us to deal with challenges that demand forging on against whatever odds. In many cases, the alternative would be cowering in a corner and waiting for the wolf to have its way with us.
When we are facing an obvious opponent, with obvious action to be taken, our anger can be used and often discharged. But when the situation is such that we can’t strike back, through social position (say, at an employer) or size (a parent, bully or other), or simply because we have no recourse, anger can be a problem that far surpasses the cause. Continue reading →
There’s a D’n’D just up the street from my wife’s workplace that often causes a traffic backup in the right lane. I’ve gotten in the habit of staying in the left lane, then changing lanes ahead of the cars turning into the drive-though.
This morning I was just getting ready to make my lane change, and the “asshole” in the right lane didn’t turn into Dunkin’ Donuts. Boy, was I pissed! And then I thought, “Who’s the asshole here, anyway?”
A friend asks if it is OK to be angry about a relative having “chosen” behavior that has led to his imminent death and a lot of grief for those around him.
You have an absolute right to feel angry; in fact, you don’t have a choice. Anger is an emotion, and it will happen whether we agree or not. If we try to suppress emotions completely, they always come out in other ways eventually. We can moderate them when we need to for social reasons, but we have to allow ourselves to feel and walk beyond them.
Once your anger has discharged, you will probably find it easier to appreciate why people with various compulsions do things the way they do — whether or not you come to understand it. The one thing you must understand now is this: working through the anger (and, yes, the grief) is something that you have to do for yourself. It is not about loyalty, it is not about propriety, it is not about right or wrong. It’s about dealing with an emotional upheaval of mythic proportions.
I tell people that it’s like taking out the garbage. If you throw the bag in the pantry instead of taking out the trash, eventually cleaning the pantry becomes not only a nasty job, it becomes imperative — otherwise, stuff starts leaking under the door and ruining things in the kitchen.
Be angry. Yell, scream, and don’t feel guilty about it. After that — and it may take quite a while — try to come to understand, for your sake as well as that of the others who may remember him differently.