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Post Info TOPIC: Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 14


Guru

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Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 14
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Anger

"What is it about me you hate so much?" a man asked his wife six months into his sobriety.
"Everything!" she replied with a glare.

Everyone feels anger.  Sometimes we work through it quickly and move on.  Codependents tend to just stay angry.  We may feel guilty for it and never express it, but it is there under the surface ... festering.  Once someone in our lives becomes sober we may become even more angry when we find things haven't been our fault or we have the opportunity without all the insanity to be angry.

"The alcoholic says, 'How dare you get angry now?  We're starting over.'"

"And the codependent replies, 'That's what you think.  I'm just getting started.'"

Now we once again feel guilty for being angry, that something is wrong with us.  They are sober, all should be well, right?  Taking the chemicals out of the equation does not solve the problem.  The relationship issues and anger still exist.  Many of us were never taught how to deal with anger or that we weren't supposed to get angry.

For codependents we may be frightened of anger due to past events where we have been abused.  There can be so much anger covering up fear, shame and guilt.  Our role of victim can keep us angry at all of those who have hurt us.  Sometimes we stay angry to feel more powerful and less vulnerable.  Many of us have never had anywhere to take our anger and just repressed it and suffered the emotional and physical reactions to doing so.  Anger can not be repressed, it comes out in one way or another.

We need to deal with our feelings of anger.  It is not going to happen overnight, it may take a month or even a year.  How long did it take us to become this angry?

Here are topics the author suggests for dealing with anger.  Please refer to your books for the full description.

Address any myths we have subscribed to about anger.
Feel the emotion.
Acknowledge the thoughts that accompany the feeling.
Examine the thinking that goes with the feeling.
Make a responsible decision about what, if any, action we need to take.
Don't let anger control us.
Open and honestly discuss our anger, when it's appropriate.
Take responsibility for our anger.
Talk to people we trust.
Burn off the anger energy.
Don't beat ourselves or others for feeling angry.
Write letters we don't intend to send.
Deal with guilt.

When we begin to deal with our anger we may find we are angry all the time.  That is fine, be patient. 

Activity

1.  What do you think would happen if you started feeling your angry feelings?


2.  What do you believe deep inside about anger?  What myths about anger have you subscribed to?  If you need to subscribe to new beliefs about anger, do so.  Attack the myths whenever they try to attack you.

3.  How do the people in your current family situation deal with anger?  How did your mother, father, brothers, and sisters 'deal' with their anger?  What's your patter for dealing anger?

4.  If you have repressed anger, write about it in your notebook.  You may need to buy a new notebook and devote it to anger.

5.  If anger is troublesome emotion for you, keep a pencil and paper handy and start writing about your anger as it occurs throughout the day.



__________________

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



Guru

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I was worried about this chapter.  I had not dealt with my anger from my relationship failing yet again.  I put it aside.  I decided it was time to take care of me, have some fun, make new friends, and find people who could restore my faith in humanity.  I had looked at my anger at this person in the past and it wasn't pretty, so I ignored it.  I used that energy on myself and doing wonderful, fun things.

It was time to write this chapter and I just set the book down after reading the title.  I didn't want to face it.  But I knew I had to sooner or later.

The interesting thing is a couple of weeks later when I sat down with pen and paper to work through what I was feeling I braced myself for this explosive anger, but it wasn't there.  All that was left was hurt, pain and sadness.  This isn't much fun either, but it is better than anger. 

We have all been hurt.  A lot of us feel disconnected and I felt that until this person walked into my life promising me understanding and healing.  He said he understood my pain and was prepared to love me, warts and all, and walk through it with me.  My heart opened up like a flower and I was vulnerable and trusting immediately.  Unfortunately the opening he was looking for was not for love, trust, and healing but an opportunity to use  and hurt me more than anyone ever had.  It was like the icing on the cake of a life full of abuse and abandonment.

I have been so angry at him for so long I am relieved to finally just feel sad.  Sad it had to happen.  Sad for the hope that was lost and love given for nothing.  Grateful it happened as through recovery I now know better tools in allowing people into my life and trusting.  It was a hard lesson to learn and anger was appropriate.  Then there is a time for the anger to leave and growth to take it's place.

I still have healing to do, but am glad that I used my anger to better myself and to drive me forward.  Now that it is dwindling I can take some quiet time and finish the healing process and work through the pain.



__________________

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



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I am angry as hell w my husband for shutting g down shutting me out and finally cheating on me before ever telling me he wasn't happy. I am devastated hurt shocked and angry. When the anger leaves I am so hurt I can't hardly function. So in this moment I am embracing my anger because it is allowing me to move to let go of him and to turn my energy into myself instead of allowing all my energy to get consumed w me trying to get him to love me or accept me. When I am pissed at him he gets less of my energy I can tell myself I don't need him and for a little while I can breathe. I pray that god will help me to let go of my pain hurt and anger so that I can find healthy ways to cope and heal. But in this moment. The anger is quite refreshing from the love me desperation I have been in. It is painful to love a prickly pear.

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Guru

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Hello Rachel,

I remember being there and I too was grateful for the anger because it got me out of bed and into the shower and on with my day - which I don't think I would have been able to do otherwise.  Anger can be a good thing as long as it doesn't linger too long and consume us.

This time, having gone back a couple more times, I think I was more resigned and accepted what was.  If nothing changes ... nothing changes.  I can work all the recovery and practice new behaviors till I am blue in the face, but if he decides to stay doing the same old things there is nothing I can do about it.  I was angry but was able to direct it toward myself as well - and not just for the basics this time, I wasn't that bad off after 3 times through this roller coaster.  I was able to take the anger and do some tremendous things and make changes I have always wanted to make.  And I just keep doing it!  It is becoming a wonderful habit.

My initial, seething anger got me into recovery.  It was my liferaft after the devasting blow of the first round with this person.  Now after a while when faced with the anger it throws me deeper into my recovery and I am really learning how to turn it into positive things.

It truly is One Day at a Time ... or when I was where you are sometimes one hour at a time.  But life comes back.  We come back.  And personally, I came back better.  Can't beat that!

We are here for you.



__________________

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi

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