Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
Last Saturday evening I was at a restaurant with my wife and my oldest daughter when an altercation broke out between a table of seniors and a large group of 20 something women who were making raucous load noises. The situation escalated to the point where one of the young women had to be restrained from trying to physically assault a woman who appeared to be in her 70’s. The younger women were ejected from the restaurant as a result.
The event left a scar on the minds of the older folks and their anger continued to boil. Too many of us have trouble letting go of the anger and sometimes the hurt that comes from incidents in our lives. For example I have two people I really like who are trying to recover from the pain of losing an incompatible significant other. Of course it does no good to let the pain linger but it is not always easy to jettison.
Here are excerpts from an article by psychologist Adele Ryan McDowell that may help those who have difficulty with lingering emotions.
5 Ways to Deal with an Emotional Hangover
Ever have one of those weeks when there is palpable, anger-inciting tension between you and a family member? Or you have had a crushing misunderstanding with one of your dearest friends? As a result of some emotionally incendiary experience where you feel wronged, not valued, misunderstood, or crossed, you can often find yourself on one wild ride of emotions.
This, dear reader, is an emotional hangover. There is no specialized rehab. So, let us armchair quarterback and deconstruct the set-ups and triggers to an emotional hangover. To that end, here are some questions and considerations for you to ponder in order to prevent another crazy ride on the high-speed emotional Tilt-a-whirl:
Are you too emotionally attached to the outcome of the interaction? Do you have to win? Do you need to be right? You know the expression: would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy? I can say, and I believe, that being right is overrated, but, boy, howdy, where I feel I am right, that’s Right with a capital R, it is very hard to let go and consider another viewpoint. It takes some emotional maturity to get off that high horse and to find common ground.
Is the emotional event the result of a power struggle or a need for control? There is a saying that comes from sales: the one who cares the least has the most power. In other words, the more emotionally detached you are, the more you can see the big picture, be open to alternatives and respond with reason.
Did you create decent boundaries and clear parameters so that you protected yourself? One of the tenets of good self esteem is the ability to be assertive. It is not always easy, but it is clearly important. Further, one of the tenets of effective communication is being able to state your needs clearly. Are you able to ask for what you need or say no without feeling guilty?
Are you aware of what buttons are being pushed? There is that old therapy joke about the patient telling the psychiatrist that his mother was pushing all of his buttons. The psychiatrist responds, of course, she installed those buttons. Seriously, though, be it family, friends or astute observers of the human psyche, most of us can detect the soft, squishy places in one another. We are all more alike than we acknowledge. Are we feeling respected and heard? Are we being rejected or abandoned? Are we considered loveable? Are we worthy?
Are you willing to walk away, say no and choose not to engage in the tension? There is always choice. Choice serves as the grace note to every interaction. You can choose to struggle, not fight, see it another way, speak your truth, state your case, agree to disagree and so forth. You can learn how to protect yourselves for future interactions. You can train yourself to move away from the victim place by following the three A’s. You can change your action. You can change your attitude. Or you can learn to accept. Automatically, you have empowered yourself. Isn’t that a far better feeling than an emotional hangover?
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
Everything I need to know, I learned in corporate America:
- Indecision is the key to flexibility.
- There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.
- Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
- The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.
- The careful application of terror is also a form of communication.
- Someone who thinks logically can be such a nice contrast to the real world.
- Things are more like they are today than they ever were before.
“My mom was a ventriloquist and she always was throwing her voice. For ten years I thought the dog was telling me to kill my father.”
At one Army base, the quarterly test at the rifle range had been cancelled for the third time in a row, but the semi-annual physical fitness test was still on as planned. One soldier mused, “Does it bother anyone else that the Army doesn’t seem to care how well we can shoot, but they are extremely interested in how fast we can run?”
If you are willing to admit you are wrong when you are wrong, then you are all right.
The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Sonnier was going for his morning walk in the Louisiana bayou one day when he walked past his friend, Breaux’s trailer house and saw a sign that said “Boat For Sale.” This confused Sonnier because he knew that old Breaux didn’t even own a boat, so he decided to go in and ask about it. “Hey Breaux,” said Sonnier, “I noticed da sign in your yard dat says ‘Boat For Sale,’ but you don even have a boat. All you have is your old John Deere tractor and combine.”
Breaux calmly replied “Yup, and they’re boat for sale.”
Money may not be everything, but it sure keeps the kids writing to you! One college kid wrote home, “Dear folks, I’ve been worried sick because I haven’t heard from you. Please send me a check so I’ll know you’re okay.”
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
A woman went to the doctor’s office where she was seen by one of the younger doctors. After about four minutes in the examination room, she burst out screaming as she ran down the hall. An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story.
After listening, he had her sit down and relax in another room. The older doctor marched down the hallway back to where the young doctor was writing on his clipboard.
“What’s the matter with you?” the older doctor demanded. “Mrs. Terry is 61 years old, has four grown children and seven grandchildren and you told her she was pregnant?”
The younger doctor continued writing, and without looking up and said,
“Does she still have the hiccups?”
If they keep hurting you, love them and stay or love yourself and leave.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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