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Learning to deal with anger

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 months ago.

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  • #288981

    Belle
    Participant

    I recently found out that my husband had an one-sided emotional affair with a woman that I also personally know. My husband and I have an open marriage. We both understand and accept that attractions outside marriage will happen but we will always come back to each other.

    However, this woman and I have a history together. We were very close but later had a falling out after which she has tried her level best to hurt me in many ways. I used to tell him not to get friendly with her because of our bad blood but he never listened. I found out about what he had done when she called me and told me about it, in a very nasty spiteful conversation. Since then, I have been very, very angry at my husband and I am unable to deal with the overwhelming rush of emotions.

    My husband says that, he didn’t listen to me because he didn’t think she would go this far. He thought I was overreacting, then, but now he says he sees how people can be.

    I know that for my sake (more than his), that I have to forgive, forget and move on. But my rage boils over sometimes. Also, I would like to add – a day after I found out about this – one of my closest friends passed away very abruptly. At work, I have become a pawn in a boardroom struggle so each day is fraught with tension. I am guessing the cocktail of circumstances might have something to do with the intensity of what I am feeling.

    From the little bit of self-reflection I have done, I have come to understand that most of my anger is stemming from a feeling of loss of power over my own life. I do not know how to go further from that point.

    I would welcome any inputs on this – maybe I have gone wrong in even understanding the source of my anger. I want to desperately get back to being calm again

    #288999

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Belle:

    Your  last line is “I want to desperately get back to being calm again”. Recently, you wrote, “I have been very, very angry at my husband and I am unable to deal with the overwhelming rush of emotions… my rage boils over sometimes”.

    My guess regarding the source of your rage is that for a long time you paid a high price for calm in your marriage: your husband did not listen to you for a long time. He claimed that you tend to overreact. So you made peace best you could to not being listened to and you were careful to not overreact, you pushed down your feelings, suppressed them best you could and .. under- reacted to stressors, best you could.

    “I used to tell him not to get friendly with her because of our bad blood but he never listened… My husband says that, he didn’t listen to me because he didn’t think she would go this far. He thought I was overreacting“.

    It is possible that you agreed to the open marriage arrangement so to keep the calm. But you weren’t okay with it. Maybe it was easier for as long as you didn’t know who is the woman or women involved in his life, if any.

    With the escalating stress at work, a close friend dying, the finding out who the woman he was involved with is, and the remembering of the betrayal by that woman, a former friend.. all that stress was added to the stress involved in the usual pushing down of your anger at your husband for not listening to you, for causing you to shut down much of yourself. And so, the anger rose up to the surface and is overwhelming you.

    Is any of my guessing correct?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  anita.
    #289055

    Belle
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for replying to me.

    You are right. My husband has a consistent history of not listening to me on many things. He has a tendency to disregard the consequences of many of his decisions on me. Most are minor things, some are not.

    I am ok with the open marriage, though, but not ok with him getting involved with someone who has a negative history with me. In this context, although we have had a falling out, I still consider her as one of “my people”, so to speak. Maybe, in the future, our differences can be sorted out but his actions have created a much bigger divide.

    I understand that there is a history contributing to my current anger. But I don’t know how to deal with it

     

    #289131

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Belle:

    You are welcome.

    I am curious about you considering this woman “as one of ‘my people'”, it being that she “has tried her level best to hurt (you) in many ways”- I don’t understand considering a person going out of their way to hurt you, intentionally, one of your people.

    What is your.. people then, will you tell me?

    anita

    #289173

    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Belle

    I know that for my sake (more than his), that I have to forgive, forget and move on. But my rage boils over sometimes

    Forgiveness is an art that most of us practice badly. Most people feel that when they forgive they are also giving up on asking for accountability from the person that hurt then and so they must forget as in never remember the event of being hurt. If you think about it, such a perspective likely creates resentments and anger.

    Forgiveness does not remove accountability. You can forgive someone and hold them accountable. By forgiving in this way, forgetting is a decision not to dwell. You become mindful when you are dwelling on the past hurt and taking a breath to let it go.  Let it go is not in pretending the hurt didn’t happen but realizing that when you dwell on the hurt it only intensifies. The practice of ‘forgetting’ is to notice and allow the experience to flow vice damming it up. Other attributes to forgiveness are to forbear and forgo. We forbear as in we sit with what we are feeling, a time to feel what you feel without reaction or responding to it. When we forgive we also forgo desires of getting even and revenge. Revenge and getting even are not the same of holding those that hurt us accountable. We hold them accountable from a place of love. If I give you my key and you steal from me taking back the key is not done from a place of anger but accountability and love.

    I suspect your right that much of your anger is coming from a place with the feeling of a loss of personal power and control.   If such is the case the practice of mindfulness might.

    #289181

    Mark
    Participant

    Belle,

    It seems like this incident is just a symptom of the state of your marriage.

    My husband has a consistent history of not listening to me on many things. He has a tendency to disregard the consequences of many of his decisions on me. 

    I am curious if you have addressed this history, this behavior (not just with this woman) with him?  Have you done couples counseling around this issue?

    Mark

    #289255

    Belle
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for your inputs.

    Anita – I have deliberately not spoken much about my relationship with this woman since its another tale. In short, she is a blood relative & someone I have cared for since childhood. She suffers from clinical depression and anxiety. At this point in time, I try my level-best not to give her “ammunition” to indulge in toxic behaviour with me. Keeping a healthy distance has helped us both so far. My husband basically broke open my “safety fence”.

    Peter,  what you have said made a lot of sense to me. I will try and practice mindfulness. I have arrived at a similar place with other people before (like the woman I spoke about). I am not able to do so with my husband so easily…isn’t it supposed to get easier once you do it often?

    Mark, yes, we have gone to couple’s therapy before to address this. Sorry if I was not clear earlier. It emerged that this was not limited to our marriage alone. This is a trait that he possessed in general. He has impulsive and downplays consequences in his mind. When we were dating, it didn’t affect me so much because our lives were separate. In marriage, his decisions affect me more. (We have been married for a little over a year). Intellectually, I get it that his personality is completely opposite to mine and thats why he doesn’t see things the way I do. But since this thing happened, my willingness to empathize with him has vaporized. I am trying hard to get back to that place.

     

    #289281

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Belle:

    My understanding of what happened is that you are okay with your husband having relationships with other women, your one year old marriage being an open marriage, only not with that woman, your relative. You told him, to “not get friendly with her because of our bad blood”, but he did get friendly with her.

    This woman hurt you before and you kept your distance from her, “Keeping a healthy distance has helped us both so far”. You tried your “level best not to give her ‘ammunition’ to indulge in toxic behavior with me”.

    Your husband gave her that ammunition and the distance from her was made void by his actions, and he made that distance you  need from her void, “My husband broke open my ‘safety fence'”-

    -he broke open your safety fence, leaving you exposed to danger.

    – and “Since then, I have been very, very angry at (him)… my rage boils over sometimes… most of my anger is stemming from a feeling of loss of power over my own life”-

    Anger is there to alert us to danger, to motivate us to fight against perceived danger.

    – there are certain people who endanger our physical/ emotional well being. If your husband undoes that distance that you need for your protection, he is exposing you to danger. Question is, what else might he do to endanger you next. If you can’t trust him to not endanger you, how can you feel safe with him in your life?

    anita

    #289321

    Mark
    Participant

    Belle,

    Since you both went to counseling (and presumably no longer going), what was the result of “resolving” this issue of his behavior?

    What about him made you decide to marry him?  Is this behavior a deal breaker for you?

    Mark

    #289439

    Belle
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I have talked over this with him. The primary problem is that he is unable to relate to what might be emotional danger, or pain for me. He is good with things that are more physical (like staying out late because of work), things that *he* can relate to and I can trust him to not put me in a tough spot with those things. He says that if he was in my position in this matter, he would probably brush it off (and I know he is telling the truth about that). He agrees that he’s made a big mistake and that he will be more open to my perspective in the future. But I am not able to get over my anger, and move forward constructively.

    Dear Mark,

    We went to counselling a few months ago (not over this). In a positive scenario, his curiousity, desire to explore and general optimism has helped me change many aspects of my life for the better. I tend to be an obsessive planner and play by the rule-book a lot. This is one of the downsides of that type of personality. Our opposite natures attracts us to each other – we can balance out the other from going overboard. But it also comes with friction. In counselling, we both resolved to moderate some of the extremes of the nature. Our counsellor cautioned us, though, that change would not come overnight and it might take some years before both of our edges fit in smoothly.

    #289447

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Belle:

    Reads to me that the source  of your anger needs to be examined further. You wrote: “most of my anger is stemming from a feeling of loss of power over my own life”-

    -would you like to elaborate on that?

    anita

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