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Your best ways of delaing with negative people

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  • #37562
    Tera
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    I have spent a lot of time working on myself and I definitely see that being positive is not only a good solution but an intelligent and practical one as well. Don’t get me wrong. I am not delusional. I recognize the importance of having a flexible mind in the face of uncertainty. To get to this point I have read hundreds of books on communication techniques, nlp, Buddhism, as well. I have spend countless hours applying the teachings of Eckharte Tolle, Byron Katie, law of attraction, yogis etc… It’s not that my intention is to become enlightened but rather to appreciate my life.

    Even with all this however I have difficulty with my mom. Whenever she is having a, “crisis” she often becomes extremely antagonistic towards me, and it seems like no matter what response I give her she finds a way to turn it against me, or make me into a villain. For example if I tune her out, she takes it to mean, I don’t care about her, or claims that I hate her… If I tell her that her negativity is getting a bit too much for me, she gets aggressive and says things like, “that’s right, walk away pretend that there’s nothing wrong” I can’t say anything to you without it hurting your little feelings. You’re so selfish. F-You etc… Often when I genuinely offer to help because I honestly do care, her response with me is resentful and goes…

    Do you really think I am stupid or don’t know that?
    You’re too young to know how life is.
    You don’t have the responsibilities or difficulties I have (which is complete BS) Everyone has their responsibilities.
    You’re just lucky (she’s right I am lucky but so is she)
    You were born pretty like my mother etc…
    Your just out of touch with the real world.
    You’ve always had it so easy (Complete BS. I had to grow up with her, but I whatever)

    All she is doing is dismissing that I have had to work hard, and it also dismisses her sense of responsibility.

    If I take the empathic listening approach then I find it just enables her to continue this way. For example the other day we were talking, and she started telling me about some crime she read about in the news paper. She felt I needed to know every morbid details graphic as possible repeating the story 3 times to make sure I had a clear image. Eventually when it got too disturbing I just said, enough I got it, I am finished with this conversation!

    Whenever she asks about my life, and I share details, she immediately points out the unfortunate aspects of it as if I need someone to tell me how miserable I should feel about myself. OK so it’s not glamorous right now. I have bills, challenges, and financial concerns but overall I am happy with my life. Honestly if I can’t appreciate what I have right now, I probably won’t feel any happier later down the road. Am I crazy? What really gets me is that she wants to meddle with it. She’s got all these answers for how I should live when I am fine with how I am doing already. Also how is it possible I am so lucky and so miserable at the same time?

    When her actions have direct consequences on me, instead of just saying I apologize I made a mistake, she instead blows up and tells me how unfair I am or how selfish I am.

    Also I am not pretending to have the answers but from what I can tell nobody is abusing her, or mistreating her that would cause her to be this way. I also don’t think she has any medical conditions.

    Any thoughts?

    #37564
    Jeff
    Participant

    I have a very difficult mother myself. I’m a constant victim of the “you’re never good enough” verbal and mental shots. It can be really hard because after a while, you start to believe it.

    It took me many years (and a really good therapist) to finally face my feelings about all of it. I finally learned that my mother is who she is. I am never going to change her and the only person that was being hurt when she’d do the ‘not good enough” talk was me because I took her word for it. I’ve gotten myself to a point where I will only speak to her during holidays if its a group situation. If she starts hammering me (and she still does) I simply walk away because I now control what I do, not her. It’s not always easy and I feel guilty because she’s my mother and I’m “supposed” to love her. But that doesn’t mean that I need to accept her negative rantings. I control what I can- and if that means walking away, then so be it.

    I’ve also read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and one of the things he talks about is how we take things personally when what the other person is saying is really just a distorted view of their own personal reality. The abuse is not who you are. Those things are not your reality. Then why do we let those voices dictate our life? I think he makes a great point.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

    #37565
    Matt
    Participant

    Tera,

    What a great question! On one hand, we wish to protect our delicate heart, and on the other, we wish to connect to others who sometimes get under our skin. So, what do we do?

    There are a couple things to resolve before the real practice. The first is that a healthy mind doesn’t do those things, and so your mom has some ick in there. You know how it feels when your mom is saying things to you? She lives in that mind, imagine how painful it becomes!

    Instead of looking at it as “my mom does such and such to me”, you might be of a view that can say “look at how my mom’s actions and words hurt both of us.” When we express boundaries to people who expect us to suffer for them, they sometimes send out hooks that dig into our mind. “Goodbye mom” is met with “if you loved me, you wouldn’t hang up” or “I don’t like it when you say those things to me” is met with “you’re just ignorant of what its really like in the world” and so on. The trick is not in trying to control what they say, but in dealing with the agitation in our mind that grabs us as we hear the words.

    The practice which can help silence the agitation which comes up as you connect with your mom is called Metta or loving-kindness practice. After a meditative exercise (such as breathing, yoga, etc) picture something or someone which inspires warmth of heart. Kittens, children playing, trusted friends… whatever makes your heart sigh and open. Just imagine them playing or dancing or whatever, and imagine your heart giving them all that warmth. “I see you kittens, and wish the beauty and warmth in my heart would surround you.” When the warmth is vibrant, you can switch the picture to your mom as a child, playing with a doll or truck or dancing to some music. “I’m so sorry that as you grow up you’ll have such a pained mind, I wish you could dance forever.”

    This can erode the habit of becoming agitated with your mom, but helps with agitation in general very well. If and when the agitation arrives, just say to yourself “yep, this is agitation. My mom’s verbal hooks grabbed me again, so now this feeling is here.”

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #37568
    Tera
    Participant

    Thank you Jeff. Just reading your post makes me feel less confused. Even with all that practice of mindfulness her constant behavior to me can be very distorting. What gets me is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of seeing me for who I am and how great our relationship could be, she would rather continue to play the abused mother.

    Thanks Matt. I definitely do apply similar concepts. I look at her as a child who is confused. I try to understand what she is needing in how she acts and then to see if I can help in some ways, but this also makes a doormat. I feel like I am losing my sense of self because she is so needy.

    #37569
    Matt
    Participant

    Metta is a practice and emotion, rather than a concept.

    In regards to the doormat notion, it reminds me of one of my teachers. He said that often children will throw a tantrum when they don’t get what they want. However, if they want a sugar sandwich (gratifying but not nourishing) then even if they throw a tantrum, we don’t give it to them. If we do, we are perpetuating their suffering.

    So, it might actually be the kindest thing to do to simply tell her that if she talks like that you will hang up or leave, and follow through consistently. It might help her learn that there are consequences to her actions, which is a huge step in recovery. The tantrum will follow, but without your side there to sustain it, it will blow itself out.

    #37571
    Tera
    Participant

    Thanks again Matt 🙂

    What is a metta practice lol? I do set boundaries with my mom. Sometimes it works, and she still takes it harshly. I am just trying to understand how she can’t see her part in this, but at the same time I accept her for who she is. One thing I wanting is to get so at good at walking away that it becomes automatic response. Do you think it’s possible to become completely immune?

    #37578
    Matt
    Participant

    I described the practice in the first reply, if that doesn’t strike you, consider a YouTube search for “jayasaro metta”

    As for becoming immune, yes and no. It would not be compassionate to be immune such as closing our front door and keeping her suffering out. Compassion is the willingness to co-suffer with people. However, we can keep our back door open, so it is like wind which blows in, through, and out. The more we hold ourselves open and alert, others’ suffering doesn’t “stick” in us and instead, just remains information about them and their challenges.

    Her side is the whirlwind of criticism and needn’t be about you. Your side is wishing she was different than she actually is, which makes you compare her to your dream of what could be if only…. 🙂

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #37666
    Pat Merritt
    Participant

    My sister and I have been in conflict most of our lives. She tends to get angry about petty things and claims that I intentionally hurt her and have an agenda against her. Many times I have asked her to at least allow me the opportunity to explain my side. That rarely happens because she becomes silently resentful but puts on a social face of acceptance. She can be quite cruel with her judgments of me. Recently I was invited to a family event, to which I had to decline because I have severe degenerative disc disease and have been in much pain for years. I am unable to walk for more than 10 minutes before experiencing nerve pain in my leg. The result is that I must modify my activity based on my pain. This means turning down some invites because of the challenges that an environment can present to be.
    Recently her daughter had a party at a stadium (which would require a long walk to my seat, even if dropped off at the door. Then sitting on wooden chairs is painful. The other invite was a trip to her daughter’s shore house, which is 3 hours each way – and long car rides are not comfortable.
    I declined the invite saying I was not up to participating and have been in the dog house ever since. I sent several e mails to my niece to explain my situation, and I even acknowledge that I certainly did not want to hurt or disappoint her with my actions. I also offered to talk face to face. She never responded to my correspondence. Oh I forgot to mention that 4 weeks prior to one of the events my daughter was diagnosed with MS. I was in no condition physically or emotionally to attend a party.
    I never even received a call from anyone in my family expressing concern for me or my daughter.
    My sister claimed that she was aware of my physical condition, but I seem to be able to do things with other people. A very cruel and unsympathetic statement. Anyone suffering chronic pain can tell you that what you can do differs from day to day. I have had to decline many invitations of the course of 12 years and it has been a difficult thing to accept. My own children seem to understand when I cannot physically do something with them – so this problem is certainly not exclusive to my relationship with my sister. And quite frankly I think it is hurtful to suggest that someone who suffers with any limiting condition, could be accused of using their illness as a way to reject someone. I certainly would not choose to be limited in my function.. I can chalk some of this up to ignorance and the inability to see another’s point of view but it just seems that she is always thinking the worst of my intentions. The few time we have discussed – she doesn’t believe my explanations and seems to want to remain angry. I feel it is her way of punishing me. Prior to this I felt the only way to have a somewhat social relationship for my family sake, I kept my self slightly distanced from her – seeing her usually at Christmas time. I always treated everyone with respect and kindness.
    Now I am really upset that both her and her daughter seem to want to punish me by ignoring my offer to communicate. After making all these accusations about my choices and intentions, she then says she want to wipe the slate clean and meet for coffee never acknowledging any responsibility for her actions.
    I finding this hard to swallow. I feel she is toxic and taught her daughter to be toxic and unforgiving. I don’t want to play the victim, but I want her to know that her assumptions were wrong, her words were cruel, and that unless she could treat me with respect and empathy, I don’t see anyway to exist other than to keep a safe distance. I feel like I now need to practice “self compassion”. Regardless of who did what – when someone tries to heal the relationship with honest communication and that is met with anger, resentment and denial – I can’t imagine me accepting that – would be a road towards a happy and health sister relationship. I feel life is challenging enough without allowing people to dump toxins and judgments into your soul – and then expect YOU to turn the other cheek and rise above the pettiness. Anyway, I would love to hear some comments and suggestions from strangers because I know we often cannot see too clearly when we are close to the situation. I have a large capacity for forgiveness – but I feel that unless she acknowledges her responsibility for her own actions – I feel there would not be a genuine healing of the relationship – and I would be enabling her to continue to treat me that way in the future. Hurtful behavior has consequences and I feel I’m best to set boundaries that if she can’t treat me with love and respect – I cannot engage in relationship….Thanks for listening…..

    #37685
    Matt
    Participant

    Pat,

    Sometimes when we are in chronic pain, we can become absorbed by “our side” of the situation. As you said, it is difficult for you to do certain activities, which is just how it is.

    Consider that perhaps the responses you receive from your family are unskillful, but motivated by genuine love and warm feelings. If they had not cared, they would not have lashed out. Instead, it sounds like their feelings were hurt, they felt unimportant to you, and in their pain said things that hurt your feelings. Now, when your sister wants to let go and move on(“pretend nothing happened”), you wish to club her in the heart by telling her that her words were cruel, mean, and so on.

    What that really says is “I do not accept your feelings and the way you acted on those feelings.” It is like passing the hot potato of anger between you and her, right now you feel stuck with it and want to get rid of it by throwing it at your sister. Consider that it is OK to just set it down and forgive her without needing to tell her that her words were unacceptable.

    Were I to have that conversation (and I have had to have it plenty of times before) I would tell her that family is very important to me. I was sorry for all of the causes of me not being at the party, and all of the effects of my not being there. Then, I would say that I understand why my sister would lash out like that, because it is painful when we feel unloved or unsupported. Then I would assure her that it is the furthest thing from the truth, and that the connection to her was so important it had tied me up on knots, and how beautiful it is to be connecting with my sister again.

    Can you forgive them for feeling hurt and doing things like ignoring you or judging you as they healed that hurt? Do you HAVE to make it about you? Can you let go without trying to punish her for the feelings of hurt you felt? Your heart seems strong and bright to me, and I am confident you can put the anger down and love them without reserve. Let go! Its done, gone, past!

    With warmth,
    Matt

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 1 month ago by Matt.
    #37739
    Pat Merritt
    Participant

    Dear Matt,
    I so appreciate you taking the time to give me your input about what is a very challenging relationship for me in my life. I know that my sister is teaching me what I do not want to be and yet it is very hard to not come from a place of defensiveness.

    My whole life I have treated everyone with love, compassion and strived to not judge. As a nurse, I have nurtured without expectation more people than I can count.

    At this point in my life, dealing with accepting limitations, and my daughter’s MS diagnosis, I guess I am disappointed that what I have sowed in my relationships did not grow to return the same compassionate treatment. I know that must sound like wanting a pay off, but I have turned the other cheek my whole life with my family because I wanted to take the higher road of love.

    Your words definitely make sense. I know I should let go and yet there is a part of me that feels I want to be heard. This has been a pattern in our relationship where my sister comes from a place of – it’s my way or the highway and if you don’t agree – I will hurt you.

    I realize that defending my position will be futile because she is coming from her own perceptions of me and the situation.

    Yet at this point in my life, I feel like my needs and feelings should be honored. Is it not part of self compassion for me to refuse to accept someone throwing me toxic reactions. I am willing to sit down and hear her and ask her what her expectations are for moving forward but I don’t want her to feel that she can continue the same cycle of hurting me. I am willing to learn the lesson, but I want the behavior to change from the experience. I know I am wanting to control, and wanting to be heard and deep down – I know you are absolutely right but I’m not sure that I am so spiritually empowered to lay down my humanity and rise to a level of having no personal needs in relationship. I hear the wisdom in your words, I’m just not sure I can act so justly.

    I don’t want to hurt her by carrying the torch of anger, I want to set compassionate boundaries to protect myself and ask her to own and examine the consequences of her actions. Honestly although your words represent the epitimy of acceptance, it doesn’t feel like something I could do (right now). I am however, going to revisit and reread your comments over the next couple of days and meditate on your suggestions. Maybe as I work through my feelings, something in me may shift.

    I have just given so much of my self throughout my life and always tried to treat people with love and kindness, I feel somewhat slapped down at a point in my life when I needed others to be the wind under my wings.

    Truly I thank you from the bottom of my heart and it has been extremely helpful to have you “hear” me without judgment. Thank you.

    Pat

    Patricia Merritt

    On Mon, Jul 01, 2013 at 11:27 AM, Tiny Buddha wrote:

    Matt wrote:

    Pat,

    Sometimes when we are in chronic pain, we can become absorbed by “our side” of the situation. As you said, it is difficult for you to do certain activities, which is just how it is.

    Consider that perhaps the responses you receive from your family are unskillful, but motivated by genuine love and warm feelings. If they had not cared, they would not have lashed out. Instead, it sounds like their feelings were hurt, they felt unimportant to you, and in their pain said things that hurt your feelings. Now, when your sister wants to let go and move on, you wish to club her in the heart by telling her that her words were cruel, mean, and so on.

    What that really says is “I do not accept your feelings and the way you acted on those feelings.” It is like passing the hot potato of anger between you and her, right now you feel stuck with it and want to get rid of it by throwing it at your sister. Consider that it is OK to just set it down and forgive her without needing to tell her that her words were unacceptable.

    Were I to have that conversation (and I have had to have it plenty of times before) I would tell her that family is very important to me. I was sorry for all of the causes of me not being at the party, and all of the effects of my not being there. Then, I would say that I understand why my sister would lash out like that, because it is painful when we feel unloved or unsupported. Then I would assure her that it is the furthest thing from the truth, and that the connection to her was so important it had tied me up on knots, and how beautiful it is to be connecting with my sister again.

    Can you forgive them for feeling hurt and doing things like ignoring you or judging you as they healed that hurt? Do you HAVE to make it about you? Can you let go without trying to punish her for the feelings of hurt you felt? Your heart seems strong and bright to me, and I am confident you can put the anger down and love them without reserve. Let go! Its done, gone, passed!

    With warmth,
    Matt

    Post Link: http://tinybuddha.com/topic/your-best-ways-of-delaing-with-negative-people/page/2/#reply-37685

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    #37740
    Pat Merritt
    Participant

    I have been reading some of the comments. Can you speak to the issue of responsibility in relationship. Conflict being a vesicle for change and awareness. I believe sometimes we are in someone’s life to mirror to them something they can change about themselves. If you learn through experience, and grow in relationships through conflict and love as well, do we not offer someone – a mirror to see themselves for who they are at that moment. If they project pain – why can we not show them the results of their pain – there fore they might be able to experience it from an internal space.
    Owning your actions? Learning from dysfunction. Do you think when we take the higher road, we enable people to cycle into old behaviors. Hurt is personal, it is painful, as we are human beings who have the capacity to forgive – yes , but we can also hold up a mirror to our conflict buddy – he/she may for the first time see the results of their words. Words are the most powerful tool given to us to express ourselves into this world. We owe it to ourselves and others to use word with truth and respect and not use it to condem, curse, judge or millign others.
    Bigger question which sums it up – what about taking responsibility for your words and actions.

    #37741
    Pat Merritt
    Participant

    Tera,
    I have 2 similar comments regarding responsibility, enabling hurtful behavior, using conflict as a way to see patterns of behavior which offer possibility for change. If I just keep forgiving and never make myself known, then no one has learned from the experience which is truly a waste of time.

    #37742
    Matt
    Participant

    Pat,

    It is very difficult in deed! It is because of your life of service and willingness to grow that such a teacher like your sister offers you freedom… you just don’t see it yet. Be patient!

    There is a story of the buddha, smiling at one who was very angry and yelling at the Buddha. When the man says “why do you smile at me, don’t you see I’m angry!” The Buddha replied: If I were to wrap up a present and offer it to you, would you accept it? The man said of course not. The Buddha said, “in that case, who would own the present?” The man said “you would of course.” The Buddha then said “in the same way, I refuse your anger and therefore it stays yours.”

    Said differently, you consider “letting go” to be dependent on your sister, and to have something to do with her, where she “makes you angry” because she “doesn’t hear” you. However, your anger is hurting you. It is fiery and corrosive, you have noticed how much your mind has churned and churned and suffered. I am not offering this to your sister, for her benefit, it is for you.

    It would never occur to you to shake your daughter and say “why won’t you stop having MS, it is difficult”… yet you consider shaking your sister and saying “why won’t you stop being like you are, it is difficult.” It is not only foolish and unrealistic, but also gives the keys to your inner peace to her.

    Instead, you can deal with the anger directly once you stop falsely accusing your sister for “creating” your anger. You wanted to be heard, weren’t, felt unloved, and the result is you feel angry. If you spoke to a deaf man and he didn’t hear you, wouldn’t the anger be foolish! When we try to talk to people who are caught up in their own junk, they are not in a place to hear us. It is sad for them! Imagine how isolating it must be for your sister to have such rigid thinking and deep judgement.

    When your sister says those things to you, you have the option to simply see her delusion and not take in the present she offers. In that way it stays about her. Instead, though, you take it as proof that your sister isn’t what you hoped, and that disappointment makes you angry. Not your sister. Your disappointment.

    There is a notion taught to me called “negative negativity” where our anger becomes so strong we think it is justified and it tries to force us into acting from a place of anger to “balance the scales of justice.” This has to be killed, smashed, destroyed. Bring the potency of your will against it and cut the cycle down.

    Letting go is about you. Your peace of mind. Your healing. You getting the joy you deserve from your lifetime of effort. Don’t let your mind fool you that you need something from your sister to get peace, you only need to set down the torch.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #37874
    Pat Merritt
    Participant

    I am so happy that I stumbled upon this site. I spent year practicing compassion and kindness. Followed the teachings of Steven Levine and Jack Kornfield mostly. Over the past few years I have sort of stopped the process. And what a process it is! Your advise and encouragement brings me back to those philosophies. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    As hard as it is to release these patterns, I am convinced that we all want to achieve this level of awareness, but like you said “our minds” are playing a different game. If we could see our previous thoughts and actions as “not working” maybe even “not true”, it would open the path for change.
    The problem is that when we are in the trenches of these “relationship spiral” we are stuck in our pain and don’t know how to get out. Clearly if what we used to do worked, we wouldn’t be struggling.
    Another reason why this forum is helpful, is that when I read some of the challenges of others, I am able to distance myself and see the pain outside myself. I can see how I react similar to others, yet when I read their story – it is much clearer to me – cause it’s not my pain. I don’t OWN it!
    Your words were pure wisdom! Appropriate and so easy to understand and I am shifting with your help. Of course I know that letting go is best for me – I’m just in awe how in grained it is for me to feel telling my truth with change the situation. Doesn’t that seem like a valid technique? Yet I know that others are also stuck in their perception of the situation. They are just as resistant at shifting as I am.
    I realize that if I try to explain each aspect of my disappointment, my sister will likely take a defensive pattern. She has no choice because if she denies her reaction, she is denying herself.
    I have always seen change as a road to release. I examined my life – my whole life and tried to identify where I could modify my behavior to help me live a more peaceful life. I no longer long to be happy – because happiness does not exist as a state of being – it’s not a noun, more a verb – I can’t be “happy” but I can experience “happiness”.
    Hearing your words about “letting go being for me”, God I’ve read that so many times. I know it is true. It is just so amazing to me how hard wired my brain is to fight the fight. Steven Levine used to say “awareness brings healing” which is why it is so important to examine our struggle. Because it is through being aware of how we react, allows us the opportunity to learn something with each experience. Each time we have an opportunity to examine, and make a different choice. Once we do, we then live the experience of that choice.
    I know if I choose your suggested path, it will have a better result for me. But to choose that – I need to believe it – somehow convince myself – when my mind is telling me to react as I know, step out and trust for just that moment – that a shift toward letting go – will bring a better life.
    Letting go is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life! I hold on with all I have!
    Recently, I had to put one of my cats to sleep. I love animals and have had many over my lifetime. Still have 2 cats, 2 dogs. Loosing my pets, and loosing loved ones in my life is devastating to me. 25 years ago I lost my brother to murder and I have grieved everyday from the deepest part of my soul.
    I’ve seen how holding onto my grief for him – I thought somehow kept him with me but lately I know that’s not true. His children have had 3 grandchildren over the years and I now see that he lives through us all. I also see that in my deep love for him – he gave me so many gifts – mainly he taught be how to love because he loved so unconditionally. He gave me the gift of experiencing unconditional love.
    The best way I can honor him is to be that “unconditional love” as best as I can. If I can be that, I can give a piece of him to his children, grandchildren and anyone else I touch in my life.
    When I had to let go of my cat – I was able to see the action as a “gift” to the cat. The letting go was much easier because it wasn’t about me – it was for him – my gift to alleviate his suffering.
    Life is suffering and learning how to live with suffering is the best we can do. But for some reason we grow up thinking that we can prevent suffering by protecting ourselves with defensive behaviors. It is interesting to see how many of the things we were taught to do – just don’t serve us.
    But God, is it hard to make choices that are different, unproven, or tested in our lives. It’s like jumping off a cliff!
    Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! You have changed my life by giving me an opportunity to SEE my situation in a different light. I am still working with it all and thankfully my sister is on vacation, so I have this time to work it out before we meet.
    I have to say I still struggle with the “responsibility” and accountability piece. But I realize now that my sister may do that if she experiences love and forgiveness instead of anger and judgment.
    My needing to be heard – does not have to come from her! She cannot hear it because she doesn’t know it!
    You are doing great things! Thank you for being you! I am grateful!
    Pat

    #37908
    Matt
    Participant

    Pat,

    There was much happiness inside me as I read your words, thank you for sharing your insights, confusions, and praise. You asked if telling her was a valid method of letting go, and I can understand why you might think so! Sometimes that works really well, but only if both people agree on what is there. Otherwise it becomes a battle of “who is seeing rightly” which often only fuels the anger on both sides.

    Letting go is hard, but I believe in you and the Buddha inside you. But how to let go?

    We think that letting go is some major release, where we see something in a new light and then we are healed. It is not the case. The light can show us the staircase out of the old way, but it is through effort and endurance that we actually let go.

    To let go, first you have to know what to let go of! That’s the trick… what gets cut? Now that you are not unskillfully associating your anger with your sister, your mind is in a fertile position to see what to do!

    The anger is coming from your spinning thoughts. Your mind works around the event and all the attachments you have… to your sister, your dream of your sister, your medical issues, your daughter, your pets, your sense of justice etc etc and adds steam to the cycle. It starts with “hmm, that sister sure is interesting->something in my memory hurts->how could she have said that-> what about me! -> that inconsiderate bitch!

    This cycle creates the anger. Said differently, the anger and the spinning thoughts are arising together in your body. It is the spinning that causes the anger, and the anger causes the spinning. That’s it. We have delusions that it is more, but that is because we are so used to connecting “sister” to “anger” that our mind is forgotten as a key role in the process.

    All you need to do is concentrate and notice when the thoughts are spinning or the body feels anger. Breathe in and out, tuning into what is there. The breath is there, some vibrations are there (that you had been calling anger) the thoughts are there. Gently move your attention away from the thoughts and into the breath. It will last a moment before the mind sucks your attention away. That’s normal. Just be patient with yourself and gently move your mind back to the breath again. Soon, the thoughts and anger will vanish. They will come back when you see/hear/think of another trigger, but those triggers decrease in strength the more you practice moving your attention back to the breath.

    The breath is really any meditation object, something simple to concentrate our awareness. If not the breath, perhaps a candle, some music, you could chant om… just something other than being lost in the cycle of mind.

    I am so excited you refuse to take things on faith! That means you are wisely discerning. Never assume someone is right, but trust that others have gone through similar things and might have innovations that help. Apply the innovations, try them out! If you notice they work, you won’t need faith… you’ll have authentic confidence, and that makes all the difference.

    With warmth,
    Matt

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