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Dispute Leads to Anger and Vindictiveness

 

“Only that action is just which does not harm either party to a dispute.” — Gandhi

Most of the disputes I have occur when I realize I have been lied to. I hate being lied to. I’m not stupid. I want to know that I’m dealing with people in “reality” rather than a fictitious world made up through lies. I find myself occasionally embroiled in a bitter dispute and feel determined at all costs to back a person into a corner to get them to admit to their lie, or to impose my solution to the dispute, even though I know it may cause the other person harm. I have come to know that I don’t really want a solution at all; I want revenge.

The wish to harm others may be derived from feeling that I have been hurt, perhaps as a child. I may be recalling feelings of being neglected, misunderstood, or even abused and assaulted. So to me, in my mind, the world owes me something and I intend to collect. I may even bear grudges and resentments against successful people, not because they have done me wrong, but merely because they are – successful.

I need to let my shame and sorrow out into the clear light of day. By opening myself up to others, I will surely find that together we can defuse my anger and want to hurt others. I can stand on equal footing with others and have no more need for resentment and rage.

I know that I am gradually getting rid of my secret shame that causes me to act out of anger and vindictiveness.

 

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So Many of Us Have a Problem with Anger

Anger as soon as fed is dead. ‘Tis starving makes it fat.”  — Emily Dickinson

I feel I have a problem with anger.  I’m aware of certain acquaintances and friends who identify with anger issues, some of whom are working on anger management with a therapist. Many of us seem to have a problem with anger, often misdirection it and hurting the most innocent and loved people in our life.  This anger we feel may have developed as a result of sexual abuse, neglect, or beatings we may have experienced as children which we turned against ourselves or others in a vicious, repetitive cycle.

When I became aware of my problem with anger, I began work with my therapist to create new tools to cope with my feelings appropriately.  I needed to talk about all the incidents that still tormented me. I encouraged in my sessions to get angry at those that abused me or those I felt victimized by.  I learned that I was likely to go on through life being a victim until I could fight my way through those early situations.  It is often necessary to give one’s self permission to vent anger as an affirmation of self-worth, and not a contradiction of all the lessons learned about being tolerant, forgiving and peace-loving.

It is quite possible to, “hate the deed and not the do-er” by separating in one’s mind, the behavior, from the person.  We have the right to hate what happened to us; we have the right to be angry at people for their aggressive, hurtful acts, while being ready to forgive them as people who need love just as much as we do.  If anger is held back, it will fester and come out in mean and petty ways.  Anger starved will rob us of our dignity and tranquility.