At last night's meeting, I asked that we discuss ways to deal with ANGER. It was pretty interesting the things that came up
A lot of people talked about how when they feel angry, they realize that the anger is really towards themselves. Everyone brought up money, and how what makes them the most furious is that they saw their money draining away and were in denial about what was really going on. My husband manipulated me to get access to my money; however, I knew it was disappearing at an alarming rate, and I let him keep taking it. I let him use my car...I ignored the obvious signs that he was using...I saw him naked all the time, and I never noticed his track marks. I was so STUPID!
And so I turn this rage towards him because I don't know what else to do with it.
Everyone's solution to dealing with their own anger was to learn how to forgive themselves and to accept their roles in letting the money go and ignoring the obvious warning signs.
I also thought it was interesting that several women mentioned how they'd been marriued to addicts before. I keep wondering why we do this--why do these smart, interesting women keep marrying addicts? Why do I keep marrying addicts? It's not cute. It isn't interesting. It isn't fun.
So, I'm going to try to forgive myself. It's work I need to do, anyway, even if I'm not able to forgive my husband.
Another thing that I thought was interesting, and that is one of those tools that these 12 step programs offer that just will make you a better person regardless of your life problems, was kind of a sophisticated version of the old adage, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." One woman said that when she first started coming to Nar-Anon, a more experienced member kept telling her that she could say whatever she wanted to her addict, but only if she could say it lovingly, compassionately, and with a moderate, calm tone.
I thought this idea was really interesting because it will enable me to say the things that I need to say, to get the frustration off my chest and to express my feelings about things that are hurting me, but it will probably also make these things be received much better. Also, if there is something that I want to say but I can't figure out how to process it into the loving, compassionate language I have to restrict myself to, it probably is just a hurtful comment with no real core of truth in it, and I don' tneed to say it. I think that reflecting on my thoughts and words in this way will help me to process my anger a little better, and by repackaging these ideas in a friendlier form, I will probably be less angry on the inside as well. It's a way of working on my relationship while working on myself and making myself feel better. That's the best thing about the 12 step experience--I like the double and triple goals of many of the things I'm learning. I like it that I'm growing stronger, so if I stay with my husband, I'll be better able to take care of myself regardless of what he does, and if I leave him, I'll be better equipped to deal with the pain and fear of being alone and leaving him alone.
It's good stuff.