HifromGrace said:I tend to write it off thinking it's chemically enduced anger (when cheating on diet) - but I still act like a fool. But (meagerly) to my credit, I don't act out on him anymore, feeling entitled to rage & rant & blame - I know enough that my feelings are not an accurate reflection of the reality around me. But it's still not ok to do. I'm glad to come across this conversation, because I've been wanting to change and understand.
A couple of weeks ago something interesting happened. I had been going on like a 3 week bender of being pissed off at him, at every little thing, just intolerant. And I was trying to articulate (out loud to myself) what on earth was I actually so mad about, and before I could self edit, a comment about control came out (I've been sooooo blind to this aspect previously, thinking I was immune to "control issues"). I was really embarrassed and it scared me straight somewhat (& am so grateful to gain some perspective from what you guys are saying above).
Then that night, I decided to do something different based on trying to be kinder to myself - for a couple months I had consciously changed my inner script when I was feeling anxious. To sum it up, I would have this feeling of so-and-so standing over me and criticizing me to no end (like getting the house ready to host Easter, and trying to accommodate other people's standards and being degraded at every turn). And I realized that so-and-so had never actually done anything threatening like that to me, and yet here I was, on hour 2 of hearing this dialog (learned behavior from youth?).
Anyway, I've been getting Reiki treatments of late and my inner dialog there has been "love to me" and so I forcibly chose to have that so-and-so tell me "love to you" for the rest of my activities! Man did that turn out well!
And back to my husband story, so that night, I went over my day and for all my petty anger, in each situation, I said "love to you Jack" instead. I did it for a few minutes, hitting all the bases, I didn't really dwell on it.
That morning he was super chipper & loving (vs us still waking up and being somewhat pissy). It was so nice, and he mentioned that he had a dream that we had made up (in the larger sense) - I was so struck. I told him about my corn ball "love to you thing" and he appreciated that (being directed to him & to caring myself).
It's been a story on my mind that I've wanted to share. It was a powerful & empowering experience for me.
I've gone back and forth with myself, thinking this could fall into the New Age beaming love & light bull crap thing. & I'm tending to side with it not being the same. I had no coercive intent, no expectation or anticipation. I was just trying to not act like such an a-hole, and it was a stepping stone, consciously choosing something other than auto-pilot anger. Any thoughts?
First of all, from a person that used to get really angry-really fast-I salute your efforts. It is hard to turn temper around. For me, it was turning my viewpoint around-I tended to focus on me, and what I was getting from whatever the situation was-and when it didn't go my way-it was not pretty. I was an ugly person. I could be cruel and sarcastic. And the person I was married to just fed that anger and resentment. It was not a good way to live. Getting so angry and tense was my reaction to not being in control. I grew up with a family motto of: if you want something done right, you better do it yourself. I didn't work well with others in school because I was always too paranoid to leave the fate of my grade in someone else's hands. There were a myriad of examples of how my life was a battle for control. But it was hard to "get outside my self" and see myself. If you haven't read Timothy Wilson's book -Strangers to Ourselves, I do recommend it. It helped me to see me from outside me :).
Second of all, I think that Mate points out that a lot of our adult issues come from repression and junk left over from our childhoods. When you were younger, did you feel like you didn't have control? Did you feel like things weren't safe unless you could control them? I developed some control issues when my first spouse abandoned me with a baby. It was an awful feeling to know that the person who was supposed to be my partner and help me provide for our child -just quit. I couldn't control him. I couldn't make him come back. I could not make him better (he has bi-polar disorder). But as I read Mate and Wilson's books, I began to realize that my issues of control started way long ago, before I was ever a parent. As a child, I was successful at the things I did--but I only did things I was successful at. As a result, (a) I didn't try many things because I was terrified of failing because (b) I didn't want my parents to be unhappy with me and disappointed. So, hence, I only participated in activities that I could control the outcome or that I was completely assured of winning. Example: after taking a ball to the head at the hands of a much larger boy at a kickball game when I was 8, I never played sports again. Ever. It was also embarrassing to hear the other children laughing at me as I was on the ground. The incident taught me that if I wasn't in control, pain and suffering ensued. So I vowed at that moment to never do things that would make me vulnerable to pain. That's a ridiculous lesson for an 8 year old to process but that's what I walked away with (and a mild concussion.) So perhaps as painful as it might be, going back and really examining your childhood could be helpful in realizing where some of this anger comes from. When we can recognize our patterns and their sources, it can really help with the shedding process.
Thirdly, Reki is really helpful. I know for me it was very calming and helped me to get my temper under control big time. Also, I found EE was tremendously beneficial. Do you practice? In reading Mate, a reoccurring theme in a lot of the people's lives is their inability to let go. They just kept repressing everything and that led their various illnesses. Bad things and stressful situations are going to arise in life and I have found EE didn't make the situation go away--but it totally helped me deal with it in a way that didn't cause internalization of stress and negativity. Pipe breathing is wonderful for calming down and gaining perspective and it's something that can be done quietly and in your office chair, or while you're cooking dinner, or while you are wrangling children. :)
Lastly, I am familiar with auto-pilot anger. And I am sending you a big hug for recognizing that you have this pattern, and a big pat on the back for wanting to abandon it. This is something that it has taken me years to shake. My friends jokingly referred to it as "the red mist descending". It was irrational and as I look back on my behavior, I do struggle with forgiving myself for such anger. IMO, this is not New Age bs. This is you dealing with your programming and taking active steps to walk away from a mantle you no longer have to wear. Shedding layers and baggage can be painful stuff, and often is, if we are doing it honestly. I'm glad that you had this experience and were able to see a positive response from Jack.