Anger and Anxiety
Punishing others for a perceived wrongdoing feels good, doesn’t it? It gives us a feeling of power and control over someone who hurt us. We feel that being mad or upset is a useless emotion and punishing that person gives us a purpose. A way to deal with and process those negative emotions. A way to deal with anger.
What we don’t realize is all we are doing is harming ourselves. We are holding on so tightly to those negative emotions. But the person who harmed us doesn’t have to continue to feel any of it. We are just continuing the circle of hurt all on our own.
My brother and sister-in-law recently went a little crazy. They kicked us out of their lives and moved 12 hours away. That is clearly the short version but the long version would take me until next week to write out.
I was so hurt and so angry that I started refusing to talk to my brother, and even blocked my sister-in-law from my phone and all my social media. Any mention of her name would push me over the edge.
These two finally realize that they were acting crazy and started trying to put all the pieces back together but I wasn’t having any of it. I was still so angry and hurt. I needed to make them feel how they had made me feel.
This was a terrible idea.
When you stay mad at someone or try to force them to feel a certain way, the only person who gets hurt is you.
If you are still so caught up in your negative feelings that you want other people to feel that way too, take a step back and really think about what you are asking. Wouldn’t you do anything to go back and avoid all that hurt?
Why would you then want to be the person that causes that kind of pain for someone else? What will you ultimately gain by “punishing” the person who hurt you?
Would you want people to associate this kind of negative quality with you? I don’t think anyone’s goal in life is for other people to see them as aggressive, or hurtful. Wouldn’t you rather be known as compassionate and kind?
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I’m not saying that you need to go out of your way to try and patch things up with people that hurt you. What I am saying is that you should not go out of your way to make other peoples lives miserable.
My brother and sister-in-law eventually moved back to town. I spent weeks losing my mind over the move because I didn’t want to deal with them being in the same town.
I was still so caught up in my anger that I refused to even be in the same location as my sister-in-law. To me, she was an evil, vile, person whose only purpose on this planet was to make my life hell.
That thought leads me to my second point.
Harboring resentment will continuously occupy your thoughts with negative emotions.
You know what negative emotions do? They INCREASE your anxiety! As sufferers of anxiety, this is certainly not something we want to do.
Spend your time searching for and living in the light. The light is the only thing that will drive out your darkness. Total metaphor here, so you are welcome to interpret it any way you wish. My point is, if you spend your time dwelling on negative thoughts you will feel negative. If you spend your time in positive thoughts you will begin to feel positive.
The only time I ever felt anything positive about the situation would be on Sunday mornings in church. You know when you are sitting in service and you are trying to hide behind the person in front of you because YOU KNOW your pastor is preaching right to you? Yea, that was me for about 6 weeks.
Each week God would chip away a little bit of that hardness I had constructed around my heart. Reminding me that I was never intended to carry negative burdens like these.
And neither are you, mama.
When you hold tight to hurt and anger you begin to imagine “what if” scenarios.
I don’t even think I need to explain “what if’s” because moms learn how to make these up from the moment we find out we are pregnant.
Anxious moms are professional “what ifers”. We can take the most mild situation and somehow worry it into an apocalypse.
Seriously though, just stop with the “what if’s”. Focus on the facts. Facts only.
This person that hurt you only hurt you in a certain way. You must not spend your time imagining that they will hurt you in other ways too. That’s not fair to you or the other person.
It’s kind of like having a dream that your husband ran off to Vegas and lost your life savings at the blackjack table. Upon waking you would laugh at how silly your dream was and move on with your day.
But what if you didn’t move on? What if you woke him up, yelling about how stupid he is, burned his breakfast to make sure he knew how mad you are and made him sleep on the couch because “serves him right after what he did!”
That would be crazy, right? Because none of that ever really happened!
Same thing when you image all these what-if scenarios.
Remember how I blocked my sister-in-law from all forms of communication? In doing that I
Removed all possibility of reconciliation.
I was so mad at her I wasn’t even going to give her the opportunity to be sorry. I felt that I was protecting myself but really I was just trying to hold all the power.
The funny thing about human relationships is they are two-sided. You actually need TWO people to make them work or not work.
When you put yourself in a space emotionally where there is no room to even possibly feel anything other than negative emotions how will you ever get past them?
I am not nieve enough to think that everyone’s fights, arguments or disagreements will always have a happy ending. But I am realistic enough to know that people do change. Sometimes someone needs time to cool down, to take a breather.
Sometimes there will never be a reconciliation. That’s okay too.
Don’t put yourself in a spot where there is nothing left but a scab that won’t ever heal.
We were meant to be forgivers. We were made to love. Do that, even if you feel things will never be better. Don’t hold onto those negative feelings and don’t build a wall to keep the other person out forever. You never know what may be happening to change another’s heart.
My sister-in-law and I finally had a talk once I felt that ah-ha moment after 6 long weeks of God softening my heart. I finally realized that it was never my place to try and punish her for anything. It was not my place to make her feel bad about her choices and decisions. It was not my place to cut her out so completely that she could never try and make things right.
Once I opened my heart to the possibility of things being better and stopped focusing on how badly I assumed they would be, I saw a change. We talked. We discussed how and why things happened. We mended together.
Finally, I want to share this video because I think it’s important to note that the idea that we have good or bad emotions is silly. We simply have emotions. Some we like to feel and some we don’t, but we can never avoid any of the ones we don’t like. It is just part of life. We need to learn to recognize the emotion for what it is, just an emotion. Learn to process it properly and deal with it like grown-ups!
Click Below to Watch
Remember that on a journey to decreasing anxiety we wont to limit the amount of negative in our lives. Harboring resentment and desiring to punish our aggressors will only bring US more pain and increase OUR anxiety. Give credit to your hurts, process them and move forward. Don’t let them hold you in place or even worse, push you backward.