9/14/2023 (Day #4278)
Resentment, judgment, anger management
I think it’s a fair assessment that ” old me” had anger management issues. Whether I was a “hothead” or inherently angry person is open to interpretation of my assortment of outward displays of anger. I didn’t know it before, but I learned in Anger Management classes that I was also turning my anger inward at myself. Resentment, judgment, and negative/destructive self-talk were by-products of my internalized anger.
Reviewing “old me” thinking revealed that I’d been in denial about my anger issues. Symptoms traced back to my late teens, and were unabated until an employer-directed attempt at counselling in my early 30s to address some anger issues related to toxic work-environment dynamics I wasn’t dealing with constructively, compounded by alcohol/drug abuse. The counselling was ineffective, a bust, at least partly because medicating me with Zoloft and trazadone made me a walking zombie incapable of the interaction essential to counselling and therapy. From that point until my arrest, despite family support and encouragement, I didn’t participate in any counselling or therapy.
Here at my current location, Anger Management classes, both standalone and within treatment, and therapy work have supplemented each other to reform a recurring catalyst of my internal strife – corrosive self-talk. I’d already identified my self-talk was problematic in other cognitive issues and realized positive changes by establishing consistent mindfulness practice that enhanced my self-awareness and focus. The progress I’d made and the simplicity of mindfulness practice drove my decision to stick with what’s working and familiar.
If corrosive self-talk was the fire, resentments and judgments were gasoline. They burdened me with dead weight and largely self-induced by perceptions and assumptions. Changing my perspective to rely more on objective and rational thinking resolved most of the dead weight, and the rest I processed in therapy to learn to accept or let go of. I also found that insecurity was a contributing element, and gains I made and successes I realized built up my self-confidence, indirectly mitigating the insecurity I’d wrestled with.
I’d love to exclaim, “No more resentments!! No more judgments!!”. But that would be unrealistic, and dishonest. I’m human, I have feelings. Sometimes I feel resentful or judgmental. The difference is now I have the tools, skills, and self-confidence to acknowledge and accept unpleasant feelings and let them pass. Life is smoother without “wearing” them or burdening myself by holding onto them with irrational thinking, like assumptions or misperceptions.
Addressing my anger issues as a whole revolves around my trust in proactivity versus old tendencies towards reactivity. Without fuel, there’s nothing for sparks (read: daily living events) to ignite. I’m at peace, calm, and readily accepting of whatever comes my way with self-confidence and reassurance from success.
Calm as a cucumber.