Yesterday was an enlightening meeting with my therapist. As expected, I covered the latest drama with Mom and Dad, Adam, and the kids. I explained how I was amazed when I set the stage right with Adam how much more productive our conversations are. I don’t seem to get as angry with him.
She proceeded to explain that Anger comes from two places: fear and pain. Hmm, think about that for a moment. Anger derives from either fear or pain. Here are some recent examples:
- When Mom became angry at me over sewing a button on Dad’s pants, really she was feeling fear from going to the hospital.
- When Adam disappointed me by not calling back, I felt pain which came out as anger.
- When the kids frustrate me by not listening and I snap, I’m really showing pain from their lack of respect.
- When being angry at Adam for kicking us out of the country, I was fearful of our future and pained by his lack of caring.
All of this started to make sense. As we continued to talk, I explained how I was much less angry with Adam when I felt sorry for him because he misses the kids. I was showing empathy. Here’s a really kicker for you:
The only way to breakdown anger is to show empathy.
Is this why I wasn’t angry Adam has an affair? I felt sorry for him that having an affair was the only way he knew I would leave our marriage. I showed empathy and there was no anger. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was angry that he didn’t talk to me first. Why? Because that hurt.
Starting to understand Anger and where it comes from has been truly enlightening to me. I hope to be more mindful of this in the future to better understand my emotions during conflict.
Guiding Card of the Day: Play – does it count when I’m watching Lucy play her game? If not, then the Angels are going to have to wait on this one.
Homework of the Week: My therapist gave me an assignment to help with being more mindful. I would like to recommend you do the same. Every day this week:
- Set a time for 1 minute (this is the hardest part)
- For 1 minute write down everything that comes to mind.
- Do not edit, do not worry about grammar, do not worry if this makes sense…just write.
When you are done, did you write too much? Are you letting too many things into your head? Do you need to set better boundaries? Or did you not write much? Do you need to fill your head with more? For me, it looks pretty balanced, but very scattered.