Jeez. I dunno, if you’ve seen therapists and they don’t help, I dunno. I do know just what it is you’re talking about. I found that time faded some of it. Meditation, yoga, religion? Maybe try anti-depressants? Cognitive Behavioral therapy?
I’m curious, too, so I’ll be coming back to read answers.
It might help if we knew a little more about your situation to understand where these feelings come from or what even caused them. Or is it a general feeling about life in general.
I have posted before about a situation causing many of these emotions from a previous job I had where I was screwed over by a former employer that basically wanted me for some knowledge I had. Once they could replicate it, they didn’t need me to do it. Meanwhile, they convinced me to leave a very good job to teach them, then drove me to leave by significantly lowering my salary, knowing I couldn’t get my old job back.
I still have a lot of those feelings and have to deal with the same people on occasion. All I can say is “time heals all wounds” and “living well is the best revenge”. It helps to have a good support network of friends and family that remind you that you are loved and that you were right to feel the way you did. The more time I don’t think about, the less mad I get when I do think about them…
I have. I used to experience almost nonstop anger towards many people, but the two that stick out in my mind are two bosses who cheated me out of some money during my summer jobs. I used to spend several hours of every day fuming at them even though the amount of money wasn’t very large. Then at some point I began to think about what the purpose of all this was, whether sitting alone in my apartment with my fists clenched in rage was going to accomplish anything or not. Luckily around the same time I was introduced to the idea of forgiveness and the famous words of Jesus Christ: “Love your enemies and do good to those who would harm you.” It’s an amazingly powerful philosophy and when I started to think about all my relationships and feelings in those terms, my life changed dramatically.
Other pieces of advice that I could give: first, avoid situations that make you angry. If people on a certain message board make you angry, stop participating. If a certain radio or TV program makes you angry, stop listening or watching.
Second, when you feel a bout of anger beginning, interrupt it by doing something different. Exercise is good. Hanging out with friends is good. Even watching a movie can be good if it gives you something different to think about.
Third, take charge of your own mental processes. You’re not an animal that has to feel a certain way in any given situation. You’re a human who can decide what you will feel, but it takes practice and discipline.
Exercise has a good way of channeling rage and other feelings into something more productive or at least not destructive. Martial arts was good for not only the exercise and a lot of self discipline. And if you’re like me, knowing you can kick the crap out of someone (but won’t) has a calming effect.
Living well is the best revenge starts to make sense when multiple pieces of your life start to fit together.
Remove the triggers or the stressors if possible. If someone pushes your hot bottons - don’t hang out with them. If it’s your Mom, well then work on coping strategies (only visit on a holiday, set a timeframe for leaving, call once a month for 10 minutes whether you need it or not, etc).
Some bad things happened to me when I was younger and I have a lot of feelings of helplessness, violation, shame, inadequacy, alienation etc because of it. It isn’t stuff happening today, it is stuff that happened a long time ago that I never learned how to process and let go of.
I’m not really mad at people day to day, people really don’t get on my nerves. At this point in my life I’m pretty good about only mentally directing my rage at the 10~ people who I am angry at (a couple of severely bad situations happened), by and large I’d say most of the rage I’ve felt in life was directed at a handful of people. I don’t really get mad at other people, so I’m not running into day to day situations where people make me angry.
I used to be very angry and I would occasionally lash out at the people that loved me. When I finally realized that all my anger and bitterness was hurting my friends and family it was a real eye-opener.
I regard life experiences that triggered my rage, resentment, hate and bitterness as learning opportunities that I can call on to help me avoid being taken advantage of again. I don’t think most of my feelings are unjustified, and if I can learn from them to improve my judgement, then they are not negative feelings.
Similar to one of my alltime favorites, which I think is much better and truer:
Resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Take or leave all of the following…I offer it only because it has proven valuable to me and others.
First is coming to the understanding that whatever happened, whatever was done and by whom, no matter how terrible or cruel or violating…it was never about you in any way. It wasn’t for you, it wasn’t against you; in terms of those who hurt you, it had virtually nothing to do with you at all. It was entirely about them, you were just a vessel, an object against which those people played out their issues, their wounds, their pain, their anger, their fear, brokenness, whatever.
And while that doesn’t do a damn thing to change what happened, it might help to understand that there’s no shame for you, nothing for you to own.
If you were wounded or abused by people who you should have been able to trust, such as your parents, knowing that it wasn’t about you can help there, as well: their inadequacy, their error, their brokenness and the way it was visited on you says nothing about you and your value, nothing about whether you deserved to be mistreated, or even whether you were loved. What it reflects are the wounds and the pain and the illness that was visited upon them. While we hope and expect that our parents will be all about us, they aren’t and they can’t be…they are human beings with pasts and wounds of their own, and if they haven’t healed, their children will suffer.
From what you say it seems very much as though there’s a part of you that is still a child, or at least very much younger, and that part is holding out hope that someone can do something to take it all back. But forgiveness means *letting go of the hope (which is irrational) that the past could be different.
Coming to this understanding can help you forgive, and you must know that you forgive for you, not for them (see my quote).
I wish you all the best in this. I know it can be done.
In that vein, I realized two things a couple of years that really made a difference in my thinking. The first is that your parents did the best they could (no matter how crappy that was). Very few parents wake up and think to themselves, “How am I going to screw up my kids’ lives today?”
The second is that no one gets everything they need from their parents - what you don’t get from them, you (and everyone else) have to get on your own. Your parents set you out on your journey - you have to pick up the rest of the tools along the way.
My first wife, who cheated on me, ran off with another guy and left me in debt? Her 2nd, 3rd and 4th marriages were all disasters, and numbers 2 and 4 were even bigger disasters than mine. Meanwhile, I found the right partner and have been married to her for 30 years.
That boss who screwed me? Turns out he screwed a lot of other people, and he ended up screwing himself even worse because he just wasn’t capable of making a good deal and not trying to give himself an edge.
One of the tough lessons to learn in life is IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Good people will generally behave like good people, and assholes will be assholes. The power you have is to associate with the one and avoid the other. Use it.
I started letting go by being honest and telling my mother what had happened to me. She was extremely supportive and helped me talk about it.
I think the thing that really helped me overcome my anger at the abuse I lived though was to have a frank and open conversation with my abusers. I found that it really didn’t matter what they said back (one admitted to the abuse and apologized, the other denies it to this day) just the act of honesty on my part made me feel so much better.
It was at that point that I realized that I had done nothing to feel all the shame I felt, and it was the act of hiding it that caused the shame. Since than I have been able to talk about it openly.
The anger and resentment slipped when I stopped letting it be the defining act of my life. Now it’s just something that happened a long time ago and I define my life in other ways.
There’s no percentage in being angry and holding on to it.
You don’t get over things, you learn to accept it and move on.
Think about all the times you’ve been mad. Why? Can you change anything? If so, DO IT. If not, let it rest. Indeed 5 minutes after they drop you in the grave 99.9% of everyone you ever have known is gonna forget you ever existed.
Fifty years from now almost all of us will be dead and gone and no one is gonna remember we were ever alive.
No one goes to their graves saying, “Man I’m glad I stayed angry for 50 years.” Instead they go to their graves thinking “If I only had more time. I wasted all that time being mad, instead of doing something that would make me happy.”
Think about all the time you wasted being mad. Think about all the joy you missed because you were too busy being mad.
Anger is a wall. When you hit a wall you don’t keep bumping into it. You go around it, or under it, or over it, or through it. See you can’t control how you feel but you CAN control what you do about it and how you’re gonna react to it.
About four years ago I started teaching chemistry at a school and I inherited a closet full of old chemical bottles, some of which looked like they dated from the 30’s. Storing acid in containers that react with acid was far from the stupidest thing that had been done.