I love this Tweet by Lovely Little Red Poet. Love it.
The Tweet acknowledges the possibility that it isn’t someone else lying to me but my inability to separate my angry pride from the reality of the situation. This brief declaration acknowledges the possibility that I am lying to myself out of anger in order to stay angry. Anger begets more anger.
In those moments when my Anger and Pride conspire to make up stories no amount of Truth will be heard. These stories, once accepted and internalized will blind me from any perspective other than my own. In this place I will always find things, and people, to confirm the bias of my angry pride.
“Anger is natural, intelligent and necessary for surviving and flourishing,” writes Tara Brach. Of course, if I’m angry and if I’m fueling more anger through a thoughtless confirmation bias, the anger baits me into being angrier which then fuels a new round of stories and more confirmation biases. As such, “when we are hooked by anger,” adds Brach, “it causes great personal and collective suffering.”
…and so the tail wags the dog.
2 thoughts on “33: Lies and Anger”
I, of course, love the photo. 🙂
The tweet…? I think there is certainly truth to it. Sometimes. From the perspective of the betrayed spouse, it’s not hard to find things to be angry about. In fact, it actually takes serious effort to avoid being angry much of the time. I never had to actively TRY to be happy before. I just was. Now, I often have to plaster on my smiley face and fake it till things improve and maybe it becomes a little more automatic (authentic?) again and the anger is displaced from the back burner where it usually simmers.
I agree completely though that anger fuels itself. Without the deliberate effort to step away from one’s anger it just seems to roll forward, building steam as it goes along. It’s why I think we need to vent occasionally in a hopefully healthy way, be it writing or hitting golf balls or power walking or whatever sets that negative energy free.
My Good Doc reminded me that traumatic events make us hyper-vigilant. We become hyper-sensitive and imagine slights were there are none. As a result the stories grow to engulf our experience.
She is constantly reminding me to reject the stories. Throughout my writings I have often told the story and then made a list of other possibilities too. There really are more than two options. It is only my thinking that demands a right or wrong, good or bad, with us or against us, creating either/or narratives.
For example, when © called my client around month 8, my first reaction was built around the negative story. I believed the least generous or gracious story. My friends encouraged the least generous or gracious perspective. They encouraged me to remain angry…
It took me a few days to recognize the story I made up about her actions and how ill-informed friends thought they were helping by helping me spin angrier narratives.
My doctor had me write out 5 other possible reasons she would contact my client and then asked me to explain how it was about me.
Nothing on the list I came up with was about me. All of them were about her. It was then I realized how much of what I thought was happening was really just a story my pride made up to justify my anger and perpetuate my contempt.
In reality, I was embarrassed she texted my client and my pride made up a story. I thought she did it to punish me and be a vindictive bitch trying to break me.
It was then that I realized her choices have nothing to do with me. I’ll never know why she did what she did and I can only guess…but since it is all a guess I’m choosing the most generous and gracious: by reaching out to my client and revealing my betrayal, secret keeping, and escalating serious of lies it was one of many unskillful ways she deals with her anger. It isn’t new behavior. This is how she let’s me know she is still angry.
And since I’ve tried for over a year to talk and listen to her like she is someone I loved, I am willing to make allowances. I know she isn’t a bad person, she is simply wounded and hurt.
I cannot fix any of that. I cannot heal that pain for her. She was those things before we met. I thought, as the hero I could save her – and she could save me. That’s not skillful or real. Doesn’t mean we don’t love each other but it means to be together we had to grow. We couldn’t. Relationships are mirrors.
As such I’ve really tried to meet her choices with compassion and love over and over. It would be easy to be angry and indignant but that serves nothing.
I did what I did. She’s done what she’s done. We aren’t together. That is the only story that matters.
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