On working through anger and admitting defeat (Hint: I’m not very good at either of those things)

I’ve never been able to “forgive and forget.” Quite the contrary, actually – it’s much more my style to “move on and try to act like nothing happened (but then blow up at something small because I’m actually really holding a grudge, you just don’t know it).”

Trust me on this one, y’all: That method never works out well. The only thing it leads to is a lot of pent up anger, aggression and resentment. And that is never good for any type of relationship, be it with a family member, friend, or significant other.

It’s ugly, and in the midst of (what others probably perceive as) a tantrum, it makes me an ugly person. I never, ever, EVER feel good about myself after one of my blow-ups. And, in my shame, I usually end up apologetic (because “I overreacted”) and then the core problem never gets solved.

And then the whole cycle starts over again.

There are times when I feel helpless. Like those times when a problem I’ve had time and time again with another person keeps resurfacing, and I keep trying to approach it from a different angle, in hopes that my new approach will lead to a different outcome… but to no avail. And then I feel defeated, because after I inevitably explode, I am so full of shame that I APOLOGIZE FOR VOICING MY OPINION. (And then, I’m ashamed about THAT.) At those times, at my lowest, I feel like I have no fight left in me. So I give up.

Some arguments you just have to let go of, though. I’ve learned to pick my battles – forget about the toothpicks left on the coffee table; focus on getting some help budgeting and saving money. I’ve learned to focus on the big picture, but making it relevant in our day-to-day lives. We can’t spend X amount of money downtown every day, because that’s added up to Y amount over the past month and Y amount could have bought us Item Z. (I do not miss algebra, by the way.)

But I digress. Like I was saying, I’ve learned to pick my battles. Choose the ones I can win, or the ones that matter; let go of the trivial, losing ones.

The problem with this way of thinking is that, often, my idea of what’s trivial and what’s important don’t exactly line up with what others think is trivial or important. So the things I want to sit down and hash out and fix? Don’t get fixed because while I’m sitting on my side of the fence, choosing my battles… so are they.

How do you pick YOUR battles?

And, once the war is over, how do you let go of the ugliness, the leftover anger and resentment, and actually move the fuck on?

Photo by Cameron Kisel

One Comment

  1. terra said:

    I am not good at this either. It’s hard for me to not harbor resentment and it’s too easy for me to fallback on the same old argument when there are bigger issues at hand. I like to think I’ve gotten better at picking my battles, just through trial and error and through learning that something’s just aren’t worth fighting fir, but it’s not easy.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011
    Reply

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