Thursday, December 27, 2007

Diffuse Anger and Codependency - "Save Yourself" Part 3

Diffuse Anger and Codependency - "Save Yourself" Part 3. This is a multi-part series. See the posts on the lower right hand side. You can search by date or by the label. Under label look for Anger or Codependency.

Anger serves no purpose. We need to remember "character" and its development. We are here to serve a purpose, a greater good.

If you are unsure of this - yet - the best thing - in my opinion is to develop character. Character to me is; integrity, goodness, a centeredness, living in honor. It means to me, not to judge others.

I notice when I force myself to think about not judging and evaluating, I find myself more peaceful. I do not evaluate who is good, bad or wrong or right - when I am in the "zone" of being noble, of developing my character. Right now some of us want this "inner peace," but are having difficulty with anger, frustration and losing our cool. (See note below, if you are being abused)

How Do We Get Over Anger? Or Keep From Losing Our Cool?

  1. First and foremost, you must believe you should eliminate it. Then do not allow it to occur and build that path that was discussed in Part 2 (click here).
  2. Second, do not feel guilty for the alcoholic's life or behavior. You have not caused it and you cannot control it. And you cannot fix it. Guilt serves no purpose either. Guilt as defined by me, is anger inner directed.
  3. Breath. Say the word out loud; "Breath". Take a huge, deep breath.
  4. Walk away. As Stephen Covey says in Principle Centered Leadership, "Step out of all poisonous orbits." Walk away. Do not engage. Disengage.
  5. Smile. Fake the smile. As stupid and ignorant as this sounds, it works! It worked for me earlier this week.
  6. Also, listen to your tone of voice! Talk in a sing-song voice. Your tone is a dead give away. Now, I might of looked and sounded a little nuts, but it made for an uncomfortable position to be in for my spouse as I was being baited and my buttons were being pushed, and all she heard was a happy person. Also, action and behavior - even faked - can change your current thoughts and feelings. Go to a smile and pretend you are happy. In a matter of minutes you are happy! This does work. It worked so well this past week - I cannot believe it.
  7. Don't take the bait. You will be baited. Go back to numbers 4, 5 and 6!!!!
  8. Sleep. You need and must get 7 to 8 hours sleep. Lack of sleep causes you to react improperly. You are more irritable. SLEEEEEP!!!
  9. Do not blame others or your spouse or qualifier (the addict in your life). Blame is related to be right and righteous. You don't need to be right and have to prove you are right to anyone - ever! And don't make this statement to another person, because when you do, you are proving you are right - again.
  10. Eat right. When we don't eat, we are hungry. This makes us irritable. Eating too much, makes us feel guilty, stuffed, and we become - irritable (again). Also, in times of stress we can have irritable bowel syndrome. This is a big problem for men and especially women of a spouses and children of addicts. It makes us feel bloated and uncomfortable. For more on irritable bowel syndrome click here. Eat foods high in fiber. Sorry about this folks. But many of you are eating cheeses and crud. Fiber - I found the cereal Kashi - Go Lean to help here. Again, sorry about this one. But it is a very common ailment with spouses of alcoholics
  11. Keep a journal on your anger triggers; use the following headings across the top of your journal; Time of Day ; Trigger (cause) ; Scale (intensity 1 - 10) ; Duration ; What I did - My Reaction (i.e. I yelled about ... I tensed up ...etc). Keep the journal for 21 days. If this is too long for you, then do it for seven (7) days. Look for patterns. You will find triggers and patterns. They will be people; they will be slight remarks you take as rude; you see motorists cutting you off; you will see things that are not personal or not aimed at you as a person and your self-worth, but you take it personally.
  12. Stop watching the news at night before bed or first thing in the morning. Also, stop reading the paper. Stop altogether. Or if your job requires you to read the paper, depersonalize it.
    Substitute negative for positive; Read and watch inspirational movies and books. This leads to living at the top of Maslow's Self Actualization hierarchy. This really works! It fills you with hope and eliminates your despair.
  13. Create a repertoire of reactions that are pleasant when faced with anger or when anger is directed at you. For example, say "I am sorry." Or even better, "I apologize." Saying you're sorry is not accepting blame or about being weak. Only the strong can apologize. Weak people are too filled with blame to apologize. They see these as one in the same. Say, "I apologize. I must have said something or did something that came across in the wrong way. Please accept my apology." This takes the wind out of most people's sails. And stops anger in its tracks. Another may be, "This must be a tough day for you." Saying this in a compassionate way and not a condescending way is the difference. Come up with your own and practice these. You will be surprised at the difference in the reaction. A repertoire of reactions, and making them your habit, keeps you from falling into the trap of anger.
  14. Remember, anger is about going down the scale of humanity, not up. Love is up. Hate and anger are down.
  15. Remember your mother's advice; "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything."
  16. Take Thomas Jefferson's advice; "When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred."

Here is some more advice:

  • You don't have to do all of these.
  • Pick and chose.
  • Remember: Crawl before walking. Walk before running. Run before the Olympics.
  • Pick and chose. (Again). There are some things that are easier. Journaling might be your thing. Do that then. Writing out pithy reactions (number 13)
  • We can all try smiling!! And talking in a positive voice.
  • Fake it 'til you make it.
  • Remember, this is not for anyone else, but YOU. You may feel "Why should I change my behavior for them??? Well, it's not for THEM silly. It's for YOU!!!!

[Note to you: Abuse is not to be tolerated. Directed at you or your children. That is not what I am talking about here. If this is your case, report it. If you are unsure there are crisis centers who can help guide you.]


Al said...

I would like to add - exercise to your post. Exercise - is great for 2 reasons. It allows me to escape the house. I used to play racketball. Hitting a ball helped and allowed me to release.

Also - it just got me out of the chaos.

nanceelee said...

Thank you for your great insight and advice. I have started reading your blog daily. I have also started my own blog of recovery, and have your blog and a few others to thank for pointing me in that direction.


Joe said...


Thank you for your comment and your recovery. I wish you the best and I will be reading your blog! Good Luck and I hope I can help you.

I would be grateful for your thoughts on Al-Anon, as I have several people requesting more information on the meetings and how effective they are. I will be posting questions next week.

Thanks - Joe