“I drink to punish other people” Unknown
I started listening to a good audio book again today, “Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy”. by David D. Burns. I picked it back up at a good time. The chapter that came up next was on anger. The reason I put the book down a couple weeks ago is because he was, of all things… Trying to make money from the book. He wrote it in 1980 and a lot of his ideas became the basis of CBT still used today. Why shouldn’t he make money from it? That is neither here not there. The anger chapter is the longest in the book. So long, I was 50 minutes into it when I quit and he still had 20 minutes left to read. It would be much longer if I stopped to look at all the worksheets he referred to.
It came at a good time for me because I received a letter from the landlord yesterday about a noise complaint from a neighbor. Apparently I completely lost my shit Labor Day weekend. The complaint wasn’t about loud music. Last night I was afraid I could get evicted but after reading the letter again this morning it wasn’t so scary. They had to put the part about eviction but the rest of it was fairly friendly. They even gave me an “out”, saying many times the person accused isn’t the one making the noise OR they aren’t aware they are causing a disturbance. (It did sound like me) This letter is a courtesy notice, etc… Thank you for your time and understanding…
Wow what a relief! The chapter I was listening to talked about nobody can really make you angry. You make yourself angry with your thoughts in response to their actions. Holding on to grudges is your choice. I’m pretty good at letting things slide. I can hold on forever if I believe something was egregious and intentionally done to hurt me. Even after listening to that I am having a hard time coming to grips. Another concept was a lot of anger comes from feeling you are being treated unfairly. Even though the other person may have a completely different idea of what is “fair.” I’ve been doing that a lot lately, but I also realize I do it. One way I’ll piss myself off is when I feel like I am making excuses for the person I am mad at. The chapter came at a good time because it was a reminder of many things I already knew.
I was setting myself up for a fall because for the past few months the plans I have been trying to make haven’t been lined up with what is important to me now. I was still trying to make it happen. I knew it was completely unrealistic and crazy for me. I can’t meet new people to go out and party. I can’t party like a normal person. I am out there. I don’t have an “off” button. That’s why I stopped going out years ago. I guess I was remembering much fun I used to have but I know it’s not fun for me anymore.
The woman who stood my up at the last minute Friday wasn’t the cause of it. It was going to happen. She set me off, but I really wanted to be set off. I have been going back and forth for months trying to make things happen and trying to stop myself from making things happen. I was set on making something happen on the last party weekend of the summer. I was little upset with her but not anywhere near enough to cause me to react that way. We didn’t have any kind of relationship. Maybe she did screw up and plan something for the early morning after she meant to go out. Maybe she was nervous or just plain didn’t want to go. Maybe she was trying to avoid hurting my feelings. Maybe a million things.
She was nice about it and told me I should go anyway. I said, I was bummed because there would be a ton of strangers there and I was thinking at least I have one person to talk to right away when I walked in. Whatever, none of that matters.
A lot of the time I blame other people for my anger but I always end up blaming myself too. Most of my anger is me blaming myself even when it’s nobody’s fault. The book also mentioned that. It’s funny, when I got tired of listening to the book I wanted to do one more thing. I googled “how not to let anger run your life.” Or something similar. It turned out to be the name of another book. I didn’t want that. It took me a few tries rephrasing it but I came across an article from APA.com and one of the ideas was don’t use “Always” or “Never” statements. I “Always” do that. I catch myself though.
Another site I found was mayoclinic.com “10 ways to control your anger”. I already do all 10 of them! I’m doing 2 right now. Writing and listening to soft music. I forget some but deep breathing, meditation, exercise. I haven’t been constantly angry all summer but a lot of negative has happened, including similar to Friday and I never went out and got drunk.
Someone did do something intentional and egregious in July but it mostly blew my mind and made me wonder who would do something like that? A woman I have know for a couple years was offered to do me a huge favor. I told her she didn’t have to do it, I just needed to be pointed in the right direction and could do it myself. She insisted and said she loved helping people out. She added so many details that made it so believable and all I had to do was show up. Each week she would cancel at the last minute with an excuse that sounded reasonable but by the fourth week I was thinking, something is up. The last time I texted her, she was up, and I still haven’t heard back 3 months later. The reason everything sounded so believable was because all the details are true! I looked online. The only thing I found out wasn’t true was I called the guy and he said, he never heard of her and none of it sounded familiar! She never made any plan to make the plan. WTF! I’m not mad at her. I’m actually relieved she is not in my life anymore.
I have been mad at myself because I made myself get outside to do something every nice day this summer but at the end I realized I still wasted the summer. I was still doing everything alone. I guess I figured I wasn’t going to waste last weekend. Yeah, right.
Anyway the book is pretty good to listen. I don’t usually do self help books but I don’t have a therapist and I could use a refresher.