Paying again and again for our past sins – Test or Trial?

do i have anger issues

There is a rule in politics for when politicians are involved in a crisis of their own making. It goes something like this.

Apologise. Move on. Do not return, if you can help it, to analyse the whys, the issues and the consequences.

One of the facts of life that those of us with anger have to get used to is, this rule is not open to us. Those we have offended or hurt with our anger are at liberty to remind us of the pain we have caused time and time again. In fact our past sins can be used to exact a high price of penitence over a prolonged period of time.

This is one of the reasons why those with anger issues can often find it difficult to move on and deal with their issues. They feel as if they just start dealing with their issues and someone else reminds them of the problems they used to cause. “It’s as if they wish to drag me back into the black hole of anger and destructive behaviour by reminding me of how I used to be,” one of my students moaned.

My reply was not quite what he wanted to hear. It went something like this.

Yes, it will happen. Expect it. Get used to it. Learn to keep your head down and be humble about the fact that you have caused trouble and you are seeking to correct the issues that caused it. These are tests. As always with tests, if you are mentally prepared for them, you will pass.

Dan was a case in point. He came to work with us, as so many do, because he needed to show a court that he had taken action to deal with his anger. In his case, his inability to manage his anger had led to him hitting his wife. By the time he came to us he was, not surprisingly, divorced and having trouble seeing his daughter. In fact he had not seen her for two years and it was killing him.

He was obviously a loving father. He desperately wanted to see his daughter, and would say “but I would never hurt my daughter. Cant they see that?”

The reality of the situation was this. He was being punished by his ex wife. It was simple and it was understandable. After years of putting up with his temper, when he finally hit her, he gave her the power to divorce him and withhold access to his daughter. He also had to understand that, while we believed he would never hurt his daughter, that was not the way a court may see it and understandably so.

Dan came on one of our three day intensive weekends. At the beginning of the first day he was an angry, resentful, argumentative man who found it difficult to see anyone else’s point of view except his own. I honestly did not like him very much. By the end of the weekend he was showing his true character. He was warm hearted, generous spirited and very amusing. I was, and still am, proud to call him my friend.  He understood everything we taught and he duly left with his certificate to apply for access.

It was a few months later when I received a message from him. He had finally been granted access to see his daughter at a supervised day centre. He had looked forward to the day and turned up early to meet her. You can probably see where this is going. He waited in vain. His daughter never turned up.

We exchanged messages. I was worried that he would revert to angry Dan and become bitter and throw away everything he had achieved. We talked about the fact that he was being tested. We could almost predict this would happen. We talked about putting his ego to one side, being humble and simply requesting a revisit.

I got another message a few weeks ago. He had met his daughter for the first time and was looking forward to seeing her again the following week.

He knows now that he will have many more trials in the future. The past will come back to test him. He is also prepared for them and I am sure he will be equal to them now that his devotion to his daughter is combined with his humility.

If you want a confidential chat about your situation call Calm People West Midlands 07950344658 and ask for Pauls or Calm People East Midlands 07850614042 and ask for Julian.

If you want to know more about the anger management, stress management, and emotional resilience courses run in Derby & Birmingham call the above numbers or click here


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