Dear Barb—Anger Management

Dear Barb:

Hi, I have been reading your column almost weekly and I finally decided to write in. For most of my life I have been an angry, some say vindictive person. I don’t feel I have been treated well by my family and because of my anger I rarely see them. None of them seem to listen to what I say when I suggest things they should do. Even though I miss them, I can’t seem to put the anger away and have a relationship with them. I know there are a lot of people who have been treated worse than I have and are able to maintain ties with their family, but I just can’t seem to let go. It’s not like I was abused or neglected, I just didn’t like some of the things family members did. For example my sister kept a picture of my ex-husband on her face book and wouldn’t take it down when asked, so I haven’t spoke to her since. I’m wondering if maybe I over reacted. I don’t want to hang on to this anger, but I can’t make peace with it. I also don’t speak to my brother or my mother. They have attempted to contact me, but I don’t know how to respond, so I just don’t say anything. I can’t seem to admit that maybe I was wrong. Looking for suggestions on how I can move forward and let go of this anger. Thanks, Lonely in PEI.

Hey Lonely:

Thanks for your letter. Obviously, you know that it’s time to make some changes in your life, as this is not the way you want to live. When you think about it, do you think it is worth not speaking to your sister or family members because of a face book picture, or because they don’t manage their life the way you think they should. These are not good reasons to cut ties with your family. This estrangement could go on for years unless you change it. What happened between you and your ex-husband has nothing to do with your sister. It is her choice to keep the picture up or take it down. You really can’t control what other people do. You may not like what they do, but that is their choice, not yours. Life is all about making choices. If you truly want to let go of the anger, you have to choose a different response. Maybe your sister didn’t want to be told what to do. So, yes, I do think you are over reacting. Moving on to a more fulfilling life includes accepting the things you cannot change. I would suggest you look into some counseling or meditation to help you come to terms with your anger. I am sure that your letter will resonate with others in similar situations. I believe this is the first step on the road to change.

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