Tag Archives: bitterness

What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

When you have been abused, you eventually get angry.  It’s only natural.  Many people think that this means you are harboring anger.  It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things.  Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry.  I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it.  I don’t know what your problem is.”  *sigh*  I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.

I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!

The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with.  Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare.   The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go.  Often several times.

Anger can also be somewhat deceptive.  You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again.  I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband.  I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me.  It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.

Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way.  So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.

Harboring anger, however, is different.

Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go.  People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.

It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,

Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt.  A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.

People who harbor anger are very bitter.  For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.

These people also hold grudges for years.  They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.

These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity.  Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.

Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions.  Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser?  If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do!  Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Thoughts On Forgiveness

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

It’s come to my attention recently that not a lot of people really understand true, Godly forgiveness, so I thought I’d write about my thoughts on the topic.

Unforgiveness prevents you from spending your life happy. Unforgiveness is not only detrimental to your emotional/mental health but your physical health too. Things like high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers, kidney & heart problems can stem from carrying around that negativity. Forgiveness, however, gives you no health problems & gives you peace & joy. It’s no wonder God wants us to forgive! (see Ephesians 4:32)

Unfortunately, I think people often believe forgiving others means you should pretend what hurt you didn’t even happen. Forgive & forget, as the old saying goes. While a lot of times, you should forgive & forget, there are other times that simply isn’t wise! Forget the small infractions, like that person in line behind you bumping your heel with the grocery cart. But if someone repeatedly hurts you, don’t forget that! If you do, basically you’re setting yourself up to be hurt again. For example, if someone is verbally abusive, & you forgive & forget every time, you’re going to be hurt many times. Instead, you need to be aware of what this person is capable of, & protect yourself from her verbal attacks however you feel is right.

Forgiveness also has nothing to do with the person who abused or hurt you- it is about you & you alone. You deserve better than being angry & bitter! Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It doesn’t discredit what was done to you, or a sign of weakness. It means you want to obey God, & be good to yourself at the same time.

Some people think that cutting people out of your life is a sign you hate them, still harbor anger or aren’t a good Christian. This is simply NOT the case! I have ended quite a few relationships in my life, & not once was that done in anger. I did it after careful consideration & prayer, never during a fit of anger. To this day, I harbor no ill-will or unforgiveness towards those people I have eliminated from my life, either. I simply don’t want to tolerate their mistreatment of me- I know I deserve better.

I know there are times it’s hard to forgive. When someone hurts you deeply or repeatedly, forgiveness seems impossible. The good news is that it isn’t. It may take some time for you to forgive someone, but that is fine! God understands that, & He can help you to forgive, too. All you’ll need is a desire to forgive.

-Your first step in forgiving others is a decision that you want to forgive. It sounds simple, but sometimes this is a hard step when you’re very angry or hurt. If you lack that desire, then by all means, ask God to help you!
-Also, try to see things from the offender’s perspective. That person could be in a bad mood because of going through something stressful, & unfairly took out her frustrations on you.
-And, some people are naturally selfish, insensitive, oblivious to the feelings of others. There are still other people simply never learned to treat others with respect & consideration.
-Ask God to help you release your anger. Sometimes it helps to imagine you are holding a bag containing your anger, then you place it at the foot of Jesus. I’ve done that a few times, & it can be helpful. Get your feelings out. Write a letter to the person that you never show her. Get it all out- why what she did hurt you. You can keep the letter if it helps you somehow, but I’ve found burning it to be oddly therapeutic.
-Lastly, this is the hardest part- pray for that person. (see Matthew 5:44). I have prayed through clenched teeth a few times-literally! But, I’ve learned that once you pray for that person, it releases some anger. The more you pray for her, the more anger is released.

Remember, forgiveness is good for truly good for you, & it doesn’t discount any pain you have experienced! Also, it can take time sometimes, & there is nothing wrong with that. Just because you can’t forgive someone immediately doesn’t make you a bad person! And, remember too that although there is a time to forgive & forget, there is also a time to forgive but remember! ❤

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Some More New Information On My Site

Today, I added information on forgiveness:

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/Forgiveness.htm

  And, information on unavailable fathers:

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/The_Unavailable_Father.htm

  Go check it out.  🙂

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

To Forgive Or Not To Forgive?

I just read an interesting article about forgiveness.  It claims that sometimes unforgiveness is a good thing.  The article gave an example of a woman who was abused all of her life by her brother, then as an adult, she stopped speaking to him, attending family gatherings that he was also to attend, etc.  It confused me because to me, refusing to speak to her brother doesn’t necessarily mean she hasn’t forgiven him.  Not everyone in a situation like this is hanging onto anger- they are setting boundaries. 

I am a firm believer in forgiveness, & also a firm believer in setting healthy boundaries.  As an example, I have ended friendships with people who used me, lied to me, or even had Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I refuse to spend time with them ever again.  However, I’m not angry with them, nor do I wish them any harm.  I simply care enough about myself not to put myself in the path of being mistreated by people who have proved themselves fully capable of it.  

To me, forgiveness means refusing to allow anger to fester inside of me.  I hate feeling angry!!  As soon as it happens, I work through the anger as quickly as I can, then let it go.  It has nothing to do with the person who has made me angry- it is about me, & how I don’t want to go through life angry or bitter.

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean forgiving & forgetting.  Many times it does, of course, when the offense is small.  However,  if you are dealing with an abusive person, forgetting what they have done means you easily can set yourself up for further abuse.  Look at the example of a wife whose husband beats her.  If she forgives him & forgets, he will beat her again.  He will beg for forgiveness, she will forgive & forget, then he will beat her again.  The cycle will continue until she leaves him.  Leaving isn’t a matter of forgiveness or unforgiveness- it’s a matter of survival.  

Coming from a narcissistic mother, I have had to learn a lot about forgivness & boundaries. What I have written about here is the result of reading, listening to pastors preach on forgiveness, & praying.  I pray it blesses you!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

December 27, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!. 

Yesterday & today, I’ve talked to many of my close friends.  I haven’t spoken to one person who was happy with the holidays this year.  Some people had intrusive family members making unreasonable demands, others have in-laws who dislike them & use the holidays to make their disdain known, others have dealt with arguments, & others had a sick child.

Over the years that I have grown to dislike the holidays, it’s because I’ve experienced many of those same things.  I always thought it was just me- no one else could possibly feel the same way.  I felt I should tell you today that you aren’t alone if you too feel this way.  It doesn’t make you a bad person or bad Christian.  It makes you someone who has had bad experiences.

I’ve also been realizing that some friends & I have become quite bitter in some areas, especially the holidays, & I don’t like it.  After praying about it last night, I felt like God wants me to learn to have some fun daily.  The reason I’m telling you this is I think it’s a good message for you, too.  No one should live with bitterness inside.  Life is too short to live that way, & you deserve better!

I made a short list of things to do to have fun.. it’s just a start.  Please feel free to add to it, or remove suggestions that don’t sound appealing to you.  But be sure to do something fun each day!

Play
Draw
Finger paint
Dance while cleaning
Do a normal thing differently, like talk on phone outside on a pretty spring day.
Snuggle your furkids.
Prizes (reward yourself for a job well done with a little gift).
Get a coloring book.
Lose inhibitions- don’t worry about what other people think.
Be true to yourself.
Read your Bible often.
Try something new, like new clothes or a new hair style.
Do something nice for yourself daily.

 

 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health