Friday, May 11, 2012

Triangles - Anger Part 4

Part 1, 2, and 3.

If you were hoping that I'd have it all figured out by part 4, you are not alone. I like it when a story is tied into a neat bow, too. Okay, not really. As a writer, any time I read a story that is tied into a neat bow I get a reaction in my diaphragm, because I know it's not authentic. That's not how life is. But I have learned much  more I can share and maybe I'll even give details on what I have done in the last few weeks and the reactions I am getting.

First, I have to talk about geometry. Specifically the triangle.

Triangles are one of the most recognizable shapes, but seem to be the most difficult to recognize when you are in one.  Harriet Lerner explains "It's not simply that we displace a feeling from one person to another; rather, we reduce anxiety in on relationship by focusing on a third party, who we unconsciously pull into the situation to lower the emotional intensity in the original pair." (P. 156)

This triangle existed in my marriage when my ex constantly brought his mother into a triangle with us. He would complain to her about me and then to me about her. Now he and his new wife drag me (and my daughter) into their triangle. By being united in their efforts/anger/whatever against me, they don't have to face their problems with each other, which are numerous. 

The question is, why am I allowing this? How do I get out of it, and stay out? And how do I show my daughter how to disengage from it, when they try to use her, too? Another question: do I triangulate as well?

The Road to a Clearer Self
The great thing about this anger journey is that has led me to define a clearer self. In Lerner's book she discusses getting to clear, non-blaming statements about yourself. The classic "I feel..." statements rather than "You did..."

In the discussion on triangles above I have some blaming statements. I did that on purpose to see what it felt like as I wrote them (and hopefully you noticed how you felt for me as you read them). The truth is that they haven't dragged me into anything. I have allowed this to happen, for some of the reasons I mentioned in Part 3, and other reasons I still don't know. But I am now choosing--no, I  am making a VOW--that regardless of how provoked or justified I may feel, I will not participate in negative energy exchanges with them or others. I choose to examine my anger and make choices for myself and not against others. I can choose to put my energy back into my own life, with dignity and without hostility. When I make mistakes or misplace my anger I will get back on track as soon as possible and apologize where it is due.

How have I actually done this in concrete examples? Well, I can't give too many details, but I am composing a letter that I will send to one party in this triangle that I don't usually communicate with directly. It's taking a while because I have to communicate about what i want clearly and without blame and without hostility. That is difficult. But I can do it. And when I do, I will send it. It will probably confuse everyone at first because they will think it is not authentic and a trick and will try to provoke me to anger again or they will think I am being a nice lady and try to take advantage of me, which, if I let them would just make me angry. See how it keeps you in the cycle. But I am neither nice lady or raving angry anymore. With practice I am coming to a neutral mind. That doesn't mean I don't still feel anger, but I have the power to direct that energy in a neutral way. I truly think this would not be possible without my mediation practice.

There is one other example that I tempted to share, but I'm still not sure I should. I'll meditate on it and if I think it will have value to readers then I will share it later.


So far, the reaction to all my changes, which have been super subtle, has been positive. Not just with the persons that I am angry at, but all around. Everyone has been noticing that my energy is different.  But it has only been a few weeks. I am sure that all these learnings will be put to the test in two more weeks when there is something uncomfortable on the calendar. Look for more then.

1 comment:

  1. very interesting!

    I find that neutral mind is so much easier for me to maintain when I am eating better for me. I'm not nearly as advanced in that area as you are, but when improvements are made, dramatic psycho-emotional changes/improvements follow! Isn't it amazing how these systems Father-God put into place work!!?? :)