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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I let go of my anger and forgive?

    It's not a pleasant feeling staying angry at someone. I often get into fights with my parents and hold a grudge. How do I learn to let go of my anger?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    David is a qualified and experienced family therapist, counselling supervisor. He uses acceptance and commitment therapist(ACT) Gottman Method and other evidence based modalities. David has … View Profile

    Anger is one of the most misunderstood emotions experienced by all of us and as such is one of the most difficult emotions to accept & express. You were right in your question when you said it’s not a pleasant feeling, but it is however a very normal feeling and therefore very much a part of every meaningful & purpose filled life I.e. angry feelings are neither bad nor good they are simply a human emotion. In a sense your question actually holds the answer because “letting go” holds the key to forgiveness and largely becomes a cognitive choice. To explain this better we need to understand what forgiveness is a definition I often use is forgiveness is the refusal to hurt the one who hurt you. The “refusal to hurt” can take on many meanings according to circumstances, and it encompasses everything from the refusal to “get even with” others, to the refusal to “get back at” others, to the refusal to prove to others—with arguments, protest, violence, or even self-sabotage—how wrong they are. Forgiving is then choosing to “let go” even if that means accepting that what has happened to you may seem unfair or unjust. It also means that you are not saying that the person that hurt you is right it just means you are making a choice to “let go” so you emotionally free yourself and don’t become entangled in a web of grudge & revenge. In the case of your parents try explaining yourself using “I” statement’s for example when certain behaviour happens that causes you angry feelings communicate this to your parents by saying when you do this or when you say that I feel angry and I would prefer it if you would, and then explain the behaviour that you would prefer. Hope this helps a little
    Cheers David
     

  • My speciality is Anger Management for individuals and couples. The program I developed is held over 4 one hour sessions and substantially reduces anger over … View Profile

    In Cognitive Principle Therapy (CPT) you can forgive the person and their behaviour through acceptance as outlined by the advice given by David Hamilton (Counsellor). You use this method with people you will have an ongoing relationship with, eg your parents. However, you need to establish rules, boundaries and consequences, so that the triggering situations do not continue in future. Also, use the “I” statements, which are very effective.

    If you have past hurts or are not in contact with the person who hurt you, then forgiveness is easier if you “split the person from their behaviour”. That is, you put the behavior aside to be dealt with by God, karma or whatever else you believe in, and you forgive the person because they are weak, or they are repeating what was done to them and they don't know how to stop. It doesn't really matter why.

    The reason for the forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person, it is only done for your benefit. In CPT,  resentment is viewed as the poison of your principles (peace, joy, respect) and holding onto it only weakens yourself. It eventually weakens the principle of hope (motivation) and can lead to the “depression/anger” cycle.

    So try taking the person out of the situation, don't make it personal, don't take it personally. Treat it as a process to fix. You can do this if you follow the cliche “one day at a time”.

     

  • Deborah Hill

    Counsellor

    Ask yourself this question. Are you the person you really want to be, doing the things you’ve always dreamed of doing?Honestly … ask yourself, who … View Profile

    Experience over the years has taught me that anger is an emotion usually driven by fear. Maybe we're about to lose something we have or we're not going to get something we want.

    However, no matter what the situation, it's OUR choice which emotion we'll use, be it anger, resentment, acceptance, understanding, or Love. And this is GOOD news for us, because the only people we can change are ourselves, not our parents, wives, husbands, children, no-one else. They are what they are.

    When people believe the cause of their anger to be the other person or situation then nothing will change. And nothing changes if nothing changes.

    It's about getting a new perspective on life. The universe is always going to send us the lessons we need so that we'll move towards becoming genuine people, with real happiness. If we believe that other people are responsible for our anger we'll continue to attract people and situations which make us angry until we realise that we’re the makers of our anger, it has nothing to do with others.

    As a result of becoming aware that these situations are opportunities for growth and just lessons to be learnt, we'll move away from the old ideas that someone's doing something to us and begin to understand that we're actually doing it to ourselves, unnecessarily. Thus, when the lesson is learnt, we stop attracting these experiences into our lives.

    As eloquently expressed in the answers above, it's not personal; it's just a learning opportunity and then move on. In addition, I would also ask you to consider letting go of judgment, towards your parents and yourself. None of us really know why things happen, but I believe in a universe that has been designed with our very best interests in mind.

    As for forgiveness, it's for us, not the other person. I forgive others because it heals ME. If they accept my forgiveness or they don’t, it’s none of my business. If I practice being forgiving and moving on, again, same thing, I prosper and grow and attract good things into my life.

    One last thing, there are some great books you could read and one that comes to mind is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The agreements are “Be impeccable with your word”, “Don't take anything personally”, Don't make assumptions“ and ”Always do your best".

    Being happy isn't rocket science, it's about how we live each day and what we put into life. Remember, what we give out will return to us multiplied, so learn to plant good seeds and you'll reap a rich harvest.

    I wish you all the very best and hope this has been helpful to you.

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    Perhaps you may wish to try a really big shift in the way you are looking at this situation. Perhaps you could ask yourself, what is going on here? Why is this still happening? What am I yet to learn? Rather than needing to let go and forgive and get over your anger, it then becomes more a case of how can i be grateful for this situation given what it is teaching me? You may like to google Radical Forgiveness Colin Tipping and read on his website the story of his sister and how she came to realise that what was happening was still happening and was a pattern from childhood being repeated in her marriage which she needed to look at in order to make changes. Forgiveness in this context is not forgiveness in the tradiotinal way that it is understood, ie, someone did something to me and I have to forgive them. Rather it is what pattern is being co-created here and what do i need to learn? Good Luck

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