Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 900-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 30th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

More on Anger

"We will not be punished for our anger.  We will by punished by our anger."  Buddha

After my last post about anger a reader writes to tell that her ex-husband - after 20 + years - is still so angry at her that he constantly bad-mouths her to their sons.  She wonders what suggestions she can give them because they are sick of hearing it.

Of course they are tired of hearing it because they see their mother in a different light than he does.  

Her ex sees her as the source of his pain and likely takes zero reponsiblity for their divorce.  Her ex is probably the type of person who believes he's a victim.  Like many angry people, they believe their challenges and troubles in life are caused by something or someone outside of themselves.  They blame their failures and unhappiness in life on outside circumstances:  ex-wives, the economy, the pandemic, their boss, politicians.  Whatever.  If only everything and everything else would change their lives would be fine.

But that isn't the way the world works.  Others rarely are responsible for our misery; to be happy we must realize that we are reponsible for everything that befalls us if we want to enjoy our lives.  If we spend our time blaming others for our unhappiness we're wasting the precious time God gave on this earth.

About all her boys can do is accept the fact of who their father is and take away lessons from it.  Some times the world deals us a bad hand.  Sometimes our wives leave us because they can no longer take our controlling behavior.  After so long the boys will look at their father's misery and maybe decide they should spend less time around him.  

They could tell him they don't want to discuss their mother with him because it upsets them.  He may not stop, but he may understand why they stop spending much time with him.  He may find that his anger is not productive for him and not waste his time expressing it if it alienates his children.

After all, who wants to leave a legacy of anger behind when they leave this planet?