My question is about using the ISTDP framework to process issues that are anger at myself. I'm the classic personality style that is described as prone to MBS, and I'm angry at myself for overbooking myself with work that has put strain on me any my family. I got so busy building a business that when it became successful it sort of ran over me and squeezed out all free time and relaxation.
I totally understand about processing anger towards others (I have some issues there too) but how do you forgive yourself for messing up? Do you beat yourself up as I we might visualize fighting back against someone who hurt us? Is there a specific area of the course (maybe I missed) that addresses processing these issues with our own mistakes?
HI Barbara. I'm so glad you asked that great question.
Here's your answer:
No, do not beat yourself up!!
Anger directed inward is actually guilt. Guilt should be dealt with by recognizing if you actually did something wrong or not. If you worked yourself too hard, did you do it intentionally to hurt yourself or was it a product of how you were raised or what you were trying to accomplish?
Guilt is best dealt with not with anger, but with compassion, with kindness and understanding. If you intended to hurt yourself (or someone else), you can apologize and ask for forgiveness. If you didn't, you can simply forgive yourself, just as you would forgive someone else who pushed themselves too hard. You would tell them to be kind to themselves. Wouldn't you?
So, tell yourself that too!!
Boy can I relate to this one!
I have tons of guilt for mistakes I made and I hurt myself more than anyone. Therefore I have lots of anger. Howard has always encouraged me to have compassion for myself and I figured out how to do it. When I realized how much suffering I had as a child I realized that I was litterally running from the pain by distraction. I was distracting myself with all kinds of things that I feel guilty about now. When I quit doing some of that stuff to distract myself then the cycle of physical pain showed up to distract me!
So the lesson learned is real and true forgiveness for yourself. It’s a daily process for me. Always ask yourself “Why am I really mad?” What’s really going on here? Do I need to forgive someone? Do I need to ask for forgiveness from someone? What do I really need to feel safe? Give yourself a true voice.
Always remember that anger and fear can be deeply connected. Think about that. A dog bites because he’s fearful even though he appears angry.
You are doing great. Keep at it. It has taken me years to get where I am!
Blessings to you.
I understand your situation completely. I have struggled with the same issues. I am applying some of the same techniques used for external anger to help me work on my own self directed anger.
The unsent letters are a good tool. Write a letter to yourself. The self before you realized the consequences of your choices. Let her know how you feel about those choices and why you are angry.
Also, try to forgive her. Think of yourself in the third person and be kind to yourself. We don’t know what we don’t know until we know it.
Best of luck in your work.