To ask for your help in dealing with difficult emotions?(7 Posts)
I had low self esteem last year and I was clinically obese. I was bullied in work by this man. He used to make snide remarks insinuating I couldn't stand up for myself followed by insults. After Christmas he got promotion to head office 30 miles so I don't see him at all now as we work on different projects. I am still affected by this - I feel anger towards him for the things he said to me.
He is about 10 years older than me. Just for context, he's now 35, grossly grossly obese at (my estimate) WELL over 20 stone. He is also a long term smoker so the combination of smoking and obesity and his overall appearance makes him look a VERY old 35. This year I've lost weight and I'm less than 2 stone away now from being a normal BMI - no longer obese but a BMI over 25. I;m following a balanced diet and daily aerobic exercise for an hour.
I know I need to let go of my anger towards this man for bullying me but I find the bad memories from the way he spoke to me are dominating my thoughts.
Aw OP, that sounds like it was hard for you! Perhaps some therapy may help you?
If he's dominating your thoughts therapy seems a good idea
bigchris - no I didn't report it - it's a long story. I was in a very bad place emotionally anyway. Also, lost of people at the time got relocated to other regional offices so our office was sort of disbanded iyswim.
Report to HR, just deserts, and yes therapy may help
Agreed with therapy, but I think it's also useful to think about it like this:
- Your anger is a way of redressing the balance - he was awful to you, so your anger 'hits back' at him
- However, your anger isn't going anywhere particular. In fact, it's keeping you hostage, by making you feel like you can't move on, whereas he is probably absolutely unaware you feel like you do. So it is still affecting you, like his behaviour did, and he is still not feeling the negative impact that would help you feel like it had balanced out.
- Therefore all that's happening is your anger is hurting you and nobody else. What would you do if someone else was trying to hurt you? You'd get away from it.
- Every time you find yourself in the cycle of being angry/thinking about things he said, flick a little lightswitch on in your head. Identify that you're doing it (it sounds like you're already doing this, which is great). Acknowledge (say it out loud if you need to) 'this is hurting me and nobody else'. Acknowledge 'I am allowed to be hurt by what he said' - that's a natural response to an upsetting thing happening. Give yourself a minute or two where you allow yourself to feel the anger and the hurt and the rage or whatever it is that you feel, because you're allowed.
- Then - stop. Mentally turn that little lightswitch off, visualise an actual light switch or a stop sign or whatever works for you, and make a conscious decision (again, say it out loud if you want) 'I'm not letting those feelings take over, I'm in control of them'.
- Then distract, distract, distract. Have a stupid phone game that requires your brain (Words with Friends, Two Dots, 2048 are all good), have a ritual of making nice tea or coffee for yourself in a good mug, put a song you know you love to sing on, meditate, use the Headspace app, do 20 squats, watch a 10 minute stand up video on youtube, check Twitter, turn on the radio. Anything that is a definitive action that ISN'T dwelling, that provides your brain with a clear 'we're doing this now' signal.
- It's hard work, and it requires you to be very aware of your own thought processes, but if you can force yourself to look the thought patterns square in the face, accept you are not 'bad' for having them, but that you do have control and you are going to allow yourself to be hurt for a second but then choose a positive action to pivot towards instead, you will find after some practice that it becomes easier.
- That takes the sting out of the thoughts - because you know you can, eventually, turn away from them and choose to think of something else.
This was what my therapist recommended for me, and it worked for me with very intrusive thought patterns.
In the earlier days, I also had some small success with allowing myself to think whatever I wanted, letting the angry thoughts rush at me as they liked, but picturing myself inside a big bubble. I could see the thoughts coming, I let them and acknowledged I was allowed to have these thoughts, but then pictured them gently pinging off the bubble.
Obviously these things might not work for you, and you very well may need therapy that addresses the specifics of your situation, but allow yourself to be in the driving seat - you're clearly a determined and self-aware person, allow yourself to turn some of that determination and self-awareness to being gentler with yourself. x
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