Help me get her out of my head before it explodes!
November 26, 2010 11:21 AM   Subscribe

I can't seem to let go of past hurt and anger. Are there any good books I should read concerning this?

I had a major emotional crisis in 2008. I was "friends" with this woman I now think is a sociopath. Long story short, I am considered the "crazy person" since she put the spin on it, and people I thought were my friends believe her. She is great friends with all of the people she turned against me, who also used to be my friends. The killing part? Several of them said to me in the past how "psycho" she was/is in a laughing way and yet they love her to bits! I know it is not my business who is friends with who but I hate that I am the "crazy" person. This was a long time ago, and yet I still feel so much anger and hurt from this. In fact, I secretly wish for terrible things to happen to her all of the time.(I'm not proud of it) I know this is unhealthy and it is preventing me from moving forward with my life. I can't afford therapy so I was wondering if anyone else has dealt with someone like this and how did you deal with the emotional aftermath? I know I did the right thing by putting her out of my life completely but I still HATE her. I know I shouldn't but I do. I am looking for some good self help books concerning situations like this.
*I am aware that it has been two years and it is way to long to hold onto these feelings*
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there's the popular and excellent "Feeling Good" by David Burns. What I got from it was: the thoughts running through your head determine how you feel, and you can change your thoughts by writing down positive messages to replace the negative ones. The book has some exercises like writing down all of the specific thoughts that are bothering you (i'd guess feeling weak, manipulated, or unloved), identifying the error in thinking that's causing each thought (disqualifying the positive, should statement, emotional reasoning, etc.), and choosing new thoughts that are more accurate than the old ones (maybe being aware of your many strengths, your other friends and capability to make new friends, and that you're still important to yourself even if people outplay you sometimes). The book says it much better. (IANA therapist)
posted by sninctown at 12:05 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

I went through something similar and I found it very cathartic to do something like sninctown suggests.

First I wrote down all the reasons I was angry with her. Then I tried my darndest to think of ways I was thankful for how things turned out. I wasn't diplomatic at all in my anger, and probably wrote some pretty immature things, but I got it out of me. I thought trying to find positives would be difficult, but in the end I realised that things really were not so bad, and I had reasons to be thankful for how everything went. Obviously you can't let this woman's misbehaviour control you for much longer. It hurts, I know it does. It seeps into your very being and affects your new life, even without her in it directly. Maybe if you can really let loose all the awful things you think about her, you will be able to see past your resentment. You will find new friends, and you will be better for the time you spent learning how to avoid negative influences in your life.

Another thing--I found typing it worked best because I could just 'go'. Faster than I could even think. Then at the end, all I had to do was 'select all' and delete it. You know what? I only remember the good things I said.
posted by sunshinesky at 12:20 PM on November 26, 2010

This book is exactly what you need.. The first chapter is cheesy, but get through the first couple and maybe you'll find it has the help you're looking for.
posted by Glendale at 12:54 PM on November 26, 2010

I know I did the right thing by putting her out of my life completely but I still HATE her. I know I shouldn't but I do.

Maybe you should for a while?
posted by milarepa at 1:20 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

David Burns is good, but another option a little more narrowly focused on your experience in Norman Wright's "Grieving the Losses of Life." Wright's a Christian, and that comes through in his writing, so if that's a big turnoff to you, you should skip it. But if you can handle some non-pushy religion coming through in places, I really think he's very helpful.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:58 PM on November 26, 2010

Argh...I botched the title. It's Recovering from Losses in Life.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:59 PM on November 26, 2010

Glendale's recommendation is great; Eckhart Tolle also wrote "The Power of Now" before he wrote Glendale's recommendation: "A New Earth"

Both are great for letting go of a lot...
posted by MrBCID at 3:45 PM on November 26, 2010

I highly recommend I Need Your Love: Is It True? by Byron Katie. I recommend you fill out a worksheet on every statement in your question! How to do so is explained in the book, or you can learn about the process here.
posted by Wordwoman at 4:05 PM on November 26, 2010

Sometimes people hold onto grudges and resentments and all precisely *because* they prevent them from moving on with their lives. These mental preoccupations prevent us from facing bad feelings or uncertain, empty-feeling futures. You may be protecting yourself from your loneliness and feelings of betrayal by your friends by occupying yourself with rage and resentment.

Ask yourself *what* you'd be doing with your life if the preoccupation with this former friend was finally resolved, magically somehow. If you can come up with an answer (I'd like to write, or be a photographer, or whatever) that seems compelling to you, start doing that thing, or start taking steps toward doing that thing, even in small ways. You can move your life in a good direction, even if you continue to feel angry and betrayed.

If you can't come up with anything you'd be doing, it may be that you the resentment is protecting you from encountering this kind of emptiness.

If this kind of way of thinking seems intriguing to you, check out Steven Hayes' book about ACT, Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life.
posted by jasper411 at 4:15 PM on November 26, 2010 [7 favorites]

The passage below from the Bible helped me let go of my resentment/hate towards a person who made my life miserable for a long period. Truly, if you pray you will find God will release you from the feelings you are having, it will take a little time but you will realize you have a much peace and your harsh feelings will lighten. After all, keeping the hate alive is only hurting you with the negative feelings you are having - not your enemy!

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:44-45 KJV)
posted by sandyp at 6:24 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

I agree with the person who recommended Feeling Good by David Burns. My therapist recommended it to me. I also recommend going to therapy, most insurances will cover it (even my crappy one does). I don't have anything anywhere near traumatic that happened to me, but it is really helpful to talk to a trained professional. I feel like in your case and what happened to will help you out.
posted by skybluesky at 3:17 PM on November 28, 2010

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