Love, Hurt, Anger Cycle
The truth is that the Love, Hurt, Anger Cycle will surface if you have caring relationships. This cycle is a powerful way of thinking about hurt: Beneath anger is hurt, beneath hurt is love. Think about it: If you didn’t care, how could someone hurt you? This is a universal truth: The more you care, the more you get hurt. The deeper the feelings, the better the chances are that you are going to feel hurt. To compound matters, when put in the context of the Circle of Healing, addicts, recoverees and those with dependencies often have deep hurts that keep them ‹stuck›. Guess what? So, do supporters. Releasing hurt and dealing with anger is an important part of recovery and healing for everyone.
What happens when you ‘get hurt’?
When you feel hurt, your inner voice (Self-Talk) starts chirping in your head. It tells you all kinds of things. Some true, others not true at all. When you get hurt, your inner voice says things that you rarely argue against. If it says it must be true! But this thinking isn’t good for you! You have to understand the relationship between love and caring and hurt. Why? So that you can reduce the hurt! Most times, in hindsight, people aren’t out to hurt you. If they thought about it, they’d be horrified to know they were the instrument of your pain. Think about it.
We want you to remember the saying: “Hurt people, hurt people.”
If you are in a great state of mind: Happy, healthy, doing wonderfully; it’s probable that you will hurt people a lot less than if you were in a hurting state of mind. “Hurt people, hurt people.” They lash out. They wound without thinking of the ramifications. They say terrible things, and they wound others. Most important: Hurt people often ‘skew reality’. Their view of what is happening doesn’t even remotely match what others think is going on. But their perception, their hurt, rules their actions and responses, and that’s not a good thing.
This is ‘normal’ behavior in humans.
But what happens when you throw addiction into the mix? You know that addiction is messy, chaotic, and confusing; and feelings and emotions run high; so does your level of hurt. The more you care, the more you love, the greater the hurt and pain. Things get complicated when addiction is involved. Logically, it stands to reason that having a model to sort through the chaos makes sense. That’s where the Love-Hurt-Anger Cycle comes in. It helps you ‘sort through’ where the feelings and emotions are coming from. It helps you slice through the perceptions and get to the heart of the matter. When you have a model, it simply makes things easier to figure out.
Always remember, underneath your anger and resentment is hurt; and beneath your hurt is love. What if we were conscious of this love-hurt-anger cycle and could use it to release pain and anger? The first question to address is: When you feel hurt, what do you believe? What untruths and lies are rattling around in your head?
WE HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE WHAT WE BELIEVE.
What if we chose not to let those things that cause ‘hurting’ take root in our mind? If we examined them and called them out as untruths and outright lies, what happens? What if, as soon as we felt anger bubble up, we could stop and break down what was happening inside our head into a logical process? Be introspective, ask yourself: “The reason I feel angry is actually that I’m feeling hurt. What lies am I believing? What untruths are stuck in my head making me ‘stuck’ in hurt and anger?”
Sometimes letting go of hurt is easier said than done. You have three choices when you are hurt:
- Keep fighting: Being angry, resentful, slipping into depression, rehashing the same conversations again and again.
- Bury the hurt: Runaway, refuse to deal with it, try to ignore it every time it surfaces, cover it up by using drugs, drinking, overworking, or some other escape mechanism that puts a bandage on the
- Reconcile and move forward: Release the hurt, forgive, and the anger goes
How do you let go of pain, anger, and hurt?
- Recognize the hurt and accept you are in
- Decide to care for and/or love the other person regardless of your real or perceived Make allowances for people you care about. No one is perfect. They have flaws just as you do.
- Dig deep for the ‘lie’ and examine it. Then reject it.
- Make the choice to forgive, and find
- Move on.
THE BIGGER THE ‘HURT’, THE LONGER IT WILL TAKE TO HEAL
More ingrained, bigger, older, more painful ‘hurting’s’ take more energy and time to work through. You might have to dig a bit to get at the ‘lie/untruth’ that’s rattling around in your head. Work on getting to a place of peace and forgiveness so that you can let go of the hurt, pain, and anger. Forgiveness isn’t saying: “What you did to me is ok.” Humans are flawed, and they make mistakes. Haven’t you? Forgiveness is a logical ‘letting it go’. Letting go sets yourself free from the anger and continued hurt. Letting go dissolves the pain. Again, ask yourself: «What untruths are stuck in my head making me ‹stuck› in hurt and anger?» Then ask the most important questions for you: “How does this help my recovery efforts? Is there a better way to think of this?”
Supporters have granted you ‘Unconditional Conditional Love’. Because they have, here’s what you’ve agreed to:
TO LOVE AND CARE ABOUT YOUR WELL- BEING, THAT OF OTHERS, AND TO WORK TOWARD A BRIGHTER FUTURE.
As long as you promise to consistently stay focused on the road to recovery, your supporters have agreed to stick it out with you, even when times get tough (as long as the agreed boundaries are in place). A proverb about letting go says:
“Write the bad things that happen to you in the sand. Then they’ll be easily erased from your memory. Unfortunately, most of us engrave the bad things that happen to us in granite; forever memorializing our painful memories. We walk around with failures, mistakes, and disappointments shackled around our ankles, weighing us down. Write them in the sand, let the wind and water erase them!” – Hellen Davis
THE PAST IS THE PAST.
In order to live fully in the present, and adequately plan for the future, you can’t let painful past memories hold up recovery. Release the past, stand firmly in the present, and prepare to step confidently into the future. You are willing to look to the future and forgive; but not forget the lessons of the past. Throwing your past in your face time and time again
isn’t healthy for your relationship. But getting angry at people for not being able to let it go doesn’t help your recovery either. Not letting go is their issue, not yours. Discuss this calmly. People on both sides have to let go and forgive for recovery efforts to take hold and flourish. This does not mean that you have to ignore the past. Just look at it as what it was: A very bad time in everyone’s life. It was a past filled with compounding bad decisions leading to negative consequences. Look to the future, living one boundary-filled day at a time. Healing takes time and understanding.
YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISEASE, BUT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR BEHAVIOR.
Your active part (your behavior) in your recovery is your responsibility. If you’ve made the decision to ask for and receive your supporters’ help, CONGRATULATIONS! To be able and willing to stay the course, set a new direction, and march forward faced with an unsure future takes courage. Dealing with an ocean of uncertainty takes fortitude and strength. Make no mistake, the past leaves scars. You’re going to be drinking from a deep well of shame, hurt, disappointment, and fear as you move forward. But the interesting thing about a well is that it will give you just what you need to go on with your life if you let it.
This journey isn’t going to happen overnight. In everyday life, without addiction, building a foundation of trust is a formidable undertaking. This is true for everyone, even without adding in a painful past. If you’ve made the decision to stick it out, know that your supporters, even if they aren’t in your life on a day-to-day basis, will probably be rooting for your recovery.
NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO ASK FOR AND/OR ACCEPT HELP.
Accept that people care and want to help you. Do so with a good and noble heart, or you’ll be hurting your recovery and your relationships, not helping. That said, put your ‘big girl’ or ‘big boy’ pants on. Understand this and hold it close to your heart. This knowledge will protect you from the deep hurt that some go through. No one is trying to purposefully hurt you. Your supporters didn’t wake up choosing to care about someone who has ‘addiction stuff’ going on. It probably crept up on them, they thought they could deal with it, control it, or it would pass. Many slippery slope decisions led to this point in time and people understand that you want to get better and that it will take time. Remember, they’re still here! That’s something to feel blessed about.
Recovery is messy, painful, and fraught with emotional garbage.
Painful memories and hurt feelings will surface. The good news is that your supporters have figured out that people who were addicts don’t wake up trying to hurt people. Here’s something you all have to remember: If people hurt, they lash out, usually hurting those they love. That might have been what you did, but today is the promise of different times. People stick by people they care about in the toughest time of their life. I think you would never purposefully hurt someone. Those in pain, cause pain. It doesn’t make it right. It just makes it so. Take away the pain, release the hurt. Hold on to that truth! Your relationships will most likely be much stronger for it.
The alternative to stepping up is stepping back, withdrawing, or detaching.
There is a certain amount of ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ in either choice if people on both sides (supporter and recoveree) haven’t yet healed. Of course, if you reject help, you can make this choice with love and be caring, too. Detachment isn’t without its own set of painful emotions. Whichever you choose is okay, just own it and don’t punish the person you care for. Two wrongs don’t make a right. This is where healthy boundaries come in. Discuss the consequences of your boundaries as soon as ‘over-stepping’ happens.
Always remember, the results of your discussions will be dependent on where you are in the recovery process. Remind yourself why your boundaries are important to you and your relationships. Walk away and have a timeout if you need time to think. Gain some perspective. These are just some ways to lessen hurt feelings and stick to the goal of moving forward. We don’t ever want to minimize the hurt and pain that you are going through as you work through this painful period in your life. In the end, you have to do what you need to do to heal yourself. The question is: When will you decide to be strong enough to do what you need to do?
SEEK PROGRESS – NOT PERFECTION.
You’ve agreed to make a plan that works for you to heal from a state of addiction. It is indeed possible to look to the future if you put together a plan to make it work and work that plan. It can’t be one-sided. This plan has to work for you and those you care about. Mutually agreed boundaries are a big part of this agreement. Is it going to be easy? Most likely not, but it certainly isn’t insurmountable for anyone involved. You have agreed to work hard and overcome adversity when times get tough. If you feel weak, get down, or think that you are failing to work the plan because you aren’t seeing the results as quickly as you or supporters imagined, it’s okay.
Addiction recovery is different for everyone. Make progress and you’ll be just fine. You simply have to get back up on your feet and move forward, even if a setback occurs. You don’t have to stay down. Recovery from tough times is possible, but most often it is only possible with a planned approach that includes a contingency plan, too.
YOU’VE MADE THE CHOICE TO SACRIFICE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE TO GET BETTER.
You’ve agreed to get healthy and grow. Your supporters have agreed to support you without any thought of payback. Just like when people have a serious virus, cancer, or a chronic illness, that person’s physical and psychological needs often have to take priority for a period of time. However, once the crisis has passed, a new ‘norm’ has to set in and equilibrium must return to the relationship; where there’s a better balance between the individuals. For your successful recovery and to get healthy, resources (e.g. time, money, and effort) are going to be spent. Your supporters agree. Every supporter is on board with you having to focus all your energies on getting better. When you do this, the time it takes you to stabilize and ‘come back to everyone’ has to be okay with you, too.
You can’t put undue guilty pressure on yourself.
You have to be willing to give yourself the peace of mind to do this. It may be your most precious gift to yourself. If you need confirmation, discuss this with your supporters. Of course, your supporters need to heal from the trauma of what happened. You should help them recover by understanding this but right now, you have to come first. As time goes on, you can help them more and more. Read these words and take them to heart: You have to let yourself go through recovery at your own pace, by yourself for much of the process. You need time and space to do this. Grant yourself this gift with an open heart and mind.
What should recoverees do for loved ones when they go through any recovery program? You willingly give up some freedom, autonomy, and things you want at the moment. For example, you decide to cooperate more to build trust. You give up your need to keep things to yourself. Why? Because someone you love and care about needs to know what’s happening inside your head to make them feel better. Transparency is critical for recovery and to build trust – and will be for a LONG TIME.
You’ve agreed to show compassion and be understanding to your supporters. You’ve agreed that having a voice that speaks out, communicates even when you don’t want to, and has critical but tough, respectful, and loving conversations, is a sign of courage and love as you go through your recovery program. You make tough calls and choices that work for your healing process and for your relationships. Make sure you are resilient and resolute. You will not stay silent to make people you love feel comfortable. You are fearless and will do whatever it takes to bring about the greatness in yourself and the ones you love because doing so brings you peace. But you promise to do all this with respect and caring.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF.
Your role in your well-being and recovery program is your sole responsibility. You can’t look to anyone else to help you here. That means having tunnel vision and taking the focus away from some other things in your life. That’s the way it has to be to get better. You need every ounce of energy focused on your recovery. Allowing others to drag you down about things you are feeling, things you can’t cope with, tough situations you are going through – this doesn’t help you heal. Think about it:
At some level, you know you don’t have the strength to deal with everything and you›re going to feel bad about that. How does this help recovery? Fundamentally, you must understand that keeping yourself psychologically healthy and looking after your personal well-being helps everyone around you. It also means pacing yourself. Overcoming addiction is a long-haul process. Look after yourself so that you are well able to go the distance. This is vitally important