Monday, March 2, 2009

Letting go of the anger

I have spent way too much time angry in the past year.  Angry with ex-employers, angry with ex-family and friends.  I'm not saying that it wasn't justified.  In my mind I had every right to be angry with all of them.  I had wrong done to me.   Whether they would ever admit it or not, and whether I deserved some of what I got or not, I was treated shabbily by a lot of people.

My ex-employers breeched my contract, breeched their legal obligations to me as a terminated employee, breeched their own code of conduct which stated that they were to treat people with Honesty, Respect and Professionalism, lied to members about my departure and used deceptive and misleading conduct in hiding their decision from me for at least two months.    There were meetings with people I used to work with where they were told that I had lied about having a three year contract and that in fact my contract had expired.  

People within the industry with whom I had job interviews told me they were told that I couldn't handle my staff - my answer to them was to ask my staff if they enjoyed working for me, and to look at the awards that the organisation had won over my period of time there and then to ask themselves the question about whether I could handle staff or not.  I have a reasonable idea who was saying these things and I have no respect for that person any more.

For much of the year I felt like I was treated like a dead man by people once close to me.  I was seen and ignored in public places.  People turned away from me rather than acknowledge my existence.  Everything seemed to be a constant battle and none of it was resolved or capable of being resolved.

I was very lucky to be given an opportunity to work in an area I had little experience in and struggled to find my feet for the first few months.   It was only as I got to know my new workmates and started to gain some of the background knowledge that I was missing, that I finally felt like I was making a worthwhile contribution.

And always the anger was boiling away under the surface.   Friends set me adrift, the vindication of my self esteem by excelling in my profession was left behind with the sacking and the self doubts were allowed to creep in.   The good things that were happening were sometimes masked because the anger hid them.

And many people who knew me in my old role were complaining about the direction my old work had taken since I left.  I wrote that off as people telling me what they thought I wanted to hear for a while, but not one single person has said one good thing about it to me since I left.  But hearing those things just fed the anger.  I thought I'd done a good job, and you wonder why, if that was the case, that people not only decide to get rid of you, but do it totally behind your back.  I was warned in January last year that moves were afoot to terminate me but two things made me take the warning with a grain of salt - firstly I had two years to go on my contract, secondly I had the word of a supposed friend that he wouldn't go behind my back.  I have since told him that if ever anyone asks me if he was a man of his word I would tell them no.   Pity is that it was the second time he had broken his word to me, I should have learnt from the first time.

But I have come to the conclusion that I have to let the anger go because it is wasted.  I can change neither what was said and done, nor can I be responsible for the actions of others.   To take those actions personally is foolish.  If those people had a problem with me then it is their problem and only they can make it right.

So in letting go of the anger let me grab hold of this prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr -

Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; the courage to change that which can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other.

To New Beginnings!

19 comments:

Lindasphere said...

It is very disappointing when people are sneaky and dishonest to others. In a work situation it really undermines a big part of who you are. Anger is justified, but you are right in saying you have to eventually drop it. I find it sad that people would think it okay to be rude to you. Politeness takes very little effort. Perhaps they should learn to let go of their anger. I hope things are looking up for you.

Recent blog post: Random Happiness

Romany Angel said...

I have one word for you Loz.....Karma. One of the things that makes me angrier than almost anything is when people are treated unjustly and seemingly there is no recourse to make it right. It's so frustrating but yes for your own well being and good health it is best to cut your losses and let it go. Karma will take care of those people, I really believe that.

Recent blog post: Putting the "fun" into funeral

Peter (Worldman) said...

Of course it is sometimes (or even many times) difficult to simply swallow the anger. But being angry (how bad the reasons may be) undermines in the long run. So, it is good to decide that trhe past is the past and look they way forward. Because on that road, you will find people who will not disappoint you.

Recent blog post: Memoirs 11: The life in South Africa, a visitor and the end.

Rick said...

Hi, Loz-I've decided that i like anger, but 99% of the time I handle it wrong and never know til too late when the 1% is. So I'm better to just leave it alone. Not sayin that i do tho. ~Rick

josie2shoes said...

One of the things I admire about you most, Loz, is your continuing efforts to become a better person. This is another great example of that. Letting go of our anger and resentments is maybe the hardest thing of all because some times it feels so justified. But you are right, it serves no purpose other than to eat away at us inside. I'm still working on letting go, and you encourage me to keep trying. Thank You!

Beth said...

Loz - I feel your pain because I have been there way too many times. It is really hard to let go to of the anger - and for many of us it is the easiest way to mask our pain. I am glad you are moving one. the load will feel much lighter...

Recent blog post: There is never nothing going on....

Finn said...

The Serenity Prayer has been my mantra ever since my son was born. Letting go, as hard as it is, frees more than anything you can imagine. I'm glad you were able to to do. xo

Recent blog post: It Goes On

Cinnamon said...

It sounds like you may have been subjected to bullying in the workplace- undermining and isolating you. It may be worth googling 'workplace bullying' and seeing if any of it rings true. If so, it may help you to understand some of the processes you have been through which in turn may help you to leave behind your anger and hurt. Workplace bullying is VERY widespread. Recognise it for what it is, reject the mark it has left on you, and try to move on. you are brave for talking about this.

Recent blog post: Living Heroes- the Conclusion

Loz said...

Linda - perhaps the reason some people turned away was embarassment. I was told it was a unanimous Board decision, but one Board member told me he had written a resignation letter over my treatment. Unfortunately he didn't follow through with it.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Loz said...

Gypsy - ironically the instigator has since left and I am told is making noises about how disappointed he is with the way things have gone since as well. Problem is that he introduced the culture of deception but seems to want to absolve himself of responsibility for it.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Loz said...

That is true Peter - I did learn who my friends were and was delighted by the support I got from unexpected places too, including my new boss.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Loz said...

Rick, I am one of those people who is very good at masking things and I think that has been to my detriment at times.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Loz said...

Josie - it's easy to write it but sometimes difficult to live it. I guess we both have to keep trying

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Loz said...

Thank you Beth - and to everyone else for the support too. You my blogging mates are one of the reasons I got through it all.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Loz said...

Finn - I find I need constant reminders and mantras are one of the things that I need to revisit.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Loz said...

Cinnamon - I never thought of it as bullying before. The issue for them was that I had a dispute resolution process in my contract which if I had known they were going to terminate me early I would have activated. The person who gave me the contract the previous year denied doing so and the rest of the Board all forgot that a press release went out at the same time stating how glad they were to have appointed me for three years. Now if they all did forget it shows amazing incompetence, if they actively hid the fact that I had a three year deal then they lied to a lot of people along the way.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

suZen said...

I've been the recipient of lots of pigeon poo over the years - oh the injustice of it all! Best forgotten - the past is past. Only the present moment counts. Have you read The Power of Now? Its great!
suZen

Recent blog post: The Tag Game or Newbie's Shameful Run-on Mouth

Loz said...

There's some synchronicity. I was in a book shop 15 minutes ago and had it in my hand. I intend to buy it later in the week :)

Recent blog post: Letting go of the anger

Blur ting said...

Well, it is a process. The anger has dissipated over time and you look back and wonder why you had wasted all that energy.