Many men in anger management carry huge resentments. Often horrendous in origin: sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional damage from hostile parents are all legitimate reasons for resentment frequently accompanied with bitterness. It eats away inside the man, each time he remembers that particular individual his negative thinking goes into over drive and he relives the incidents all over again as if they were happening today.
Suggesting they ‘forgive’ is met with derision. “How could I forgive after what he did?” Then what is the purpose of the resentment? What’s the payoff?. Why do you like resenting them? Despite them not having an adequate answer they will want to persist in resenting who ever. Forgiveness means the absence of wanting revenge, it doesn’t mean forgetting. It is a process whereby the blame of the individual is let go while the memory of the event becomes less painful, but doesn’t disappear. The absence of revenge minimizes the ongoing production of cortisol which is in the man’s interest in moving out of being a victim 5, 10 or 20 years later.
The best revenge is success, which in these cases means getting well and healthy in dealing with some past trauma. Having the best possible life today. That’s a win. Being able to say “I’m no longer your victim” Being able to identify what the experience taught moves a man forward. Being able to see their tormentors as sick, sad and dangerous individuals can lead to some compassion and detachment.
It’s all about holding the event from a different perspective. Shame binds a man to be a victim. When a man is ready he will move on without feeling he is losing face.