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When Anger at Others Is Really Anger at Myself

I was so mad at Peter. I had made pulled pork and slaw for the woman at church who fell and broke her elbow. He was away, so he hadn’t helped. 

And then, when we were on the phone, he said something about how I could stop trying to finish an essay I was working on so I didn’t feel so stressed out. 

I wanted to say, “But it was making the pork and slaw that got me stressed out, not the essay!”

I stopped and thought about it. Peter had not signed me up to make the pork. Yes, when I asked him if he thought it was a good idea, he said it would be lovely. Yes, his unexpected trip made my week more full of household duties. (And yes, he suggested not making a meal from scratch but simplifying the whole thing with a rotisserie chicken from the local market.)

But I wanted someone to blame for the sense of panic and overwhelm I was feeling, so I turned to him. Until I realized that I was resenting myself. Anger at him was really anger at myself.

So the steps forward from there started with some humility. Then some assessment of how often I put myself in this position and feel like a victim of other people’s demands. Some curiosity about how I could do it differently in the future. And then offering forgiveness, to myself, for all the resentment I was feeling– toward myself. 

Sigh. It is not easy being a perfectionistic human who is seeking to learn the gentle way of grace. But I am learning, one pulled pork recipe at a time. 

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