When to get mad, and when to let it go

'You must have been standing behind the door when God was handing out height'. And.. I'm by no means short but I'm shorter than my siblings who are very tall. :rolleyes:

'You stole that baby'
'You're a parasite on society'
'You are never going to amount to anything'.
'Why didn't you get 100% - you don't know your stuff then do you!'
'You can leave now - thank you'
'What's wrong with your hair, face?'
'You're stacking it on a bit there aren't you!'
'You must have worms - you're too skinny'.
'Who told you that looked nice on you!'


When someone has treated you really badly, been really disrespectful about you, or undermined you to others, or maybe, like, sabotaged your recovery and your alliance with your treatment team...stuff like that...

How do you decide when to (a) be motivated by your anger and try confronting/communicating with that person your hurt, or disappointment; or (b) suck it up and accept that some people are just gonna treat you like shit, and let it go?

Maybe there’s a middle-way - but I can’t see one.

So, how do you know when someone has gone too far, and hurt you too much, that you need to do something about it.

I’d like to salvage the relationship. Possibly that means accepting they’re always gonna treat me like rubbish and undermine me to others? Or is there a boundary issue here that I’m missing, that I maybe need to assert?

Confused how when to do something about being treated like rubbish by loved ones...

I've heard that when someone begins to get healthier in a dysfunctional family, the other family members may actually try to "keep you in your role;" mine was supposed to be "black sheep." I totally refuse to be treated like this. This is my family that totally undermines me. I was so glad to see you used that word, because I've been there. I'm sorry it's happening to you - I would not do this to another person.

The people that do this can't possibly know or understand what they're doing because it's their defense mechanism! That's not an excuse, either! ! ! ! For their crappy behavior. I think they are that ignorant of what is going on. If they're a narcissist like my abuser, they may be totally incapable of seeing this. @[email protected] I personally like having Clarity. I wouldn't do this garbage to another person.

I had a doctor point out that what they did to me was "really sick," and I remember the first thing I felt regarding this was one of understanding, which surprised me. It put a lot of space between me and their idiot crap.

I tend to stick up for myself in situations where someone has put me down or tried to undermine me. I will address it right there. - The problem with this is, I've found, - is if the family is cow-towing to the narcissist in charge. The best choice then, is to leave. If you can.

Because sometimes it will fall on deaf ears.

I don't care. I won't let them speak to me this way. !!! :)

I learned that being able to communicate what you want and need doesn't necessarily mean you will get it - or that they will hear it. I was disappointed by this, because I thought it'd help. lol- It works with people that are more respectful of you as a person. These are the folks we need to seek out. ! :)

I have issues trusting people, too. Doesn't seem like a *good* idea, but it's the PTSD talking.


For me this is all difficult and even dangerous. When I get mad it's usually not about a slight but a perceived slight and I've been yelling my head off and found I was wrong and misjudged the situation or persons intentions.

I'm ready to be hurt or assaulted sometimes or I assume that posture. It's better for me if I try and not get angry/feel hurt, but I tend to fly off the handle. : )


Wowsers, what a thread to come back to. Interesting that I think I have been able to use assertive communication to shift my mum’s perspective on a few things (not many, but it’s a process). My dad? Not so sure!

@zero - sounds like you’re coming from a very different place to where I was at when starting this thread. Perhaps you could start a new thread to explore those issues?

I just mention that because for my situation, ‘cutting contact’ would have been a disaster, and I think unnecessarily cruel to my mum.

But in other situations that’s exactly what’s necessary.

@Mach123 - yup, totally different use of anger between you n me! Explosive anger isn’t something I think I can pull off - incidentally, turning my anger inwards at myself instead has proven similarly self-destructive! It’s a work in progress.

shatter eyes

I went from explosive to internal to suicidal stop the cycle...and then learning more about my feelings and needs. DBT plus CBT helped. Now i am able to delay the reaction and try step back...sleep on it or walk away saying i cannot deal with this now and will get back to it knowing the PTSd wants and will smash everything in an explosive rage. That is not me and i learned distance and delay helps the ptsd gain a sense of safety....allowing blood flow back to frontal lobes. TBI is involved so emotions are amplified.


Both of my parents struggled with some kind of undiagnosed mental illness/personality disorder/who knows and also got angry and confrontational in exactly the way you describe your parents: superstitious beliefs, "rules", angry exchanges that substitute for emotional connection, profound lack of insight about themselves and the world around them.

One thing that helped me was to begin to see them as the children and see myself as the parent. Creepy role-reversal I know but they actually didn't seem to mind.

I don't have good advice because the way I chose to deal with them was before I was in therapy but it did work.

I ignored the hostility in the emails but recognized that it was coming from some underlying desire to connect so I would respond but not address what they said. Avoidance I know. Same in person, if they veered off the tracks into ugly attacks, I would leave and go do some errands for them because they could never manage a household, always out of food and everything in disrepair. When I came back they had often changed their mental channels.

The other thing that helped was creating distance by never living at home. I left at 17 but always maintained a relationship with them because I think intent matters.

Hope you find a better way forward with this.


I am not sure how, but I schooled myself to take a step back when angry or triggered and take a walk. This allows me time to cool off and to think about the situation, and what I wish to do if anything. Walking gives me a way to physically process the adrenaline that pumps when I'm hurt and/or angry. And as I said it gives me time to cool off and to think about what I will do if anything.

Someone forgetting to call ahead to let me know they will be late is a lot different than someone trying to use my past trauma against me. In the first case, I may be a bit miffed and may or may not say anything. While in the second case I would remove that toxic person from my life. This is just one example of the varying degrees to which a person can hurt us/let us down/make us angry.

I try to make the punishment fit the crime, so to speak. Generally, it takes a lot to make me angry and I tend to get over it pretty quick. I believe that anger usually hurts me worse than the other person, so I try not to stew over things. I prefer to feel it and then let it go when I can.

However, I also want to mention that forgiving is not the same as forgetting. It really just depends on the situation. Thinking about it and talking things over with a friend, are wise choices. So I recommend cooling off and taking the time to think before acting on anger.

Hope this is somehow helpful to you,


Yup, so having slept on it, I decided to start a thread and get some opinions!!! So, I think you and me are seeing perfectly eye to eye.

I’m really mad. I’m really disappointed. I’m also concerned about protecting myself from the behaviour in the future, because it hurts a lot, and I don’t have a developed enough self-esteem to really tolerate it very well...

My take on it is usually we do not react to what is in front of us but to a memory it triggers in us. So is it worth it then to react to the person in front of us? if the person really intended to insult you then the best response is a no response because then their words will continue to echo and they will look stupid. What Paul says about Marie says more about Paul then Marie right? Also, if I know a confrontation is coming I sharpen my emotional judo skills. Just like judo, use their energy against them by going with it. Validate the person by saying something "so if I understand well, you are saying that...." They will feel validated and then you say okay and walk away. Trust me they won't know what to do after that because you just validated them. There is no where else to go with it. just like a guy swinging at you and they fall flat on their face.