This Anger Contract was my response to the events chronicled in my previous post, “The Betrayal.” A bogus Intervention had been done to me, and had forced me to get in touch with deep anger that I had been trying to release for several years. I knew I needed to do something radical to handle the situation, to be able to process my anger, yet not hurt anyone in the process. I had prepared contracts as a part of my job, and it suddenly occurred to me to prepare this contract. I knew if I committed to this document, I would honor it.
I had the original of this document signed by two people as witnesses. These two people knew all the participants, and had been involved in the party that led to the event. They were also the two people in whose arms I cried deeply about the horror of that evening. Heartfelt thanks to those two people – you know who you are.
I adhered to this contract for 2 years. The full events of that time will be included in my future book, “The Tiger Unveiled.”
DAN L. HAYS
August 1, 1988
County of Harris
State of Texas
Whereas I, Dan Hays, attest that the following conditions and circumstances exist and did occur.
1. On the night of July 23, 1988, a group of six people came to my house late at night, woke me up and got me out of bed. As a group they took me to Denny’s and did an Intervention on me. The stated purpose was to confront my pattern of backing away from friends.
In the course of this Intervention, these people did express issues for which they were angry at me and hurt by me. Each of these persons was in a high state of personal distress. They projected numerous of their own personal fears upon me. They cast numerous accusations at me, which would only appropriately be addressed with each person singly. By nonobjection by the group to said accusations, the group gave power and group approval of and acceptance of those accusations. They gave me no positive feedback, and no support for what I might be feeling.
I later discovered that the basis of this action was a rumor which had been spread – publicly to a larger group, to my embarrassment, that I was at home contemplating suicide. This rumor had no basis in reality.
Another party who was not present for any of the previous actions, and had not been around me for three weeks, called my sponsor and alerted him that I was in a critical state of emotional distress.
All of the above parties, those who came to my house, and the one who called my sponsor, will hereinafter be referred to as The Abusers.
2. I have had a pattern of verbal abuse of people in the past, caused by low impulse control, which manifests itself as “angry words hastily spoken.” In this pattern I use my intellect, my ready access to words and verbal expression, and my anger to abuse and hurt others. My mouth goes off and my brain shuts off.
People have learned to fear me because of this pattern.
3. Another pattern of abuse I have had is one of “the silent treatment,” in which I will not speak to a person, but my great personal anger manifests itself through “The Look,” and people actually fear my anger. They fear the time when my anger will explode and lead to the verbal abuse. I suspect people even fear me physically. I know it because it was the way I feared my Father; I know how it feels, and have seen that fear in the eyes of others, toward me.
4. In January I did a 5th step on my anger toward my Dad. I continued through the 7th Step and asked God to remove that anger.
5. I recently read before another person, in the form of a grief therapy matrix what I call The Gun Incident. I had remembered the incident in January, and in it, my Father beat and abused me severely, threatening to kill me with a hunting rifle with which I had seen him kill deer. The number one listed loss I suffered from that incident had been my belief in my right to be angry.
6. I had been working with a sponsor for two and a half years who was familiar with my pattern of avoidance of direct anger toward my Father, and who felt after hearing the full details of the Intervention incident that I had a complete right to be angry about what happened, and encouraged me to begin to express my anger in appropriate ways.
7. In my opinion several of the Abusers were angry with me prior to the Intervention for issues I had with each of them singly, and wish to have me express my anger so they can feel justified in expressing their anger. I believe anger was also a motivation for the Intervention.
The Abusers have in my opinion begun in subtle ways, and may be expected to continue, to provoke my anger with regard to the Intervention incident – with provocative statements, and even in one case, directly trying to get me to say I was angry. The subconscious purpose of this is to expiate their guilt and shame with regard to said Intervention.
Given that all these conditions exist, I am experiencing extreme anger. It is my sincere desire to only express that anger in appropriate ways, to not give any person further cause to fear me because of my anger. Yet also, I have been one who has expressed anger, and no longer wish to express anger for the group, thereby allowing and enabling them to repress theirs. I’m tired of carrying this group’s anger.
In an anger slip with happened several weeks ago, I hurt someone I loved, very deeply; it affected me deeply, because for the first time I saw and felt the pain I had caused, in the eyes of the other person. Behavior of that kind is unacceptable to me on any level. I am willing to go to any lengths to stamp out this anger and verbal abuse pattern, yet while unburdening myself of the anger I still carry. I know much of it is about my Father; he is dead and I can’t hurt him with my anger any longer.
Yet The Abusers are alive, all people whom I still love very deeply, and though I have a right to be angry, hurting them through compulsive patterns in response to my anger is unacceptable, because I lose – by letting my anger rule me, and by possibly causing irreparable harm to relationships. I too, fear myself and my anger.
Because all these conditions exist, and are alarmingly volatile to me, I hereby make a commitment until August 1, 1989, at which time I will renegotiate this contract, either to extend it, or to terminate it. The conditions I commit to are:
1. I will not speak to any of The Abusers about the Intervention incident until it doesn’t matter any more.
2. I will not knowingly put myself in any situation where I will or may speak from anger. If I find myself in such a potential situation, I will remove myself immediately.
3. I will not share in meetings about this incident, unless I can be clear that I am not indulging in hidden agendas of divulging my anger, by sending messages indirectly to any of the parties involved.
4. Should any of The Abusers wish to talk to me, and it becomes apparent that they wish to talk about The Intervention Incident, I will request that I be allowed 10 minutes before hearing them. During that time I will attempt to determine if I am in an angry state, and if so, will decline to listen. If I agree and I begin to experience anger, I will immediately withdraw from the situation.
5. Where necessary, I will remain completely silent, and hereby put a “gag order” on myself, rather than continue the abuse.
6. Insofar as it is possible for me, I will attempt not to wear “The Look,” or to express anger by the silent treatment. If I discover myself doing so, I will withdraw myself from the situation, and process the anger.
7. I will use all methods now learned by me for appropriate expressions of anger, to dissipate this terrible load of anger I carry. This includes angry letters not to be mailed, beating on the bed with the racket, yelling in the truck, further 12 step work if necessary, the boxing gym, yelling in the presence of a neutral observer at an empty chair symbolically containing the object of my anger, and any other methods which my Higher Power reveals to me.
8. I will talk and keep talking to appropriate people about the past abuse I endured, the Intervention, which is still a hideous hurt for me
9. Should I wish to waive any conditions of this contract, I will wait 5 days, and talk to at least 3 people about my reasons for feeling it necessary to abrogate this commitment.
I have been badly damaged and hurt by anger, both by my Father, and by The Abusers. I have a right to my anger, all of it, and it is fully justified. But that anger does not justify the hurtful and damaging expressions of anger to which I have resorted in the past. Those patterns are unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. Let it end here.
I hereby solemnly agree and pledge to abide by the conditions of this self contract. Signed this day, _________________, until August 1, 1989.
Dan L. Hays
I next responded to the people in an appropriate way, in “The Intervention – Response Letter.”
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