Going from bitter to better

By Kathy Monnin

Versailles News

Life is a beautiful gift. However, every life unfolds differently. Our life becomes the choices we make governed by our personal desires and tempered by our principles. In every life there are ups and downs, good times and bad, happiness and sadness. Life is like a rollercoaster ride, changing from moment to moment and invoking a myriad of emotions along the way.

Every life differs from another in the way we handle adversity, prosperity, the unexpected and the unknown. Then fate further complicates matters, because fate is the development of events beyond our control. Sometimes we get exactly what we want but not according to our timetable, other times we’re not so fortunate.

Life can be cruel, challenging, unfair, and unpredictable but those are meant to be times of great personal growth in knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Sometimes the best lessons we learn in life come from the worst experiences. Unfortunately, the experiences come first–the lessons later, which makes experience a hard teacher.

Each of us differs in the way we handle adversity, prosperity, the unexpected and the unknown. No two people handle every situation identically and we all have our breaking point. While one may be inspired to endure the agonizing or ugly moments, another in the same circumstances may become angry, hateful, resentful or bitter.

In the world’s present situation, most of us have felt the trouble which plagues our times. This can make us feel numb or slightly depressed. Bitterness, however, has an intensity or severity causing hardheartedness. Bitter people are angry, hurt or resentful and because they cannot see beyond their personal pain they behave in an unacceptable and ill manner.

Many, if not all of us, have seen this behavior which is sometimes brought on by a speaker, rally or an agenda. Although bitter people are victims of their misery, they look for someone to lash out upon, to perpetuate the pain. Bitter people create bitter moments for others. These people are disgruntled and miserable inside and they want others to live in the same agony. But it is their pain and ire that makes them vulnerable to manipulation and half-truths. These are the people who go around looking for an argument or altercation and are often pleased to fabricate one if necessary.

The truth of any matter has little to do with a bitter person’s rage. In fact, truth seems to make them angrier, because they believe themselves entitled to their truth, and they often refuse to believe they are behaving irrationally. It is much like waking from a dream that felt so real that it was hard to shake it off with the truth once awake.

If we find ourselves confronted with an embittered person, time may be the only thing on our side. Stay calm, take time to comprehend the other’s behavior, time to accept and or forgive, time to grow, evolve, develop, and mature. And finally, time to leave it behind and move on.

What if you think you are a bitter person? First, know that according to The American Psychiatric Association “embitterment” is classified as a psychological disease that requires treatment. According to Dr. Michael Linden, a German psychiatrist an estimated 1 – 2% of the population is embittered and thinks the disorder should be labeled “post-traumatic embitterment disorder” (PTED).

PTED and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) have many of the same symptoms including feeling anxious, aggressive, helpless, changes in appetite, libido, motivation, sleep, but where it differs is that PTED does not cause constant fear but rather anger with helplessness.

Linder believes one significant episode can trigger PTED which untreated can become a permanent personality change, affect self-esteem, trap one in the past, thwarting their potential, wasting their time and energy and possibly cause them to become cynical or paranoid.

Fortunately, professional help isn’t always needed, provided we are aware that our mood is spiraling downward. Sometimes we can simply better control our thoughts. When we start to get bitter, we should replace them with thoughts of gratitude. We must look to the future to avoid being stuck in the past. We might find new hobbies or friends that can elevate our mood or help with our happiness. Eventually we will want to let go of our bitterness through forgiveness. Consider everything we’ve ever lived with, through, and for, a chance to make us stronger, wiser, more compassionate and merciful. In other words, let your past make you better not bitter.

“Hurt leads to bitterness, bitterness to anger, travel too far that road and the way is lost.” ~ Terry Brooks.

“Bitterness kills the soul.” ~Anthony Ray Hinton.

“Bitterness is how we punish ourselves for other people’s sins.” ~Matshona Dhliwayo

“Bitter people are like vinegar- they sour everything around them.” ~Chandan Negi.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Saturday, Jan. 14, Diamond Club Dinner Auction at the Versailles K of C Hall on State Route 47. Doors open at 6 p.m. Meal at 7 p.m. Interviews start at 7:45 p.m. and the auction begins at 9:30 p.m. For tickets, contact Tony Rose (937-638-3132).

Saturday, Jan. 14, Darke County Singles Dance from 8–11 p.m., at the Greenville VFW. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a $9 cover charge per person (must be 21). The band is Triple Nickel. There will be food available and door prizes.

Sunday, Jan. 15, 2–6 p.m., Karaoke with an open kitchen at the American Legion.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 9–10:30 a.m., (Widow/Widowers) Breakfast at the Whistle Stop, Ansonia.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, Silver Sneakers classes begin at 1 p.m. at Versailles. These are great classes to stay active physically and socially. The classes may cost less than $3 a visit and often are free to holders of Medicare supplemental policies. Call the YMCA of Versailles at 937-526-4488 for more information.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 5–7 p.m., Reuben sandwiches at the Ansonia American Legion. Dine in, carry-out, or call ahead.

Saturday, Jan. 21, 5–7 p.m., Steak Fry at the Ansonia American Legion. Also celebrating the past commander and present commander’s birthdays.

Saturday, Jan. 21, 7 p.m., Karaoke in the Bunker (downstairs) at the Versailles Vets Club.

Happy 100th birthday wishes to Martha Long. Also happy birthday to Abbi Peyton, Eric Mescher, Sharon Groff, Jill Simons, Brenda Abbott, Larry Pierron, Michael Bayman, Joy Roseberry, Connie Millhouse, Jerry Goubeaux, Dan Schafer, Jill Marie Mann, Margie Treon, Jennifer Overholser, Amanda Patterson, Bill Beasley, Tom Buxton, Eric Schultz, James McClure, Donna Akins, Samuel Busse, Miranda Flora, Susan Oliver McEldowney, Jim Marchal, Eunice Ernst, Melinda Barlage, Kitty Davis, Gloria Burns, Katey Wendel, Brittany Kemper, Tina Brown, Kirk Harman, Ryan Yakos, Jeff Minnich, Ron Brewer, as well as, anniversary wishes to Sonja and Barney Francis (32), Cindy and Dave Shadoan (40), Carolyn and Phil Eilerman (43), Nancy and Ron Brewer (45), Nancy and Dan Streib (60), and all couples celebrating anniversaries.

Please keep in your prayers Tena Black (54), Delores Ann Reithman Bey (72), Virgil Arling (90), Alice Wogoman Hart (91), Paul Dues (94), and all those who have passed, including those whose anniversary of their passing is near. Please give your prayers of comfort and healing for the sick and suffering, for those who struggle, the caregivers and those who mourn the loss of their loved ones.

As an act of kindness love one another. Accept a person as they are. Can’t we all get along? No one is without fault. Quarrels arise out of misunderstandings so talk before you draw a hard conclusion. Words and actions can be mistakenly taken out of context. But if you and another truly disagree, give them the opportunity to express their reasoning. Communication is key to kindness, for it can build trust, understanding, and form relationships.