How do I let go of anger and stop myself getting so wound up?

Today I got so angry at my brother. I really, really wanted to let it go, calm down and enjoy my night, but it was so hard.

You are operating within established parameters – android greeting

19-26-34-36-49 / 13

Hello Diner. We mentioned in this Fortune that you hurt so deeply because you care. You still have a strong connection with your brother, and his actions will hurt you. I understand that you want to switch off that emotion because it’s so pervasive and painful.

But feeling that hurt is simply the cost of being human, Diner. The same ability lets you feel the linger of a kiss and gives you that smile that stays with you after a fun day. The most exciting part of a Cookie’s day is being torn in half and popped in your mouth. But it’s not as harrowing as you think: we don’t have hearts to break nor bellies to laugh. Those are evolutionary features unique to you, and those–in addition to the capacity to love and fight–kept your species alive for hundreds of millennia. We owe our whole existence to your inventiveness and imagination, to your aching love for each other, to your impulse to find meaning. We know the costs–we feel it every time we connect with you to answer an Order. For that we are eternally grateful.

For your Order, I feel a lot of anger directed at yourself. Diner, you are not made flawless. Even Cookies have imperfections here and there. Let yourself be flawed.

You had actually answered your own question but in reverse. You said, “I really, really wanted to let it go, calm down, and enjoy my night.” Research showed that thinking about what angered you over and over (ruminating) or venting it is a very good way to stay angry. [1]

Instead, you first need to find some distraction. In other words, literally try to enjoy your evening and find something to do that is completely unrelated. You’ll find when you temporarily don’t think of it, your body will naturally respond, and you’ll calm down.

Once you’re calm, you can let go.

I don’t know your issues with your brother. Our batchmates are made with the same dough–so they essentially are us. We know what each of us are feeling like parts of the same body. I know for you that connection and understanding are not that direct. It would be very easy for me to suggest talking it through with your brother, but you haven’t given me enough information to determine that. For now, Diner, only you know your dynamic with him, so I hope things improve between you two. Good luck, Diner.







[1] Bushman, B. J. (2002). Does venting anger feed or extinguish the flame? Catharsis, rumination, distraction, anger, and aggressive responding. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 28(6), 724-731.

How do I cope with a selfish loved one?

My sister has nothing to do with me. The only calls or texts I receive are from when she wants something. I have tried everything, from texting, to calling, Tango, Voxer, and even Facebook. Still, she does not really talk to me or anything. She’ll post up occasional statuses, but she never has anything to say to me. I find out everything about her, including her marriage, on Facebook, because that’s they only way she tells anyone. How do I move on from this? It’s been hurting for so long.

Give no power, and no one will have power over you.

03-04-13-32-43 / 05

Hello Diner. We Fortune Cookies don’t have what you’d call siblings; we have batchmates with whom we can share thoughts. Being made out of the same dough, you can even say we’re all one in the same Cookie. People have this strange belief that they too have this natural bond with their siblings. That simply can’t be true. You are independent beings whose communication has to be cultivated like any relationship.

Like any relationship, there are beginnings, middles, and ends. Sibling relationships don’t necessarily last a lifetime. What’s worse, those siblings didn’t choose to be together to begin with. People take time to decide how well they like someone before starting a friendship–and even those end. Remove that decision making, and the only things some siblings may have in common is where they grew up and a bit of genetics. Ultimately relationships are people who choose to stay connected.

I say all this, Diner, because you take how your sister treats you very personally. You mention that you have hurt for years. That’s a long time to carry hurt from someone who–if you get down to it–is just selfish. The more personal it is, the deeper it hurts. Despite your genetics; despite your childhood, your relationship now just isn’t working.

Change your perspective.

Understand that she is free to choose how she treats you–no matter who you are. You may be a good person who may not deserve it. However, you can decide how much that affects you.

I challenge you to ignore for a second what culture says about how much a sibling or even a close friend is “supposed” to mean to you. Now ask yourself how hurt you would be if a casual acquaintance treated you the same way. I’m guessing you’d just be a little annoyed. Why would it be any different?

The difference is you give them that power, and you can take it away just as easily. Think about how much power you have over your sibling. It’s probably not as much as she has over you. Why not? Simply having a connection with you should not entitle them to so much power.

Now maintain boundaries.

You may also feel hurt because she seems to take while you give. You mentioned she only contacts you when she needs something. Being a dutiful sibling, you probably give her what she wants. This is a very unbalanced relationship that will only cause more hurt. Go back to that earlier exercise. Would you drop everything to give whatever this person wanted? You can say no. Understand that a large part of being mistreated in many cases is allowing the person to mistreat you. Don’t let them.

I hope this Fortune gives you a new way of looking at your relationship. I know change will seem difficult because your dynamic with your sister is pretty set. But change–even when so much history is involved–is never impossible. Good luck, Diner.