ACoAs: Being RESPONSIBLE (Part 1)


to make everyone happy!

 Anger characteristics #10

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

In it’s simplest form: Responsibility is about honestly admitting, to ourselves first, what we feel, think & have done – or – not on all 4 PMES levels. To be legitimate (healthy), taking responsibility (R) acknowledges our reality, without judgment, without shame, without guilt. MOST of ALL – without self-hate. This includes our flaws & our gifts. “I cannot tell a lie – I chopped down the apple tree”. George Washington. (See T.E.A. – Thoughts, Emotions, Actions )

ORIGIN in childhood, of our aversion to TRUE responsibility
1. “I tied to fix them so they’d be OK”
GOALs: — To stop parents from suffering & make them happier, AND
— To make them ‘well’ so they would stop hurting us, and take care of us – the way all children need

2. “I failed to make them better so my pain would stop
REASON our efforts failed:
— No child should be put in the position of having to try healing their parents’ wounds
— No one can help another person to improve themselves & their life it they can’t or are stubbornly unwilling to do the ‘work’ required to change – much less ‘fix’ them

3. “I’ll always fail at everything I do, so I won’t try anymore”
DISTORTION: — It’s natural for children to assume they have power over their circumstances which they in fact do not have. This is normal childhood narcissism.
— Our family, & often other adults, were unable or unwilling to take the burden of responsibility off of the children’s shoulders. Indeed, in many cases they actually dumped that weight on us, adding to our sense of obligation

Re. #1 – TRIED: We were forced to be responsible (R) for our unhappy angry, crazy, drunk parents, & sometimes our siblings. Many of us had to be the ‘designated adult’ even when we were very little, because of their incompetence, selfishness & addictions. We got the RULE loTRIEDud & clear “Everyone else’s needs are more important than mine”.

— We understood early on that they couldn’t cope, so we had to be R. or ourselves, to not ‘bother them’, to be self-sufficient
— We felt a great burden to fix their problems, make them feel better, to give them what they wanted – even when it was presented in the form of Double Messages.
— We were R. for doing whatever they wanted, how they wanted it, yet having to figure it out by ourselves
— We saw how irresponsible one of them was, & swore to never be like that, OR grew up with an over-R. parent, which we copied

Re. #2 – FAILED: No matter how hard we tried we never were able to make a genuine improvement in our parents. This was devastating to us, because we needed them to be mentally sane (T), & emotionally stable (E) & consistently dependable (A).
As kids we desperately wanted to stop hurting, AND get our needs met. So we made every effort to please them & minimize the damage they could do us, but nothing worked.

Our failure left us with 2 conflicting states:
failed hope
— Hating ourselves: We concluded that something was profoundly wrong with US – we weren’t smart enough, attractive enough, perfect enough
— Hating them: We did/do if fact love our parents very much – no matter how they treated us. However, years of abuse & neglect took their toll, building & building our helpless rage, which we had to deny (Read “So the Witch Won’t Eat Me: Fantasy and the Child’s Fear of Infanticide” Dorothy Block)

Re. #3 – HOPELESS: Children who were ineffective in stopping the abuse & improving their lot at home assumed it was because of a lack in themselves. If they failed as such a basic goal – of getting their needs met inside the family – then there is no way they would be able to positive influence anyone outside of the family.  This is one of the many CD (cognitive distortions) common to children from dysfunctional families. They had no way of knowing know that:
— they were given an impossible task, from the very beginning, which they took on because they had no choicehopeless
— that the reason they were ineffective is exclusively because of the persistent unhealed damage in their parents, not because of any lack in themselves

NOTE: In some cases the alcoholic parent joined AA, & stopped the overt part of the dis-ease. Even so, rarely did they clean out their underlying damage (via Al-Anon & FoO work) so that their unhealed childhood wounds continued to infect the family system. And usually the non-drinking parent did not receive needed treatment either.

NEXT: Being Responsible (Part 2)

Anger – CATEGORIES (Part 10)

small red a.b.

if it’s the last thing I do!

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (#9)

SITE: Anger Disorder” // “AngryWomanAnon

RETALIATORY / revenge anger
This is another very dangerous type of anger – a primitive, destructive,  violent response to anger, injury or humiliation from others.   It can happen as a direct response to someone else lashing out at us, but our intuitive ‘logic’ about wanting revenge is often twisted, conflicted & small-minded. Sometimes the trigger  is a real-world situation, other times it’s only a perceived wrong. Either way the intensity of our reaction will dependent on how much a current event reminds us of childhood hurts & disappointments.  Actions include being over-harsh, refusing to forgive & forget, bringing up hurtful memories from the past….

Anger + Violence = REVENGE. Our reaction might be caused by a personal insult, by a company refusing to refund faulty goods, by a deceitful lover, a shattered illusion …. (SITE: “Why Revenge Feels Sweet“= dopamine).
Using ‘Violent Communication’ toward Intimidators / bullies can easily make them switch to the Revenge cycle, so the punishment doled out to the ‘Enemy’ (you) continues to grow. Anger or Revenge only encourages the problem, perpetuating the cycle of violence. No matter how much we want justice or pay-back, the cycle always ends in one person being a Victim. It never leads to a resolution.


When we sacrifice our time, money, dignity, needs, dreams…. for another, AND there is no acknowledgment or appreciation, & maybe no end in sight – anger is inevitable. Whether the sacrifice:
• is by choice, as in being a parent or elder care-taker, OR self sactifice
• from co-dependence, as in trying to always please others & only getting ‘crumbs’, OR
• because of social /political /religious reasons, out of our control – anger is inevitable.
How we ‘understand’ & process that anger is what will make the difference in how we proceed with our lives. “STOP the Self-Sacrifice” // “Anger & maternal sacrifice

This is typical of people who need a lot of attention & never get enough:
— compulsively try to cover-up their imperfections with perfectionism, & inevitably fail to live up to their impossible standardshame anger
— afraid to admit & express ‘weak’ emotions (loneliness, sorrow, fear….)
— are very sensitive to criticism, even in the form of helpful suggestions
— project their S-H on to everyone else (‘No one likes me’….)
— feel unable to live up to their responsibilities (family man out of work)

The anger comes from the WIC thinking that if others hurt us we must hurt them back, lashing out by ridicule, blame, criticism…. Naturally this will always backfire, our outbursts & loss of control pushing even loved ones away, & making us feel even more inadequate.
(“What is SHAME” post // The Shame-Rage connection)

SOMATIZED anger (Psycho-somatic)
Indirect outlets of suppressed anger/rage – also of depression, anxiety, great loss, PTSD…. – expressed physically (soma = body), with such symptoms as migraine headaches, ulcers, colitis, TMJ (tight jaw), big weight gain, immune diseases. Back pain is one of the more common, expressing a ‘lack of support’ in one’s life…… Denying our deep upset (hurt, anger, sadness…) about life’s circumstances can be played out in the Martyr role, suffering in silence, but always suffering.

INFO: Somatization is one of the oldest of all known psychological body pain
diagnoses. The first reference we know of appears about 1900 B.C. in Egyptian documents, & was also commented upon by the Greeks. In its modern form, it was first defined by Briquet in France in 1859.
— The term Psycho-Somatic has been bastardized into meaning that the ailment is all in our head. Even when the suffering is connected to suppressed emotions, the pain in very real. But somatizers are more likely to try medical solutions instead of the psychological treatment they really need. This route is frustratingly unsuccessful, wastes money & time, leading to anger & depression.

VOLCANIC / exploding anger
One of the more dangerous types, it’s dramatic & unpredictable, a reactive way triggered even by minor stressors that are specific to that person. “Sudden anger” people zoom in from nowhere, blast everything in sight, & then vanish. This loss of control is a knee-jerk reaction, without the time to think or consider consequences, & so out of their conscious control (choice) at that moment. It can be set off by frustration, a perceived wrong or personal annoyance (a button).

They say & do things they may later regret, may even apologize, but by then it’s too late to take it back. AND – they swear they’ll never go off the deep end again, but they always do. These outburst of anger give them a surge of pvulcanic rageower & their escape route. It release all their pent-up unacceptable emotions – so they feel better – while others are left with the Spewer’s pain. Whether it’s mostly all bluster, or more abusive, constant use of this unpredictable style can lead to emotional damage, that can take a long time to repair – if ever.

EXP: Attacking PPT indiscriminately, dishing out unfair punishment, irrational arguments, lashing out or inflicting harm for the sake of it, over-indulging in alcohol, drugs or other addictions….
Note: Anger management tools have proven to be particularly effective with volatile anger.


Anger – CATEGORIES (Part 9)

sad baby a.b. 

I can’t seem to make anything better

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 8)

SITE: Righteous Indignation

There are very real situations in life some of us have to deal with, where we are truly powerless – care-taking an elderly sick & forgetful parent, raising a disabled child, coping with a drug/alcohol addicted mate or older child, having a chronic illness…… It is exhausting, wearing down our patience. It is easy to get frustrated, irritated & then angry. This is normal, and needs to be addressed – to get regular periods of relief.

• However, there are those of us who no longer live in hurtful / dangerous circumstances, yet act as if we’re still victims – as we once were in childhood. We get angry whenever we can’t get what we want or expect. We react to everyday frustrations as if they are meant specifically for us – when they’re not. We accepted our childhood powerlessness as a permanent state, not deserving anything else (learned helplessness). So as adults we don’t have internal permission to get our needs met legitimately. (MORE….)
— This causes us to only look to others outside ourselves to provide everything we need or want, & get angry when that doesn’t happen. We don’t know or refuse to admit we are responsible for our self-care.

On the other hand many people are still genuinely trapped in situations theypowerless can’t get out of for various reasons – children in abusive homes, sex slaves, battered wives, prisoners, war refugees, living in poverty. (Image –>)  A total sense of powerlessness always generates impotent anger, even fury. But without any options, eventually depression & then hopelessness take over.

Rebellion in teens is a ‘normal’ stage of development, not an indictment of their parents’ personalities or way of life. The need is to separate & individuate (S & I) from the adults, in order to develop their own Identity. It does not have to be severe or destructive. In relatively healthy families it most often shows up as contrariness – constant disagreements with parental mores & points of view. Their anger at family restrictions is a way to form necessary boundaries.
If allowed to run it’s course, young people will eventually settle into a way of life that suits them & may actually end up agreeing with the family in some basic respects.

• However, in dysfunctional/abusive families, any disagreement is seen as a threat to the whole fabric of the system (see Family Mobile, ‘B distor. #2). While one or more children will become the ‘good boy or girl”, at least one other may become the rebellious, angry ‘difficult’ one. Such children are continually punished or turned into the family scapegoat (not the same as the Scapegoat Toxic Role). It makes sense then that this child will concluderebellione that “No one cares about me, everyone thinks I’m bad – I might as well be bad”!

As adults
– Rebellious anger is most often directed at any form of authority – being sullen & withdrawn or openly defiant, joining up with other unhappy peers, & show up in all kinds of anti-social behavior. It’s projecting our rage onto others which we feel about our family’s incompetence, neglect & abuse.

RIGHTEOUS/moral anger
a. ARROGANT – Those of us who believe we’re always correct – both for ourselves & for everyone else. This leads us to think we have the absolute ‘right’ to insist that others follow a set of rules – that are in our head. When people / groups / institutions break those rules we get very angry. Such offenders are considered bad, evil, wicked, sinful – who need to be scolded, punished, & then taught the correct way to think & superioract. We rant at them or about them – mostly in speech, but also in writing & even sometimes with physical violence.

• It gives us a sense of superiority because we’re convinced our anger is for a good cause – like unhealthy Ennea 1s – we’re trying to ‘clean up the world’. We don’t see that our world-view is rigid & narrow, assuming everyone is or should be just like us (narcissism), & that others have their own values & moral codes, separate from ours.
When our behavior is questioned or objected to we don’t feel guilty, but arrogantly justify it. Even if the objector apologizes & backs down right away, (although they are correct) we Righteous types may continue attacking the ‘wrong & wrong-doers’, & enjoy humiliating them for their ‘moral ignorance or laxity’.

b. LEGITIMATE – In religious terms, Righteous anger means responding in accord with divine or moral law, & a justifiable decision or action from an outraged sense of justice or morality / acting free from guilt or sin.
— More generally, ‘Righteous Indignation’ focuses on the ‘Higher or Greater good’ rather than based in self-centered motives. It comes from a sincerely desire to make the world a better place for everyone – not just ourselves. We see the injustice & evil around us & are inspired to fight for something greater than ourselves. Whether it’s a loved one or strangers in dire circumstance being unfairly treated or abused, it’s fight evilnatural to feel angry, & healthy anger fuels effective action.

— It’s a reaction to actual abuse of power (something unjust, mean or unworthy), not to something that’s inconvenient, a hobby-horse (favorite annoyance we keep going on about), violations of social tradition, or paranoia
— It is part of a group of healthy qualities – such as self-control, unwillingness to do harm, good boundaries, genuine care for the welfare of others, altruism….. (minus arrogance, self-pity, hopelessness….)

NEXT: Anger categories (Part 10)

Anger – CATEGORIES (Part 8)

pink a.b. 

you look’n at me??

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 7)

SITE: Depression & Anger
We are born with our own set of personality traits, such as: level of activity, distractibility & persistence, mood consistency, flexibility to change, intensity of reaction to + & – stimuli & nervousness level. The last 3 – in their negative form – tie in to how reactive we are to our experiences. If we’ve inherited traits of rigidity, nervousness and/or over-sensitivity PLUS a difficult childhood, we end up more emotionally reactive. Then to protect ourselves, we develop the need to be controlling of others – not seeing the problem as coming from ourselves.

Reactors are more likely to feel insulted or treated unfairly. When something happens that triggers our anger, we’d rather push back right away rather than soothe away our hurt or deal with the issue in a reasonable way. The automatically assumption is always that other people’s behavior causes our anger, & we want to get control back as soon as possible, to get relief. So there can be a lot of yelling, throwing things, slamming of doors, insults….which gets reinforces because in the short-term it usually lets us get our way. But what’s gained in immediate gratification is lost in long-term respect – being seen as volatile & harsh.over-reacting

Some reactors may also feel guilty – later & privately – ashamed that we didn’t control ourselves or knowing we hurt others. As an habitual way of handling things it’s also hard on the cardiovascular system, linked to elevated risk of heart disease.  AND – this pattern can become so ingrained & automatic, that it will even show up in neutral situations!

Paranoia can be identified on a continuum, FROM mild & occasional (“I bet she’s talking talking abut me”) TO severe & continual (“I know they’re watching me thru the tv”).
In the present, it’s the Paranoid’s irrational assumption that they’re somehow in danger, but can’t quite put their finger on it, or prove it.
They see it everywhere – others are out to get them, take what’s theirs, want to humiliate them socially, or attack them in some other way. As a result
The fear/terror comes from a deep sense of insecurity & powerlessness, which generates a lot of anger. Instead of admitting the rage, they project it out onto the world, believing everyone else is angry, so they can be too – without guilt. Their fury is disguised as self-protection.paranoia

The origin of paranoia comes from the experience of being in very real & continual danger growing up. As children they were double-binded, manipulated & controlled to the point of never being able to trust their own thoughts & emotions, much less anyone else’s. As a result, their ability to process & evaluate correctly is flawed or no-existent, confusing their own motives & emotions with those of others. They see their own anger reflected in the eyes & words of their friends, mates & co-workers, without realizing it’s a mirror. This leaves everyone confused.

A person internalizes the expression of anger when he or she avoids dealing with the situation that contributed to feelings of anger. The underlying belief is that “I must never make anyone else uncomfortable, disappointed or displeased…. but it’s perfectly acceptable if I am”.
— This include feeling anxious, being emotionally dishonest, helpless, invisible, manipulated, secretly angry at self & others
— Some hints: Let others choose for them, are inhibited, self-denying, always on the losing end of win-lose, only accidentally or indirectly get what they want

Sad IRONY – Other people will eventually become frustrated with the Passive’s wishy-washy-ness,passivity costing them respect & credibility. They are never fully trusted because no one can tell where they stand. Also, others may feel guilt or superiority – for taking advantage of that weakness.
— Obvious outcome: The Passive’s rights are continually violated, & everyone else achieves their goals – at the Passive’s expense
No actual result is what the Passive assumes their self-denial expects – which is for people to approve of & want to be with them.
Their disappointment generates a lot of anger – which have to stay hidden. However it can still show up – indirectly – as being resentful, holding a grudge, spreading nasty rumors, turning a cold-shoulder……

The “P-A ACoAs” posts give a full description. This category is also called:
Leaking – stockpiling resentments toward someone, & then talking about them behind their back with others who agree with us, doing things we know upsets the one we’re mad at, gossiping, muttering under our breath

– never let others know we’re angry, much less to what degree, but it shows up anyway, usually by withholding – actions, communication, emotions…..and then acting innocent & hurt,pass=aggr asking with a puzzled look, “Why are you getting mad at me?”

– trying to get revenge for injustices to our ego by sabotaging the specific ‘enemy’ we’re angry at, rather than randomly abusing whoever is near by. In this case we use little acts of ‘mild’ aggression, in what we think are socially acceptable ways – being late, making belittling side-comments, complaining to others about them….

NEXT: Anger Categories (Part 9)

Anger – CATEGORIES (Part 7)

yellow a.b. 

all the stuff I have to deal with!

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 6)

SITE: BIBLICAL definition (sinful & godly ways of dealing with it)

Being judgmental of others is a way of saying that WHO they are is bad, instead of evaluating their behavior as good or bad. ‘Judgy’ people find fault with almost everything & everyone, from the government to the color of a car. They are angry & resentful about their own life, which they project out onto the world. Hurting others is a way of making themselves feel better, directing critical, hurtful, shaming or scathing comments at the source of their anger, or at any available substitute. Being constantly judgmental indicated being closed mindedness, with a lack of respect, empathy & good manners.

— Being judgmental is different from making good judgments, which is realistically evaluating the merits of something – safe/unsafe, positive/negative, healthy/unhealthy – in general or as applied to our specific needs (the appropriate person to date, healthiest foods, best way to spend our money…..)

It surfaces when life’s demands are too much for us, & all emotional responses are more easily repairstriggered. We can’t take any more – our plate is overflowing & we have no more reserves of patience or coping energy. This anger is an alternate response to the giving up of ‘learned helplessness’. It’s used to relieve stress, often by shouting & fighting. It can be caused either by:
— a finite situation, like having a tight deadline, while having lot of other time sensitive, important things to do, OR
— life in general, like trying to find a job while many bills are due, caring for a sick loved one, struggling to raise children alone….

LOW-LEVEL anger can be:
— mild, when a situation is annoying but not serious, often suppressed
— OR strong but hidden, mainly from the ‘feeler’, & disguised as nonchalance. This is harder to spot, but can be seen as impatience or exasperation over the smallest thing (a fly buzzing, a person wearing sombottled ragee-thing unattractive, a loud commercial….), especially if it doesn’t seem to bother anyone else.
It also includes being argumentative, impatient, easily frustrated & cranky. One way to tell is to ask, “Is there any family member whose constant irritability affects your ability to have a good relationship with them?”  If Yes, then they probably have low level anger.

INTERESTING contrast – Much of our psychological ‘wisdom’ tells us that it’s bad to express too much anger, but this is not true in every culture.
EXP: Young people out drinking on a Friday night —
— in England, ERs are full by midnight with fight injuries. Whereas,
— in Basque cities (northern Spain) you’ll see a group of people in a bar arguing so vigorously it seems inevitable that a fight will break out – but it rarely does. Low-level anger is not just expressed, it’s almost exaggerated, so that the full-blown variety is usually not needed.

Whatever the nationality, alcohol loosens inhibitions, so the most likely explanation for the difference is that the Basques bottle their anger up less, while the Brits need the bottle to let it out. (from ‘The Guardian’)

In the USA – there’s an epidemic of low-level-continuous-anger.  One way it shows up is in “the ambient misanthropy of snarkiness – the snide, bitchy, cynical, catty, sarcastic, irascible remarks or quips at the expense of other people. They’re not actually witty – like Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, Mae West way – but rather snotty remarks, poking fun in a hurtful, superior way. Snarky is intended as brutally-blunt irony, often delivered in an abrupt manner to stun.” (MORE…..)

The main N. trait is assuming everything is about them. They’ve created a complex protective facade needed to protect inner woundedness they hide even from themselves. The most severe Ns selfish_mandesperately need to protect this False Self, & can’t tolerate anyone who does or says anything to weaken or expose their facade. Everyone must contribute to bolstering the balloon they’ve wrapped themselves in – & woe unto anyone who doesn’t.

While Ns act like they’re confident & always know what they want, the defensive False Persona is in fact very vulnerable – covering deep anxiety from an unsafe childhood. Any threat to their image will bring up rage in the N, but they also resent being dependent on others for the ‘food & fuel’ to maintain it. They’re caught between the frustration of an all-consuming dependence on others for adulation, AND any perceived lack of subservience from their ‘subjects’, making them prone to outbursts. When they don’t get what they want they’ll either attack or cut others out of their life – with no explanation. (MORE….)

This kind of rage can be seen in many ways:
As Cruelty – Putting others down to protect themselves, achieving goal at other people’s expense, taking credit for other people’s ideas or work, demanding their rights while violating those of others
As Grandiosity – Showing off, being mistrustful, not delegating, being a sore loser, always wanting center stage, talking over people’s heads….
As Selfishness – Only considering their own wants & needs, not responding to requests for help, not listening, when ‘giving’ it’s only what they want or like

NEXT: Anger Categories (Part 8)

Anger – CATEGORIES (Part 6)

reddish a.b. 

that I can’t do whatever I want!

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 5)

SITE:A philosopher explores different types of anger”, Prof. Martha Nussbaum

UNHEALTHY: In the classic victimizer-victim “kick-the-dog” cycle, we take out anger we have toward one person/situation ON to a possibly weaker or easier target that happens to be available, so that an innocent person gets hurt. The substitute-target will have no idea why they’re being picked on / yelled at / punished….. but is left dazed & confused. The person who bears the brunt of displaced anger – the scapegoat – will have no idea what happened to cause the anger, but their relationship will definitely be damaged, specially if it’s often repeated.

This type of anger may not be aimed at a specific PPT, but shows up as prejudice, crankiness, depression, anxiety, isolation, being uncooperative……but no one understands why. We do this when:
— we’re not internally allowed to recognize what hurts us &/or that we’re actually angry
— we feel powerless to change a bad situation
— we’re too afraid to assert ourselves to the person we’re angry at
— the object of our anger is realistically too dangerous to confront

HEALTHIER: When we genuinely can not change a situation we’re involved in which leaves us frustrated, drained & angry, but choose to stay in or can not change (caring for a sick & dying parent, needing the survival job, a chronic injury or illness…..). ‘Blocked” energy can be redirectedredirect energy Possible ways to displace of anger can be:
— venting anger privately, in a safe way (pounding, drawing, writing…..)
— breaking objects we don’t need (tin cans, old newspapers, —)
— strenuous exercise / using a punching bag….
— re-channeling the energy of the anger into a productive activity (sports, helping the under-privileged…), where we can feel successful & effective

Frustration is the emotion we feel whenever we’re blocked from reaching a desired outcome – from the minor irritations of losing something to the major aggravation of a long-term inability to reach an important goal. It’s often experienced when a result doesn’t match all the effort we put in to achieving something, or our work produces fewer, weaker results than we think it should have.
If the frustration goes on too long or is too great, is can make us irritable, resentful & angry. The more important the goal, the greater the frustration, resulting in anger & loss of confidence.
— At worst one can spiral downward into depression & resignation.
— At ‘best’, frustration can be a useful indicator of a problem that needs to be corrected or changed

Internal sources can come from real personal damage OR imagined deficiencies (S-H) which prevent us from getting what we want. This can lead to turning the anger against ourselves, criticizing ourselves for lack of knowledge, planning, preparation, perseverance……
We often stay in frustrating situation, because of a belief that making life easier is a weakness, a loss of control.
— Being frustrated can also come from having competing goals that interfere with one another (internal DBs), even when both are positive Child wishes vs Adult needs....).

External causes involve conditions outside ourselves caused by other people or situations that get disappointmentin our way. Deliberately frustrating others is an act of control, for power & status. When we’re refused permission, our actions blocked or resources withdrawn – we feel angry, but it’s not always wise or safe to show it. Somethings we can get around or modify, but others are inescapable (the time for the Serenity Prayer).
MINOR: traffic, waiting in line, ‘on hold’, a desired food has sold out, a crying baby…..
MAJOR: Gov’t or legal regulations, politics & bureaucracy at work, long-term / chronic illness, permanent disability, all forms of prejudice….

HABITUAL Anger  (see: “Anger – Ways to React” #2, Chronic)
Their habit of always being angry makes life predictable. They always know what they feel. Life may be lousy but it is known, safe & stable – but their porcupine exterior insures that they can’t get close to anyone – to show love to others or to let themselves be loved.
They’re trapped in a vicious loop: they start out being angry about something that made them unhappy – probably legitimate. It then morphs into a whole way of life, where they’re angry about being unhappy & unsuccessful, which makes them angry, which keeps them unhappy…..!!

JEALOUSY / Envy anger
Both come from a feeling of being powerless to get what WE want /need, but do not have the right or ability to achieve
Envy is a 2-person emotion – I want what you have, which I never had (a loving family, a healthy body, the right to be who you are, good looks, an education….)
Jealousy is the 3-person love triangle:
— I want who you have, which I never had (you have lots of friends, a wonderful jealous heartmate, a great boss…..) AND don’t believe I ever will
— OR am terrified of losing of something I have or thought I had (love of my mate, connection to my children, full attention from a parent…..)
EXP: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” – from her real experience

NEXT: Anger Categories (Part 7)

Anger – CATEGORIES (Part 5)

3 blue a.b. 

at all costs!

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 4)

SITE: “Anger, Integrity & Cooperation” (6/5/12)

DIRECT cause: When we’re suddenly attacked, a primitive reaction is triggered of either fight / anger (need to be quick & hit hard) OR flight / fear (need speed & agility), with a boost of adrenaline giving power to muscles. When cornered, running away or giving in us usually judged by others as cowardly, so the initial fear reaction often becomes anger, allowing the defensive person to turn into the aggressor.
EXP: If Joe uses aggressive anger on a colleague & Sam reacts with
defensive anger, a loud argument is inevitable. Them if Sam switches to attacking Joe as a way to distract or get back at him, we get a see-saw effect, where the back-&-forthing becomes personal & the original point of the dispute is completely lost.

INDIRECT cause: On the other hand, wounded people who grew up being accused wrongly, made fun of, bullied…. tend to be automatically defensive, as a matter of course. Defensiveness (verbal or physical fists in the air) is used when feeling attacked – whether intended by someone or not – & comes from not being internally safe. It means we don’t experience the environment as benign & therefore react, as when:attitude
• we feel compelled to protect our ego by justifying ourselves, as a way to push away feeling of guilt, insecurity, shame, or the fear that we really are wrong
• we take offense – too easily, too often – using anger to protect a ‘precious’ sensitive subject we have a vested interest in (a favorite person, prejudice or project….)
• we have an angry reaction to a button pushed, such as being accused wrongly, being ignored or made fun of, frustration, unfairness….
• we react to all communications are potentially ‘dangerous’ to our well-being (a bit of paranoia)

BTW: There is a climate of entitlement among many young people today, which some people assume represent self-esteem – but is not. An article by Fun Ming Chan notes: “….there are two variations of high self-esteem: one that is pure high self-esteem, & one that includes defensive behavior with an unrealistically positive manner. Researchers argue that it is defensiveness, not high self-esteem that was the cause of the negative behaviors,” referring to the talk given by Kathleen Hoffman and Traci Mann: “Understanding Negative Consequences of High Self-Esteem: The Role of Defensiveness.”

REALISTIC: This is when things are out of our control, such as when:disappointed girl
— a promise made to us is broken (we don’t get the raise)
— a hope that’s dashed (rain on the day we plan a picnic)
— there’s endless delay in reaching an important goal or need
— when something we looked forward to turns out not to be as good, attractive or satisfactory as expected…..
If any of these happen too often, from people or situations we depend on, we can become very depressed &/or angry. As children many of us were stuck with continually disappointing parents, so we’re more sensitive to even slight losses now. Unfortunately, ACoAs with this background tend to find & stay with PPT which repeat this patterns, instead of walking away & looking for more reliable options.

UNREALISTIC: This anger comes from an unmet expectation or wish:
which was never verbalized & therefore not agreed to (Maria pictures & plans for a romantic event, assuming the Juan will fulfill the fantasy without having any idea what she’s hoping for! so he doesn’t, because he’s not normally romantic & legitimately not a mind-reader. That makes her very angry – at him, instead of taking responsibility for not asking.)
which was verbalized but not agreed to (person A says WE are going to do or not do something, but person/group B is silent, which leads A to assume they agree, when B actually doesn’t, & so they don’t do it – or sabotage – what A expected)

• Unrealistic disappointment-anger can come from making judgments or assuming rules about how things should be done or not done, that are not met by a specific person or group we’re involved in. Judgments come —superiority
from a sense of moral superiority, as if we know what’s best for someone else (“No daughter of mine will even marry a —- / Of course you’ll be better off going to that —- / Our family only votes —-”)
from a need to control our environment to feel safer (“Al-Anon meeting should always be helpful / the speaker should stick to the topic….”). Either way, it causes trouble for everyone.

HATING anger
This is a cold fire that started as accumulated anger toward someone or something the hater feels is totally evil & totally undeserving of compassion or forgiveness. They see themselves as innocent victims, & there may have been a time when they were – but may not be any more.
Their rage has never been processed & resolved, & in the form of obsessive resentment, it can go on forever. They vow to despise the offender, often thinking about ways to punish him/her, & sometimes they do.hate anger

If they can’t revenge themselves on the original perpetrator, they find other opportunities in the world to vent their bitterness. They create a world of enemies to fight, attacking with great vigor & enthusiasm. However, this hatred causes serious damage over time. Haters can’t let go or get on with life. Their become hard & miserable, in a narrow, rigid existence.

NEXT: Anger Categories (Part 6)