PREVIOUS: Arrogance vs Humility (Part 2)
BOOK: “Strategies for Survival in an Angry World” ~ Dr Eva Bell
QUOTE: “Generally speaking – if a human being never shows anger, then I think something’s wrong. He’s not right in the brain”. ~ Dalai Lama
ACoAs – why are we SO angry?
Many of us know we are, and have varying degrees of acceptance about that reality. We may be still walking around in a fairly constant slow burn, are genuinely calm & peaceful much of the time with only occasional flare-ups (because of doing a great deal of WIC, FoO & rage work) or are somewhere in between.
BUT, if you say that you’re just not angry, or that you’ve gotten past it all, that you’ve forgiven them & moved on – then you can check to see how accurate you are by answering the following:
Qs: How do you talk to yourself, internally? How good is your self-care?
● Are you consistently kind, patient, loving, validating, comforting, self-respecting….. toward yourself?
OR is the PP inner voice being harsh, impatient & perfectionistic, while you ignore the WIC completely?
● Do you take as good care of yourself, each day, as you do other people & pets in your life?
OR are you only focused on others, co-dependent & people-pleasing?
● Do you stand up for your rights & ask for what you need – from your Adult ego state?
OR do you over-react when something doesn’t go right
OR passive-aggressively wait for someone else to figure out what you need?
● Do you feel comfortable in business & other social settings, because you are calm & confident,
OR do you isolate & assume everyone is going to judge you? (which is projecting your anger out on to others)
➼ If you are more like the second half of these questions, then you are still very angry – from early &/or adult abuse you’ve suffered – sitting on a volcano and taking it out on yourself, while pretending you’re not really in a rage at all.
WHAT WE DIDN’T GET as kids
No matter what our family looked like on the outside – what most of didn’t get is a sense of safety & security. Kids who DO have that,
do not grow up angry & self-hating!
This chart shows some of the requirements of youngsters as they begin to explore the world around them, while needing to know they can return to the safety of loving, responsible parents. This ‘Circle of Security‘ forms the foundation of self-esteem (from unconditional love), the ability to take healthy risks & the freedom to find out who they are, which will help them eventually decide what to do with their life.
How many things on this chart were a daily part of your earliest
experience? The lack of such nurturing created a deep sense of fear in us, & over time that fear turned into anger & then rage. No matter how much we’ve suppressed our emotions & memories, the losses, disappointments & hurt are still there – until brought to the surface to be validated, honored & processed.
● We’ve all heard over & over that growth & healing cannot occur as long as we hang on to anger & bitterness. In the long-run this is true. In the short-term what many teachers neglect to tell us is that the process of ‘letting go’ is a path of mourning (ala Kubler-Ross), & that the stages of mourning the lack of a healthy childhood include ANGER. (MORE….)
● ACoAs are terrified of anger
(even the angry ones!) —
— of our own, because if we let it out we might kill someone (since we really want to)
— of others’ anger, because the WIC assumes they/it will kill us.
Unfortunately, many of us grew up with one or more raging adults (especially when drunk), & including siblings or other family members. We may also have been stuck with other adults who were too weak & fearful to protect us against the ragers. We were never soothed when hurt & terrified, & so don’t know how to soothe ourselves. We were also never shown / taught how to handle our anger – neither in how to think about upsetting situations nor how to behave successfully. We were left alone with our pain, and punished for any display of reactive anger.
— So we grew into overt ragers ourselves, or copied the long-suffering parent, & still live in fear of everything. ACoAs in the victim role are just as intensely angry as the volcanic types. While it may be pushed out of our awareness, it still shows up as relentless PMES S-H & deprivation, as well as staying with others who manipulate or attack us, & blow up too easily (more on Emotional Abuse ). S-H is caused by our original abandonment, & then fueled by helpless, hopeless rage – in the wrong direction – toward ourselves.
— And if we were designated the Hero ACoA / the ‘Good One’ in the family, then we were definitely not allowed to be angry. Added to that, some of us received religious injunctions against such an ‘evil’ emotion! It’s not surprising then that we have trouble even knowing we’re angry, or that we should be angry when mistreated (T), much less actually feeling it (E). Instead it gets ‘intellectualized’ into resentments – several steps removed from the actual bodily experience of the anger itself!
St. Augustine said: “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.”
NEXT: What about anger – Part 2