PREVIOUS: What about anger – Part 1
BOOK: ‘Metaphor & Emotion’, seeing the body as container for emotions: “She unleashed her anger, his anger is smoldering, you make by blood boil…..”
QUOTE: “Anger is a GIFT! Anyone can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not within everyone’s power and that is not easy.” ~ Aristotle (More… scroll to 2/9/12)
Anger: An emotional state varying in intensity from mild irritation to fury, a temporary & episodic reaction to a frustrating situation. / A strong, uncomfortable emotional response to something unwanted & not fitting with our values, beliefs or rights (pushing our buttons)
Irritability: a milder emotional reaction to minor annoyances that can happen in the course of our daily routine
Aggression: An intentional desire to harm someone or something
Rage: When there is loss of self-control so that anger explodes, sometime into completely irrational behavior, sometimes very deliberate!
Hostility: A specific personality characteristic expressed as a chronic antagonistic, mistrustful emotional state, along with a negative mental attitude toward people & the word in general.
BASICs – the more we know about anything, the easier it is to understand, deal with & be in charge of it. So it is with of anger.
1. Anger is a perfectly normal emotion – created by the physiology of our mind and body. It’s not only universal, but absolutely necessary, and NOT something to be cured as if it were a disease. Anger is a healthy reaction to a grievance, so one of its positive intentions is to focus our attention – so we can modify or eliminate an aggravation or abuse, wherever possible. The benefits of appropriate expressions of anger include overcoming our fears, & building confidence to respond to threats, danger & mistreatment.
2. Anger, like all emotions, is actual energy – no matter how intense – scientifically proven, as seen on these scans.
Heat maps of emotions —->
The problem is not in having the emotion (E), but rather in what we’re saying (T) to ourselves about a situation which greatly upsets us, & the kind of behavior we use to express it, based on what we learned as kids. We need to FEEL our anger, but we do not always need to outwardly ACT on it!
3. Anger is considered one of the secondary emotions – a response to primary Es such as intense FEAR (from being abandoned, attacked, disrespected, forced, offended, pressured, trapped…..). This does not mean they are unimportant or to be ignored.
They are secondary because they’re a composite of other more fundamental ones (Plutchik), AND because they cannot tell us directly what the underlying unmet need is, only that something is wrong.
• However, they are a very useful starting point. Instead of being afraid of them, we can successfully use anger, guilt, anxiety…. as helpful indicators of what’s going on underneath, giving us the opportunity (& choice) to ‘fix’ the real lack, which would then make us feel better. The problem for ACoAs with solving this Q. (‘What’s missing?’) is that we’re not allowed to know what we really feel NOR what we actually need. So those have to become part of our understanding & daily vocabulary before anger can be a useful tool.
4. Anger is part of the Wood Element – which governs the eyes, gallbladder, liver, & tendons. In the short-term, & by itself (without action), the emotion itself is not harmful. But because it is energy, generated by chemicals in the brain, we can damage ourselves in PMES ways when we suppress the anger / rage, especially for a long time. The chemicals can ‘fester’
inside & cause a variety of problems.
● Denied anger results in lowered quality of life, causing mental & emotional numbness, which can then draw us toward violent situations as a release. It will also negatively effect many parts of the body, such as the:
— Muscular (tightness) and Immune (over-worked) systems
— Liver – causing decision-making abilities to be diminished
— Gall bladder – causing gallstones (condensed anger) & migraines
● At the other extreme is acting out the anger in ways that directly injure ourselves and others – especially when aimed at children.
5. How each person reacts (emotional intensity & behavior patterns) is formed by a combination of: genetic predispositions, cognitive problem solving skills, learned behaviors & past experiences
6. NEVER think or talk about anger & other uncomfortable / ‘unacceptable’ /painful emotions as negative! Anything designated as a negative is automatically considered bad – which in this case means we should not be angry, under any circumstances. NOT so. Without feeling & owning legitimate anger we are easily abused, frightened & manipulated – & so become or stay victims.
REMINDER – in TEA terms – Thoughts & Actions can be either
Positive, Negative or Neutral, but never EMOTIONS, which can range from: most Joyful <—–> to most Painful (+/- 100), with the calmest, pleasantest in the mid-range (+/- 20).
NEXT: ACoAs – What about anger? – Part 3