I’M STILL CARRYING
all this baggage – mine AND theirs!
PREVIOUS: Anger & the Brain (#5)
SITE: Naming types of anger – worksheet
NOTE: Psychologists who assert that anger is a secondary rather than primary emotion are only partially correct. Anger is often used to cover up other, more vulnerable emotions we don’t want to experience or admit to (fear, guilt, neediness, loneliness….), as well as being an underlying feature of neurotic narcissism & a sense of entitlement.
BUT, like anxiety, anger is a primary & appropriate reaction to anything threatening our physical, psychological, spiritual or existential integrity.
Feeling anger in such circumstances is an assertion of our most basic right to be an individual. Without it we wouldn’t be able to defend ourselves or those we love when needed – to fight for freedom, or what we truly believe in & value.
BASIC CATEGORIES identified by psychologists:
• “Hasty & sudden” by Joseph Butler, (18th-century English bishop & philosopher) is connected to the impulse for self-preservation. It’s shared by human & non-human animals, occurring when tormented or trapped
• “Settled & deliberate“, a reaction to perceived deliberate harm or unfair treatment by others. These two forms of anger are episodic – occasional & based on triggers
• “Dispositional” is related more to character traits than to instincts or thoughts, seen as being easily irritated, often sullen, lacking civility or graciousness, difficult to work with or deal with…. & therefore character-driven (as unhealthy Enneagram 891 types).
RANGE of expression chart – tells us that:
• Silent, unexpressed anger – deliberately ignoring someone – is experienced by the recipient as psychic murder of the Self
• Loudly expressed anger may be received by others as physical murder. These are both especially true for children. Overt RAGE tends to be sudden, undeserved & often uncontrolled. It produces waves of negative energy unleashed on another person, making the recipient instantly weak.
WET ANGER – when your eyes water & your voice shakes, the type you hate because you’re angry and crying. It makes you feel like a weak person, because it shows that you still care too much
DRY ANGER – when your face is like stone & your voice is sharp, & it means that your done! ~ Unknown
1. OUR PAST ANGER
OLD but ongoing: Anger as a direct result of the trauma we’ve suffered, often on a daily basis, & therefore reasonable, but not influenced by an immediate event. It’s long-term, perhaps just under the surface, simmering, perhaps suppressed. But the origin comes form very real experiences, especially when we were the most vulnerable & powerless.
Directed AT US: Someone’s current behavior toward us triggers our deep well of fear, frustration or hurt (Aaron Beck, 1980s). Our anger-reaction is expressed in an attempt to protect ourselves from further injury when we experience being threatened, slighted or rejected – deliberate or not. Our anger/rage can be explosive & feel like it’s taking us over, since the situation remind us, consciously or unconsciously, of very real childhood PMES abuse.
This explains out-of-proportion reactions, because “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”. While the original source was real, often times the present cause is not actually dangerous, because the triggering incident is neutral or minor, AND we are no longer a powerless child, even tho we may be run by the WIC.
Happening TO SOMEONE ELSE: This is when we feel intense anger in the present, but not from something happening directly to us. It’s a sympathy-over-reaction to something we see or hear, also coming from our own past PMES trauma.
EXP – We may become very angry when we:
— see a mother verbally abusing or ignoring her child
— watch a movie where someone is being treated as if invisible, made fun of, threatened, beaten, molested….
— see animal abuse or neglect (identification with)…..
……which trigger memories of what we also experienced.
2. Our INTROJECT’s Anger (the PP)
This type is what we carry (unconsciously absorbed) from one or more of our raging or passive-aggressive parents/caretakers. It became so much a part of us that now we don’t even recognize it as “not mine”.
We absorbed all their emotions, both as a result of:
• adults unloaded their disowned rage & hurt onto us as kids, in the form of verbal & physical attacks (not our choice at that time), AND
• our genuine love for our family, the Child’s desire to ‘help’ our parents by taking on some of their suffering, as if we could lighten their burden.
IMP: ACoAs need to separate out their anger & rage from our own – the unprocessed pain of what they experienced, carried & passed on to us vs. our anger at how we were abused & abandoned. Then mentally ‘package it up’ & return it. This can be done with visualizations, drawings & body work.
3. CONSTRUCTIVE ANGER
Anger that comes from the Adult ego state, in response to a specific present-day issue, prompting us too act in a positive way to remove an obstacle in our path, or to right an injustice. (More in other posts).
NEXT: Anger Types