I’M ALL TRIED UP
in my own inner red tape!
PREVIOUS: Ways to React (Part 1)
DEALING with anger – ours or others’ (cont)
1. Hidden anger
“Just because anger is hidden doesn’t mean it is harmless. Just because it’s under wraps doesn’t mean it is under control.”
For many of us, the need to deny the strength or even the existence of our anger is so powerful that we develop the ability to deny the anger even exists – unconsciously or by choice.
• “Anger is such a powerful coping mechanism that repression and suppression are not successful. The more you try to avoid it, the more time and energy you are going to spend with it. It’s a paradox.” says Seattle’s Dr. Roland Mairuo, MD. in his book “Controlling your anger….” (+ Bible references)
Burying anger doesn’t diffuse it, it just burrow underground, where it undermines our sense of self. The force of suppressed anger will find other, secondary outlets when not allowed out directly & appropriately,usually in damaging ways.
• Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old-fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for the discharge of smoke is up the flue and out of the chimney. If the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out of the stove in unintended ways…. around the door, through the grate, etc. choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function.
Likewise the normal, human expression of anger is gross physical movement and/or loud vocalization – just watch an unhappy baby sometime.
2. Habitual Irritation
Physically, it can sometimes be part of untreated clinical depression, a side effect of drugs & alcohol abuse, or of some medications. Genetics & family mental illness can also play a part.
Psychologically, the underpinning comes from being shamed / neglected / abused…. as a child, creating deep-seated fear & sense of powerlessness. Our WIC assumes everyone is dangerous, & defends against them by a brittle layer of anger/rage. Repeated traumatic events, environmental stress & social / religious constrictions also contribute, which can prevent the sufferer from learning appropriate coping skills.
• Chronically angry/ resentful people (including wounded “Type A”s) have years of expecting to be disappointed & frustrated, so it doesn’t take much to react angrily to even small day-to-day stressful events. Chronic resentment* is an ego defense. The more fragile a person’s ego (missing a True Self), the more resentment is needed – more important than accurate info, truth & reason, reinforced by greatly distorted thinking (see list of CDs). *Resent (keeping track of injuries), from the Latin root : to feel anger over & over again.
• Always assuming & looking for the worst, & the resulting anger – become their default position. They tend to go through their days looking for a fight, seeing the worst in everyone & every situation. Stuck in a rut, these people usually become very predictable over time. The need to devalue others to protect themselves inevitably leads to verbal/emotional abuse & eventually to contempt & disgust in most or all relationships. Their toxic attitude keeps people emotionally & physically far away, which repeats the feeling of childhood abandonment. This reinforces their shame & so validates their un-lovability. Their constant reactivity creates leads to even more anger. They report higher levels of family conflict & less social support – because of the effect their anger has on everyone they deal with.
• cranky, curmudgeonly (Jeff Dunham’s WALTER)
• perpetually cynical, bitter, judgmental, controlling
• dissatisfied with of everything, overly critical & judgmental
• passively resistant, interferes with progress
• Aggressive: overly critical, fault-finding, name-calling, sarcasm, cruelty, prejudice, cynical humor & teasing, flashes of temper or explosive rages
• Assaults: physical, rage, slapping, shoving, using a weapon
• Hurtful: malicious gossip, stirring up trouble, stealing, mean pranks
• Rebellious: indirectly challenging or open defiance
(Questions to ask oneself re. symptoms)
3. Explosive rage/ anger
A behavioral disorder characterized by unplanned explosive outbursts,
expressed in a hostile manner, verbally &/or physically, such as impulsive screaming. The reactions are triggered by relatively inconsequential
events, & are out of proportion to the actual situation.
However, some people do notice internal ‘warning signs’ before an outburst, such as tension, mood changes, energy changes…. but can’t stop themselves from reacting. (Wikipedia)
— Some people become anger junkies, who get off on the adrenaline rush of an emotional explosion, which gets reinforced if the barrage allows them to get their way, at least in the short-term
• Exploders are like a volcano, dormant for a long time, bottling up most or all their emotions, but when they finally erupt, hot lava spews emotional & sometimes physical destruction at anyone around. It will take a lot to push them over the edge, but when that line is crossed, the earth shakes & people run for cover. Their hurt & anger are suppressed, then eventually released or projected onto innocent victims (children animals, the iPhone….), erupting at objects or people who didn’t cause the original pain. EXP: “If you leave your jacket on the floor one more time, I’m leaving you!”
• The build-up usually comes from:
— long-term frustration about not getting one’s needs met in current situations (a marriage, a job….)
— long-term abuse /abandonment in intimate relationships (from parents, a spouse, s teacher….)
Never taught how to deal with a wide range of hurt – from irritation to assaults – they habitually swallow it until ‘stuffed’ & then let it out – inappropriately. Because people can’t feel empathy & rage at the same time, the exploder is more likely to say & do overly harsh things they later regret.