IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!
that I can’t do whatever I want!
PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 5)
SITE: “A philosopher explores different types of anger”, Prof. Martha Nussbaum
3. OTHER Anger-EXPRESSIONS (cont)
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 redirected. Possible ways to displace of anger can be:
— venting anger privately, in a safe way (pound, draw, write…..)
— 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 in 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 mate, 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)