I JUST CAN’T HANDLE
all the stuff I have to deal with!
PREVIOUS: A. Categories (#6)
3. OTHER Anger-EXPRESSIONS (cont)
Being judgmental of others is a way of saying that WHO they are is bad, instead of evaluating their behavior as good or bad. ‘Judgy’ people find fault with almost everything & everyone, from the government to the color of a car. They are angry & resentful about their own life, which they project out onto the world. Hurting others is a way of making themselves feel better, directing critical, hurtful, shaming or scathing comments at the source of their anger, or at any available substitute. Being constantly judgmental indicated being closed mindedness, with a lack of respect, empathy & good manners.
— Being judgmental is different from making good judgments, which is realistically evaluating the merits of something – safe/unsafe, positive/negative, healthy/unhealthy – in general or as applied to our specific needs (the appropriate person to date, healthiest foods, best way to spend our money…..)
It surfaces when life’s demands are too much for us, & all emotional responses are more easily triggered. We can’t take any more – our plate is overflowing & we have no more reserves of patience or coping energy. This anger is an alternate response to the giving up of ‘learned helplessness’. It’s used to relieve stress, often by shouting & fighting. It can be caused either by:
— a finite situation, like having a tight deadline, while having lot of other time sensitive, important things to do, OR
— life in general, like trying to find a job while many bills are due, caring for a sick loved one, struggling to raise children alone….
LOW-LEVEL anger can be:
— mild, when a situation is annoying but not serious, often suppressed
— OR strong but hidden, mainly from the ‘feeler’, & disguised as nonchalance. This is harder to spot, but can be seen as impatience or exasperation over the smallest thing (a fly buzzing, a person wearing some-thing unattractive, a loud commercial….), especially if it doesn’t seem to bother anyone else.
It also includes being argumentative, impatient, easily frustrated & cranky. One way to tell is to ask, “Is there any family member whose constant irritability affects your ability to have a good relationship with them?” If Yes, then they probably have low-level anger.
INTERESTING contrast – Much of our psychological ‘wisdom’ tells us that it’s bad to express too much anger, but this is not true in every culture.
EXP: Young people out drinking on a Friday night —
— in England, ERs are full by midnight with fight injuries. Whereas,
— in Basque cities (northern Spain) you’ll see a group of people in a bar arguing so vigorously it seems inevitable that a fight will break out – but it rarely does. Low-level anger is not just expressed, it’s almost exaggerated, so that the full-blown variety is usually not needed.
Whatever the nationality, alcohol loosens inhibitions, so the most likely explanation for the difference is that the Basques bottle their anger up less, while the Brits need the bottle to let it out. (from ‘The Guardian’)
In the USA – there’s an epidemic of low-level-continuous-anger. One way it shows up is in “the ambient misanthropy of snarkiness – the snide, bitchy, cynical, catty, sarcastic, irascible remarks or quips at the expense of other people. They’re not actually witty – like Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, Mae West way – but rather snotty remarks, poking fun in a hurtful, superior way. Snarky is intended as brutally-blunt irony, often delivered in an abrupt manner to stun.” (MORE…..)
NARCISSISTIC (N) anger
The main N. trait is assuming everything is about them. They’ve created a complex protective facade needed to protect inner woundedness they hide even from themselves. The most severe Ns desperately need to protect this False Self, & can’t tolerate anyone who does or says anything to weaken or expose their facade. Everyone must contribute to bolstering the balloon they’ve wrapped themselves in – & woe unto anyone who doesn’t.
While Ns act like they’re confident & always know what they want, the defensive False Persona is in fact very vulnerable – covering deep anxiety from an unsafe childhood. Any threat to their image will bring up rage in the N, but they also resent being dependent on others for the ‘food & fuel’ to maintain it. They’re caught between the frustration of an all-consuming dependence on others for adulation, AND any perceived lack of subservience from their ‘subjects’, making them prone to outbursts. When they don’t get what they want they’ll either attack or cut others out of their life – with no explanation. (MORE….)
This kind of rage can be seen in many ways:
As Cruelty – Putting others down to protect themselves, achieving goal at other people’s expense, taking credit for other people’s ideas or work, demanding their rights while violating those of others
As Grandiosity – Showing off, being mistrustful, not delegating, being a sore loser, always wanting center stage, talking over people’s heads….
As Selfishness – Only considering their own wants & needs, not responding to requests for help, not listening, when ‘giving’ it’s only what they want or like
NEXT: Anger Categories (Part 8)