I NEED TO THINK TWICE
about what I thought was true
REMINDER: See Acronyms for abbrev.
SITE: 3 short Poems: Sometimes I wear Happiness / Sometimes I wear Anger / Sometimes I wear Alone
QUOTEs: “Never give away your self-control to someone who isn’t yourself.”
Anger has a variety of faces, & trying to simplify it has resulted in many INCORRECT assumption (myths).
BELIEFS – T or F
● is abnormal
F: Everyone experiences anger. We can see it in tiny babies, especially when frustrated, as they screw up their face & shake their fists. It’s one of a wide range of emotions we need in order to communicate what we like & what we don’t like
● is inherited
T – but only partly. All behavior is complex, a combination of inheritance & mimicry. Genome decoding has revealed a connection between the MAO-A gene & aggression in humans. So some people are more easily triggered & may feel anger more intensely.
— However, research also tells us that people are not born with set & specific ways of expressing anger (actions/reactions) – which are learned – so we can improve the ways we manage the emotion
— We know that children internalize ways of thinking & acting by watching & listening to their family & society. Angry parents often have angry children, but this outcome is not inevitable.
● is only a ‘problem’ for certain types
F: All types of people experience anger — truck drivers, college professors, physicians, housewives, grandmothers, lawyers, policemen, career criminals, poor people, millionaires, children, the elderly, people of various colors, nationalities, and religions….. Anger is a universal emotion!
● is bad, & therefore it must be eliminated
F: It is neither good or bad but rather a neutral energy with a specific purpose in our psyches. Again, the anger itself is not the problem, only the we express it (verbally/physically). Parents who themselves were taught that all anger is bad/evil, & then pass that on without question, teach their children to stuff, repress or totally deny their anger.
EXP: “Don’t take that tone of voice with me, young man!” or “If you’re going to act like that, you can go to your room!”
T: ONLY when acting it out incorrectly, which can lead to domestic violence, property damage, sexual abuse, drug addiction, ulcers, self-mutilation……
● is good
T: Anger has a variety of positive uses. It can energize, helping us get things done, to cope with stress, promote self-esteem, & defend against fear & insecurity. Like all other emotions, it is God-given/inborn, to warns us of real or perceived threats to ourselves – an early warning detection system to tell us we need to change an undesirable situation.
● ‘disappears’ in Spiritual &/or Mentally Healthy people
F: Anger is a fact of life. Everyone experiences anger (E = feeling) because the brain is wired to react to danger by flooding us with chemicals that push us to protect ourselves & our loved ones. Smart people chose to understand their experience of anger (T = mental evaluation). Healthy people choose to express anger in constructive ways (A = actions). Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr…. felt & expressed anger, but turned it into social reform that made the world a better place. (Post: CATEGORIES Part 9 – “Righteous anger”)
● is not a “real” emotion
F: Some psychologists say that anger is a “counterfeit emotion.” While anger can be considered ‘secondary’ because it’s often triggered by others such as embarrassment, shame, fear, guilt, jealousy, anxiety – yet it is a separate emotion, since it’s possible to experience any of these other emotions without getting angry
● is “all in your head”
T: that anger is first generated in the brain, but….
F: …..in that it’s not just a state of mind or made up. All emotions are primarily physical experiences, felt throughout the whole body. It’s instantly expressed in muscles throughout our entire body long before we’re aware how we’re feeling – the hairs on the back of the neck, tightening in gut, finger-temperature warming up, + RISING: blood pressure, blood sugar levels, heart rate, respiration rate….
EXP: “I feel like I have a big fist pressing on my chest when I get that angry / I have trouble swallowing that / I have a knot in my stomach….”
➼ It is impossible to hide anger from the skilled observer (body stance, tone of voice…), tho many people miss the signs in themselves
Figure adapted from: Body maps of emotions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in press. (Interviewed over 700 people)
● is something that happens to us
F: Anger, as well as all other emotions, are our biochemical responses to events & then may or may not be expressed as actions. Sometimes it feels like a physical ‘event’ that’s out of our control – because it’s erupting from the unconscious, like a lightning strike. However, it is in fact something coming from us, rather than happening to us – triggered by our thoughts — inside (about ourselves) or from outside re. PPT (about others)
● is caused by other people
F: While others are responsible for what they do or say to us – our emotional reaction (anger, fear, shock / amusement, pleasure, indifference……) is on us. As adults – no one can make us angry, sad, happy….. Our brain generates our emotions & so we can choose how we think about an event, which can influence how we feel & act (T.E.A.)
EXP: we might choose to ignore at ridicule, be sad when disappointed, not be hurt when disrespected…. We don’t have to get mad!
NEXT: Anger MYTHS (Part 2)