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BOOK: ‘Metaphor & Emotion’, seeing the body as container for emotions: “She unleashed her anger, his anger is smoldering, you make by blood boil…..”
BASICs – the more we know about something, the easier it is to understand, deal with & be in charge of it. So it is with of anger.
1. Anger is a perfectly normal emotion – created by the physiology of our brain & body. It’s not only universal, but absolutely necessary, and NOT something to be cured as if it were a disease.
Anger is a healthy reaction to a grievance, so one of its positive intentions is to focus our attention – so we can modify or eliminate an aggravation or abuse, wherever possible. The benefits of appropriately expressing it include overcoming our fears, & building confidence to respond to threats, danger & mistreatment.
2. Like all emotions, anger is actual energy – no matter how intense – scientifically proven, as seen on these scans.
Heat maps of emotions —->
The problem is not in having (feeling) the emotion (E),
►but rather in what we’re saying (T) to ourselves about a situation which greatly upsets us,
▶︎and the kind of behavior (A) we use to express it, based on what we learned as kids.
We need to FEEL our anger, but we do not always need to outwardly ACT on it!
3. Anger is considered one of the secondary emotions – a response to primary Es such as intense FEAR (from being abandoned, attacked, disrespected, forced, offended, pressured, trapped…..). This does not mean it’s unimportant or to be ignored.
It’s secondary because it’s a composite of other more fundamental ones (Plutchik’s 8 Primary Es), AND because it can’t tell us directly what the underlying unmet NEED is, only that something is wrong.
• However, it is a very useful starting point. Instead of being afraid of it, we can successfully use anger, guilt, anxiety…. as helpful indicators of what’s going on underneath, giving us the opportunity (& choice) to ‘fix’ the real lack, which would then make us feel better.
The problem for ACoAs with solving this Q. (‘What’s missing?’) is that we’re not allowed to know what we really feel NOR what we actually need.
So these 2 aspects have to become part of our understanding & daily vocabulary before anger can be a useful tool.
4. Anger is part of the Wood Element – which governs the eyes, gallbladder, liver, & tendons. In the short-term, & by itself (without action), the emotion itself is not harmful.
But because it is energy, generated by chemicals in the brain, we can damage ourselves in PMES ways when we suppress the anger / rage, especially for a long time. The chemicals can ‘fester’ inside & cause a variety of problems (headaches, high BP…. ).
✤ Denied anger results in lowered quality of life, causing mental & emotional numbness, which can then draw us toward violent situations as a release. It will also negatively effect many parts of the body, such as the:
√ Muscular (tightness) & Immune (over-worked) systems
√ Liver – causing decision-making abilities to be diminished
√ Gall bladder – causing gallstones (condensed anger) & migraines
✤ At the other extreme is acting out the anger in ways that directly injure ourselves & others – especially when it’s aimed at children.
5. How each person reacts (emotional intensity + behavior patterns) is formed by a combination of : genetic predispositions, cognitive problem solving skills, family / culturally-learned behaviors & past experiences
6. NEVER think or talk about anger & other uncomfortable / ‘unacceptable’ / painful emotions AS negative!
Anything designated as a negative is automatically considered bad – which in this case means we should not be angry, under any circumstances.
NOT so. Without feeling & owning legitimate anger we are easily abused, frightened & manipulated – & so become or stay victims.
NEXT: ACoAs – What about anger? – Part 2