ACoAs – What about ANGER? (Part 4)

angry b. woman 

all the ways to use anger

PREVIOUS: What about anger? #3

SITE: Why we shout in anger – a ‘teaching’



Most ACoAs never learned to identify emotions – at all – much less when we’re angry. This also applies to those of us who are ‘big feelers / sensitive ‘emotional’….because to survive we cut off large parts of ourselves.

This chart
shows the way anger can be expressed, depending on the grammatical form being used. Not all the terms are ‘negative’ but are all related, for-or-against, falling into, or rising above.

Anger words & their opposites are used in language as : ➡️

DEGREES of anger
from most mild to most intense:
annoyed, irritated, frustrated, aggravated, agitated, peeved,
miffed, sulking, offended, bitter, indignant, exasperated, incensed, pissed, outraged, hostile, spiteful, vengeful, resenting, wrathful, raging, furious, ferocious & livid.

Bitterness combines long-held unresolved anger + obsessions + CDs, therefore is both emotional & mental

Hate is extreme hurt hardened into cold rage.
In childhood it’s from being powerless to stop repeated & relentless abuse & neglect. As adults, it’s from persistently blaming others for our problems, instead of finding a way out of bad situations. Dr. Robert Sternberg (2005) suggests 3 things which contribute to forming & maintaining Hatred:raging bull

a. Avoidance
: by distancing from a person or group, we don’t get rounded info about them, which might well change our perspective
b. Intense Anger, contempt, disgust: quick-conditioned limbic responses, which the cortex doesn’t have time to check for accuracy
cIntense Beliefs, which increase emotional fervor, used to justify denouncing, degrading or destroying the hated person or thing

Temper is the broad term for expressing anger AND a state of mind.
It can mean “temperament”, as in: having a calm disposition OR to be out of temper. But it’s usually meant as an outward manifestation of anger. In ACoA language, it’s our PP or WIC reacting to a present situation, based on old experiences.
Dictionary def: Habit of mind, especially with respect to irritability or patience, outbursts of anger…. Heat of mind or passion, shown in outbursts, resentment….

Anger is a natural response to aggravating PPT, but does not need to be outwardly expressed AT someone or something – temper/angeronly acknowledged, felt & vented in safe ways.

However, when our judgment (T – the mental component) becomes clouded or distorted, the feeling takes over & dictates our actions (As), called ‘loosing one’s temper’ – seen in various forms of acting out, such as :
— breaking things, punching walls, verbal attacks, yelling…. OR
— neglect, ‘forgetting’, the silent treatment….

FLOW CHARTS (below) – from Emotional Competency. Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions indicates ANGER & FEAR are opposites. SO:
🥶 When someone is constantly fearful, full of anxiety, only seeing thru victim lenses, they are suppressing a great deal of anger
😡 Conversely, people who are mainly bitter, react too easily with anger & are generally ready to fight (even indirectly) – are suppressing mountains of fear, sadness & disappointment.

• Being stuck at either extreme is very harmful – to the individual, to their family & to the world at large. We have to use a great deal of energy to sit on volumes of “unacceptable” emotion, while some deep part of us knows we’re not completely honest with ourselves.
Having to deny ANY part of ourselves – to ourselves – comes from a gut belief that we don’t deserve to be treated well (loved, respected, comforted, successful….) & never will be – BUT we can’t help wanting it, to the point of obsession.
It’s the Serenity Prayer backwards!


NEXT: Anger & the Brain (Part 1)

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