PREVIOUS: Anger & the Brain (#5)
SITE: Naming types of anger –
NOTE: Anger being considered a secondary emotion is only partially correct. It’s often used to cover up more vulnerable emotions we don’t want to experience or admit to (fear, guilt, neediness, loneliness….), as well as being an underlying feature of neurotic narcissism & sense of entitlement
BUT, like anxiety, anger is an appropriate immediate reaction to anything threatening our physical, psychological, spiritual or existential integrity.
Being angry in such circumstances is an assertion of our most basic right to be an individual. Without it we wouldn’t be able to defend ourselves or those we love, when needed to fight for freedom, or for what we truly believe in & value
😡 BASIC CATEGORIES identified by psychologists:
• Hasty & sudden – connected to the impulse for self-preservation. It’s shared by human & non-humans, when tormented or trapped
• Settled & deliberate, a reaction to perceived deliberate harm or unfair treatment by others. These 2 forms are occasional & based on triggers
• Dispositional is related more to personality traits than instincts or thoughts – someone more easily irritated, sullen, rude, difficult to work or deal with…. & therefore character-driven
RANGE of expression chart – tells us that:
• Silent, unexpressed anger – like deliberately ignoring someone – is experienced by the ‘target’ as psychic murder
• Loudly expressed anger may be experienced by others as physical murder. Overt rage tends to be sudden, undeserved & often uncontrolled. It unleashes waves of negative energy on another person, making them instantly weak. Both types are especially harmful to children
😡 INTERESTING distinction:
WET ANGER – the eyes water & voice shakes, the type we hate because we’re angry and crying. It makes us feel weak, because it shows we still care too much
DRY ANGER – when the face is like stone, the voice is sharp, which means we’re done! ~ Unknown
😡OUR PAST ANGER
OLD but ongoing: Anger as a direct result of the trauma we’ve suffered, often on a daily basis, & therefore reasonable, but not caused by a current event. It’s long-term, maybe just under the surface simmering, or suppressed. But the origin is very real, especially when we were the most vulnerable & powerless.
Directed AT US: Someone’s current behavior toward us triggers our deep well of fear, frustration & hurt (Aaron Beck, 1980s). Our anger-reaction is an attempt to protect ourselves from further injury when feeling threatened, slighted or rejected – deliberate or not. Our rage can be explosive & feel like it’s taking over, since the situation reminds us, consciously or unconsciously, of very real childhood PMES abuse.
This explains out-of-proportion reactions, because “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”. While the source was real, often the present cause is not actually dangerous, because the triggering incident is neutral or minor, AND we are no longer a powerless child, even though we may be run by the WIC.
Happening TO SOMEONE ELSE: Intense anger in the present, but not from something happening to / at us. It’s an empathic over-reaction to something we see or hear actually happening to someone else, pushing an unhealed button
EXP – We can get very angry when we:
• see a mother verbally abusing or ignoring her child
• watch a movie where someone is being treated as if invisible, made fun of, threatened, beaten, molested….
• see animal abuse or neglect (identification with)….. bringing up memories
😡 INTROJECT’s Anger (the PP)
Anger we carry absorbed from one or more passive-aggressive or raging parents / caretakers. It became so much a part of us that now we don’t even recognize it as “not mine”.
We absorbed all their emotions,(not our choice at that time) from:
• adults unloading their disowned rage & hurt on to us, as verbal & physical abuse
• a genuine love for our family, the Child’s desire to ‘help’ our parents by taking on some of their suffering, as if we could lighten their burden
IMP: ACoAs need to separate out their anger & rage from our own – their childhood disowned pain passed on to us vs. our anger at how they treated us. Then mentally ‘package it up’ & return it.
This can be done with visualizations, drawings & body work.
NEXT: Anger Types #2