Anger – TRIGGERS (Part 1)


that can set me off!

Negative Uses (#2)




Trigger + our point of view about it + our temperament = anger (but not always or for everyone)
Our Anger reaction to PPT is usually a combination of internal & external factors. Sometimes external events that bother us are actually positive or neutral, but because of internal damage (WIC & PP) we automatically get angry.  EXP – for ACoAs:
√ being accused WRONGLY enrages us
√ being accused RIGHTLY terrifies us (& then we get angry & defensive)

• While there are legitimate reasons for reacting, under the anger are ‘sensitive’ emotions we may not want to admit to, such as loneliness, need, loss, abandonment pain, fear, sadness….. making us feel too vulnerable.
Everyone has triggers, based on our personality & childhood experiences. Anyone interested in personal growth will need to identify our specific buttons, to better manage verbal & physical responses. (Iceberg)

1. INTERNAL Triggers
⛈Emotionally, the Big-3 inevitable triggers – are:
HURT – our feelings, our integrity, an important loss, an insult to anyone / anything we love…..
• SCARED – Physical or emotional danger
EXP: Man on bike with little son on the back almost gets side-swiped by a bus, making him yell & hit the bus with his fist
FRUSTRATED – whenever someone /thing blocks us from reaching a goal (big or small), especially if it’s over a long time

⭐️ Our own PERSONALITY – as mentioned elsewhere, genetics plays a part in our temperament. Some are more easily revved up when something goes wrong for them. (Enneagram 8s, certain astrological combinations…..)

🌈 Too High or unrealistic EXPECTATIONS (re. others)
Expectations held as demands usually create low-frustration threshold, leading to inappropriate anger-expressions, such as:
√ a tendency to lecture people on how they ‘should’ / ‘should not’ behave
√ a deeply rooted belief that our circumstances & people ‘have to / need to’ be exactly as we want (MORE…. )

🌁Cognitive DISTORTIONS (CDs) & Toxic Beliefs S-H
Awfulizing, blaming, discomfort-intolerance, mind-reading, filtering, perfectionism….. at best will lead to disappointment & frustration, at worst to Self-Hate & rage. False beliefs cause anxiety, & sometimes aggression, in an effort to ward off perceived threats to our well-being OR self-image

CDs cause us to misinterpret facts, events, or other people’s actions as threats to achieving our goals, or as attacks on our dignity, rules or property. This ends in wrong conclusions, leading to self-defeating reactions (DRAWING)

⚡️IMPULSIVENESS (poor emotional control)
While some of us are naturally more ‘sensitive’ than others, impulsive reactions can usually be traced back to our WIC, filled with anxiety from past trauma. The more anxiety, the more likely it will be expressed in bursts of anger.
Some only let it out around people we’re close too, others only toward strangers. But the fact that it’s an instantaneous over-reaction tells us the Amygdala is in charge , not the Cortex. That’s why it’s considered psychologically immature.

🔥ANGER CYCLE – unhealthy responses to events which hurt, frustrate of scare us :
1. Trigger – a  loss, words, actions or anything else that will set off anger
2. Internal Reaction – pain, letting us know that something’s ‘wrong’

3. Intensification –  a chemical flush released in the brain, with heart rate & breathing dramatically increased.
This gives people a reason to justify how they’re feeling, but most of the time anger is from our distorted thinking.
4. External Barrier Break – Some obvious signs of anger can be clearly seen by others, such as crying, angry gestures, shouting….
5. Explosive Peak – a verbally &/or physically violent expression of their anger. Dangerous to others, but also to themselves – by saying or doing things they may not really mean but will get themselves in trouble

6. Exhaustion & Withdrawal – when the anger / rage had died down or dissipated, & there may be self-judgment
7. Final Stage
a. Remorse & Apology – realizing their over-reaction, some people seeing their errors will apologize for their outburst – OR
b. Intense Justification – others (especially narcissists) will not admit they’ve done/said anything wrong, & find a ‘good’ reason for their behavior, including blaming others for causing their upset
REPEAT – Whether one is a chronic or occasional rager, without Pattern Correction, this cycle will be repeated. (From DAMBREAKER)
(⬆️ Anger Cycle chart from extensive ClinMed article)

NEXT: Anger triggers (Part 2)

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