Anger – Triggers (Part 2)

many triggers

but so much stress!

PREVIOUS: Anger Triggers (#1)

SITE:Aggressive Driving & Road Rage
Anger Worksheets – Checklists

1. Internal (in Part 1)

2. EXTERNAL Triggers
Triggers are all the PPT that make us uncomfortable – causing emotional distress of some sort.
Anger is only one response to negative external experiences. The most common is fear, in the form of dread or anxiety. It can also be sadness, frustration, feeling abandoned…..
The defenses that have helped us survive can also cause intense painful reactions – when it seems that someone’s not respecting or valuing what makes us special

We get triggered when the brain thinks we will be or have been deprived of a positive need that’s important to us. Then we quickly rationalize & justify our anger or fear-behaviors so we don’t look so bad. (see LIST of NEEDS). Of course, when we can access the Healthy Adult voice we can catch the over-reaction, giving us time to discover if the threat is real or not.

REMINDER – While there are ‘universal’ things that annoy most of us, it’s important to figure out what our particular buttons are, so we can deal with them differently or at least better – mainly for our own benefit
(see post re. Damaged Needs)
ALSO – there are situations which legitimately SHOULD make us angry – such as physical, mental & emotional boundary violations & abuses

BUT, much of the time our anger stems from our harmful past :
• things family, school, church…. did to us when we coulSTRESS listdn’t stand up for ourselves (“If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”)
• AND, our reactions are based on what we were / were not allowed, as well as watching how adults dealt with their anger, hurt, frustration….

STRESSORS predispose us to anger, & the amount of stress we’re under at a given moment determines if we ‘let fly’, & to what extent
The following Anger Triggers come from other people or circumstance. They may not all apply to you, so focus on the ones that do, & go back to Part 1 to see what might be under your anger/rage.

Abuses = all PMES forms (“Emotional Abuse”)
‘Bad’ parents = drunk, controlling, insensitive, manipulative, mentally ill, narcissistic, negative, unavailable, unreliable…..

Betrayal  • a cheating spouse
• anyone going behind your back to cause you problems
• someone passing on private info to others / using it against you
• ‘friends’ spreading malicious gossip
• taking credit for your ideas or work
Boundary invasions • going thru your stuff
• being woken prematurely (in the middle of a REM cycle)
• continual / repeated loud noises, music, neighbors
• telemarketers / tv ads / popups

Breakage / breakdowns
• equipment failure (esp. when most needed)
• tech complications or malfunctions
• destruction of a favorite or prized object/possession
 worrying about family members / what might have happened to them
• not able to help someone in trouble (powerless)
• worry about possible injury to self or a loved one / health problems

Communication problems
• being out on hold – a long time
• dealing with incompetent “customer service” calls
• not heard, words twisted, ideas misunderstood or used against you
• given the wrong instruction or info (esp. when important)
Delays / Interruptions
• obstacle to reaching goals (the closer to an important goal when interrupted – the greater our anger)
• prevented from completing any ongoing task, especially if meaningful
• interference with planned fun / entertaining activities
• long lines, slow service
• waiting for something you badly want right now

Disrespected / Embarrassed / Humiliated / Shamed
• being treated as unimportant, invisible, stupid….
• not obeyed when you’re in authority (parent, boss….)
• belittled, called on the carpet…. especially in front of others
• being with someone who acts badly, as a reflection on you

History • the same annoying or painful behavior someone repeats & repeats – even when asked many times not to – over time will accumulate frustration & then become angerAnger- red range
Lack of consideration
• often texting while with you, anywhere
• loud cell conversations in enclosed spaces
• talking at movies, concerts….
Losses • of illusions or of hope
• of a relationship, job, home, health…..
• death of a loved one, pet, friend…

NORMAL anger cycleCHRONIC anger cycle

CHART ⬆️ : Anger colors + 8 others   


ANOTHER look at the Anger Cycle comes from Ronald Potter-Efron’s best-seller “Angry All the Time” – Normal vs Chronic anger

ALSO: See Combination chart for a more detailed view, which include T.E.A.s within each phase of the behavior cycle – applied to anger & other dysfunctional patterns (“Anger management for Kids” on Flourish &Thrive (6/1/12)

NEXT: Anger triggers (#3)

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