OF COURSE I’M ANGRY –
everyone disappoints me!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Anger
IMPORTANT: If you haven’t already, please read the above articles to acquaint yourself with the basics of co-dependence (Co-Dep), so you can put the issue of anger in perspective (Continuum CHART)
Co-Ds (ACoAs & Addicts) are fundamentally ruled by buried shame, having had to cut ourselves off from our inner world. We rarely know how we actually feel – under all the spinning & drama.
The truth is that we don’t want to know, because it’s painful & we never learned how to develop an inner soother for such occasions. It’s ‘easier’ to stay on the surface & pretend things are just fine, rather than deal with what’s really going on inside – which is emotional starvation.
We’re very busy taking care of others but barely provide for ourselves. While it seems that we’re only focusing on others, Co-Ds actually spend a great deal of time obsessing – on ourselves! – on what we don’t have, what we wish we had, what we did wrong, what others are doing to us, what we/ they should be doing…..
Having to maintain the Co-D facade is exhausting, but it started so early in life, so we think it’s the real us. Sadly, the performance gives us no satisfaction or relief because it feeds on & is maintained by S-H, anxiety & perfectionism. (Shame & Co-Dep)
1. Re. OUR Anger – We generally think of Co-Ds as being weak, dependent victims. This is how a large portion of us act, even though we’re really not that weak, having survived many horrors, but not very well.
The rest will express it as intense counter-dependence (Reverse Laundry List), even to the point of being deprivational (need-less & want-less), along with arrogance & grandiosity, our damage spilling out over everyone/ thing.
Many Co-Ds are not aware of our anger, so are often surprised when others react with annoyance to the ways we express it (tone of voice, teasing, unprovoked irritation…..) because we ‘didn’t mean it like that’ – consciously. Dr Irene, on her excellent “Verbal Abuse” site, notes that: Co-Ds misplace our anger – we get angry when we shouldn’t, & don’t get angry when we should.
a. MISSING EMOTIONS
i. Numb: Co-Ds are so used to abuse, insensitivity & disrespect, that in many cases we don’t consciously feel the hurt that’s inflicted on us by unhealthy people. But the Inner Child does register every single punch, stab, slap…. delivered by them.
Now we’re not only swallowing the venom of those encounters, but we are adding to the already tremendous reservoir of pain we’ve been carrying since childhood. Like mercury & lead poisoning, we’re letting ourselves continue to be toxified!
NOTE: Fear of our own anger is called Angrophobia (not very original!)
ii. Disconnected: And then there are the times we FEEL something – the punch in the gut or the stab in the heart, BUT don’t know where it came from. Our body’s legitimate reaction to abuse is disconnected from our cognitive center (cortex) because of years of denial. So —
√ we blame ourselves for the pain, thinking we’re making it up, over-reacting / too sensitive, it’s hormonal….
√ if we do make a vague association between our discomfort & a particular person, we justify & excuse it by thinking “they didn’t mean anything by it, it’s just the way they are, she/he DOES love me….”
It’s as if we’re wearing one of those animal medical collars: we can see over the top, but can’t see the knife in other person’s hand as they shove it in!
However, if we were to stop & ask the Inner Child how it feels – & he/she is willing to respond – we find out exactly what’s going on!
NEXT: Anger & Co-D (Part 2)