PREVIOUS: Anger & Co-dep #3
BOOK: “When Anger Scares You: How to….”
2. Re. OTHER PEOPLE’s Anger (cont.)
WHY we’re afraid:
• Other people’s anger reminds us of one or more raging adults we grew up with. Those repeated experiences effected our developing, sensitive nervous system.
Unless we’ve done a lot of rage-discharge-work, our body is still warehousing all the old terror those adults (& siblings) continually caused us.
So now, whether someone is angry directly at us OR we’re just nearby someone who’s very angry, our fear can get activated so intensely, it feels like every nerve is on fire! AND –
• we assume we’ll get hit, or worse – the way we were as kids
• we don’t know what to say – don’t have clever comebacks, or logical responses (See: “Effective Responses” )
• it triggers our own hidden anger that we’re trying to keep down (posts: Anger & ACoAs)
MORE ACoA dichotomy
Co-deps are microscopically focused on what others are saying /doing, to figure out what they want from us. We think that if we can & then provide it, we’ll ensure a continued connection (because of FoA).
BUT: This is our narcissism, & desire for symbiotic acceptance – not actually trying to understand who someone is
• Because of very real trauma grew up with, we experience everyone & everything in the world as dangerous. At the same time:
• BUT: because it was so overwhelming, to survive we trained ourselves to avoid seeing danger – anywhere – a turtle with its head pulled in. We’re oblivious to all kinds of cues coming from other people in the present – a kind of emotional Asperger.
We miss hints that someone is:
• belittling, insulting or making fun of us
• anxious to leave, but too polite to say
• angry, annoyed, bored, hurting, scared, upset…..
ANGER: Eyes down, narrowed, tense, or staring, furrow between eyes, brow pulled down, lips drawn tight or raised in squarish shape – muscle movements show when we feel aggressive, frustrated or threatened. Researchers think we make this ‘face’ to protect itself in a physical conflict (furrowed eyebrows protect eyes….)
CONTEMPT: when we literally look down our nose at someone with derision or suspicion – lowered brow or eyes looking to the side. The main feature is that only one side of the face is pulled tight. (If both sides a\were pulling, we’d be swallowing or salivating)
DISGUST: Here the muscles above the
upper lip pull up, raising it, wrinkling the nose, & narrowing the eyes – as if smelling something foul. Often the mouth opens & the tongue comes out, in case you need to throw up.
USEFUL – know the difference in motivation, between:
BAD anger-expression: used to control others thru intimidation, OR anger at oneself as a way to control other emotions we don’t want to feel, vs.
HELPFUL anger-expression: protect ourselves from some external danger, OR to indicate that we’re not thinking / acting in our best interest (have somehow abandoned ourselves)
BUT we also miss positive responses, which could heal us. Being oblivious + S-H keeps us from seeing available benefits all around us that we could take in from people who are:
– honoring, complementing or validating us
– sexually or socially interested in us
– available to encourage, help, support, teach….
Interesting: French neurologist Duchenne de Boulogne first figured out how to tell a real smile from a fake one.
REAL: requires both zygomatic major cheek & orbicularis oculi muscles (outer part around the eye socket that pulls down eyebrows & skin below, & raises cheeks), especially since very few people can voluntary contract those eye muscles. (More…)
• FACE: “Lie to Me” TV series actor Tim Roth – w/ more micro expressions
NEXT: Anger – ways to react #1