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3. OTHER Anger-EXPRESSIONS (cont)
DIRECT cause: When we’re suddenly attacked, a primitive reaction is triggered of either fight / anger (need to be quick & hit hard) OR flight / fear (need speed & agility), with a boost of adrenaline giving power to muscles. When cornered, running away or giving in is usually judged by others as cowardly, so the initial fear reaction often becomes anger, the defensive person becomes the attacker.
EXP: If Joe uses aggressive anger on a colleague & Sam reacts with defensive anger, a loud argument is inevitable. Then if Sam switches to attacking Joe as a way to distract or get back at him, we get a see-saw effect, where the back-&-forthing becomes personal & the original point of the dispute may be completely lost
INDIRECT cause: On the other hand, wounded people who grew up being accused wrongly, made fun of, bullied…. tend to be automatically defensive, as a matter of course.
Defensiveness (verbal or physical fists in the air) is used when feeling attacked – whether intended by someone or not – & comes from not being internally safe. It means we don’t experience the environment as benign, & therefore react, as when:
• we feel compelled to protect our ego by justifying ourselves, as a way to push away feeling of guilt, insecurity, shame, or the fear that we really are wrong
• we take offense – too easily, too often – using anger to protect a ‘precious’ sensitive subject we have a vested interest in (a favorite person, prejudice or project….)
• we have an angry reaction to a button pushed, such as being accused wrongly, being ignored or made fun of, frustration, unfairness….
• we react to all communications are potentially ‘dangerous’ to our well-being (a bit of paranoia)
BTW: There is a climate of entitlement among many young people today, which is assumed to represent self-esteem – but is not. Some research on self-regulations suggests that under conditions of ego threat, people with a high sense of self-esteem that is actually narcissistic, may not be able to suspend their positive illusions to make accurate self-evaluations.
An article by Fung Ming Chan notes that.there are two variations of high self-esteem: one that is pure self-worth, which is not inflated or unrealistic, vs. one that includes defensive behavior with an unrealistically positive manner. It’s this defensiveness that causes negative behaviors.
(from “Understanding Negative Consequences of High Self-Esteem: The Role of Defensiveness.” ~~ Kathleen Hoffman & Traci Mann)
DEF: DBs are created by trying to force you to obey or accept 2 opposing messages at the same time. You can’t object & you’ll be punished for whichever one you can’t ‘do’, so either choice will be the wrong one, causing loss & pain. Trapped between Scylla & Charybdis. (Posts: D.Messages // D.Binds)
• Anger used to create a DB
Ambivalent Sexism : When women have to choose between being liked but not respected, or
being respected but not liked.
EXP: Workplace displays of anger raise the status of men BUT lower that of women
• Anger from being put in a DB
The Person in a DB is trapped & as long as they try to please the Sender, they end up paralyzed, because there is no resolution (except to get out). This no-win position inevitably causes frustration, anger, & eventually helpless rage. (Women & Anger – D. Bind)
• Anger as Sarcasm
CA anger-coach Cosmin Gheorghe writes: “Sarcasm, in its most complex forms, forms a psychological double bind & psychological tension. it is the meaning, the metacommunication that occurs beyond the verbal what matters the most. The fine line between humor & offensive communication creates a sort of adrenaline rush. Depending on circumstances, this tension will be released either as anger/ aggression, verbal relief or relaxation.” (MORE….. excellent info)
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