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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 when a button pushed, such as being accused wrongly, ignored or made fun of, delays, frustration, unfairness….
• we react to all communications as 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-regulation suggests that under conditions of ego threat, people with a high sense of self-esteem – that’s 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.
— the other which includes defensive behavior in 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, creates a psychological double bind & psychological tension. What matters the most is the meaning, the meta-communication that occurs beyond the verbal. 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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