Anger – Ways to REACT (Part 3)



when I can’t face my anger

PREVIOUS: Ways to react (#2)



LEVELS of anger – Variations

5. Anger EXPRESSIONS (CHART by Don Lehman Jr ↘️)
e. Last Compassionate Confrontation – in next Post (#4)

a. Flight = (internal) running away from someone who is angry or triggering our anger. This starts internally – shutting down emotionally, but can also take the form of temporary physical paralysis, leaving the situation as soon as possible, or permanently avoiding angry people / situations (isolation).
Sometimes the Flight response encourages aggression in the other person, if they feel disrespected or abandoned, adding to our Fear/Terror

Flight in adults is:
√ most often an inappropriate response to a current event – which may in fact not be abusive at all but is experienced that way – as a PTSD reaction from long-term childhood trauma
√ appropriate when there’s a very real present-day abuser we need to get away from, which can be emotional & psychological, or a threat of imminent physical danger

b. Depression = (internal), when anger is not dealt with, & gets turned inward on oneself
• Lashing out can cause guilt & alienation, leading to depression OR
• Long-term depression can make emotions overwhelming, increasing the likelihood of anger outbursts. Breaking this cycle usually requires therapy & sometimes meds. Al-Anon & Spirituality helps too.

c. Fight = (external) a verbally or physically violent confrontation, either to what’s ‘causing’ the anger or to the angry person. Usually a Fear cover-up reaction, the other half the Fight-Flight response hard-wired into out brain for protection.fight reaction
— Appropriate when we or someone / something we love is threatened
— Not appropriate in most current cases (also part of PTSD)
• Some people accidentally step on our emotional land-mines & get blasted
• Some are perpetrators who use anger to get ‘a rise’ out of others, which many ACoAs will fall for, since we have hidden reservoirs of anger easily tapped into
• Unhealthy people who know us well, know our buttons & can always push them to manipulate, punish or get back at us
• Narcissists can easily get us riled up because of their inability to consider us at all, as if we didn’t exist…….

d. Revenge = (external, indirect) can start as a retreat, in order to attack later (Passive-Aggressive), & can be habitual but unconscious.
When it’s deliberate, it includes obsessive planning in between injury & retaliation.    IMAGE🔽 : “Cycle of Revenge

Considered consciously, these angry people start by evaluating the possibility of winning or losing. Because of the emotional intensity, they can easily overestimate their personal power – getting into unnecessary losing battles (Fight).

Revenge & Fight responses are linked:
– Anger victims’ desire for revenge (control) can escalate problems
– Revenge is retaliation for an injury (real or not). If someone is truly in a powerless position, it may seem the only option to express ‘displeasure’
Both often lead to increasing external damage, because each pour gasoline on the emotional fire

Abused children:
– may vow to never again let themselves be vulnerable, so becoming hostile to others on the theory that “a good offense is the best defense”
– may over-generalize & want to take revenge on an entire group (all men, all minorities….), only some of whom may have actually harmed them
– may be reinforced & rewarded by becoming a bully, finding that it helps raise their ‘street cred’.   (CHART + good info)

• However, if their emotions don’t overcome reason & they figure they’ll lose by using a frontal attack, (Fight) they’ll resorts to the P-A Revenge response. Punishment is then dealt out just as in Fight, but done later – when least expected, maybe in small doses & anonymously, or can come in disguised form. (2 Posts : ACoAs wanting Revenge“)

◀️ NOTE: Not Included in Lehman’s Chart, but part of the reactive sequence:
Freeze – Blanking out / dissociated, can’t talk, muscles get physically “scared stiff”.
Freezing is fight-or-flight on hold, where you further prepare to protect yourself. It’s also called ‘reactive or attentive immobility’. It involves similar physical changes, but instead you stay completely still & get ready for the next move.

NEXT: Ways to react (Part 4)


being visible 

without being in danger

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Visibility (#2)

ARTICLES: “Psychological Visibility
and “Psychological Visibility as a Source of Value in Friendship”, by Shailushi Baxi



To be truly visible we have to be clear about the differences between our misunderstanding of reality & what IS real.
Much confusion about it comes from distorted definitions & beliefs re. Arrogance vs. Having Rights, & Confrontation vs. Self-Assertiveness, Humility vs. Humiliation.

ACoAs often have the mistaken notion that being visible is arrogant, showing off, expressing hubris. NOT SO.
We’re so trained to not speak up, that we think any form of assertiveness is a confrontation. Not true.
Instead, when we speak from our Adult Ego State, use ‘I’ statements & don’t attack – we are in the right
• Having (& showing) an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, value & ability, from an assumption of ones superiority over others
• Not being able to take correction, criticism or guidance. These are the WIC’s or PP’s narcissism & grandiosity

It stems from insecurity & a need to be validated – often trying to take credit for more than the person really did, in order to boost themselves. It tends to be expressed by not listening, dismissing others’ opinions, with ‘loud‘ energy, craving attention online, being pushy with coworkers, or just never letting someone else speak
Having Rights – review “Having Rights” and My Rights
When we know our needs & rights, we value ourselves, so acknowledging our beliefs, assets & accomplishments is HEALTHY!
1. Basic PMES requirements – same for all humans across the planet, listed on the Maslow Pyramid
2. Personality needs, based on our specific configuration – learning style, MBTI & Enneagram Type…..
3. Wound needs, from the repeated ways we were abused & neglected. In the present it’s about finding the best ways to compensate for past trauma that may always be with us, but can become much milder

assertiveness....Confrontation (aggressive): ALWAYS comes from anger. It means facing someone (in person or not) in a threatening way, being argumentative, wanting to unsettle them – especially with defiance, abuse or accusations. A hostile clash of opinions, ideas & power
Assertiveness: being confident & direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s views, clearly & without anger, in an honest & respectful way, especially about difficult issues

It’s based on present-day reality. Ay work, it’s acknowledging the contribution of others & the ability to share credit. The person is confident about their identity & functioning, so their energy level is quiet‘, whether they’re getting attention & recognitions or not.  Site: “How to manage conflict & confrontation
Humiliation:  (not including degrading sexual interactions)
MUST involve 2 or more people – one who bullies, intimidates or socially embarrasses, although not always directly, AND the other as victim, usually not a willing recipient. It means TO:
• cause someone a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity
• be reduced to a lower position in one’s own eyes &/or others, losing prestige or self-respect
• degrade, dishonor, disgraced, mortify, shame
Humility / Humble: the quality of being courteously respectful, modest, with a realistic opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, abilities, rank….
• Free from: boastfulness, egotism, great pretensions or vanity
• Perhaps: retiring, unassuming, unobtrusive. May need to  be alone, to de-emphasizing & heal the wounded ego. (More…)

NOTE: Damaging parents, bad bosses & some religions use humiliation to control & make others submissive to their power
HEALTHY people & institutions teach how to function well (actions), and encourage, or at least allow, others to develop their own natural way of thinking & feeling

IRONY: The more self-esteem we gain the more humble we become – comfortably! It’s what John Bradshaw has called “healthy shame” -knowing what our actual human limitations are – without S-H, shame, guilt or toxic beliefs

🚴🏻‍♂️Then we’re not afraid to make mistakes, or not know everything & to be imperfect. At the same time we’re comfortable owning our God-given attributes – talents, knowledge & accomplishments.  Visibility is not dangerous to our welfare or identity!

NEXT : Being visible #5