Anger – CATEGORIES : Disappointed, Displaced (#7)

reddish a.b. 

that I can’t do whatever I want!

PREVIOUS: Anger Categories (Part 5)




REALISTIC: This comes up when things are out of our control, such as when:disappointed girl
• a promise made to us is broken (we don’t get the raise)
• a hope that’s dashed (rain on the day we plan a picnic)
• there’s endless delay in reaching an important goal or need
• when something we looked forward to turns out not to be as good, attractive or satisfactory as expected…..

If things like these happen too often, from people or situations we depend on, we can become very depressed &/or angry. As children many of us were stuck with continually disappointing parents, so we’re more sensitive to even slight losses now. Unfortunately, ACoAs with this background tend to find & stay with PPT which repeat this patterns, instead of walking away & looking for more reliable options

UNREALISTIC: This anger comes from an unmet expectation or wish:
which was verbalized but not agreed to (person A says WE are going to do or not do something, but person/group B is silent, which leads A to assume they agree, when B actually doesn’t, so they don’t do it – or sabotage – what A expected)

which was never verbalized & therefore not agreed to (Maria pictures & plans for a romantic event, assuming the Juan will fulfill the fantasy – without having any idea what she’s hoping for! so he doesn’t, because he’s not normally romantic & legitimately not a mind-reader. That makes her very angry – at him, instead of taking responsibility for not asking)

PRESUMING : Unrealistic disappointment-anger can come from making judgments or assuming rules about how things should be done or not done, that are not met by a specific person or group we’re involved in. Judgments come —Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 7.59.49 PM
from a sense of moral superiority, as if we know what’s best for someone else (“No daughter of mine will even marry a ___ / Of course you’ll be better off going to that ___ / Our family only votes ____”)
from a need to control our environment to feel safer (“Al-Anon meeting should always be helpful / the speaker should stick to the topic….”).
Either way, it causes trouble for everyone.

UNHEALTHY: In the classic victimizer-victim “kick-the-dog” cycle, we take out anger we have toward one person/situation ON TO a weaker or easier target that happens to be available, so that an innocent person gets hurt.
The substitute-target will have no idea why they’re being picked on / yelled at / punished….. but is left dazed & confused. The person who bears the brunt of displaced anger – the scapegoat – won’t know the real cause of the anger, but their relationship will definitely be damaged, specially if it’s often repeated

Sometimes this type of anger may not be overtly aimed at a specific PPT, but shows up as anxiety, being uncooperative, crankiness, depression, isolation, prejudice…… We do this when we don’t admit we’re actually angry:
√ we’re not internally allowed to recognize what hurts us
√ we feel powerless to change a bad situation
√ we’re too afraid to assert ourselves to the person we’re angry at
√ the object of our anger is realistically too dangerous to confront

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 8.07.07 PMHEALTHIER: When we genuinely can not change a situation we’re involved in which leaves us frustrated, drained & angry, but choose to stay in or can not change (caring for a sick & dying parent, needing the survival job, a chronic injury or illness…..). ‘Blocked” energy can be redirected.

Possible ways to displace of anger :
• vent it privately, in a safe way (pound, draw, write…..)
• break objects we don’t need (tin cans, old newspapers….)
• strenuous exercise / using a punching bag….
• re-channel the anger-energy into productive activity (something artistic, sports, helping the under-privileged….), where we can feel successful & effective

NEXT: Anger Categories (Part 7)

ACoAs – What about ANGER? (Part 1)

I don’t know what to do with myself

PREVIOUS: What about anger – Part 1

BOOK: Metaphor & Emotion, seeing the body as container for emotions: “She unleashed her anger, his anger is smoldering, you make by blood boil…..”


the more we know about anything, the easier it is to understand, deal with & be in charge of it. So it is with of anger.
1. Anger is a perfectly normal emotion – created by the physiology of our brain &  body. It’s not only universal, but absolutely necessary, and NOT something to be cured as if it were a disease.

Anger is a healthy reaction to a grievance, so one of its positive intentions is to focus our attention – so we can modify or eliminate an aggravation or abuse, wherever possible. The benefits of appropriately expressing it include overcoming our fears, & building confidence to respond to threats, danger & mistreatment.E. HEAT map

2. Like all emotions, anger is actual energy – no matter how intense – scientifically proven, as seen on these scans.
Heat maps of emotions —->
The problem is not in having the emotion (E), but rather in what we’re saying (T) to ourselves about a situation which greatly upsets us, & the kind of behavior (A) we use to express it, based on what we learned as kids. We need to FEEL our anger, but we do not always need to outwardly ACT on it!

3. Anger is considered one of the secondary emotions – a response to primary Es such as intense FEAR (from being abandoned, attacked, disrespected, forced, offended, pressured, trapped…..). This does not mean it’s unimportant or to be ignored.
It’s secondary because it’s a composite of other more fundamental ones (Plutchik’s 8 Primary Es), AND because it can’t tell us directly what the underlying unmet need is, only that something is wrong.

•  However, it is a very useful starting point. Instead of being afraid of it, we can successfully use anger, guilt, anxiety…. as helpful indicators of what’s going on underneath, giving us the opportunity (& choice) to ‘fix’ the real lack, which would then make us feel better.
The problem for ACoAs with solving this Q. (‘What’s missing?’) is that we’re not allowed to know what we really feel NOR what we actually need. So those have to become part of our understanding & daily vocabulary before anger can be a useful tool.

4. Anger is part of the Wood Element – which governs the eyes, gallbladder, FiveChart2liver, & tendons. In the short-term, & by itself (without action), the emotion itself is not harmful. But because it is energy, generated by chemicals in the brain, we can damage ourselves in PMES ways when we suppress the anger / rage, especially for a long time. The chemicals can ‘fester’
inside & cause a variety of problems.

✤ Denied anger results in lowered quality of life, causing mental & emotional numbness, which can then draw us toward violent situations as a release. It will also negatively effect many parts of the body, such as the:
√ Muscular (tightness) & Immune (over-worked) systems
√ Liver – causing decision-making abilities to be diminished
√ Gall bladder – causing gallstones (condensed anger) & migraines
✤ At the other extreme is acting out the anger in ways that directly injure ourselves & others – especially when it’s aimed at children.

5. How each person reacts (emotional intensity & behavior patterns) is formed by a combination of: genetic predispositions, cognitive problem solving skills, learned behaviors & past experiences

6. NEVER think or talk about anger & other uncomfortable / ‘unacceptable’ /painful emotions as negative!
Anything designated as a negative is automatically considered bad – which in this case means we should not be angry, under any circumstances.  NOT so. Without feeling & owning legitimate anger we are easily abused, frightened & manipulated – & so become or stay victims.

: ACoAs – What about anger? – Part 3