Anger MYTHS – False (Part 2)

anger creature -2
IT’S VERY IMPORTANT

to deal with anger as it comes up

PREVIOUS: Anger Myths – F (#1)

SITE: “Why we shout in anger” – a Hindu teaching

QUOTE: “Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one.” ~ Ben Franklin

ANGER
⚡️is an uncontrollable force of nature, & so can’t be reigned in
False: Many people believe that once they’re angry they can’t influence it (“I can’t control my anger – it’s just who I am”) & therefore have to let it ‘run its course’. Not so. While we don’t always have control of an external situation, no one can make us FEEL or BEHAVE in a certain way. Anyone can learn to be in charge of their reaction – via the Healthy Adult. It’s a skills set, like shooting a basketball or learning a new language. Practice, practice, practice!

⚡️is something that happens to us
False: Anger, as well as all other emotions, are our biochemical responses to events & then may or may not be expressed as actions. Sometimes it feels like a physical ‘event’ that’s out of our control – because it’s erupting from the unconscious, like a lightning strike. However, it is in fact something coming from us, rather than happening to us – triggered by our thoughts – inside (about ourselves) or from outside re. PPT (about others)

⚡️is only a problem when expressed (at all)
False: Only about 10% of people act out their anger inappropriately, & they are the visible ones – the squeaky wheels who get everyone’s attention.
Almost everyone else either suppress it (“I don’t want to talk about it!”) or repress it altogether (“I’m not angry – really!”), & need anger management classes just as much as the ‘ragers’.

⚡️always leads to aggression / some form of violence
False: It may seem to be true if we were raised with one or more rage-aholics, & if we then also have chosen to stay with ragers as adults.
BUT healthy people have learned productive ways of processing & channeling their anger, so it never leads to being self-destructive or abusive.

Of course, chemicals (alcohol/ drugs/ some medicines, even food allergies…) can generate anger & set off a compulsion to be nasty, if we haven’t learned to recognize the symptoms & how to handle them

ANGER
⚡️increases as we get older
False: It’s the other way around – as people age, they report fewer difficult/ painful/ intense emotions, & greater emotional control. People – like wine & cheese – do tend to improve with age. Research shows that the angriest people are 14 yrs old boys!

⚡️ is not a ‘problem‘ for someone IF we don’t sound / look angry
False: Anyone who does not understand & appreciate the potential value of anger may have a problem. There are ways to tell if someone has hidden anger/rage, even when they don’t admit to it – by holding themselves stiffly, always being fearful, being overly nice, being paranoid, jealous, controlling…. (Posts: “Passive-agdeny angergressive anger” // Secretly angry ‘nice peopel’)

⚡️is best dealt with by stuffing it 
False: Some of us think that learning to control our anger means having to hold it in. Once we’re able to recognize when we are angry, we can learn how best to express it. Healthy people don’t stock-pile emotions the way we had to as kids.  (Post: “Low-level anger”)

⚡️ is only a ‘problem’ for certain types
False:
All types of people experience anger – truck drivers, college professors, physicians, housewives, grandmothers, lawyers, policemen, career criminals, poor people, millionaires, children, the elderly, people of various colors, nationalities, and religions….. Anger is a universal emotion!

⚡️ is all about getting even
False: Getting-even-anger can be about revenge/payback, about wanting fairness, or childish tit-for-tat. But there are many other reasons for our anger, such as letting off steam over accumulated frustrations, asserting authority or independence, to deny feeling vulnerable which covers up fear we may not even admit to. However, the main one is to protect ourselves from abuse. (Post: Retaliatory anger”)

NEXT: Anger MYTHS T & F (Part 1)

ACoAs & TIME (Part 1)

slow time 

TIME IS SUCH A DRAG!
Everything takes forever

PREVIOUS: Over-Feelers (#2)

 

 

REVIEW: Pre-FoO work, ACoAs are run mainly by 2 internal ego states – the WIC, who is listening to the PP. One of the signs of this is the unrealistic way many of us deal with time, and timing. The Inner Child:

IS still confused by not being taught process, nor given age-appropriate limits, by neglectful parents, which resulted in not knowing how long things take. Now, depending on the size of a project, there may be many steps between setting a goal & achieving it, yet we don’t allow for the realistic stages of process.
OR it:
IS reacting to too many constraints imposed by controlling parents who interfered with our natural internal rhythms & time sense. Now, we either follow the training & become rigidly time conscious, OR rebel by taking our own sweet time, OR do nothing as often as possible

1. LOST TIME
a. To the disease – years spent in S-H, with the wrong lovers, friends, jobs, apartments, the wrong neighborhood or city for us, still involved with abusive &/or uncaring family members….
In Recovery, we need to mourn the loss of time stolen by living in our damagelosing time

b. Losing track of time
from anxiety. ACoAs are fear-based, which is backlogged from childhood. When faced with any situation which pushes a button or bumps an old wound, we may temporarily ‘go blank‘ & lose track of time, for a few minutes, or much longer.

EXP: Janie desperately wanted to study fine art, but couldn’t afford it. She had to work in an office. which didn’t suit her temperament & where she was not liked. She was finally reprimanded for always being late. Trying to change that, the next day she got up 30 minutes earlier & started her ‘automatic’ morning routine BUT found herself standing in the middle of her room – completely blank – not knowing what to do next. Eventually she snapped out of it & finished getting ready, but by then knew she’d be late – again!  Her unconscious had sandbagged her – she clearly didn’t want to be going to that job.

from ADD, dyslexia…. Many ACoAs have learning disabilities. This does NOT indicate intellectual deficiency – on the contrary, it usually correlates with high intelligence, but have varying degrees of difficulty in learning, communicating, & dealing with time accurately

• Keep in mind that many ACoA characteristics mimic ADD symptoms in adults. They’re both caused by stress & affect the brain, but ADD is genetic, so treatment is different for the 2 problems. The healthier we get emotionally, the more we can tell the difference. In recovery, many ACoA symptoms will diminish or disappear, while the ADD ones will not, which need the right medication & some behavior-mod training

2. WASTED TIME
Having chunks of free time – but don’t know what to do with it:wastw time
• too much anxiety – from perfectionism, toxic rules, fear of commitment & decision-making, avoiding disappointment, fear of risk…
• not self-motivated (Autonomy & Attachment, Part 2)
• wanting to do too many things at once, so don’t choose anything, puttering around, not accomplishing much
• too tired from all the daily stress we put ourselves under so need to veg out but then feel gypped, frustrated, angry at ourselves…

▪️ REQUIREMENTs: a willingness to break some Toxic Rules, like the ones listed in “Part 1, 2a
• Plan ahead, write on a monthly or weekly calendar things you can schedule ahead. Stick to your plans, whenever possible, & notice how it feels afterwards. When things don’t work out, try something different
• Make a list of activities you’d like to do during ‘free time’, & look at it when you can’t think of anything to do OR you have too many options
• Fun time is NOT about priorities. You don’t have to know what to do FIRST! Just pick something you know you like & focus on enjoying it.

NEXT: ACoAs & TIME (Part 2)

What is Self-Control ? (Part 4)

head or heart 

I CAN CHOOSE TO DO THINGS
that are good for me & are suited

PREVIOUS: Types of Self-control (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

 

 

Control is about power – to make someone do or be what we want. When applied to ourselves – that power can be used either –
• to heal & nurture ourselves & express our best to the world – OR
• as a defense mechanism to deny our pain, that power is debilitating & destructive

SELF-DISCIPLINE relies on the same willpower as self-control, but uses it:
a. to prevent ourselves from doing what is seen as UNdesirable, OR
b. to delay instant gratification & pleasure, in favor of some greater gain or for more satisfying results at a later time
• Healthy self-discipline is not rigid or limiting. It provides the stamina to keep going & the ability to handle stresses, with flexibility.

VALUE of Self-Discipline – it allows us to:Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.04.57 AM
a.  obey legitimate rules & laws
• avoid talking or acting on impulse, overcome procrastination & sloth
• not give in to addictions & other self-destructive patterns
b. continue & finish internal or external projects, even after the initial rush of enthusiasm has faded, or when they get too boring or too hard

ACoAs are often short on healthy self-control, which would come from the “Unit”, and too long on self-discipline. At first the latter category may seem like a good thing – because it’s supposed to keep us from doing actual bad or wrong things (which it can also do) – but that’s not the main way we use it

✶ What ACoAs often do, instead, is to prevent ourselves from pursuing what we believe to be UN-desirable actions, BUT are in fact positive ones DIS-allowed by our Toxic Family Rules, such as having opinions, thinking for ourselves, standing up for our rights, leaving bad situations, following our bliss, feeling our emotions, relaxing, being happy ….

HEALTHY GOALs:
— To run our own life, rather than someone else’s, & not have someone else run ours
— To make that happen we have to ask: “Who or what motivates me?”
— To be the one in charge requires that we are our own Motivator.
This is not selfishness, but it also does not negate/eliminate :
AA Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over—-” – and –
AA Step 3: “…turn our will & our lives over to the care of God..

Having a choice fits with the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me: Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 8.11.47 AM
1. the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
2. courage to change the things I can,
3. and the wisdom to know the difference”

ACoAs: Just because we start out as under-dogs, doesn’t mean we can’t WIN – over our damage, over our pain, over others trying to control us! Deciding for ourselves, from an inner place of certainty & serenity – being empowered – can be every ACoA’s goal.
And for those of us who don’t like the word CONTROL – we can say: being in charge, using our Adult Ego state, being our own motivator!…. or find another term.

So, how in charge are you of your life – actions, career, emotions, health, home,
finances, relationships, work life…..?
Based on many studies, including Fujita (2008), correcting our thinking (eliminating CDs) can enhance the ability to be in charge of ourselves, to maintain our focus and achieve greater self-care.

• Most adults respect others who are in control (C) of themselves & their life. Being respected is the opposite of being shamed. We have a right to be respected, and that will come to us more often if we are indeed in control – of things WE CAN – as in line 3 of the Serenity Prayer.

Healthy Self-Control means WE:
• have self-respect as a Healthy Adult, especially in our thinking
• know our rights, our options & what’s actually possible (not fantasy/illusion)
• use that info to practice setting boundaries, with ourselves & others
• are in present-day reality, including owning our adult abilities, acquired knowledge & useful experiences
• can stay centered & act according to our own mind
• make declarative statements & ask for our needs – in the right place

NEXT: Types of Self-Control (Part 3)

What is Self-Control ? (Part 1)

in control 

WHO MOTIVATES ME –
Others or myself?

PREVIOUS: Letting go of Controlling -#3

SEE posts: Personal Responsibility // UNIT: Healthy Adult, Loving Parent

 

Self-Control 101 (Normal)
Events or Thoughts —-> lead to —-> Emotions
Emotions ——-> lead to ——> Beliefs
Beliefs ——-> lead to ——> Decisions
Decisions ——-> lead to ——> Actions
Actions
—> lead to —> Rewards or Consequences

Def. of CONTROL, from the dictionary: To exercise authority over, direct & command -OR- to hold back, curb, restrain – self or others.

Purpose of Self-Control (SC)
To gain a present reward or a delayed gratification, OR to delay, reduce or eliminate punishment
DEF: ● to hold in check or curb (the WIC & PP ?)
● to exercise restraint or direction over something or someone
● to eliminate or prevent the spread of something (our damage ?)

SELF-CONTROL (S-C) is about harnessing our willpower to accomplish things that are generally regarded as desirable & highly valued by society, such as including long-term goals
✱ It is internal mastery over our own actions – by monitoring our thoughts, regulating our emotions, setting goals & making responsible choices.
This gives the ability to moderate competing urges, desires & activities.

• S-C implies the ability to govern oneself – to make choices & decisions that benefit ourselves, & then others. To do this we need to honor who we are – our needs, tastes, abilities & experience.

• S-C is not an inborn character trait that would automatically allow us to govern our thoughts, emotions skills& behavior.  It is a skill that has to be learned & built up – by the process of ‘stalling, distracting and resisting’ negative urges.

Healthy families help their children to grow this skill as part of their over-all training.  In adults – developing S-C is motivated by a conflict-free desire to stop doing harmful things to ourselves or others. Practice & perseverance are required, but it gets easier with repetition.

ASPECTS & FUNCTIONS
Self-control is expressed by being in charge of our own actions, & is quite complex. It requires that we stay awake & function out of the present (not reacting from past trauma & toxic Parental Rules), regulating our thoughts, dealing appropriately with our emotions, setting goals & following thru, & making responsible choices.
As adults, we’re held responsible for our thoughts, emotions & actions (T.E.A.) to the extent that these can be under our self-control, which is not always possible. And SC is harder for us to maintain IF we’re in the wrong environment, where others are not willing to govern themselves. (MORE…)

• People are born with varying degrees of tolerance for routine vs. change, patience vs boredom., social vs private interactions…. BUT, unlike physiological traits, SC can definitely be considered a learned skill to the degree that it’s developed through education, social interaction & conditioning
• SC becomes self-discipline when we have to apply intentional effort.
However, when it’s practiced habitually for some time, it can become a character trait.

• SC is an important part of a cluster of internal resources (character, courage, faith, purpose, endurance) which – when tested by constant pressure or long-term deprivation – doesn’t disappear
• It becomes a way of thinking because of the cognitive processes & mental discipline needed to use SC
• SC requires motivation. In certain situations, such as a special celebration or an artificial psychological experiment, we may decide to briefly give up self-control for the occasion
• SC becomes a virtue when we resists temptation in order to achieve a desired goal, & can be considered a spiritual gift when it’s the result of spiritual transformation

VALUE of Self-Control – it allows us to:empowering
• be a responsible & trustworthy human being
• gain self-esteem, confidence, balance, inner strength, a sense of personal mastery so we can take charge of our life
• eliminate the feeling helpless & having to be too dependent on others
• have enough mental & emotional detachment to give us peace of mind
• be in charge of our moods & replace negative beliefs – helps keep in check self-destructive, addictive behaviors & obsessive thoughts

ACoAs – Healthy self-control is very difficult to achieve as long as:S-H
• the WIC is the ego state in charge of our daily emotions, actions & reactions
• we don’t own our True Self, by following the Toxic Rules
• externally, we stay symbiotically attached to our family
• internally, we continue to obey the Negative Introject

NEXT: Types of Self-Control (Part 2)

ARE YOU AN ACoA?

WHY AM I THE WAY I AM?
From being raised by alcoholics,
ACoAs & other narcissist!

 

50 Qs: A Self-evaluating List for Adult-Children of alcoholics, abusers, abandoners….
Answer: Y = yes, N = no, S = some, D = don’t know

DO YOU…?….
___find that you seek out tension or crisis, & then complain about it
___become anxious around angry people or authority figures
___defend or excuse people when they abuse you, implying you deserve it
___get locked into a course of action without seeing alternatives or outcomes
___react to people & situations, instead of choosing your responses
___worry that your emotions may overpower or hurt you, or others
___tend to lie or exaggerate, when it would be just as easy to tell the truth
___find the needs & wants of others more important than your own
___prevent yourself from experiencing the joy of your successes
___frequently anticipate that situations or life won’t work out for you
___isolate yourself when problems arise, or when you ‘feel bad’hiding
___find yourself in one or more survival ‘roles’ (hero, lost child…)
___mistrust your feelings, thought, perceptions
___tend to see issues in life as B & W, right or wrong
___have a fear of abandonment, especially when criticized
___strongly criticize yourself when not being perfect
___defend or excuse people when they abuse you, implying you deserve it
___get locked into a course of action without seeing alternatives or outcomes
___react to people & situations, instead of choosing your responses
___have trouble relaxing, playing, having fun
___had trouble with close, intimate relationships
___feel responsible for the feelings & actions of others, & try to fix them
___stay in relationships even tho’ you’re being constantly hurt, neglected, lied to, manipulated, hit… not getting any of your needs met
DID YOU…?….
___fight with your family members over a parent’s drinking
___your parents make promises to you & then not keep them
___lose sleep at night due to a parent’s drinking
___take on some of the jobs or responsibilities belonging to your parents
___ever get sick, or worry a lot because of their drinking
___ever do anything to prevent your parent’s drinking
___always believe that no one knew your parents were drunks, when you were growing up
ARE YOU…?…
___able to recognize situation that you have no control over
___super responsible or super irresponsible
___unable to work thru crisis & conflict, or do you aggravate it
___seeing a pattern in your relationships similar to your family of origin
___unable to enjoy your successes & accomplishments
___afraid others may ‘find out’ you’re not good, or that you’re a fraud
___afraid of your emotions, & afraid to express them   get help
___unable to complement yourself
___ashamed of or feel guilty for being who you are
___afraid of going crazy, or becoming a bag lady or bum
___uncomfortable with your life when it’s going smoothly
___unable to ask for help, or do so apologetically
___constantly seeking approval from others
___uncomfortable with being liked, admired, approved of
___always mentally looking over your shoulder to see if you’ll be punished
___out of control with: food, chemicals, work, sex, spending, exercising…
HAVE YOU…?…
___been blaming everyone else for your life’s problems
___staunchly defended your parents’ ‘innocence’ in hurting you as a kid
___had trouble following thru on projects, or never finishing
___tried to hide the fact that your parents drank a lot, beat you or others in the family, incested you or your siblings
___concerned about your mate, children, friends’…use of chemicals
___developed fantasy beliefs about how loved ones may treat you some day
___considered what ‘normal’ is, & believe you’re not
___found yourself sabotaging your success & then feeling ‘more alive’
___been loyal to others (parents, siblings, lovers, children, friends, employers) – even tho’ your loyalty was undeserved, unjustified, un-returned
___been fired more than once & never really understood why
___* learned to have dialogues with your ‘inner child’, & consistently take care of yourself in loving ways ?
♥                            ♥                            ♥
IF you’re even taking this test, it’s likely you come from a damaged, angry, abusive, traumatic, neglected, unhappy backgroundanswers
TOTALS:   ____Yes   ____ No   ____ Some  ____ Don’t Know
IF you answered YES to:
✶ 10-20, you’re either not an ACoA, in denial or in long-term recovery
✶ 20-30, you’re a co-dependent, even if there was no alcoholism in the family
✶ 30 or more, you’re definitely an ACoA (adult-child of alcoholics and other narcissists), which includes mentally ill &/or narcissistic family members

• If you said NO to Qs in the ‘DID YOU…’ section, but still scored high, there may be alcoholism/ drug addiction in some other part of your family, even if you didn’t experience it directly
• You may also be an active addict, yourself – alcohol/ drugs, food, money, sex, relationships…

Look thru this blog (2010 – 2016) and go to Heal & Grow SITE MAP – for info covering issues in this questionnaire at: http://www.acoarecovery.com

• If you are not yet in Recovery from your childhood trauma & present day difficulties, you can seek out 12-step Programs. THEY’RE BASICALLY FREE, & are available on the internet & by phone, for anyone not able to get to these meeting in person.  See pg 55 or some of the 12-step groups.

• Also, there are many recovery books, site, blogs & of course therapy, with someone very familiar with ACoA / addiction issues.
✶  If you are in Recovery, keep up the good fight. It pays off! I know because I’ve been at it for 35 yrs, & it works.

NEXT: Variations of the L.L.