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)

Double BINDS – Starting (Part 6a)


I’m going to have to pay close attention

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 5)

BOOK: “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” ~ Chip & Dan Heath (review…..)



BDs, created by DMs, are like being called over to someone who is crooking their index finger, meaning “Come to me, my darling,” – but when you get there they slap your face.
Or being told, “Darling, tell me how you feel,” but then when you do, they sarcastically sneer that you’re being dramatic, hateful, over-sensitive, crazy, ridiculous, immature…. (More…..)

IMPERATIVE : We can not afford to mentally blank out when dealing with controlling, narcissistic, double-binding people – which is what the WIC does when terrified & trying to disappear.
It will make a big difference to your well-being if you stay awake for how you feel around people who do the come-here-go-away dance or give other kinds of DMs.

Identifying the specific D.Messages you’ve been getting is necessary so you know what you’re dealing with, & then figure a way out.
If one specific person you’re around is a S, you’re probably angry a lot of the time, but may not recognize it as that specific emotion. And underneath the anger – you’re really scared of displeasing or losing them – whether you can feel that deeper layer or not.

VERBALIZE what’s going on. You’re only in a full Double Bind while the contradictory statements you’ve been subjected to remain unconscious. Once they’re articulated, they lose their force. Questioning AND objecting to the contradictions, & getting external support, can often help with our own internal distorted beliefs

of self-hating D.Message (More….. )  Also DM Part 7b)
a. Having many PTSD symptoms means I’m broken, worthless -AND-
b. Admitting to only a few symptoms means the abuse wasn’t that bad
c. I’m not supposed to notice what really happened, or help myself out of it

CHART: Use for your own DBs, to to figure out those imposed on you by another person or institution. 📕 Expand & add columns as needed
Re. RESULTS: Internally – what’s already happened
Externally: what you fear will happen
Re. OPTIONS: The one best suited to your personality & circumstances
Final RESULTS – of your choice, in T.E.A. terms

Fill in columns for each part of the Double/Triple BIND you’re in, in as much detail as you can. DO a little, then add as you figure more out. Include:
◆ (A,B,C) Conflicting commands & Consequences, from you or others
◆ Blatant & subtle Punishments
◆ Any attempts to unhook yourself, successful or not
◆ What happened – in you or from others / overall outcome
◆ If still stuck, why you’re still in it (internal reasons)….
Step Away from DBs and post “Negative Benefits

• Since DBs are often stacked together, it’s necessary to unravel them statement by statement – like parsing a sentence. See how many parts you can identify in the following abusive, distorted manipulative communications:
EXPToxic Parent to actual Child
“Now you want my help! Hah! I never got into this kind of trouble when I was a kid. Surprise me by doing something right for a change, I’d like that!”
“You should be ashamed of yourself. Listen to me, you’ve got to take control over your life. Stop questioning what I tell you. I’ve been around a lot longer than you have, you know.”

EXP Authority to ‘Problem’ Person
“You have to accept that you are X (mentally ill, addict, out-of-control, raging, self-destructive…) before we can help you. We’re only doing this for your own good, out of love and compassion for you, even though you are X (the label).”

“When you say that we have the problem, that we are doing this to suit ourselves because we don’t like the way you are, it only proves that you are indeed X (the label)”

NEXT: DBs, Starting Part 6b