I suck at anger

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RecoveryRandal

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I suck at anger
« on: January 17, 2020, 05:19:48 AM »
I don't know what to do when I feel angry. For *decades* I didn't allow myself to experience a lot of my emotions (except fear/terror/anxiety). Now that I'm older, it's coming up more and more.

I had terrible models for anger growing up, two polar opposites in fact. My abuser would lose her sh*t at the drop of a hat. She could be all chaos and rage over the littlest of things. And from this I learned to equate anger and violence/abuse.

My father was almost completely emotionally shut down. I only saw him angry once, and I only saw him cry once. And he never stood up to my abuser, not one single time.

So, now I'm 50 years old, and I'm still trying to figure out when and where it's "OK" to experience anger, how much anger is "appropriate" in any given situation, how to express it, and how to stay in my body while feeling it.

Coupled with this is an overwhelming sense of disconnection from people, including those I'm closest to. I get so frustrated and want to just leave everyone and everything behind and start all over someplace new.

It's clear that anger and avoidance are linked for me. I just don't know what to do about it. Exercise helps. Writing helps. It's just not enough sometimes.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 05:40:18 AM by RecoveryRandal »

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LittleBlueBird

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Re: I suck at anger
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2020, 11:27:45 AM »
Hi RR.

Just wanted to say I've read your post and it's very relatable. I guess our models for anger weren't healthy ones at all.

I was told that actually the root emotion of depression is anger, by a therapist last year. Im starting therapy again soon and intend to bring this up.

I usually take my anger out on myself. In the times I've tried hard not to do this, I've lashed out at others something terrible.

Just wanted you to know, you're not alone. Apologies for not having any better advice.

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Kizzie

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Re: I suck at anger
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 06:10:37 PM »
I hear you RR, me too  :yes:

Pete Walker has an article that really helps me in which he talks about anger as deep hurt and grief over what we have gone through (or are going through).  The basic idea is that "safe angering" helps us to "redirect blame where it belongs" and lets us grieve.  Here's the 1st para:


Angering Diminishes Fear and Shame

Angering is the grieving technique of aggressively complaining about current or past losses and injustices. Survivors  need to anger - sometime rage - about the intimidation, humiliation or neglect that was passed off to them as nurturance in their childhoods. As they become adept at grieving, they anger out their healthy resentment at their family’s pervasive lack of safety – at the ten thousand betrayals of no-one-to-go-to for guidance or protection, no one to appeal to for fairness or appreciative recognition of their developmental achievements. [My book, The Tao of Fully Feeling, Harvesting Forgiveness Out Of Blame,outlines a safe process for angering out childhood pain in a way that does not hurt the individual or anyone else.] Angering is therapeutic when the survivor rails against childhood trauma, and especially when she rails against its living continuance in the self-hate processes of the critic. Angrily saying “No!” or “Shut Up!” to the critic, the proxy of her parents, externalizes the anger. It stops her from turning her anger against herself, and allows her to revive the lost instinct of defending herself against unjust attack. Moreover, it rescues her from toxic shame, as it reverses Erik Eriksen’s famous equation: “Shame is blame turned against the self.” Angering redirects blame where it belongs.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 06:06:43 PM by Kizzie »

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notalone

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Re: I suck at anger
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 09:02:39 PM »
I had similar role models; raging out-of-control mother and passive father. In therapy, I have learned how to express anger, but it is still really difficult for me and it often comes out sideways or is directed at myself.

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RecoveryRandal

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Re: I suck at anger
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2020, 05:41:54 AM »
Thank you all for the empathy. It makes a huge difference to know I'm not alone in this struggle.

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Kizzie

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Re: I suck at anger
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2020, 06:06:59 PM »
 :grouphug:

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Gromit

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Re: I suck at anger
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 11:28:12 AM »
Metoo RR
My OH seems to find it so easy to access anger and act accordingly, although he does do some damage to those around him, I don't think he intends to. At least , for him, it does not fester inside.

I did start to feel very angry when I was having psychodynamic therapy, that did shift things a lot, I just haven't found another psychodynamic T to go to.

I think, from the quote Kizzie posted another book might be in order.

I find it easier to express anger if I can write it, so I have a chance to edit what I put, face to face, or by telephone is harder. But, in communication with my FOO even that just causes more problems. It seems ok for them to be angry with me but not the other way around, and I just feel more shame.

I guess that hasn't helped, except to tell you you are not alone in this.
G


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arale

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Re: I suck at anger
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2020, 12:02:08 PM »
The title of your post really resonates with me. I could have written it. I have found it very difficult too to "learn to do" anger safely. I started with Alexander Lowen's work on bioenergetics. He suggested discharging anger by hitting the couch with your fists or with a tennis racket, of course when no one's around. I found the energy discharge very pleasant. Then, I've gone on to dancing, whirling, hitting pillows, jumping, screaming, again, in a way that it doesn't disturb anyone else. Of course, this doesn't address the problems inherent in the relationship that caused the anger in the first place. But these have been my first attempts at even daring to access my anger. Through these experiences I learned that I have strength, I do have an Inner Protector that adamantly wants to protect my boundaries, which, in turn, helped me trust myself. By experiencing my anger I also get to learn that it is not this dangerous thing that I fear. If I let it go in a safe environment, it's not going to hurt or kill anyone. Of course, I still don't know how to do anger live in front of someone safely. But experiencing anger as an energy inside myself, geared towards protecting me, separate from the situation that has triggered it has been very healing. Finding a safe place to experience my anger has helped me a lot in understanding myself, and unexpectedly, grow to trust and love myself.

Echoing what many others have said, you are definitely not alone in this.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 03:05:18 PM by arale »