Observations and notes on Anger

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Contessa

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Observations and notes on Anger
« on: February 06, 2018, 05:57:50 AM »
There is another thread dedicated to two types of anger, I believe started by Blueberry or Dee. I gave up after a few clicks to find it again, because I am not even too sure if it is on the new forum. Also this is a tangent to that main conversation.

I think I have reached a point in recovery where a transition may be made. I've entertained this though for several months now, but can now begin to feel it. I am actually starting to recognise that:
My anger is no longer justified in certain circumstances

and therefore as a result:
My anger is no longer a response to danger
but now a contributing cause for greater negativity

Why has this happened?
  • Assertive approaches to negative situations were rudely, aggressively and abusively rebuffed or ignored
  • When the need for legal intervention was recognised and sought after, again these 'authority' figures often invalidated and dismissed the recounted events of my reports, and I was often reprimanded for what I was relaying (nb; I never once went so far as to assume what these people were thinking or feeling as I hear so often when others share their accounts, only the facts)

In these situations, I did not do anything wrong. I had to employ fight or flight for my safety, or to diffuse a situation when it was becoming abusive. In my experience, fight (aggression, arguments, call out the faults of others etc), or flight (passivity, own the blame, etc). They became the norm.

I have lost the ability to assert myself.
I have forgotten that in many circumstances there is in fact is nobody at fault.
So the anger in these situations are not justified. Fight or flight behaviour takes over, and as a result, what happens does fundamentally and justifiably become my fault now.

I have decided that some circumstances no longer require my thought or care, and therefore my anger.
So I am no longer the victim to that circumstance. If I no longer need to employ fight or flight, I therefore need to relearn how to be assertive. Because fight or flight is not appropriate in the other circumstances that I am involved in.

I've hit another uncomfortable cusp of recovery.

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Rainagain

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2018, 06:43:07 AM »
Love this post contessa.

I've been stuck in this recovery stage for a long time, I've posted about fight response as my fighty behaviour concerns me sometimes.

The best I can manage is to be calm and patient for as long as I can do it, then get angry and try to remove myself from the cause, then get pretty lairy if nothing else works.

I've lost assertiveness too, I can only assert myself after I've lost my temper, which is a negative thing to do.

Had a few fight response outbursts lately, trouble with meds.

But recognising that the felt anger isn't always justified is a huge achievement, it feels very real in the moment but that isn't the same as it being a true appropriate response.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2018, 08:16:20 AM »
Anger is like a snowball; once it hits a target it can splatter all over, melt, and not even resemble its original shape; then it disappears. Even the most innocent anger only seems to disappear, though; the hurt just dives under the surface.

It's dangerous when it's thus internalized. I too consider myself past any immediate source of danger, yet my anger and resultant sadness can still flare, unexpectedly. In my case, it often sneaks in at night and when it hits there often is no immediate cause. Old nasty voices haunt and taunt me, and the snowball effect is on--the residue seems to have stuck. Instead of justifiable self-assertion, though, it breaks out as raging internalized fear, even self-hatred that this can still be affecting me so.

This happened again just last night. I talk back to the voices, a form of aggression I wasn't allowed to vent when stuff happened so long ago. Last night I threw my back out in my raging, tossing discomfort; another hidden aftereffect. It's all so exhausting and is something that can backfire even when one is trying so hard. Any assertive instinct is replaced with fear and self-recrimination that this still happens. More of a 'freeze' response in that it all gets internalized. Guess that's a key--to relax into realizing the new safety and remember the past can be left behind. In theory this sounds good, but in reality it makes me  ...  :'(  :pissed:  :'(

In a weird way (this stuff is all so weird) maybe that's where the inner critic can have a positive effect? Recognizing the rage for what it is--a sad but compelling counter to the original pain? It all sounds too depressingly simple, in less need of a 'cure'--there were legit reasons the anger surfaced from its hiding spot--but a natural part worthy of some acceptance, too.

Easily said, and when it seems like the coast is clear, the memories can reignite and then erase all that work--instead of a snowball it becomes a raging fire.

 
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 08:19:53 AM by woodsgnome »

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sanmagic7

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 05:20:14 PM »
o those uncomfortable cusps.  they can bring so many emotions to the surface, including anger at having to make yet another alteration in our perspective, perception, or behavior. 

quite a resonating post, contessa.  every time i'd find myself at the edge of one of these cusps, i'd get mad that i had to go thru all this again, make the appropriate changes, expend more energy on something that should have been taken care of a long time ago. 

however, once i expressed that anger, it cleared the way for me to do what i needed to do.  ironic, that even with anger issues, i still discovered there was more anger to be had.

i think it's a big realization for you, and makes perfect sense.  altho uncomfy, i'm glad for you that you've been able to get to this place.  it definitely sounds like progress to me.  love and warmth and a peace-filled hug.

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Contessa

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 12:30:49 AM »
Great responses. They are all varied, but all were given nods in solidarity when reading. Just goes to show how complex anger and its effects can be.

So W.G, R.A and San, I won't single out any part of your posts as they all resonated in varying ways.

To aid in this upswing I have been mindful of doing several things:

* Although this realisation highlights how my behavioural response to situations was not the best, I will not beat myself up for it. It's merely an example to use as a springboard for improvement.
* I am allowed to feel anger. And I am allowed to not worry about another's perception if it means not sacrificing my needs to keep anger at bay.

That's all for now. Thank you again guys
 :hug:

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Contessa

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 01:58:03 PM »
Okay.. i really do want to respond to these comments individually but was hoping not to trigger anger by doing so.

The anger is pulsing right now and the desire to reply individually is strong, though desperately need sleep.

Blasted emotions!

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Rainagain

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2018, 02:02:22 PM »
Had a triggering 24 hrs,

Today's thought is that assertiveness and boundaries aren't anger.

If I was better at those things I wouldn't feel so much anger.

I tried assertiveness today, didn't work out well but I mostly avoided anger as having said my piece I stuck to it and didn't engage further.

I keep sabotaging myself by being unable to disengage, but not today.

Its what healthy minds do, they feel entitled to hold a view, entitled to stick to it and entitled to disengage from people who trespass all over their views.

When I don't disengage I just provide further opportunities for others with a firmer sense of entitlement to trample over and harm me further.

Knowing when to walk away is key I think.

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Rainagain

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2018, 02:05:18 PM »
Sorry you are angry and not asleep.

Happens to me too.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 10:20:36 PM »
hey, rain, i agree that walking away can alleviate a lot of anger and unpleasantness.  being assertive may not always get us what we want, but being angry doesn't always, either.  i think the more we practice sticking to our guns, respecting the line we've drawn in the sand, the more we will discover our true strength in such situations.

contessa, i'm glad for you that you're in touch with your anger, but sorry that it's keeping you from sleep (if, indeed, it is).  hope you have a chance to let it out in a productive way eventually.

hugs all around.

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radical

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 11:15:45 PM »
Hi Contessa,
This is just a thought based on my own experiences.

First off, what you experienced, on a whole lot of fronts, was so utterly unfair that it may not be surprising that you continue to feel angry.

I believe that anger can provide the energy to bypass the powerlessness of despair.  I know when I felt anger burning, keeping me awake not letting go, it was quite literally keeping me alive because the hurt was more than I could deal with at the time.

But there was something else too.  Having anger so close meant that i could see all the times, all the little things and big things where my lack of awareness meant I wasn't doing justice to myself, where my desire to be "nice" meant I was undervaluing myself and my own needs and feelings.

I'm not pretending to have all the answers.  Becoming more aware didn't provide any magic bullet, I still didn't really know how to do better, just that i needed to find how.

(Suddenly I can use the tools and the icons with my laptop computer :applause:
Don't know why :umbrella: :umbrella: :umbrella: :umbrella:)

Anyway, I feel for you, Contessa, because i know how hard it is to be consumed with anger.  But I feel really confident you will find the way  through.

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Contessa

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2018, 11:58:09 PM »
Hi San and Rain,

It wasn't keeping me from sleep, thank heavens. It was seething, and luckily not raging. It is an improvement indeed, though still not ideal. I notice that I find comfort in telling someone for some reason. It's like checking in with a parent I know, but airing it lets it escape from my body rather than letting it churn and grow.

Walking away... I notice I can do it much easier now, but sometimes I can't help but walk back, or dip the toe. I've noticed that it is easier to walk away from something you don't love. Walking away from the anger stemming from something or someone you love is the hardest. I don't fall in love easily, but I have always been hurt by the ones I love, and that is where the anger is strongest.

I suppose this is a great insight into the inner workings of my brain.

Words that resonated:
I've been stuck in this recovery stage for a long time, I've posted about fight response as my fighty behaviour concerns me sometimes.
Yeah. As I said, I fight my loved ones, because I am shattered by their betrayal. I just don't understand how they can do the things they do, and not seem to care.

Anger is like a snowball; once it hits a target it can splatter all over, melt, and not even resemble its original shape; then it disappears. Even the most innocent anger only seems to disappear, though; the hurt just dives under the surface.

It's dangerous when it's thus internalized. I too consider myself past any immediate source of danger, yet my anger and resultant sadness can still flare, unexpectedly. In my case, it often sneaks in at night and when it hits there often is no immediate cause. Old nasty voices haunt and taunt me, and the snowball effect is on--the residue seems to have stuck. Instead of justifiable self-assertion, though, it breaks out as raging internalized fear, even self-hatred that this can still be affecting me so.

Yes. Nothing to add, yes. I think though, so much pain means if I walk away without expressing the anger, it will stay with me. And I need to express it to the party that caused it. I can write all the journal pages I want, take all the baths in the world, burn all scented candles in my cupboard, but the anger will always come back. The only thing that alleviates it letting the instigator know.

however, once i expressed that anger, it cleared the way for me to do what i needed to do.  ironic, that even with anger issues, i still discovered there was more anger to be had.

It never seems to end. Though it is reducing... I don't know.
On another perspective, every time I put this behind, and move forward... the next disappointment hits.

So moving beyond that...

Today's thought is that assertiveness and boundaries aren't anger.
If I was better at those things I wouldn't feel so much anger.
...
Knowing when to walk away is key I think.


and

i think the more we practice sticking to our guns, respecting the line we've drawn in the sand, the more we will discover our true strength in such situations.

There's our answer. And there is where I always struggle. Because although boundaries and assertion are healthy, I struggle with the notion that I am being selfish. And while I battle with balancing both our needs... they do whatever the heck they like, then walk.

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Contessa

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2018, 12:02:08 AM »
But there was something else too.  Having anger so close meant that i could see all the times, all the little things and big things where my lack of awareness meant I wasn't doing justice to myself, where my desire to be "nice" meant I was undervaluing myself and my own needs and feelings.

There's the nugget! Couldn't find the words. You said it perfectly Rad xoxox
Still need to find the sweet spot where "being nice to me" switches to "neglecting me"

Note: I do say "me" a lot here. I have not forgotten that there are you and others in all of this. I guess this is all in the spirit of self care.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 12:03:53 AM by Contessa »

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Rainagain

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2018, 01:55:23 AM »
Contessa

When you say you don't understand how loved ones can do the things they do and not seem to care it made me think.

My suspicion is that maybe they really don't care, or at least they don't have the careful,perceptive,empathic attributes that many on here have by the ton.

Lots of people in the non traumatised world are simply lacking in empathy and insight.

So maybe they don't have the tools to care like we do.

Maybe its unreasonable to expect our level of awareness in other people.


I had several examples today where people made me feel uncomfortable by their actions, I was slightly rejected and made to feel awkward a couple of times.

Or maybe people were just going about their business, being focussed on themselves and if I felt a bit hurt that was down to me? They probably didn't think twice about it or even notice.

Sorry for thread hijack here, got carried away.



I do think that there is a side of me that looks for cues as to how accepted/rejected I am. Its a bit like my hyper vigilance for physical threat but is cued to emotional threat or the risk of being belittled or put down.

With my ex employer its much more straight forward, they really don't care about me at all, they put me under a bus simply because it suited them, no qualms there!

Maybe the answer is to focus on our own stuff and not get distracted by other people's stuff. Its how others behave. It hurts all of us to be even slightly rejected but if others don't recognise things it may not hurt them at all?


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Blueberry

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2018, 07:59:51 AM »
There is another thread dedicated to two types of anger, I believe started by Blueberry or Dee. I gave up after a few clicks to find it again, because I am not even too sure if it is on the new forum.

That's my post. It's on this forum, but under Childhood / Symptoms / Emotional Flashbacks

Not a bad idea at all to start a different thread! I'm surprised actually that anger has been an uncommon topic on here up till now.

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Contessa

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Re: Observations and notes on Anger
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2018, 12:33:07 PM »
It's a good thread Blueberry. This post deviated from that topic somewhat so made the right decision to start a new thread.

Good insight Rain. That is very true indeed and do agree. I do expect more though, of someone I freely share an embrace or kiss with than those I don't, if that makes sense. People that become so unbelievably close to you... that want to be close to you... that suddenly decide that you no longer know each other. That's the one that hurts.

I don't know if this can be explained properly, ha.

Again, a hijacking this is not rain. All perspectives are valuable and they are on point I have always noticed ;)