Sunday, 2 December 2007


Looking again at how unable I am to even recognise anger in myself, let alone express it externally. When a situation comes along which leads to (or could lead to) me feeling angry, I seem to instantly turn it on myself. Yesterday I got a book from the library called "the Anger Management Sourcebook". I'm hoping that working through some of the activities in it will help me (a) to recognise anger in myself (I'm pretty adept at recognising it in others) and (b) find a way to express it more healthily than the self harm which has been a very prevalent and damaging (in more ways than just the physical) experience recently.

So, one of the first exercises was to:

List all the advantages of anger, then list all the disadvantages. Before you start, try to visualise the short and long-term effects of anger on yourself. Then imagine the consequences of your anger to others. Imagine their feelings when exposed to your anger.

Advantages of anger:
Letting it out appropriately would be healthier than holding it in or turning it on myself
Anger expressed properly can change situations

Disadvantages of anger:
People will be upset by my anger
When I am angry I hurt myself or others
Anger means rejection
Feel out of control
Feel inadequate

What was revealing for me, especially when I compared my answers to those in the book, was that anger is overwhelmingly associated with disadvantages for me. I can see some of where that comes from. In a way I think the book is aimed at a different set of situations - it seems to be working on helping people to control their anger, whereas I think I need to learn to let mine go healthily.

The second activity was to identify possible hooks from a list - what do I get most angry about? This was very hard for me, but I looked at it more as what triggers can make me turn anger on myself. These were the ones I came up with:

Being abandoned
Being lied to or misled
Being wronged; unfairness
Being wrongly blamed
Broken promises
Change, uncertainty
Cherished belief being challenged or disparaged
Delays, being late, running late
Feeling anxious, depressed or guilty
Getting lost
Getting the silent treatment
Humiliation, embarrassment, others know my weaknesses, made to look foolish
Incompetence – mine or others
Letting myself down
Losing control
Losing something
Loss of love
Loud noise, noisy people, other distractions
Overload, pressure
Overwhelmed, over my head, out of control, powerlessness
People don’t tell me what they are upset about
Performing below my capacity or expectations
Spouse walks away when I try to talk to him
Wasting time at meetings

What did I learn from that? The main thing I am taking away at the moment is how many of those triggers have happened recently for me - which helps me to make sense of the huge anxiety I am feeling.

1 comment:

MMP said...

whoa, respect from here