Friday, 11 January 2008

Anger again

A post here has me thinking again on this.
I find it almost impossible to recognise anger in myself (though I am hyper-alert for any signs of it in others). My first hint of anger towards others seems to be immediately redirected at myself. It is translated into guilt, self-punishment, self-hatred.
Where did I miss out on the lesson of recognising this emotion in myself? Actually, I think it is not so much that I missed this lesson but that I learnt other lessons too well. It's rather like the way we were taught that Pluto is a planet. Even though cosmologists now tell us it is not, some of us still rattle off "My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas" when asked the names of the planets. If the pizzas are not there any more, what do we put in its place? How do we make a new statement of our understanding? If I am to learn that suppressing and denying my anger is not the best way to proceed, what do I put in place of this previous understanding? Indeed, how do I make sense of a new "universe" where the previous rules ("anger is dangerous") are apparently wrong?


Surgeon in my dreams said...

You're right...That is probably a more direct answer to my question. How do I replace the BIG MESSAGE I learned with the small and lesser known lessons.

I guess my first step is to get rid of the BIG one first before I can even think about replacing it.

Disillusioned said...

Absolutely. Replacing those old, negative mesages (or negative schemas as my psychologist calls them) with positive ones is so hard. Actually, he said that it's not a matter of getting rid of the old messages but rather of turning up the volume of the positive ones.

mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Hi disillusioned

Anger that is a toughie.

I do dysfunctional anger. It comes out in all sorts of ways. Sometimes, it is clear to others that I am angry before I clock it. They will comment and I will go "Am I?" Other times it is displaced through tears or self torture.

It took me years to acknowledge that I had spent years bottling it up....trying to placate other people, keep the peace, ignore my own feelings.

Then I got tirades of anger that I couldn't suss where it came from. And that scared me.

I find it difficult just to say "I am angry". Like a well composed person. Sometimes I feel that there is something a bit anal in that. Trying to be politely angry.

It certainly isn't easy to express anger without other people getting anxty and then having to deal with their emotions as well...but that is the deal isn't it?

I think we should go all PC and have signs we put they do in some meetings. Green card means not angry, yellow means getting a bit tetchy, red card means "Avoid me like the black death".

Mandy :>)

Disillusioned said...

Hi Mandy

Lots of what you say is true for me too. I don't recognise anger in myself though. Almost never. I do displace it, and am beginning to look at those displacement activities for clues as to when I am angry. Like you, I reached the point after many years of realising I have bottled up anger for a long time. I haven't hit the tirades of anger yet, and I fear that it will happen. So I carry on bottling up the anger.