Have got a new book from the library: Managing Anger by Gail Lindenfield.
Here's what she writes about problems caused by burying anger, and the reasons for this:
Anthony Storr: "They hate those whom they love since they cannot get from them what they really need, and since they dare not show this hate for fear of losing even that which they have, they turn it inwards against themselves."
Anthony Storr explained how and why depressives first start turning thein anger inwards. The very first feelings of anger and frustration which they felt were usually in response to physical or emotional abuse or neglect from parents or parent figures. In these original, pattern-setting relationships, they were actually powerless and very unsafe.
Unfortunately, the depressive's originally useful way of coping with anger can become a habit which they then use inappropriately and indiscriminately whenever they perceive a loss or frustration - even when they have no real cause to feel powerless or frightened. So that by the time they reach adulthood you can hear them blaming themselves for all sorts of unjust hurts.
I read this and felt shivers up and down my spine. Because that is so like me. So are her examples of how people like this behave. I've done them all, frequently do most of them. And then, a little later, she writes:
They have probably lost sight of the hurts and frustrations which originally gave rise to the depression. Ask them what is wrong and they will usually reply, "I don't know" or "Nothing"; ask them if anyone or anything has upset them and they will insist, "No, it's just me." And ask them if you can help and they will usually say, "No, just leave me alone."
But we mustn't forget that, unlike the manipulative aggressor, the person who is in a state of depression is not "trying it on" - they actually have forgotten the hurt, they can no longer feel the anger, they do think they are powerless, and do honestly believe that no one can help them.
Then Gill Lindenfield suggests "reprogramming your mind to think more positively about anger". So this is where I am beginning to work.
My Assertive Anger Rights
1. I have a right to feel angry when I am frustrated.
2. I have a right to feel angry when I am disheartened.
3. I have a right to feel angry when I am hurt.
4. I have a right to feel angry when I am attacked.
5. I have a right to feel angry when I am oppressed.
6. I have a right to feel angry when I am exploited.
7. I have a right to feel angry when I am manipulated.
8. I have a right to feel angry when I am cheated.
9. I have a right to feel angry when my needs are ignored.
10. I have a right to feel angry when I am let down.
11. I have a right to feel angry when I am rejected.
12. I have a right to feel angry when my health, welfare, happiness or peace is threatened.
13. I have a right to feel angry when my survival is threatened.
14. I have a right to feel angry when I see other people's rights being abused or threatened.
15. I have a right to feel angry when I see anything which I value being abused or threatened.
16. I have a right to feel angry when I lose someone or something which I value.
17. I have the right to expres my anger safely and assertively.
18. I have the right to choose not to express my anger and to accept responsiblity for any consequences of my choice.
19. I have the right to encourage others to express their anger safely and assertively.
20. I have the right to protect myself from the passive or aggressive anger of others.
My task now is to read and reread this list, making notes as I do. I can cross out or add to parts of the list.
Then I need to make a list of people whom I observe owning these rights and using their anger in a safe constructive way.
Then I can mark the rights I consider most relevant to me and my life, noting down specific examples.
Finally in this section I am to select one of these rights to focus on for the next week. Note down examples of it being upheld and abused by others and myself.
That should keep me going, then!