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Thread: Anger

  1. #11
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I relate to these comments very much. In situations where others expect me to be angry, I find I am actually confused and frustrated. Perhaps, I need to learn to become angry.
    Might be therapeutic, huh?? I think it would be cleansing in a way, and I've sometimes thought it would be 'healthier' for me to just get angry immediately. But I really don't think that's going to change for me!!!! It's too much a part of who I am and how I process things. I turn inward. And I think it can be a good method for different reasons. :-)

    But yeah - maybe someday my wrath will burst forth of its own accord. :-)
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  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cascademn View Post
    But yeah - maybe someday my wrath will burst forth of its own accord. :-)
    That happens about once every three-four years or so, and apparently it is frightening to those on the other end.

    I don't think I go further than anyone else in expressing anger in thsese situations, but I know for sure that I am not in control, and perhaps that is what is so frightening to people.

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  3. #13
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    I would so love to go out with you for a cappuccino right now.
    I would so take you up on that offer.

  4. #14
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    A sense of entitlement is not a bad thing if you simply consider yourself entitled to be treated as a human being who is of equal value to other human beings. In my mind, every human being, including me, has a right to be treated with dignity and respect. When someone violates that for myself, someone I care about, or sometimes any person at all, it can make me angry. This, to me, is valid anger.

    Anger, to me, is morally neutral. It is an emotion and all emotions have value. That value is sometimes simply a sign to your conscious mind that something isn't right. Your reason for being angry at another person or even yourself, may or may not be valid, but the feeling is like a check engine light. It tells you to look into the situation and explore why you are feeling that way. Once you get some kind of idea what's going on, you can decide how you want to proceed.

    One way of sorting out whether or not anger is valid is to mentally change the players around a few times. How would I feel if someone did the act I'm angry about to a friend of mine? How would I feel if they did it to a stranger? How would I feel if the person who triggered my anger was on the receiving end instead of the other way around? You can also ask yourself questions about the particular action. Was the person's act illegal, immoral, unkind, selfish? Was it provoked? Was their intent to cause harm? Was it reckless disregard? Is the behavior habitual?

    It is when a person considers their rights more valid than those of others that you have to worry about entitlement and invalid expressions of anger, IMO.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    [...] Anger, to me, is morally neutral. It is an emotion and all emotions have value. That value is sometimes simply a sign to your conscious mind that something isn't right. Your reason for being angry at another person or even yourself, may or may not be valid, but the feeling is like a check engine light. It tells you to look into the situation and explore why you are feeling that way. Once you get some kind of idea what's going on, you can decide how you want to proceed.
    Absolutely.

    I treat anger (and indeed many emotions) as a reality check. It's a sign that one's expectations are not matching up with reality.

    So I interpret anger as a sign that maybe it's time for a change. Either I should change my expectations, or I should change the reality. Or some compromise between the two. Or some third path that effectively bypasses all of the above.

    If another person is involved, then one can blow up on the other person, dump the anger in the lap of the other person, and force them to resolve the impasse somehow. But that's a risky game and can burn bridges and end relationships. So I prefer to use my anger as a sign that there's a problem, and then process the problem by working out some solutions myself and selling the solutions to the other person. That keeps me in control of the situation, and the anger disappears as some new avenues for change open up in front of me. And I can always tap into the emotion when selling the need for change to others. That is, I can tap into the emotion to demonstrate emphatically that some kind of change is needed quickly, while still maintaining a proactive, cooperative stance by simultaneously suggesting some realistic options for change.

    Even if I ultimately decide that there's no way of changing the reality and that I have to change my expectations, that still can be empowering and disperse the anger. Resolving to accept the status quo can give me a new sense of purpose. I'll tell myself, "I've been drifting along and refusing to take things seriously because I've been waiting for the status quo to change. But it hasn't changed. So maybe it's time to dig in, take it seriously, learn to accept the downside, and see what new possibilities might arise by virtue of really committing myself to this track."

    So in that sense, anger is useful. It's a sign that the old paradigm isn't working, and that it's time to hunt for some new perspectives on the situation. IOW, I trust the legitimacy of the emotion by treating it as an important event--a reality check. Then I analyze my situation and try to brainstorm or negotiate some new ways of seeing it and handling it.

    For the same reason, I also try to take other people's anger seriously. I assume that they're wrestling with something important, and to the extent possible, I try to show them valid ways to change the situation. Or, if appropriate, I try to explain and validate the status quo for them, so that they can gain a more realistic view of their situation, modify their expectations, and learn to accept a situation that previously seemed intolerable to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    One way of sorting out whether or not anger is valid is to mentally change the players around a few times. How would I feel if someone did the act I'm angry about to a friend of mine? How would I feel if they did it to a stranger? How would I feel if the person who triggered my anger was on the receiving end instead of the other way around? You can also ask yourself questions about the particular action. Was the person's act illegal, immoral, unkind, selfish? Was it provoked? Was their intent to cause harm? Was it reckless disregard? Is the behavior habitual?
    Yeah, the hardest part of the whole process is often "distancing" oneself from the problem enough to get over the hurt a bit and look at the problem with fresh eyes or from multiple sides. I generally distance myself from a problem by labeling it as a "reality check" and treating it almost as some kind of academic psychology or leadership exercise: "If I were teaching this situation to students in a leadership class, how would I instruct them to handle it?"

    Another way to "distance" oneself is to see the problem through new eyes, by putting other people in the same roles as cafe suggested: "If my best friend were going through this same situation, what advice would I give her?"

  6. #16
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    Anger is the most misunderstood emotion. It is also one of the emotions I am the most familiar with. I have always been a very calm person but I am very much in touch with my anger. I don't usually write long posts, but since this is a subject I'm really interested in, I'll take the time for anyone interested enough.

    Appropriate anger:

    Constructive anger is an emotion that pushes us to act and change our environment. It stems from the perception that a state of things is unfair. It is a moral emotion linked to our perception of justice.

    Appropriate expression of anger:

    Learning how to constructively manage your anger yields you great authority over others. Teachers, judges, policemen and military leaders are typically examples of people who learn to manage their anger in constructive ways to assert control over their environment. Authoritative (but not authoritarian) people all use their anger in a proper way. It makes them respected and listened to. Properly managed anger makes you assertive and not aggressive. When managed, it is expressed calmly, strongly and in a powerful manner. There is nothing as intimidating as cold anger.

    For example:

    - If you see a child getting unfairly treated, anger will motivate you to interfere and "correct" the injustice
    - If somebody tries to ignore a queue and go in front, anger will motivate you to speak up and tell them to go to the back.
    - If someone is talking over the phone in a movie theater, anger will motivate you to tell them to stop talking.
    - If you are a teacher and students are making too much noise, anger will motivate you to tell them to be quiet.
    - If you are a leader in a situation of crisis where something unfair is happening and people are confused about what to do, anger will motivate you to take charge and assign roles to others to ensure that the group continues to function

    Inappropriate anger:

    Now, there are also forms of anger that are unwarranted in the sense whey they make us want to change our environment when the problem is with ourselves. Destructive anger stems from a personal sense of entitlement that is rooted in how we think things should function, but our expectancies are not fair and/or selfish. Destructive anger can hint on the psychological maturity of someone and tells us how they expect things should work.

    For example, people who feel angry because:

    - they don't get what they want
    - they are not the center of attention
    - they are proven wrong
    - they're not the winner
    - someone is better than them
    - the world doesn't function according to their ideals
    - someone expresses an opinion contrary to them
    - people are not the way they would like them to be
    - they think someone is not talking to them the way they "should" be talked to

    This anger is rooted in insecurity and unrealistic expectancies about others. It is immature because the whole world cannot change to your will. This kind of anger should motivate you not to change your environment, but to change yourself and your perception of things. When you feel this anger, you need to re-evaluate your mindset and exercize self-control.

    Inappropriate expressions of anger

    Regardless of the type of anger, inappropriate expression of anger includes excessive shouting, rage, passive-aggression, psychological and physical violence. Uncontrolled anger does not command respect and is not useful for the environment. It hurts people and yourself in the long run. It alienates you from people.

    Non properly managed anger has the propensity to lead to aggression and destructive conflict. In most conflicts people tend to blame the other party and fail to take responsibility for their actions and mistakes. This leads to a cycle of escalated violence. If ignored, it will lead to passive-aggressive behavior: ignoring, criticizing, "forgetting" things, arriving late, being consistently antagonistic, emotionally manipulating people, guilt tripping, etc.

    What is the solution then? A commonly used technique to help people who have inappropriate management and expression of anger is to teach them assertiveness skills (i.e. saying what you want, feel and think without hurting someone else). Contrary to popular belief, "venting" does nothing but exacerbate your anger. The best is to take a step back, assess the situation, then explain your feelings calmly and firmly.

  7. #17
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    I think lots of helfpul things have already been said on the subject and it's interesting to see different people's POV. I agree with Maverick that's it's a misunderstood emotion and with Cafe that's in itself its value neutral, neither 'good' nor 'bad', just another state of mind and feeling. Anger does have an element of "entitlement" to it i.e. there is a discrepancy between expectations and reality. But you can argue that's the basis for almost all emotions. And others have already stated why that in itself doesn't mean your anger automatically is selfish or invalid.

    And while it's important to ask yourself why you feel what you do, if you find you are often unsure whether your anger is 'right' and it holds you back from expressing it, I would say you might as well do something as say, "I'm angry and I don't know why and that's totally fine". Emotions don't have to 'make sense' and maybe this sounds obvious, but in regards to relationships not telling people you are sad or angry or hurt about something is generally unhelpful and downright damaging in relationships.

    I believe you should always honor and acknowledge your emotions and your responses to things and process them. Including and especially the 'scary' ones like fear, anger, hurt.

    I think people confuse 'processing' emotions with 'accepting at face value' or going into a tailspin of crying, hysterics, and breaking stuff. It's totally possible to allow yourself to feel the full force of your anger and let it pass while simultaneously intellectually judging yourself in the wrong. It basically means giving yourself permission to be imperfect and human, to be yourself without beating yourself up for being 'weak' or 'incorrect'.

  8. #18
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    I think people confuse 'processing' emotions with 'accepting at face value' or going into a tailspin of crying, hysterics, and breaking stuff. It's totally possible to allow yourself to feel the full force of your anger and let it pass while simultaneously intellectually judging yourself in the wrong. It basically means giving yourself permission to be imperfect and human, to be yourself without beating yourself up for being 'weak' or 'incorrect'.
    Very nicely said. I think it is partly about self-forgiveness. I remember one of the toughest weeks of my life. I lost my uncle, my dog got lost, and I got fired from my job in the same damn week. Horrible! So there were definitely a lot of /reasons/ to be angry and shit-faced sad, and all of that. What I allowed myself to do was to feel all the pain I was feeling. I said to myself, "It's ok to be hurt and angry. It's ok." By simply allowing myself to feel whatever pain I felt, it healed. By expressly not trying to heal, I healed.

    I also realized that my dog, my job, and even my uncle were simply valuable to me because I imbued them with value (if you've read a few enneagram books, you'll probably be familiar with this idea). The one constant factor in all of this mess, in all the loss, was me. /I/ was the one who imbued what I valued with value. So where did that value come from? From me, from myself. I was imbuing these things with my own value, and that's what made me want them. I was valuable, no matter what happened. I had me, at the end of the day, and as long as I had me, I would be all right. It was a matter of feeling centered because I knew I /was/ the center, at least of my universe. That, coupled with being gentle with myself, and telling myself that my emotions, good or bad, were ok, really helped me to work through my hurt and anger and everything else, without censuring it or hurrying to get past it. Just feeling it while being centered was a way to get it out of my system without losing the impact or the value of the experience. To this day, I remember that week, and the conclusions I came to during that week, as very valuable, especially for future cases of loss.

  9. #19
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    How do you process anger? How do you know when it is justified, or when it is indulgence?

    I have a great deal of trouble processing anger. It so quickly alters thinking. How can you trust it? It seems rooted in entitlement which I have long come to see as a useless frame of mind. I have some anger at the moment, but don't have a system by which I can tell if it is justified. How do you know when anger is constructive vs. destructive?
    I don't seem to possess it. I suppose this is classic INTP territory.. often without a temper until really really pushed.. which perhaps I very rarely am. In any case, I don't seem to get angry or feel anything more than frustration. Just once in a while I suffer from unbidden shouting in my head.. like testosterone screaming at me, but I'm good at ignoring it.

    I don't think I am in any kind of denial, because I have low anxiety and don't believe I have any issues to work out. *shrug*.

    -Geoff

  10. #20
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Toonia --

    I'm beginning to wonder if anger is a particularly uncomfortable area for NFJs, esp the Is. There are several INFJs of my acquaintance who seem to gulp anger (out of a sense of guilt? loss of control?) until they get sick or explode. I do something similar, only I reach critical mass MUCH faster. My ignition point is reached more quickly, and I erupt.

    I don't know about anyone else, but if I haven't been allowed to take all the time I require to process through a particular emotion (or thought), I can become VERY hostile. I hate it when people (even well-meaning ones) attempt to guilt/talk me out of a feeling I'm having. It makes me feel marginalized, further adding to the anger. My ENFP sister seems to be able to process her feelings more quickly, whereas I require a lot more time. I take this as a reflection of temperament, not "wallowing".

    I think anger can be very constructive and shouldn't be feared when it is. Out of control plate-throwing is another animal altogether.
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