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Thread: Anger and guilt

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    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Default Anger and guilt

    Can anger come from feeling guilty about something ? Like perhaps being lazy, undisciplined, and procrastinating?
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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    I think so.

    For starters it could be a direct link to self anger. And it could also lead to frustrations that in turn lead to anger expressed to others.

    Any negative emotion can potentially turn into anger. Anger is like the ultimate, but irrational, outlet of negative emotions.
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    Speaking from experience, yes.

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    Senior Member Hypatia's Avatar
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    Yes, frustration comes to mind. But it's probably not healthy to dwell on. Best to identify the problem and take steps towards a solution.

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    One popular way of interpreting anger is to see it as an indication that one is overly attached to a single outcome.

    Example: An new upgrade or version of an old computer game comes out. You play the new version of the game and decide that it sucks. There are two possible scenarios:

    1) If you really liked the older version of the game and were anticipating that the new version would be even better, then you may feel terribly let down by the new version and may feel angry at the developers of the new version. IOW, in this scenario you were emotionally attached to a certain outcome (that the game would be good) and you were disappointed.

    2) OTOH, if you didn’t particularly care about that game beforehand, then you won’t be as attached to the outcome; when you find out that the new version sucks, it’s no big deal; there are plenty of other interesting games to play out there; it’s no big deal if this one game sucks. So you don't feel any great anger, and it's easy to move on.

    Similar to scenario #1, above: One can get «overly attached to a single outcome» when it comes to one’s work or one’s relationship or even one’s view of oneself. If you have a specific vision or plan as to how your job, marriage, or life should turn out, then you may become quite angry when that plan subsequently becomes derailed by events. Overplanning and excessive attachment to a single outcome is almost guaranteed to result in anger and frustration when life throws its inevitable curve balls.

    Hence your question:

    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Can anger come from feeling guilty about something ? Like perhaps being lazy, undisciplined, and procrastinating?
    If you’re overly attached to a certain vision of yourself as a productive, disciplined, proactive individual, then you may feel quite angry when you find that you can’t live up to that vision due to personal shortcomings. In this case, I wouldn’t necessarily say that the anger results from the guilt; instead, probably the anger results from the misalignment of your personal vision of yourself and the reality (being overly attached to an unrealistic or unattainable outcome), while the guilt may be your reaction to the perceived causes (your personal shortcomings); i.e., shame that you let yourself be derailed so easily by procrastination, etc.

    As to what to do about it: The obvious quick fix is to allow for the possibility of other outcomes (see scenario #2, above). This is why it’s good to have a lifestyle with lots of different alternatives and interests: You don’t want to get overly fixated on one project or vision or plan or outcome and then crash when it turns out to be unachievable. You want to view life like one of your computer games: If the latest upgrade of one game turns out sucky, then you want to have lots of other computer games available to play, rather than mourning or getting angry over the suckiness of that one particular game.

    OTOH, there’s the alternative view that anger can be harnessed positively. One attribute of anger is that it usually includes the assumption that you can still do something about the situation. (The alternative is sadness, which results when you know you can do nothing about the outcome, such as when someone dies.) So anger may induce you to re-examine the situation and attack it from a new angle or learn new skills so that you can make a second, more successful run at a project.

    To sum up: A good way to view anger is as a normal, healthy reaction to a misalignment between expectations and outcome. From there, you can re-examine the situation and choose one of two possible paths:

    A) Realize that your expectation was perhaps unrealistic, and be in a position to accept an unanticipated outcome and move on without wasting a lot of energy and mourning over it. In other words, don’t be overly attached to a single outcome.

    or

    B) Decide that you want to take a second run at the problem, but recognize that you need additional resources in order to be more successful next time; and go seek out those resources.

    Not to be trite, but the Serenity Prayer sums up these two choices nicely: «God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.»

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    That's probably where most of my anger has come from in life. Just feeling bad about myself. Wanting to do better and failing again. It's like a frustrated anger. I'm doing my best to eliminate that reaction or at least reduce it. I'm better than I used to be. But it still gets me sometimes.
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    I'm getting up toward 60 years old. I've learned to suck it up and move on. No regrets; I don't have time for them.

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    Member James W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Can anger come from feeling guilty about something ? Like perhaps being lazy, undisciplined, and procrastinating?
    Would you say these are personal feelings you've been experiencing or just a passing curiosity on the subject?

    Anger can arise in many specific ways, but when it's to do with self stagnation and feelings of "why is shit not getting done?" that can be a catalyst in a constant cycle of negative thought patterns.

    My advice to somebody going through this is to start taking action. Literally, stop what you're doing, clear your mind of all thoughts of distraction and focus only on the thing you want to achieve. Delete Facebook from your bookmark toolbar if that helps. There's nothing worse than stewing in your own frustration because you feel like bad habits are holding you back and once you start being proactive and occupying your time on more productive things, your attention will stop being so focused on yourself and that anger will slowly dissipate over time. And weirdly enough, you start getting over yourself and enjoying life more. Clichéd I know and people have heard it all before, but it's only thing that actually works.

    It's weird how simple it is. The more you think, the less you do.

    But yeah, anger can definitely come from feelings of guilt for those particular reasons you've mentioned. It's a very relatable situation for me, personally.

    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    OTOH, there’s the alternative view that anger can be harnessed positively. One attribute of anger is that it usually includes the assumption that you can still do something about the situation. (The alternative is sadness, which results when you know you can do nothing about the outcome, such as when someone dies.) So anger may induce you to re-examine the situation and attack it from a new angle or learn new skills so that you can make a second, more successful run at a project.»
    This is a very interesting analogy.

    Quote Originally Posted by nicolita View Post
    That's probably where most of my anger has come from in life. Just feeling bad about myself. Wanting to do better and failing again. It's like a frustrated anger. I'm doing my best to eliminate that reaction or at least reduce it. I'm better than I used to be. But it still gets me sometimes.
    I think failure is more important than success in many aspects of life. Builds a thicker skin, gives a better sense of character and perspective etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    I'm getting up toward 60 years old. I've learned to suck it up and move on. No regrets; I don't have time for them.
    That's pretty badass dude. I like your moxy
    Last edited by James W; 11-15-2013 at 11:09 AM. Reason: Didn't want to multipost

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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    I'm getting up toward 60 years old. I've learned to suck it up and move on. No regrets; I don't have time for them.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    i have a lot of anger and guilt

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