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  1. #1
    Senior Member Misty_Mountain_Rose's Avatar
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    Default Learning to be Angry

    I'm a little stumped about how to ask this... but I will try by first explaining and then see if anyone has some thoughts.

    I'm not exactly sure what is going on with me... nor am I entirely sure if its a good thing or a bad thing. For much of my life, I've been unemotional, especially when it comes to ANGER. I saw abusive relationships growing up, and so I held a tight control on my own anger, and flew away from disagreements and anger from others.

    Over the last 3 years since I began taking Kung Fu, I've slowly come to grips with my fear of anger from others, and anger directed at me. I don't have the panic attacks any more that I used to have when people were shouting or arguing. I thought this was great progress.

    Lately, say in the last 4-5 months, I've been quicker and quicker to feel and express my OWN anger at others. This is entirely new. The first time was a few months ago when a co-worker and close friend of mine made me angry. In that moment, when I felt angry, I felt it take control of me and I stormed into her office, slammed her door, yelled at her and remained angry for a few hours afterwards because I knew that she was being unfair to me. I felt that I was justified at being angry... but how I dealt with it was ENTIRELY new to me. It scared me a little.

    A few weeks ago, my dog kept snagging things from around the house that she knew she wasn't supposed to have in an attempt to get my attention. I would take something from her, scold her, sit back down... and she would grab something else, repeatedly. Finally after about 5-6 times, I grabbed the folding chair at our computer, folded it up, and whipped it at her across the living room. I have NEVER, EVER done something like that. My daughter was appalled, and I think I scared her... which made me ashamed and I quickly apologized for my behaviour.

    Now, twice in the last 5 days, I've lost my temper with external things going on around me that would have only agitated me in the past. I flew off the handle at my boss on Friday because of something I felt was unfair. Although I knew that I had my coworkers' support (which they voiced along side me) I later regretted how I had behaved. Today, I became angry with my daughters school because she got a dentention letter home for not completing 5 assignments since the beginning of the school year. (She's in 4th grade) This time, I called a friend to be the voice of reason and give me a different perspective.

    Lately it seems like I can't think logically when I get angry. I feel like a little child, testing boundaries and learning what is appropriate... lessons that most people learned long ago.

    What is even stranger, is that these outbursts have made me feel BETTER in the short term, before I reflected on how they might appear to others. Before, I would have internalized and rationalized away the anger. There have been times when this took a toll on me, both physically and mentally, because I just never dealt with anything. I let everything roll off of me and didn't acknowledge it.

    I'm not convinced that this behaviour is 'stress' related. Things are going pretty well for me in my life actually. But... this change feels so abrupt... my comfort with it seems so effortless now compared to what it used to be, that I have to wonder ... Is there something wrong with me? I don't think I've done anything truly inappropriate (throwing the chair may have been) but it sure is DIFFERENT.

    Its as if I've gone to the opposite extreme, and don't think about anything. As soon as I feel that tinge of anger, I act upon it... like a kid who hasn't ever had sugar suddenly moving out on his own and discovering Dairy Queen, I feel like I'm 'over-indulging' in something that has been taboo for me for my entire life.

    So I guess the question is: Am I doing something wrong, or am I finally doing something RIGHT by dealing with these emotions as they surface???

    Embrace the possibilities.

  2. #2
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    It's ok to be angry, but dialling back the external reaction wouldn't be a bad idea. Don't rationalize it a way, but allow your thinking to channel it a little so it's not as explosive. I've been working on this for 15 years though and it's still a slow process, so it won't happen over night.
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

    INFP, 6w7, IEI

    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

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  3. #3
    Your time is gonna come. Oom's Avatar
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    Has something happened recently that would make you not care about outbursts of anger? It's interesting that you would change to a completely opposite type of behavior without any catalyst.

  4. #4
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oom View Post
    Has something happened recently that would make you not care about outbursts of anger? It's interesting that you would change to a completely opposite type of behavior without any catalyst.
    I figured it's just from relaxing and growing which has it's associated pains.
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

    INFP, 6w7, IEI

    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    Une Femme est une femme paperoceans's Avatar
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    Classic example of those who do not express their emotions finally snapping
    Between that cigarillo and sticking my finger down my throat to see if I could DT, I feel like puking RN.

    Read my Blog.

  6. #6
    Your time is gonna come. Oom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runvardh View Post
    I figured it's just from relaxing and growing which has it's associated pains.
    Yeh, good point. It takes some skill building in order to utilize unfamiliar emotions.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SciVo's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your new angriness! Like many people with a new ability, such as someone who has just gone through puberty and discovered sex, it will take some practice for you to learn how to use it in the most positive manner. (Edit: That reads ambiguously. I really do mean it as sincerely congratulatory. Everyone grows at a different pace in different ways, and I respect that.)

    An important thing to remember is that anger is only a message about what you want -- like lust -- not necessarily something to act on right there. Just as you wouldn't necessarily jump on a cute person and start dry-humping them, so to is it in your best interest to control your expressions of your anger in order to maximize your ability to get what you really want.

    Emotions are messages from your subconscious about your perceptions with respect to your human psychological needs. In the case of anger, it's usually a message of a perceived violation of your personal boundaries. When you receive that message, the first two steps are to identify the need involved and explicitly validate it to yourself; for example, "I need respect." Then you can move on to questioning the perception: "Does my dog really disrespect me? No, it probably isn't smart enough to understand how it should behave to show respect for my authority. In order to get it to act the way I want, I would be better off spending some quality time rewarding it for behaving properly, or else just satisfying its need for attention when manifested."

    You may need to engage in some fantasizing of different scenarios in order to make this new approach instinctive. I encourage that. The main thing is to always keep your eyes on the prize, focusing on what you really want and what actions will really help the most in getting it.

    I wish you the best!
    Last edited by SciVo; 09-15-2009 at 11:35 PM. Reason: clarity
    INFP ~ Fi/Ne/Ni/Te ~ 9-2-4 sp/so

  8. #8
    Senior Member MonkeyGrass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runvardh View Post
    I figured it's just from relaxing and growing which has it's associated pains.
    I think this is absolutely true. The INTJs in my life tend to see their emotions as their weak point, the thing they can't have rational control over, and so they tend to deny that they have any. The crappy part of that is, they tend to miss out on maturing in the "how to express emotions to others" department.

    They know when they're mad, but, historically, they just inwardly stew, rather than wander in the unfamiliar territory of self expression. As they relax and grow and mature, and need to take their life to a new level, outward expression of in-the-moment emotion becomes a necessity. So, you've got an experimental period of expressing your deep anger without crossing the line and destroying things/relationships. There's a learning curve to it, I think.

    Sounds like you're alreadt doing what's going to help most: observing the reactions of others (like your daughter), filing the info away, and adjusting your level of outward reaction accordingly.
    I think I think more than you think I think.

  9. #9
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm curious what's brought this change about as well.

    Anger. Hmm. Anger, I've found, is almost always a response to feeling, on some level, hurt. There are a lot of ways to deal with anger: no one way completely equips you, but I've found that many numerous, small ways of looking at people and the way things are add up.

    Learning to deal with anger is a lifelong process. I've read a lot of self-help books that deal in part with hurt feelings, anger, and how to cope so that your life is happier and more stress-free.

    A few things, off the top of my head, that might help you:

    1. Everyone has a right to be happy. This is a way to look at other people, especially when they're doing something that might otherwise annoy or anger you.

    "Think about it for a minute. Everyone wants to be happy--people you know and those you don't; people you like as well as people you can't stand. Good people, bad people--everyone wants to be happy and everyone, in his or her own way, is trying to be happy. Even people who do bad things often are doing those bad things in some weird attempt to make themselves happier. It's just part of being human."
    --Richard Carlson, Ph.D, from his book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff For Teens

    When you think this way, and see someone doing something that seems unfair to you or others, or inconsiderate, or just plain ignorant, it strengthens your compassion for them. When I see a coworker behaving poorly, I can say, "Well, in her own way, she's trying to be happy. I don't think she's doing it right, but she thinks this will make her happier, and we all want to be happy."

    2. Things don't happen to you. They just happen. A thing that brings a lot of stress and pain into your life is the unspoken, unacknowledged belief that everything is about you. It's amazing to me how easy it is for me and everyone else I've ever met to take things personally. When a person's behavior makes us feel bad--maybe it inconveniences us a little or a lot, or makes us feel inferior, or lonely--it's a very human trait to assume the person knew it would make us feel that way and even intended for us to feel that way. But people can't even begin to know how we feel, let alone set up elaborate ways to make us feel that way. What's even more amazing to me is, I can be suspicious even of my closest friends and family members. It can really feel sometimes like they just don't care.

    The truth is, the vast majority of things other people do have very little, if anything, to do with me. It's all about them. This helps me take things a little less personally.

    Have you ever had someone in your family leave their clothes in the washer? I did, last night. My automatic response was to get irritated and think, "Now who would be that inconsiderate?" Then, I looked closer and realized they were my clothes that I had left in the washer. LOL. I'd completely forgotten about them. In that moment, I could vividly imagine my mother having the same reaction I just had to finding my clothes in the washer. But I hadn't left them there because I was purposely being selfish. I had innocently forgotten they were still there. She could have taken it personally, like I did. But this puts it in perspective. The things people do have little, usually nothing, to do with us.

    Very rarely does someone do something with the intention of making you feel badly. The point is, people are innocent. Even when they do things to hurt you, they're only doing it for reasons that have little or nothing to do with you and almost everything to do with them.

    The other day, I was at a fireworks show with a good friend. The air was electrified with the sounds of hundreds of thousands of people sitting on the riverbank on both sides. I was loving the atmosphere and the energy. Then a man behind me turned on his radio. I could no longer hear the energy in the air over the music. I beared with it for a while. It crossed my mind several times to ask him to turn it down just a bit, but I knew from experience that that wasn't likely to go well. I was afraid of the angry response I would receive. I wasn't angry. I was trying to see him as someone who had a good reason to turn the music on: maybe he thought everyone around him would enjoy listening to it (a little later, he responded in a way that solidified this possibility). I just really wanted him to turn it down a bit so I could go back to feeling the energy. My friend sitting next to me had been noticing the entire time how bothered I was. Finally, she said that she would ask him to turn it down for me. She did. Politely. He responded quite amiably. First he asked, "It's a fireworks show, and you don't want to hear the music?" But he humored us quite kindly and turned it down for us.

    But his companions. Oh, no. Two women, sitting in lawnchairs next to him, had an immediate and angry response. The first thing out of the one's mouth was, "Move," and she shooed us away sharply. The other said, "We're not turning it down," even as the man was already doing so.

    After sitting with my hurt for a while, I realized that the two women weren't responding to me and my friend. They were responding to how they perceived me and my friend. Their response actually had nothing to do with us. The only way I can figure it is that they must have perceived us as being in some way selfish or inconsiderate.

    The man gave us the benefit of the doubt. He didn't understand why we wanted the music turned down, but he must have trusted that we had a good reason. And we certainly did. I dwelled on it for a while, wondering if I indeed had been inconsiderate or selfish to ask. That was probably the most painful part about the experience. But I had a sincere and strong desire to hear things other than music that night. My desire was no less justified than theirs, just different.

    I wished sincerely, for the rest of the night, that those two women would have granted me and my friend the benefit of the doubt and seen us as we really were: innocent.



    3. It's not all about you. This idea is so good, and so essential to a happy life, that I feel like repeating it. I've realized that the way people respond to me has very little to do with me. I can be acting the same way toward two different people, and one person will respond poorly, perhaps becoming offended and irritated, while the other will laugh and slap me on the back. This realization that it's all or mostly about them has helped me tremendously in all aspects of life.

    I work at a convenience store. When one customer is impatient and rude to me, I remind myself that they're not responding to me. They're responding to the way they perceive me, which has pretty much nothing to do with me. Maybe they're in a bad mood, or in a hurry, or having a tough week, or thinking entirely about other, more stressful things, or see the world in a suspicious and terrifying light. The point is, it's all about them--not so much about me. Reminding myself of this helps me not to sweat it when I receive curt or rude treatment. It's not me. It's not personal.

    So there are three things that might help you right off the bat. If you can become even 10% less likely to take things personally and become angry, your life will be greatly improved. Look for the innocence, remember that everyone has a right to be happy, and realize that it's not all about you--in fact, it's all about them. These three ideas are so related it's hard for me to separate them neatly in my mind. But they help me tremendously to be more compassionate toward people and to not sweat other people's behavior so much.

    Also, I'd highly recommend pretty much any book by Carlson. He has a lot of versions of his book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and the two I've read have both had tremendously helpful insights and ideas.
    They're running just like you
    For you, and I, wooo
    So people, people, need some good ol' love

  10. #10
    Senior Member SciVo's Avatar
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    ^ What Mempy said! My version is just to assume that people are thoughtless and self-centered until proven otherwise -- and I don't think poorly of them for that, since it just means that they're human like me. When that fails to explain their behavior and I have to start considering more drastic possibilities (such as deviously manipulative and paranoid lack of empathy), that's when I get angry and scared.
    INFP ~ Fi/Ne/Ni/Te ~ 9-2-4 sp/so

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