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Old 06-09-2024, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
20,500 posts, read 14,885,798 times
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This piggybacks a little bit from some thoughts I was starting to talk about in other threads, but this is a turn unrelated to the subject of those threads, and I think it deserves its own.

I've been giving a lot of thought to the concept of anger.

I've had a hard time with it for a long time. I have never felt like I could express it in the way that I've seen others do. Because others have done harm to me, or harm in my sight, with overt expressions of anger, and I don't want to be that person. Also because often the people who wronged me or did wrong in some way, that caused an anger reaction within me, held more power than I do, so there's not really a constructive route for me to express anger at them. And really being intense with it kinda exhausts me. There won't be any justice, they won't accept any accountability. Apologies are not forthcoming, and likely would not be made in a genuine way if they were. Defensiveness is what I'd expect. What is the point?

My therapist said that I have a "flat affect"...and it isn't that I speak in a dull monotone, but I can say I am feeling something and not necessarily be emoting the thing that I am saying I feel. I can say that I am very sad without crying, and crying does not make me feel better so often I don't. I can say that I am angry without raising my voice or hitting anyone or anything, throwing stuff, whatever. I don't see any good point in behaving like that, so... I've kinda been like, "well what is it that I'm supposed to be doing?"

In fact, it isn't that I never act angry, but if I do, then it's because I'm not actually angry...it is performative hyperbole, it's my inner stand up comedian doing its thing. I pretend to be outraged because the grocery store no longer carries my favorite noodles. I'm mildly annoyed, not furious. But it's safe to pretend a bit of fake "rage" at this. Funny, even. When I am truly angry in a raw way, I'm usually cold and silent about it.

But I'm beginning to get a little clarity on something. For a long time, I denied angry feelings about certain situations. I insisted that I had forgiven people for doing unforgivable things. That carrying "negative emotions" such as anger or sadness, was "taking poison and hoping that your enemy will die." I tried to be the bigger person. And I think that in a sense, the unhealthy thing that I have been doing is denying that I have the feelings that I have. And that maybe, being honest (with myself at least!) about how I feel, and giving myself a bit of space to feel some of this stuff, and realizing that you know...I have cause. It isn't unjustified. It feels like it might be a step in the right direction for me. Emotional honesty as a path to healing, perhaps? I had tried to just "let it go" for most of my life, but it did not in fact go anywhere. I'm wondering if taking it out, putting it in front of me, and looking at it clearly will be any better. I don't know yet.

Maybe it is a mid-life thing. I am very tired of being fake and pretending to like people that I don't like, that I haven't liked for a really long time. I'm tired of going along to get along. I'm sick of pretending I'm fine with things I'm not fine with. I at least want to be honest with myself. Or maybe I'm just ruminating, and maybe this is worse?

It sucks that my therapy stopped when it did, she had a loss in her family and left the practice with no planned return date, and I am moving out of state anyways. I'll have to figure something out after the move. I didn't expect to get much out of it, but it's given me a lot to think about, for all that we'd barely gotten past the "setting up the background and cast of characters" phase.

So what do you think? Do any of you carry anger about things from your past? How do you handle it? What does healthy, versus unhealthy anger look like to you? Does the way that you process such things feel healthy to you? Do you carry such burdens lightly, or do you struggle with them?
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Old 06-09-2024, 09:35 PM
 
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Anger is a normal human emotion...many carry anger about things from the past. Best to let it out and not hold it in. The key is to deal with it constructively. Different ways to do this from physical activity, meditation, therapy if necessary as well to stay healthy.
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Old 06-09-2024, 09:57 PM
bu2
 
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I am not a counselor, but my advice would be not to hold it in and let it explode.

Express it without a temper tantrum and then let it go. Or if you can't express it to the source, go beat on a pillow. Something to let it out. Keeping it and bottling it up is what is not healthy. Be assertive. Personally, I'm not very assertive, but I don't anger easily. Still, when I get pushed too far, its like a switch being turned. I go from calm to angry suddenly. Now that would be limited to raising my voice, not anything more. But if I was assertive a little quicker, I wouldn't have even got to that point.

And ask yourself what good holding onto that anger from the past is doing for you? It happened. Its done. Move on. We don't have a time machine. And we don't have unlimited time. Don't spend that time on the negative.

I'm thinking of an employee of mine at a previous job. She was passive aggressive and often tried to make my job difficult. But her uncle was the vice-president, so I really couldn't do anything. I just worked around her and understood that it was her flaw and that she wanted to anger me, so I shouldn't let her. I did have friends in the company I could talk to, not that that changed anything, but I could vent a little.
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Old 06-09-2024, 10:25 PM
 
Location: SF/Mill Valley
8,907 posts, read 4,035,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
Healthy expression of anger - what does that look like?
The healthy expression of anger is done so assertively rather than aggressively (as it’s not about venting/shouting or keeping it in). When anger is not expressed in a healthy way (or the reason addressed), it can lead to passive-aggressive behavior, substance abuse, sleeping problems, dysfunctional relationships and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
Maybe it is a mid-life thing. I am very tired of being fake and pretending to like people that I don't like, that I haven't liked for a really long time. I'm tired of going along to get along. I'm sick of pretending I'm fine with things I'm not fine with. I at least want to be honest with myself. Or maybe I'm just ruminating, and maybe this is worse?
The point is to let go of the anger, not necessarily the folks with whom you must interact (relative to work or whatnot). It’s getting to a place where you’re no longer angry about persons you don’t like anyway; it is what it is i.e. why waste mental energy on them?

That said, I agree it sounds like rumination (which can lead to, or be a symptom of, depression and anxiety).
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Old 06-10-2024, 04:08 AM
 
7,689 posts, read 4,225,553 times
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When I am angry about something, I think about what I want. Then let the other person know and don't ask for anything else or do anything special beyond my responsibilities until they have done what was asked.

What was disappointing was that after everything I did for some people, if I said one thing they didn't like, something that I had "let go" to be nice, but couldn't anymore because I was being taking advantage of, it was as if I did nothing for them. They were only nice if there were no expectations.

So I stopped doing so much for people who didn't contribute back in some way. I continued doing the things I was responsible for and made no new plans with that person. I stopped being good for goodness sake.

Receiving what I wanted from certain people made me like them a bit more.
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Old 06-10-2024, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Germany
725 posts, read 438,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
This piggybacks a little bit from some thoughts I was starting to talk about in other threads, but this is a turn unrelated to the subject of those threads, and I think it deserves its own.

I've been giving a lot of thought to the concept of anger.

I've had a hard time with it for a long time. I have never felt like I could express it in the way that I've seen others do. Because others have done harm to me, or harm in my sight, with overt expressions of anger, and I don't want to be that person. Also because often the people who wronged me or did wrong in some way, that caused an anger reaction within me, held more power than I do, so there's not really a constructive route for me to express anger at them. And really being intense with it kinda exhausts me.

...

So what do you think? Do any of you carry anger about things from your past? How do you handle it? What does healthy, versus unhealthy anger look like to you? Does the way that you process such things feel healthy to you? Do you carry such burdens lightly, or do you struggle with them?
Hey sonic, yet again another topic where I feel you.
Truth be told I hate even being angry. We all have our own way of expressing our feelings and this is an area that I am mostly silent in. Usually I get annoyed or maybe I am silently angry cause I don't want to discuss with clouded judgment and I want to kind of let that anger set in and dissolve. If I am angry it usually happens after another person has been stressing around me for some reason and letting it out on me.
This leads me to feeling the situation as unfair, which is understandable but at the same time I think that it is unfair to be angry at a person for being angry, which leads to me being silent, cause as you've said, I've been hurt by others anger and I've surely sometimes hurt others with mine.

It is something I am constantly trying to regulate and accept about myself and what I find especially difficult is explaining to others that the way that I am angry is also viable. I just take my time till I feel a bit more relaxed and then I can talk about it.

Anyway gtg back to work and get annoyed again! Nice topic!
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Old 06-10-2024, 08:38 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
16,211 posts, read 21,379,988 times
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Don't deny those feelings to yourself, don't deny them to those you care about. My ex was diagnosed with flat affect and avoidance, it can be a challenge to those around you also. If acknowledging or expressing those feelings makes you uncomfortable I think you should look for another therapist to work with (easier said than done I know)
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Old 06-10-2024, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
20,500 posts, read 14,885,798 times
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"Don't hold it in" - This is part of my problem. So I beat up a pillow or find a place to do primal screaming or something. So what? Does the feeling go away? Do I forget the thing that caused it? Exercises with pillows always seemed so...impotent to me. Like, oh that's cute, get out your cute little rage fest on that throw pillow, don't you feel better? No. I really don't, actually. If anything I feel more powerless. I don't like it.

The anger I carry doesn't really demand any acts of violence to satisfy it. It is a sense of having been really, really wronged by people who not only don't know what they did or its impact, but also do not recall, it wasn't significant to them, and they wouldn't even care if I told them. And they are not coworkers, I never get angry at work. I like my coworkers, there's no stress for me there. It's people from my own personal life...the most obvious one (to anyone who has read my posts here for lots of years) being my ex husband. Only reason I really need to interact with him anymore is insofar as we're both coordinating help that our sons need, but I keep hoping that one day I won't have to ever talk to him or see him again.

I think that a total absence of him in my life is what's going to eventually allow me to "let it go."

But even, too, a couple of boys I knew back in high school got away with SAing a girl...she did not want it reported, and I forced myself to respect her wishes, but it enraged me to hear them laugh about it and say they didn't know what the big deal was. They hurt her. They did not care. One of them found me on social media years ago, but long after it'd happened, and asked "was I still mad about that <s-word> at that party" and I just blocked him. And a little of that anger boils up in me from time to time whenever I encounter people who feel they have every right to harm others and just not care, and are entitled to never be held accountable for anything.

I know, too, it has roots in my childhood. As such...there's nothing to ask for that can possibly be given. You cannot ask to go back in time and have your child-self be given what they actually needed then. Any efforts to talk to my parents about any of this are met with, "you think you had it bad, let me tell you about all of MY hardships"...which, while I can appreciate that I could have had it worse, it does make a person feel not seen and not heard.

I don't feel that this stuff really harms my life. I don't have a temper that causes me issues at inopportune times. I think what's on my mind right now, is that for years I've pretended that I want to be "friends" with my ex, or that I still care for him...I really was on about "being the better person" and all that. But it's starting to feel fake, because when I had to be around him last week, I could barely tolerate his presence. And I felt I had to do this for my kids, but there was so much fawning to keep the peace in that marriage and god I am SICK of it. And my kid is not happy in his presence, either. No one is. And maybe all of my efforts to put up with him and make his excuses and keep the peace only taught my kids that you can be awful in relationships and not expect consequences or accountability. Because while in the end I did leave their father, he got away with a lot of stuff that no man in today's society should assume that he can (DV.)

I just think I should stop pretending that everything's fine. It wasn't fine. It's not fine. I'm not fine with him.

They say that you shouldn't ever talk bad about your ex to the kids (mine are young adults now) because it hurts their self esteem, but their Dad was really a piece of work and neither of them is blind to it. They have enough experience with him to know. They have their own trauma to process from him, and maybe I am doing them a disservice by pretending dismissal of mine. I don't know.

I want to love humanity, and often I do, but there are times...
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:41 AM
bu2
 
24,247 posts, read 15,084,412 times
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You don't have to like people you do business with. But you are polite. Think of your ex as a business relationship. You (apparently) need to get things done with him. Being polite is not being "fake." Its just manners and its effective in getting things done.

Its over. That's where you need counseling. To learn to let it go. It is his personality flaw, not yours. He is who he is. Your parents are who they are. You left, so you quit letting him get away with it.

It sounds like you want payback or retribution or revenge. Here are some great quotes on revenge from Confucius to MLK:
https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/revenge.html
Just a couple:
"Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."

"The best revenge is massive success."

"An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind."
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:59 AM
 
Location: SF/Mill Valley
8,907 posts, read 4,035,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
I just think I should stop pretending that everything's fine. It wasn't fine. It's not fine. I'm not fine with him.
It’s not about pretending it’s fine; it’s a matter of accepting it is what it is so you can be fine.
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