Venting our emotions.

Old 01-23-2008, 06:51 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Recovering Codependant
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Venting our emotions.

Hello everyone!

I am feeling much better today. I have been having a low week so far, and I wanted to get to the bottom of my emotions and develop a further understanding of myself in the process. I have been reading up on codependancy, anger, depression, anxiety and defense mechanisms.

There has been debate over the benefits of venting our frustrations/anger through posts. So I wanted to put up a link and some info from a great web site I found that touches on all the issues above and others as I am beginning to see that anger rarely travels unaccompanied and it comes often as a 'secondary emotion' when we have difficulty accepting our inner pain...

''What is anger?
Simply put, anger is an emotion like all other emotions. Emotions are signposts into our internal structure. Itís simply something we feel.

Act as if what you do
makes a difference.
It does. - William James

How do we become angry?

There is a direct and an indirect process of becoming angry. If we are referring to anger as an emotion like sadness, hurt, or joy, anger is simply a direct feeling response. So something happens, and we may react to it with feeling hurt, angry, or some other emotion.

However, anger can also be a secondary emotion. Many people (particularly males) are trained to accept the feeling of anger, but not to accept the feelings that may have preceded it; such as feelings of hurt, fear, or vulnerability. Sometimes when we feel hurt or vulnerable, we immediately jump to anger because thatís more acceptable to us. In this context, it becomes a secondary emotion, itís the feeling we can tolerate rather than such feelings as hurt or vulnerability.

When does anger become unhealthy? How do I know?

Anger is unhealthy when it gets in the way of your functioning or your relationships; if anger is causing you to loose friends, put your job in jeopardy, if people complain to you about your anger, if you hear people talking about you having a bad temper. These are signs that your anger is getting in your way, and therefore itís unhealthy.

Does anger have a neurological basis? Is it hereditary?

No, anger doesnít have a neurological basis any more than any other feeling. And no, it isnít hereditary. There are people who suffer from a certain kind of illness called intermittent explosive disorder. This illness results in anger being used as a secondary emotion, prompting an outbreak of rage, smashing things, yelling at people and so forth. There may be some hereditary basis to this, but there is no clear evidence at the present.

Can medication help treat anger?

Certain kinds of anti-depressants reduce explosive disorders, and also reduce anxiety. But generally, medication is not used to directly treat anger. Anti-depressants are more often used to temporarily relieve symptoms associated with anger, such as anxiety or depression.

Is there a pattern and process to becoming angry?

When itís a secondary emotion, thereís the process of moving from whatever the original emotion is to the anger, because itís too hard to stay with the original feelings.

Two people in the same situation; one becomes angry, one does not; why?

Itís the same as with any other feeling. We are affected by the interpretation we have of an event. Some people become angry because they read something into an event which could cause hurt or pain that can eventually translates into anger. Somebody else either reads something else into the event or doesnít read much into the event at all, and therefore doesnít feel the anger.

How does oneís anger affect other people? How does anger affect relationships?

In particular, the violence that women and children face (primarily from men) is a result of anger. Anger can very much affect other people if itís tied into threat of violence, or into violence itself. It also tends to shut down the people who are around the angry person. Angry people may find their relationship becoming less open because people are afraid to argue back. This can be devastating, and ruin relationships.

What are some physical side affects of anger? Can anger kill me?

There seems to be some small amount of physical side effects. There is clear evidence of increased blood pressure, and with increased blood pressure is a propensity towards a stroke.

What can I do when Iím feeling angry?

You can attempt to process it. Think through right and wrong. Get clear about what your underlying feelings are. Pardon the clichť, but take a "time-out". Remember, anger is a feeling that is here today, gone tomorrow, but the pain and backlash we inflict on others during anger are harder forgotten. If the anger is so intense that processing and time-outs donít help, the best next options are to release the anger through activity or towards inanimate objects. Itís also best if you do this alone, because even releasing anger on inanimate objects can be threatening to other people. After you get alone, you can do things like using a bat on a couch or pillow. Some other ideas for releasing anger might be playing basketball, racquetball, jumping rope, taking a pet for a walk, watching television, or reading a newspaper article. These are all excellent ways to take a time-out or release anger appropriately. Remember, the option that is NEVER available is hitting another person. *You have the right to be angry, but you do not have the right to hit someone.

Iíve been told to keep my cool and donít get angry, but sometimes I canít. Iím so frustrated!

The question is, do you have something to be angry about? Sometimes people treat us poorly, and donít expect us to respond. If youíre in conditions which frequently upset you, then it makes sense to start looking for, or creating other conditions. So often we want to change what other people do that initiates our anger. Thatís part of the anger problem; so often people do things differently than we want. Getting angry is not going to change what other people do, and usually does not change or improve the situation much. The key to resolving anger issues is to get in touch with what is going on inside yourself, and to take care of yourself. Being frustrated by your anger plays into being more angry. If you really are having a struggle with being angry, recognize it, and give yourself a chance to work with it, to figure out whatís fueling it, and how you can let go of it. For a few people, emotions, particularly like anger, can become like a habit; addictive in their pattern. They get a release of endorphins every time they get angry. But most important to remember, is anger is best used if processed, rather than acted on spontaneously.

Do men get angry more than women?

No. There is no evidence of this at all. However, in our society, obvious anger by men is more acceptable than obvious anger by women. We see anger in women quite frequently too, but usually more subtly than the anger seen in men. Only two generations ago, a woman had to exhibit her anger only in ways that people wouldnít be able to pick it up. Thereís still some of that hiding of anger by women, but that doesnít mean women get angry any less than men. Anger is not part of how we identify women in the culture, but it is part of how we identify men. Therefore a woman being angry is less acceptable.

Sometimes I go back and forth from depressed to angry. Why?

....this is were I am right now so the following is something I am digesting at the moment...

It depends on where your anger is coming from, or where your depression is coming from. If youíre in a terrible situation or have been in a situation that is very hurtful to you, then at times you may feel sad and disillusioned about yourself and the future. And at other times you may be enraged at the situation, another person, or yourself. Itís important to examine whatís going on in your life. If things seem to be fine, yet you go back and forth between depression and anger, chances are that the anger is a cover up for the depression or vice versa. Depression can also occur if weíre in situations where we arenít allowed to feel/show anger, then depression may be what we replace it with.

How do I let someone know Iím angry? Should I wait until I "cool down"?
Ideally, we stay very much in touch with our feelings and we let people know what those feelings are best while weíre still feeling them. Anger within the context of it being just an emotion, like all other emotions, can be stated plainly, "Iím angry about xyz." However, because anger can be such a strong emotion, and feel so personal, many times weíre better waiting for some of the "heat of the moment" to cool down before we talk about whatís troubling us. More often than not however, our "angry" feelings are primarily due to other feelings such as feeling hurt or abandoned. So what we can say to another person is, "Iím feeling hurt, abandoned and angry about what you just did". Unfortunately, what happens to a lot of people is they sit on things, then it all comes out in an angry outburst. Within this context, itís important to let a person know youíre angry in a way thatís not deliberately hurtful to them. Itís important to understand anger, and to view it not as a separate and unwanted feeling, but rather one of the many feelings. We need to be willing to let others know how we feel about all feelings, not just anger. Revealing feelings can leave us feeling vulnerable, and therefore, it is true courageousness.''


Counseling, All About

Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Old 01-23-2008, 06:55 AM
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Recovering Codependant
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I am guilty of using defensive techniques for avoiding my pain, so I am including this info from the same site for others...

''Defense mechanisms are used by all human beings and may be necessary for survival in some situations.

Weíve all used defenses to distance ourselves from distressing feelings and maintain a sense of emotional stability. Our defense patterns began in childhood when they prevented us from becoming overwhelmed with anxiety. However, as an adult we outgrow their usefulness. If we continue to use outgrown defenses we are more likely to create rigid constrained relationships and risk never truly encountering another human being. =

Part of therapy is identifying our defenses. If we can discover which defenses we use, we can replace outgrown ones with more healthy ones. Defenses are not conscious excuses to avoid problems. Actually, we are usually unaware we are using them.
Counseling can be helpful in uncovering our most used defenses, and help us learn new ways of defending and coping in life.-helpful defenses are:
Just forr fun, scroll down and check off those defenses you have used...

1 rationalization: providing "explanations" to excuse inconsistent or irrational behavior, and not being aware that this is happening.

2 minimizing: protecting yourself from worry or anxiety by viewing significant events or problem behaviors as being less important (smaller) than they actually are.

3 externalization: believing outside forces or circumstances are the cause of your self-destructive behaviors. This defense mechanism allows you to avoid accepting responsibility for behavior.

4 intellectualization: using lengthy argument or small detail (deflecting behavior) to distract from the task at hand.

5 projection: attributing your own undesirable traits or thoughts onto another person.

6displacement: redirecting emotions such as anger form the source of frustration, and discharging them onto other persons, objects, or ideas.

: engaging in behavior designed to symbolically make amends for or negate previously unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or actions. This is not to be confused with actual and direct amends made to persons we may have harmed.

8 regression: returning to a less mature level of behavior.

9 fantasy: escaping from an unpleasant or undesirable situation through daydreaming, "tuning out", or not paying attention.

10acting-out: acting without reflection or apparent regard for negative consequences.

11passive aggression: indirectly and unassertively expressing aggression toward others.''

I am guilty of 1, 2, 6, 8, 9 (a biggie for me) and 10! Oh dear..
Lily xxxxxxxxxxxx
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