Codependent No More Book Study: Chap. 14 - ANGER

Old 04-09-2010, 05:57 AM
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Arrow Codependent No More Book Study: Chap. 14 - ANGER

Link to Previous Chapters:

Codependent No More:

How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

By Melodie Beattie

Book Study

CHAPTER 14 - Anger

Chapter 15 will go up Sunday Evening
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:58 AM
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Melodie explains that in the beginning of her recovery that she wondered if she would ever not feel angry. She quoted Janet Woititz as saying "You become rigid and mistrustful. Rage consumes you without a satisfying outlet. Anyone who walks into your house can feel the angry vibrations. There is no escape from it. Whoever thought you would turn into a self righteous witch?" (love this quote)

Anger is a normal healthy part of life. We're supposed to blow off some steam and then get on with life. However, this doesn't seem to work well with us codies. Anger has a sneaky way of ruling our lives. Everyone in the home becomes consumed by it. Even when not yelling or carrying on. It's the elephant in the room. As codies, we'll ofteen think "I've put up with so much from you, I have the right to be angry anytime and at anything I want". Of course this is then met with more Angry from our alcoholic who thinks "How dare you be angry with ME".

Even when sobriety enters the picture. Anger lingers around the rooms. Usually it's peak is when recovery or treatment is sought. But, sometimes, it gets worse. We may learn that everything was not OUR fault after all, that we put up with more than we realized. So, recovery can breed anger also. Our alcoholic is then confused "Why get angry now, I'm sober!" While we think "I'm just getting started!". Before we know it everyone starts to feel guilty because everyone's angry. Turns out that sobriety didn't at once bring rainbows and sunshine into our lives.

Anger can be tricky for codependends because most of us didn't have healthy teachers. to model after. We erroneously believe the following:

  • It's not okay to feel angry
  • Anger is a waste of time and energy
  • Good, nice people don't feel angry
  • We shouldn't feel angry when we do
  • W'll lose control and go crazy if we get angry
  • People will go away if we get angry with them
  • Other people should never feel angry with us
  • If others get angry with us, we must have done something wrong
  • If other people are angry with us, we made them feel that way and we're responsible for their feelings.
  • If we are Angry someone else made us feel that way and they are responsible for our feelings
  • If we are angry at someone then the relationship with them is over and they need to go away
  • If we are angry at someone, we need to punish them
  • If we get angry at someone, they need to change what it is they are doing that causes us anger
  • If we feel angry, it's okay to hit someone or break something
  • If we are angry we must holler and yell
  • If we are angry at someone, it means that we don't love them anymore
  • If someone is angry with us, it means that they don't love us anymore
  • Anger is a sinful emotion
  • It's okay to feel angry when we can justify our feelings

None of these things is true. So what do we do about it? One thing we can't do is repress it. That's not healthy either. Supressed emotions tend to spread and grow at an amazing rate. We have the right to feel our anger and the responsibility to do it appropriately. She explains that although we have the right be angry, our goal should be compassion. But, we won't feel any of that until we deal with the anger. Here are some of her suggestions for dealing with anger:

(paraphrased, melodie goes into each at length)

  • Address any myths we have subscribed to about anger
  • Feel the emotion
  • Acknowledge the thoughts that come with the emotion
  • Examine the thinking that happens when we are angry
  • Make a responsible decision about what, if any, action should be taken
  • Don't let anger control us
  • Openly and honestly discuss our anger when appropriate
  • Take responsibility for our own anger
  • Talk to people we trust
  • Burn off anger energy
  • Don't beat on ourselves for being angry
  • Write letters that we don't intend to send
  • Deal with Guilt

Once we start dealing with our anger, we may notice we are much more angry than we realized. "We will be like a kid with a new toy" it will take patience to learn how to deal with it properly. She closes this chapter quoting Esther Olsen "It's not healthy to act hostile. There is much more to life than anger. But it's okay to feel anger when we need to".


1.) What do you think would happen if you started feeling your angry feelings?

2.) What do you believe deep down about anger? What myths have you subscribed to? If you need to subscribe to new beliefs, do so. Attack myths when they try to attack you.

3.) How do those in your current situation deal with anger? How did your parents and siblings deal with anger? What is your own pattern for dealing with anger?

4.) If you have repressed anger, write about it in your notebook. You may need to get a new notebook dedicated to anger.

5.) If anger is troublesome, keep a pencil and paper handy, start writing about your anger as it happens throughout the day.

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Old 04-09-2010, 07:18 AM
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I brought the book with me on vacation. My mom has it now. So, I'm reading along with your posts Alzerin!
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:24 AM
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Wish I had a mother type CAPABLE of comprehending this stuff! ;-)
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:09 AM
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I haven't been following the book study much, but I have to admit that this portion--the chapter about ANGER, really struck a chord for me.

In my father's culture--Vietnamese, women do not get angry. In fact, women do not speak at all. They are meant to shut up and be pretty. This from the mouth of my grandmother. Men however, have the right to be angry, and my own father had quite the temper when he was younger. I remember being afraid of him and his anger. When he lost it, he would yell, slam his fists into things and once, he kicked a hole through a bedroom door. I honestly think that he was on the verge of being abusive. So I grew up wanting to placate anger; it has always disturbed me. When I myself felt anger, I felt that it was forbidden emotion, because, well, "good girls" didn't get angry. They just sucked it up and got on with life, as many of my Viet aunties and cousins did. They sublimated themselves for the good of the family, and to the wishes of the men around them.

Fast forward to being married to XAH, and I find myself with someone who has definite anger management problems. Heck, his anger was EPIC. He could throw things, break things, stab kitchen utensils into the walls, write nasty letters to people, YELL, insult, berate,, the repertoire of his anger was rather vast. My initial reaction was to fight back; "you can't talk to me like this!!". I'd try to yell louder than him and we got into some soul-wrenching fights, usually ending with me huddled into a corner, crying my eyes out. I never could win the anger competition with him. His hatred for life was boundless.

So I changed my reaction to his anger. I tried to placate him, to defuse whatever situation he was pissed about. At the same time, I tried to ignore the growing fury I felt at the way he was treating me, treating his son, treating my family. It was a very hard balance to strike. I always felt as though I needed to sublimate my anger because it would conflict or ignite XAH's much larger and more virulent anger.

I am only now coming to terms with the fact that I am angry with XAH. Since he will never acknowledge or take responsibility for anything that angers, hurts or disappoints me, it somehow makes it easier. There's no target for my anger. There's no one to listen or to send nasty emails to. Well, there is, but there would be no point. So I get to, for the first time in my life, just feel ANGRY. It's rather uncomfortable, being the good little Asian girl that I am, and yet, I know I need to do this. I need to acknowledge that there was a grave injustice and inbalance in my relationship with XAH. I need to remember that the hurt was there, that I didn't imagine it, and that I was right to feel pissed at the lies, the insults, the stealing, the manipulation.

And so, this Angry Little Asian Girl is rightly and truly pissed, and rightly and truly ok with it
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:51 AM
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"And so, this Angry Little Asian Girl is rightly and truly pissed, and rightly and truly ok with it."

Love it! This is O/T - (sorta, it's about anger) I watched a great documentary on PBS on being black in america, it went through the whole sorrid hostiry of oppression. They summed up the emerging 70's generation as having strength and a bucket load of ANGER. Because as little kids many witnessed their parents in the 50's and 60's basically having to PUT UP with being treated like second class citizens. The new generation was basically saying "screw this!".

Your tale reminded me of that show is all.
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:25 AM
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This is the chapter I need to keep posted to read over and over...I seemed to keep ALLLL of my anger that I had inside and never let it come out in a healthy way, it always came out as me being snappy to the kids and yelling and just stuff they shouldn't have to deal with.

I guess I still don't really know how to get rid of the Anger, I am fairly new to all of this and Afiance has been sober for 2 months now and it just angers me that he can be in a good mood and I am just a cranky mom.

I think all of my life I have bottled up my anger and let it out in unhealthy ways..
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:54 PM
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I'm going to have to go back and read this chapter, because the transformation of my relationship with anger really saved me. It is so good to have this reminder, Ali.

Moving from a typical codie anger dynamic to feeling, owning, and using my anger? Priceless. A friend named it once, called it my (stop reading here, those of tender ears)
"f*** you reflex."

In a typical situation, I'd long learned to stuff my anger while I tried to figure out why me, what's wrong with me? where did I mess up? what did I do to deserve this? It was what women in my family did. A given.

The F.Y.R., once it firmly took root in me (through practice, like anything else) transformed that inner reaction to:
I know I'm a good person, and don't deserve this treatment from anyone. How dare you do that to someone as nice as me, you miserable morsel of dogsh*t? Hackles up, fists clenched, the whole nine yards. Some here know about this side of my personality, the self-protective goddess part that rises up and snarls, f-off if you know what's good for you.

I am a strong believer in being one's own inner champion, and it starts with Melody's lesson on the proper role of anger. And practice. Tons of practice.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:27 AM
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Wow!, recently I thought I was past the anger and moving out of sadness to acceptance. This week the I was reminded that I really hadn't "dealt" with my anger eventhough I didn't feel angry this week. Got curious and realized that it is really dealt with when you are angry - you need to look at your anger when ok. By that I mean, being able to look at our patterns. I journalled before coming here and was surprised to see this subject up so I know it was ordered by my HP.

What I have been learning is that I lived with much anger and how it played a role in the relationship and how it did not play a role. There were times when it was inappropriate but there were times it was appropriate. I also learned that appropriate or not, I don't handle it well. So I have been learning better ways to express it, learning how to let things go, and just plain feeling better in general.

In my journalling, not only did I see the appropriate anger come up - I also saw the anger connected specifically to use of alcohol vs non use. It seems to clear up things for me. That alone helped me to open up and understand the journey of the A and recovery more than ever in a way I hope will allow me to make better decisions about the future.

I realize we can get confused when angry. And like others here, I had terrible role models for coping with anger appropriately. So this has been a huge learning experience for me. It also helped when my daughter reflected back to me recently that she finally noticed that when I am angry - I am really just worried. That made so much sense and I really appreciated her feedback. When I mentioned this to my son, he then made the connection and thought it made so much sense looking back. Just showed me how mixed up our emotions can get. Keeping this in mind, I have been able to shift gears and addressing my concerns and noticed a lot less anger comes up.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GiveLove View Post
, the self-protective goddess part that rises up and snarls, f-off if you know what's good for you.

oooooo, I like it! I can see the Amazon Goddess, Wonder Woman, spinning now as she creates equality and peace in a world of chaos! goosebumps!

Much more powerful than my anacronym:
Control of

Sorry about the visual hijack......back to our book study
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:10 AM
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Control of
I love that and am officially borrowing it.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:14 AM
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This makes me think, I said to my H today, "I think you see me as a controlling, demanding, never-satisfied B**CH."
He responded, "I'm sure that will be a good match for someone!"
I am trying to get clear if he sees me that way because I AM or because I am asking for what I need from him and he is using the labels as a deflection mechanism. Maybe both.
Boy, he can p*ss me off, though!
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