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Old 01-05-2013, 11:17 PM
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Anger

was the topic at my meeting today.
It's stuck with me all day. Because I don't express anger in my everyday life. I don't yell (I never did); I don't throw things or call people names or burst out of a room and slam doors.

But I'm angry.

And I think I've expressed a lot of anger HERE. And I want to find other ways of handling my anger.

Someone said that anger is just a shortcut go-to emotion when you're too lazy to figure out what you're really feeling. That rings true for me. When I'm angry at my neighbors for having a late party, I'm really not angry at them for having a late party -- I fear that because I can't sleep, it will affect my work performance in the morning, or I won't have the energy to deal with my kids. When I'm angry at AXH for drinking when the kids are in his care, I AM angry at him -- but the feeling at the bottom of it is concern for my kids' safety. If I could take a breath and a step back and actually ask myself "what am I feeling? what am I needing?" I would probably learn a whole lot more about myself than when I go on a rant about how somebody else's behavior is affecting me (here or in my head).

I think I've come here a lot and expressed anger and disdain about addicts in general and my AXH in particular. And that's not very conducive to healing and growth.

So there you have it. I just needed to share that.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:21 PM
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Sometimes when I have a problem I try to ask myself:

What is it that I am feeling? What seems to be the problem?

Once I have answered that, the next question is: Is there something I can do about this? Is it TRULY in my power and in my responsibility to change this situation?

If the answer is yes, I go further into analyzing what I need to do, but quite surprisingly often the answer is: no, there is nothing I can do to change what is happening.... and so, the hard task of letting go, is the only thing left to do.......

I hope you stop feeling anger, as you know the person who is most harmed by it is yourself
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:24 PM
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When I first started to work on me, I realized my base line emotion was anger. It was really my only emotion. But after working with my therapist, who taught me to "peel the onion layers" I discovered many other emotions I had been suppressing.

I now know - its OK to feel sad, hurt, disappointed without the anger. Thank you for the reminder, I needed it tonight...because I am very angry!! Time to step back, find and feel my true emotions. .
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:55 PM
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Anger always seemed less painful than hurt or sadness so I stayed in that spot. The anger was strangling me....my therapist told me to get past the anger I have to go through the hurt and sadness or else I will stay trapped in the anger for life.

I picture those mean bitter old people and I certainly don't ever want to be one.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:28 AM
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You have every right to be angry when your xah is drinking around the kids.
I remember times when I felt physically sick dropping my kids off at exs when I knew he was high on drugs.
Hang in there.
hUGS.:ghug3
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:55 AM
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I don't want to sound like I want to eradicate my anger. That's not it.
Anger is a completely appropriate response to certain things. All feelings can be useful.
But being angry and coming here and saying snippy things about those d**n addicts -- that's not helping anyone...
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:11 AM
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I am just as angry as you and your post helps me see...i need to figure out why...
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:24 AM
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Lillamy,

Good question. If I recall you are ACOA and as I have learned from my own childhood of alcoholic dysfunction we are stunted in this area because we are taught to stifle all anger so as not to enrage the beast within the family structure.

Learning how to deal with anger and channel it is an emotional IQ skill that we now have to figure out as adults... good topic for thought and reflection.

Personally I either repress anger and am calm and methodical but when I go over the edge I am scary... dangerous even. It is behavior modeled by my father who I believe was a sociopath in trying to unravel him now.

A wise old guy said this (Aristotle)


Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.

That should be our goal.

And for rude neighbors I have found earplugs, headphones or putting on an XA speaker to go to sleep listening to as a great way to put my anger to better use!
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:52 AM
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Thank you for this thread. I am sitting here ANGRY over everything right now. The fact that AH's job is now in jeopardy. The things AH hasn't fixed but said he would. The fact that he just sits on the couch and does nothing but fall asleep and I do everything around here. The fact that he is driving his rental car without the ignition interlock(he got into an accident recently and his car is in the shop), etc. I could go on but I like what you've talked about here about finding the other emotions/feelings attached to that anger. Is it fear? Is it frustration? Is it sadness? Is it that awareness of reality that angers us?

In my family growing up I didn't even know what anger was. My alcoholic dad would have outbursts of cursing when he was fixing something and things didn't go his way and he was an aggressive driver(I inherited this tendency from him, lol), but my family was not big on expressing anger. So, when I got married and I realized my AH was an angry person, I had no idea what to do with that. It was foreign to me to see someone having fits of rage, freaking out over what the news was saying about the economy, yelling about other races, etc. And, in turn, I found myself angry but never really recognizing it. I was angry at myself a lot of the time, too, for allowing myself to be subject to this behavior and aggression. Anyway, thanks for this thread. I have been thinking about this a lot.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:01 AM
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Great topic!

I read something recently that really helped. Anger is your alarm system, it lets you know something is wrong and in no uncertain terms. And just like an alarm, once it has your attention you turn it off and figure out what is wrong.

For me the easiest way to turn off the alarm is to take a couple of deep breaths or say a mantra in my head. Step 1 for me always has to be stopping myself from jumping straight onto the hamster wheel of my own compulsive behavior.

The mantra that works best for me is 'thank you Amida Buddha'. To me the Amida Buddha is my personification of reality-as-it-is and by saying thank you I am switching it from anger to a gratitude.

It was hard at first but like anything else it got easier with time. In fact I use that mantra anytime I feel myself letting the sound of my own wheels drive me crazy.

Your friend,
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:47 AM
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i do agree also that sniping about people who've hurt you is not the most productive way of handling things. and i think i'm still around that stage as everything that went on with my xabf was very recent. since everything came to a head a couple of weeks been swinging between lots of different feelings. disgust and anger being in there too, as has pity for how messed up he is. for the most part i've calmed down but am wondering now if i could have done with a few bigger doses of anger a long time ago. all along the last few years i mostly felt sad for him, and wanted to see him pull through, fat lot of good that did anyone! i wonder if being angrier back then would have made me see sense sooner...
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:05 AM
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This is such a thought-provoking post and very timely for me. I've been thinking a lot about anger lately. Expressing it was always discouraged as I was growing up and I think that trained me to swallow it. I've never been comfortable with the feeling or how to deal with it. I have definitely been directing that feeling on my STBXAH. I am angry with him to a certain extent about some things. But if I really analyze what I'm feeling....it is almost always fear.
Fear that he will somehow succeed in portraying me as a bad mother. Fear for my children's safety. Fear about his negative influence on them. Fear that he will drag out this divorce forever.
I have resisted posting here recetnly because I feel that all I want to do is gripe about him and his latest nasty email and just be angry. I know it's okay to rant - but it has not felt like a relief or a productive thing to do so. I have even been thinking that coming here is just keeping the focus and energy on him and feeding my anger ----and that it wasn't good for me to do that.
This post has opened a new train of thought that I needed to jump onto ---and it has confirmed how very good SR is for me and my recovery.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:06 PM
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mamkit, i know what you mean about avoiding coming here...i wasn't here much the last month. i was like you worrying that i'd be focusing on it more than i should by coming here. i was wary of thinking about it too much. not being here didn't stop any of that anyway!!
i read somewhere before (anthony de mello, awareness) that fear is the core of all anger. so anger is definately important, like a fight or flight instinct, it shouldn't be ignored or internalized.
i came back here a few days ago after two weeks of going crazy! i was sooooo angry and just wanted revenge, and was determined to do something i know would have ruined xabf's life... after posting about it and getting a small few replies from great people here who understood my situation from an outside perspective, i changed my mind...and am so glad i did. anger is important but understanding it is equally important... and maybe coming here is about you more than him.. xox
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:49 PM
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Thank you guys for helping me continue to think this through! Mike, I love the alarm clock metaphor, that really works for me.

I'm not a direct ACOA - but grew up very close to alcoholic relatives and sort if got codependency taught to me by me parents. I guess that makes me ACOC? either way, I can relate to what you said and like Aristotle's take on anger, too. (Actually, the fact that he talked about anger management kind of makes me feel like I'm in good company...)

In my childhood, anger was sort of letting off steam. The angry person would state his or her anger (not yell, he who yelled had automatically lost the argument) and the everyone would withdraw to their rooms and simmer down and that would be the end of it. No sorting things out, no apologies. Anger was more seen as an ohmigodshesboilingover kind of deal and once the steam was let out, it was over.

Then I married a man who'd scream at the top of his lungs, call people names, and throw dishes. And then withdraw into silence, sometimes for days on end.

So I guess I never had proper anger management modeled. It's a feeling that scares me a bit. I've gotten really uncontrollably rage-angry twice in my life. Scary stuff. As for the everyday anger/annoyance - I like the idea of turning off the alarm.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:55 AM
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I could definitely relate to what Mamakit said about underlying fears.

I think also my AH likes to provoke my anger, especially in front of the children. It makes me feel awful - AWFUL - when he succeeds. He has said increasingly cruel and personal things to me in front of the children, then he blocks my way and keeps egging me on so that I might eventually lose it. Then he can turn to all and say, "see! She's the bad one here, not me!"

He would also make me responsible for most of the disciplining. So when our son made a huge mess of his room that I spent the whole day cleaning, for instance, I would have the talk with our child and he would come in and chastize me for reprimanding our boy. That would lead to my being upset with both of them and he comes across as Mr Calm and Collected while who is left to deal with the mess? Right.

My guilt at respondibg with anger turned inward and made me ashamed of myself. It made me feel that I also couldn't gp to anyone for help because I was not completely innocent. I seem to feel more outraged by my own imperfections than upset with AH's doings. I forgive everyone so easily and forget everything but my own failures.

I don't want to experience another exchange of angry words again ever! I just want peace!!! Thank heavens that man is far away for the moment!
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:33 AM
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I don't know how I missed this thread the 1st time around, but I am finding it super helpful today. I've had anger issues popping up here & there - sometimes they are seemingly random & sometimes it's just a bigger volume of anger than necessary based on the situation.

This little gem right here sounds like the exact kind of realization I needed to make about my recognizing & managing my anger...

Originally Posted by m1k3
Anger is your alarm system, it lets you know something is wrong and in no uncertain terms. And just like an alarm, once it has your attention you turn it off and figure out what is wrong.
And I fully relate to this:

Originally Posted by Hopeworks
If I recall you are ACOA and as I have learned from my own childhood of alcoholic dysfunction we are stunted in this area because we are taught to stifle all anger so as not to enrage the beast within the family structure.

Learning how to deal with anger and channel it is an emotional IQ skill that we now have to figure out as adults... good topic for thought and reflection.

Personally I either repress anger and am calm and methodical but when I go over the edge I am scary...
I can't recall a single incident of expressing anger in a healthy way as a child.

And thinking back over the most recent incidents of my anger bubbling up I can see that they all trace back to a different root.

I felt anger but it was really masking fear.
I felt anger but it was really reacting to a loss of control.
I felt anger but really I didn't know HOW I felt so I reverted to this in a self-preservation way to buy myself time to sort my feelings.

Not to say that ALL anger is disingenuine, there are times when it is appropriate & even necessary. I think Mike's alarm analogy will really help me to separate the "real" vs "fake" anger.

again, SR peeps!
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
I can't recall a single incident of expressing anger in a healthy way as a child.
Ditto for me on this. I also can't recall ever seeing anger expressed in a healthy way when I was young. Just did some work on this in my step 4 inventory.
It was either an explosion of terrifying rage, holding it in and taking it out on a "safe" target- someone younger or weaker, or my grandmother's (alcoholic dad's mom) patented "long game" of revenge. She would hold onto an incident (however petty or small) for days or weeks or months, then when the unsuspecting victim was lulled into complacency- payback time. Not in a loud or mean way, but totally passive aggressive, and she always made sure you knew that she was "getting you back" for whatever you had done to upset her.

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Old 04-10-2014, 12:18 PM
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Anyone see "Monsters Inc"? I wish I could just find the door to my anger. It is on My Step 4 flaw but it is so repressed it might just be tagged for therapy. It's been identified though and that is a start.
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:57 PM
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If you see, I started this post over a year ago.

Since then, AXH is out of my life pretty much completely. And what has changed?

I'm not angry. I'm not anxious. I fully expect him to come busting into my life again both barrels firing, but for now, I don't need to deal with how to handle anger. And it's a relief.
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