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Author Topic: 5.08 | Anger and Healing  (Read 7964 times)
elphaba
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« on: May 29, 2008, 09:09:40 AM »

Anger and Healing

In this workshop we would like to examine Anger and how we deal with it.  Hopefully we can look at ourselves and how we have delt with anger in the past and how we should deal with it as we move forward.

Anger is usually thought of as being bad and destructive. Some may argue that this is a misconception. Anger itself is neutral. Anger may be expressed in destructive or healthy ways. Moreover, healthy expression of anger enhances communication and personal growth.

So, we must allow ourselves to feel the anger, express it in healthier ways and then and only then can we let go of it for good.  When we can do that we allow ourselves to move on... .

If you are still with your BPD, how can you use your anger constructively to avoid causing further conflict in your relationship while maintaining your boundaries?

How do YOU deal with anger, or do you?  What have you found that works for you?



Ways of Expressing Anger

Personal growth and well-being comes from learning to accept and love one's self. This includes accepting one's anger. Repressing anger can be damaging, both physically and mentally. Repressing anger is also ineffective in the long run, since the anger inevitably resurfaces. Instead, we must learn how to express anger in responsible, healthy ways. Anger is destructive when it is expressed in indirect ways, or passive/aggressively. Rather than address the nature of their anger, individuals may act it out in indirect, punishing ways. Destructive expressions of anger blame and attack the other person. This tends to provoke either defensive retaliation and destructive escalation or withdrawal of the other party. Another destructive way to express anger is to repress it until it explodes in unpredictable rages.

Healthy, clean expressions of anger are non-judgmental. One expresses one's anger in a direct straightforward manner, without blaming or attacking the other. A clean expression of anger "reflects the understanding that others do not cause our feelings". Taking ownership of one's anger in this way is also empowering. Clean expressions of anger can clear the way for caring attention to the other.

The Benefits of Clean Anger

"developing an ability to assert our own feelings and needs while maintaining a genuine caring for others." is one of the most difficult aspects of personal growth. Too much emphasis on either one's self or on the other will inhibit personal growth. Learning to cleanly express anger helps us both to assert ourselves, and clears the way for caring attention to the other.

People are generally socialized to conceal their anger. While many people claim to conceal their anger out of concern for hurting others, we can argue that they usually do so out of deeper fear of being rejected if they assert themselves. On the contrary, the honesty demonstrated in being true to one's self and one's feelings can help elicit trust from others.

Anger can be a key to identifying deeper fears and concerns. Exploring anger can then lead to better self-understanding. Expressing clean anger in communication also creates vulnerability. Communication partners may want to agree on some ground rules for the expression of anger. People also need to learn how to receive and respond to cleanly expressed anger. Not only must we learn to express direct, non-judgmental anger, we must also learn to perceive anger non-judgmentally, and to make thoughtful productive responses.

What is the anger cycle?

 

The open expression of anger out by one person on another person is almost always followed with guilt. Immediately the person may feel some elation for having "gotten it out" but the frequent normal response is guilt. Guilt then will lead to remorse that the person had been so hard or mean to the person upon whom the anger was vented. This remorse will function like a "self-checking" device and result in the anger being held in so that the anger becomes "anger in", which can lead to depression. This "anger in" over time will lead to resentment towards the original person towards whom the open anger expression was delivered. If this person down the road begin to irritate the "angry person" over time the anger person will not hold in any more and express anger out all over again. Leading to a repeat of the anger cycle of guilt, remorse, anger in, resentment, irritation and anger out expression. This is a maladaptive model of handling anger.

What are some ways to redefine anger? 

•  Anger is a signal that things are not going our way.

•  Anger is a motivator for us to change things or to rectify them.

•  Unresolved anger is a block to our emotional growth.

•  Anger is a sign that we must take an assertive stance to tune into how we are feeling and why we are feeling that way.

•  Anger is directly related to our thoughts. If we have angry thoughts we will become angry. However, if we don't have angry thoughts, we won't become angry.

•  Depression is anger that has been suppressed.

•  Aggressive anger, which is verbal or physical, only intensifies one's anger once it begins to be expressed.

•  Catharsis of anger, which is the ventilation of anger, usually leads to an increase in anger, and the expression of the anger usually intensifies.

•  Anger is usually related to me and my reaction to something or someone. It is controllable by teaching myself new ways to handle the ``anger provoking'' situations, events, or people.

•  Anger can be turned into a source of strength to change my ways of acting and reacting to situations, events, or people.

•  Ventilating anger directly on people is aggressive behavior and typically benefits no one. I usually feel guilt, shame, or greater anger after such ventilation, and whatever provoked my anger usually doesn't change.

•  Harnessing anger into a productive force in my life will assist my emotional growth.

While it’s good for your health to vent anger, that doesn’t mean anything goes. There are do’s and don’ts when it comes to healthy expressions of anger. Here are a few pointers:

Don’t: Respond with words such as "nothing" or "you should know" when someone asks what you are angry about.

Do: Be clear what it is you are angry about before starting a discussion.

Don’t: Jump to conclusions that may be inaccurate, a bad habit of many angry people during heated discussions.

Do: Slow down. Think through responses rather than saying the first hotheaded thing that leaps to mind.

Don’t: Lash out when you’re criticized. Although it’s natural to get defensive, try to listen to the underlying message. Is the other person feeling unheard or disregarded?

Do: Patiently ask questions to understand the other person’s side. Take a break as needed to prevent a discussion from spinning out of control.

Unresolved anger leads to passive aggressive behavior. This happens when you’re angry but not letting people know why or admiting to yourself why.  Passive aggressive behavior signals an unhealthy expression of anger. Wondering whether your displays of anger are in the healthy vein? Ask yourself whether your expressions of anger are leading to a solution. If not, it may be time to rethink how you present things you are angry about.

Being able to express negative feelings in a healthy way with both your rights and the rights of others being respected and protected and once we do that we can let go... .

Letting go is:

A decision to take an action that will result in a significant change in your life or in the lives of others.

Taking a risk to change the status quo.

Releasing yourself or others from a real or perceived guilt-arousing obligation.

Freeing yourself or others to be themselves without fear of rejection or disapproval.

Granting to others the personal responsibility for their own lives.
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elphaba
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 09:18:20 AM »

Freedom from anger

Acknowledge your anger, feel it fully, allow it to be, and then quickly move beyond it. Instead of fighting against your anger or letting it control you, choose to experience it and then let it go.

When you hold on to anger, it drags you down. By allowing and then quickly dropping the anger, you put yourself in a powerful position to deal with whatever brought about that anger.

Anger can get your attention and get you going. Yet if you hold it for long it will surely hold you back.

Sometimes your anger may be valid and other times it may not. Whether it is valid or not, anger almost always makes you much less effective and hinders your ability to move forward.

Anger often perpetuates and strengthens those very things at which it is directed. So the best strategy is to first let it be and then let it go.

Decide to be strong and effective, to put your energy into moving forward. Drop the anger and raise yourself to a higher level of positive control and effectiveness.

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JoannaK
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 02:53:45 PM »

Elphie, this is a great workshop!

I noticed your questions, and I'm going to ask them again here:



If you are still with your BPD, how can you use your anger constructively to avoid causing further conflict in your relationship while maintaining your boundaries?

How do YOU deal with anger, or do you?  What have you found that works for you?




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elphaba
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2008, 03:22:13 PM »

Anger is an extremely powerful emotion, it can overpower many of the other things we may be feeling.  I know that for me when I finally started letting go of the anger I truly started to become UNSTUCK... .my anger, however justified was keeping thoughts of the Ex running through my head... .and only in TRULY letting go of that anger do I open myself to all the other positive emotions and thoughts that were hiding in there... .

I'm a fighter, it's my nature... .I want to fight through things, fight for my rights, fight for my family... .so, when things went so horribly wrong and DB had hurt me so badly, I wanted to be angry forever because I thought it made me strong.  I was never going to get justice, closure, resolution or make him pay in any way/shape/form... .and no amount of anger was going to help ME get any of that. 

So, goodbye to anger, it serves no healthy purpose for me in this situation... .it was my friend for a time, it kept me hard when I was hurting so so badly... .but, there is no room for it now.
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2009, 08:25:37 PM »

Okay, so... .I'm not sure if this is really what I'm supposed to post here. I'd like to ask for feedback.

I've let go of the anger at my BPish relatives. They aren't in my life, and never had the power to hurt me anyway; I was angry for my mother's sake. I managed to let go of my anger at them. I would never welcome them in my life but I wish them well.

I've let go of the anger at my BP ex-husband. You can't grow up in an environment like the one he did and come out healthy. It's just impossible. He's not responsible for developing his illness, and he's actively growing as a person. He's apologized for the hurt he inflicted on me. I accepted the apology, believed it, and forgave him. I wish him well.

I've let go of the anger at my narcissistic ex-boyfriend. I do not forgive him; what he did to me matches my definition of evil. He basically told me he was wrong but that was okay, because it was ME he hurt. There was nothing wrong with hurting me, and nothing wrong with hurting me like he did. I can't forgive that kind of behavior. But I've let go of the anger. Holding onto it isn't productive, and all the closure I need came from knowing that he set out to harm me. I know why; even if I didn't, I wouldn't need to. All I need to know was that it was intentional and I know I want nothing to do with that. I wish him well (if for no other reason than hopefully if he's happy, he won't pull that crap on someone else).

I have not let go of my anger at my borderline friend. I can't get closure for our relationship or the weird semi-romantic dynamic we had. She's dead. I can't ask her why she did the things she was doing. She's dead. I can't talk to her and try to understand her choices, how to be a better friend to her. She's dead. She's dead, she shot herself without any explanation that I can retrieve, she's gone, and all I have left of her is an entry in her Livejournal of a picture of a shattered heart and a cryptic caption referencing bullet casings. She's dead, and I can't move on.

Dealing with my anger with her- for THIS, especially- is one of the keys to me being able to move on. But I can't. How am I to deal with this anger- that I half-feel I shouldn't even have?
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elphaba
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2009, 06:54:58 AM »

As far as the anger with your friend it is understandable, quite horrific circumstances... .but, you need to remember that closure here is something you can give yourself.  The best gift you can give yourself... .

Could you write a letter detailing her how you feel about all of this, get it down on paper and out of your system?  Have a little ceremony burning the letter and letting go of the anger?  it might help?

We both know that holding onto it is just toxic for YOU.

So sorry for all you've been through... .xoxox
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 10:01:40 AM »

So many of us are among the walking wounded and in pain.  And it hurts like hell.

We have every reason to be angry.  Anger is an important part of grieving.  But if you want a healthy recovery, channel that anger in a healthy way.

Your loss is not about all people with all the various levels of this disorder.   Your loss is not about any member here.   Your loss is about your ex  - be angry at them.   Don't generalize your anger - save yourself from suffering far more damage in the end.

Your loss is not about a premeditated plot to hurt you.  It was about a weak person with an emotional handicap that has destroyed their own life too.  That doesn't make your hurt any less painful - but it will move you one step closer to understanding what really happened so that you will be able to go forward with confidence in your next relationship, rather than with fear of the unexplained "evil".

Talk about your loss.  Get your feelings out in the open.  Talk about how it makes you feel.  We have to release this pain... .but with one goal... .we release it so that we can let it go.   We all experienced and feel it differently.


Non's Grieving Process

  • shock and denial, an attempt to avoid pain by denying the loss;


  • pain and guilt, a period of devastating pain and feelings that life is chaotic;


  • anger and bargaining, including emotional outbursts that can permanently damage relationships with others;


  • depression and loneliness, or a period of reflection during which the person realizes the full impact of the loss;


  • upward turn, when the person begins to adjust to the loss;


  • reconstruction of life without the loved one; and


  • acceptance and hope. Acceptance does not imply happiness.



Skippy
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 04:48:06 PM »

 

Holding on to anger I feel is in the long term detrimental and binds you to your source of conflict, however,  you cannot offer forgiveness if there is or has been no anger.
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HeartOfaBuddha
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2009, 04:41:48 PM »

Non's Grieving Process

  • shock and denial, an attempt to avoid pain by denying the loss;


  • pain and guilt, a period of devastating pain and feelings that life is chaotic;


  • anger and bargaining, including emotional outbursts that can permanently damage relationships with others;


  • depression and loneliness, or a period of reflection during which the person realizes the full impact of the loss;


  • upward turn, when the person begins to adjust to the loss;


  • reconstruction of life without the loved one; and


  • acceptance and hope. Acceptance does not imply happiness.


 

Skippy

I am still living with my uBPDp.  Since I figured out what was wrong about 2 years ago, I feel like I have completely gone through the shock and denial stage. And the pain and guilt stage.  Though it still hurts - to learn that I never had what I thought I had, - the pain is no longer debilitating.  I bounce around the next four stages a lot.  I know that these stages are not a step by step process and it's not unusual to bounce around.  I still have hope that somehow this will all work out and we can come to some kind of agreed upon relationship.  There are days when I get angry about her behavior, but not usually directly AT her.  I realize most of the time that she has an illness that she is very much in denial about.  I do feel that if we can't come to a place of working things out that I am more prepared to accept that and move on.  Not sure what else I can do right now.  When I'm angry - I now actively try to figure out what I am reallyangry about.  I want to deal with my issue not the event.  That way I really do move on.

Peace & Metta
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2009, 08:31:23 AM »

Anger can be a healthy emotion for the short term.  When It becomes resentment it will it you up.

My recovery in AA tells me that holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.  At some point, we need to let it go.

Elphie, I'm curious, if you don't mind, about your Elphaba ID? I saw the show with my teenage daughter this past spring and enjoyed the music very much.  My daughter very much identified with Elphaba as she has learned to deal with the blond girl cliques at school.  I get that, but not so much an adults version.

Be Well,

Rich
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elphaba
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2009, 09:14:52 AM »

Hi Rich... .the Elphaba ID came from having read the book, and in my life at the time dealing with BPD/OZ I too identified very closely with the character.  The book and the play are quite different... .the book is obviously much more detailed into her life.  Ironically I have had many friends tell me that the character reminds them of me.

Anger helped me through a rough time, helped me get through the divorce and going NC... .but, letting it go is so necessary... .it only eats you alive as you hold onto it.
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