Afer sharing a reblog of Twinkletoes post on Anger Turned Inward yesterday I have been thinking a fair bit about the subject. Anger turned inward ties into issues of feeling unsafe expressing strong feelings, feeling powerless, frustrated, neglected and ignored when we really needed help and validation. There is a deep despair and grief that we are left with when we are not responded to with empathy or helped to be effective with expressing our wants, needs and frustrations as children. If we have no where to go with these feelings we often repress them or they fall to the level of our body.
If we were raised in a far older family we may have been left alone or ignored all the time. We may have been on the receiving end of bullying which is projected shame and may be due to the frustration of older siblings who were left alone to take care of us in the absence of parents or carried their own pain due to lack of emotional receptivity and nurture, we are then on the end of the projection of that siblings pain as well that gets dumped into us, and if we can’t express that to anyone its a set up for a host of later painful feelings of emotional isolation and depression
Some of us like my fellow blogger and I were sent to our rooms when angry. I wasn’t locked in mine but I still felt alone there with my ‘big’ feelings I didnt quite know how to manage. But I also know my Mum had those big feelings too and Dad didnt know how to cope so would go awol, laughing and joking about it (which on one level was better than exploding) however that was a set up for me for a passive aggressive emotional style.
In the passive agressive style we don’t feel safe enough to set boundaries or say no or even allow for the fact we have needs which may differ from others. We may equate self assertion with abandonment, if we were on the receving end of a lot of aggression when young we may come to fear self assertion believing it can only happen in a way that hurts and we may either fear hurting others or losing their approval. If we have known the deep pain of feeling abandoned we fear being the one who abandons others and so we can end up putting other’s needs first.
In my own family I didnt see healthy self assertion modelled a lot and being left alone I learned to try to be needless and wantless, after all there was no one there so I was better to lock it all away or deny it. I think at a young age I learned to escape into books and TV. I can still do this at times. I remember in a past relationship if my ex called and a show was on I liked often I would not take his call. That may or may not be okay, I am not sure but surely connection to a human should be more important than a show.
I have learned a lot through reading. I sometimes think readers of my blog may get a bit frustrated though as I am always blogging about something I have read. Escape is not always a bad thing, only when it diverts us from dealing with life and complexities. That said some complexities we may wish to side step, if we are an empathic intuitive. We don’t always have to be emotionally available.
Anyway there are some good books out there to help with understanding the role anger plays in our lives and whether or not we have learned to express it in healthy way and listen to what it is telling us in functional ways or repress and deny it leading to depression and auto immune problems. I have written blogs on the subject in the past but often they get buried way back due to the way my blog is set up and the fact that now, 4 years on I have a lot of posts.
For information of those who would like it though, some of the books on anger I have found especially helpful follow:
John Lee, The Anger Solution : The Proven Method for Achieving Calm and Developing Long Lasting Relationships.
This book is great as he explains very clearly the concept of age regression which is similar to an experience of an emotional flashback that can intensify the way we responde to incidents which trigger old experiences of pain, neglect or abuse. He gives techniques for unpacking the past triggers. Just understanding when we are age regressed helps us a lot in our emotional recovery.
Beverley Engel, Honour Your Anger : How Transforming Your Anger Style Can Change Your Life.
Dr Les Carter, The Anger Trap : Free Yourself from the Frustrations That Sabotage Your Life.
And for those whose passive aggressive anger style may come from a fear of abandonment due to displeasing others a very helpful book on learning to self assert honestly is :
Harriet B Braiker, The Disease To Please : Curing the People Pleasing Syndrome.
I am sure there are many other wonderful books out there. There is no substitute for good therapy to work with the roots of anger and self assertion as these are such important issues when we are dealing with depression. I hope some of this information may be of help to others.