[1.5 minute read]
“What is your anger enabling, protecting against, or symptomatic of?”
Anger protects, bodily and emotionally. From what? It so immediately follows a preceding feeling that we don’t usually recognize its precursor: Anxiety/fear. Of bodily or emotional injury.
Two hormones involved in anger are like amphetamines and painkillers. Instant energy to alertly respond to the threat, and fear suppression (numbing) to function better under its overwhelm. Reread that as you think about being cut off while driving. It all happens in a flash. Thinking takes too long, so we could die literally.
Anger defends threats to ego in intimate relationships. If a loved one touches a raw nerve, we get angry to defend that weakness—that sense of Self that we aren’t perfect or enough. Energized, and numbed to the fear and its shame, we lash out defensively. We do regretful things under the irresistibly powerful influence of amphetamine and painkiller.
Cocaine is an amphetamine. Opioids are pain killers. It is no metaphor or analogy to say that anger acts by involuntarily addictive circuits that are evolutionarily deep necessities to survival. There is no controversy: Anger is addictive.
If you’re angry at God, how is fear involved? Leave a comment…
Read more in this Psychology Today article.
[2.5 minute read]
“Anger is not a primary emotion. It arises from some other feeling which it contrived to camouflage or control.
“The internal dynamic is the same for a host of emotions that, as soon as they begin to surface, can be effectively masked, squelched, or preempted through secondary anger.
“Anger is a double-edged sword: terribly detrimental to relationships but crucial in enabling vulnerable people to emotionally survive in them.
“…anger covers up the pain of our ‘core hurts,’ like feeling ignored, unimportant, accused, guilty, untrustworthy, devalued, rejected, powerless, unlovable, shameful.
“Anger helps us soothe ourselves by potently invalidating whoever or whatever led us to feel invalidated.
“We self-righteously proclaim our superiority. After all, we’re not wrong, or bad, or selfish; it’s our spouse, child, neighbor, coworker.
“Transforming helpless feelings into anger instantly provides us with a heightened sense of control.
“If anger can make us feel powerful, able to address our deepest doubts about ourselves, no wonder it can end up controlling us. It’s every bit as much a drug as alcohol or cocaine.
“Contrary to feeling weak or out of control, anger fosters a sense of invulnerability—even invincibility (particularly in the realm of relationships).
“…anger ensures safety in close relationships by regulating distance.
“…we are wary of openly expressing such needs and desires to a partner who might invalidate them and reopen wounds:
Distancing through protective anger feels essential.
“Anger pushes a partner away, and *also* gets them to withdraw.
“Feeling disconnection from a partner revivifies old attachment wounds and fears, so at times the dance changes and the distancer becomes the pursuer.
“Anger can be unconsciously employed in a variety of ways to regulate vulnerability in committed relationships.
“Anger can also, ironically, be a tactic for engaging the other—but at a safe distance.
“To corrupt Descartes, the assumption here might be: ‘We fight, therefore we exist [as a couple].’
“…anger as a tip-of-the-iceberg emotion can conceal so very much below it:
“What is your anger enabling, protecting against, or symptomatic of?
[At the end of the linked article are links to excellent. additional related articles.]