Sunday, December 23, 2007

Anger and Codependency - Or - "Anger Sucks" Part 2

Anger and Codependency Part 2

Should you express your anger? My answer: No.
Ever? My answer: No. Never.

Here's Why:
First, it's unhealthy: In studies, when the subjects expressed their anger, their blood pressure soared. Just in case you don't know, this is not a good thing. It hurts your heart.
In the other group (of the same characteristics), those who held their anger, their blood pressure went down. This was performed with several different groups and other factors were accounted for, making anger the target of the study.

So, these studies dispel any theory that anger held causes high blood pressure or is unhealthy.

It becomes a habit: I believe that once you begin to allow anger to flow, or your vent anger at the target, you create mental grooves or a deep and wide path that allows anger to flow too freely, and after awhile flows so freely, it becomes uncontrollable. I believe that you become addicted to the rush - the feeling of adrenaline, the blood coursing through your veins. It then becomes easier and easier to move closer to the next stage of anger, which is releasing uncensored, angry remarks and destructive criticism. When this happens, we get angry at the wrong people and release a torrent of words at unintended targets. It can be directed at our children, our neighbors, the operator, the checkout person, the . . . - well you get the picture. And I think you might be able to relate to this.

Each time you release this groove is well traversed - and becomes a habit. It becomes our new "normal." It becomes a way of acting. We become conditioned.

It gets targeted at the wrong people: Unfortunately, we release at work, at our family, at passersby, at motorists . . . and at ourselves. At work people begin to see we are not a person they want on their team. And when budget cuts come, and downsizing occurs, guess who's one of the first to go?

You want a good reputation: You do not want to gain a reputation as angry. Anger and asshole are closely aligned labels! On our gravestone it would read, "Thank you God for taking this angry asshole off the face of this earth." No we really want on gravestone, "Thank you God for bringing this person into our lives, he acted in a manner that showed us how we all could become."

All the good things you have ever done - are wiped out, with one little outburst of anger. No one remembers all the good things you've done. What is etched in their minds in your display of anger. And it just has to be one event.

Gone. All the nice things you've done, never to be remembered again. With one little outburst.

You are a role model: Think about your children. You are their beacon of hope. Their model of who they should become. They will pick up this behavior - a behavior you know you don't want them to pick up.

Anger and Arguments
I have not seen any studies about the correlation between anger and arguments. However, my general feeling based on observation and analysis, shows that arguing in a precursor to anger. And the two are very closely linked. Arguing in some parts of the country are viewed as more "OK" than in other parts of the country. And the same is true in some cultures and heritages.

Our voices become sharpened, and our rationale for our positions become, strident, loud and uncensored - if - we feel we have become slighted, or insulted. In other words, we set ourselves up for someone rolling their eyes at us, or saying, "What ...ever!" Two ways we are "baited."

The best way to avoid these attacks - and they are attacks - is not to engage - at all.

Who cares what someones opinion is about the President, the democrats, the republicans, abortion, or some other volatile subject. Does it really matter what someone thinks? Really? We have seen the talk shows - and these have led to an "impolite discourse." We emulate these talk shows because they have desensitized us to the old way of being "polite" and being "of higher character." A good discussion can now lead into an argument.

Arguing never changes any ones mind. It in fact makes them more cemented in their position. It has the opposite affect!

So, what have we learned about anger?

  1. Anger serves no useful purpose. Period. Ever.
  2. We look bad when we are angry. It shows we are not mature.
  3. Anger shows we have "lost it" and we are "out of control." These are two labels in your life you cannot afford to have.
  4. It's bad for our health.
  5. It sets a poor example for our children.
  6. It affects our entire day - at work, or at home. It sets our mood for the remainder of the day.
  7. Once released, it becomes easy to release again. And again. It can become a ritual. A habit.
  8. We say stupid, regretful things. Things uncensored. It usually makes us feel guilty - as codependents - and this leads to more anger! And then more guilt. It becomes a circular treadmill.
  9. While we feel righteous, and feel it is our "duty" to show "them" and teach others a lesson, it is a lesson and it is a just cause - only through our eyes, our point of view.
  10. Last, it sets you up, as being labeled and remembered as an asshole, a jerk, a person who cannot be trusted.

See the next post for Part 3 on How To The Codependent Can Diffuse Anger Positively.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me you are confusing feeling anger (and expressing it in a healthy way), and exploding.

Acknowledging only "good" emotions is not healthy.

Anonymous said...

Right on Anonymous. Anger, expressed constructively, is endorsed by many of our most respected mental health professionals.

Anonymous said...

Anger is a healthy expression. Withholding it leads to problems. This is the problem with Al-Anon. Untrained and uneducated people who want to play therapist do more damage than good. Disregard this information it is erroneous.

Certified Addiction Professional