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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: You Might Be Angry If You are Telling Someone What to Do....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

You Might Be Angry If You are Telling Someone What to Do....

Sometimes its so hard to be in the moment. Especially if the moment brings up anger. For many people, anger is just so painful and so frightening. For the person feeling it, mostly, not just the object of the anger. Whether we feel entitled, right, justified or wounded, anger hurts.

We associate anger with feeling out of control, afraid, disprespected, devalued, threatened.

Usually, we think anger is obvious, but sometimes, its very quiet, very subtle, and that's when it may be the most dangerous. That's when we are likely to be acting on it, without even knowing it.

Most of us do not get good anger training. We yell or hit or stuff anger, or run from it.

Sometimes, if we find ourselves giving advice, instructions, suggestions, its a signal from our psyche that we are angry. Especially for those of us who are very frightened of confrontation or intense feelings, or who don't want to be angry, or angry with the person with whom we are talking.

The urge to give is also sometimes a cover up for how we really feel.

In a group I run, one member presented a certain problem, and almost immediately, another member began to make suggestions. She offered some good books to be read, places to go, and things to do. Very generous, on the one hand, but there was something nagging me about it.

We unpacked it a bit in the group and we came up with this: while all the ideas were good ones, useful ones, really, and the group appreciated hearing them, the offering of them took us out of the moment, away from the feeling. It wasn't conscious, but it was true, we thought.

Maybe the feeling was too intense, or scary, or big. The unconscious mind protects us by distracting us. But these distractions, if we study them, can give us great information about ourselves, and we can use that to heal, to grow and to be more present.

It seems crazy sometimes, when you are in the thick of it, but it's good practice, I think, to be open to what goes on behind the scenes within ourselves. We can make good use of the information, take better care of ourselves and our relationships, and feel better. That's the best part.


Emma said...

I love reading your posts becuase they are always right on the money. I can so relate to this...there seem to be a myriad of ways I use to take me out of the moment when I'm feeling something uncomfortable, like anger.

Some of these internal ways are to blame myself for feeling it, or to start intellectualizing and rationalizing it.

I will start paying more attention now to the external ways.


Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks Emma! You comments and ideas are much appreciated.


HealthInRecovery said...

Interesting post, Melissa. Thanks for the great insights and reminders.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks HealthinRecovery!

Fran Schumer said...

I loved this post. Despite years of therapy, it never occurred to me that I do give advice and preach a lot when I'm angry. Thank you for showing me what's behind it. Ah, anger. You should teach a class on it. Fran From NJ

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Hi Fran,

Thanks for stopping by! Yes, anger is worthy of much study!

Thanks for your thoughts,