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How To Not Be Angry?

Discussion in 'Dysregulation' started by metaphase twig, Aug 22, 2006.

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  1. metaphase twig

    metaphase twig New Member

    I generally cope with everything fairly well...as best I can. Sometimes though the anger is overwhelming. It's like, I get road rage, grocery store rage, everything rage. I don't know how to cope with this part of ptsd.
    I've learned how to relax and all that stuff, but my coping skills have their limits...like the woman in the bmw truck behind me honking because I didn't pull out into traffic to suit her...so I completely flipped, took my seatbelt off and got out of the car and was going to go back and beat her ass...so then she decides, "uh, oh...I'll pretend I didn't just honk at that girl cuz she looks like she's going to kill me..." And then I see she's got a baby in the car...I can't believe I was so mad I was gonna bitch slap this woman to hell and back and she has a kid in the car...what kinda monster am I?! I obviously didn't do it, but the thought that I was so mad and there was a poor child in the car, I felt terrible.
    I don't know what more to do. I cope and cope so long until the stresses get too much and I snap. I'm on Xanax which helps, but hello, I'm only human...there's only so much crap I can take before I completely flip out!
    Anybody have any suggestions what to do with this rage I feel???
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  3. wildfirewildone

    wildfirewildone Well-Known Member

    Sometimes it's helped me to bounce a 8 inch diameter ball up and down on the floor....rip up catalogs...rip up newspapers...magazines....big boxes that pop cans come in!!!....so I can get my stress out and get the paper crap into the trash bag....be careful with this idea....find someplace where there's a lot of excessive LOUD noise and SCREAM!!! make sure that no one can see you doing this....as you don't want to be dragged off to the ER!!!...wildfirewildone ....PEACE
    metaphase twig likes this.
  4. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

    There is no easy answer. All of us has our rage moments and all of us differ on how we handle them. I can't seem to tame down my anger so I just divert it to something else. If I want to ream into my husband, I go mow the yard and "ream the yard". Stuff like that. It only works to a point, however. Try grounding exercises, try reading, anything. I know in the car that obviousy reading and exercising is not wise to do, but the situation with the mother in the car is understandable. We all get ANGRY in the car. People drive stupid and act stupid in cars. Obviously she felt very safe in her expensive tin can, but once you were out of the car, she probably regretted honking her horn. I'm very lucky to live in Iowa. People rarely honk their horn. It is a alarm/warning for an impending crash, not for people to vent their frustrations on the next driver. That said, I've lived in LA and that is like a chorus of honking....but I still dont' think I've ever used the horn.....maybe I have horn anxieties? (hehehe)

    Driving for me is a huge issue. I know the carnage that can happen in a vehicle..and so I tend to be overly cautious. I've had numerious people honk at me for not turning out into traffic when they thought there was ample space (uh...10 feet is not ample!!!). At the same time, I have to drive. I'm in control, that way, I feel safer.

    Anthony has some great articles about anger. Check them out. It helps to understand where your anger is coming from and to diffuse it with better efficiency. Good luck...and lastly, give yourself a break. We ptsd'ers have short fuses. At least we have a reason! There's tons of people out there that have short fuses because they like it that way.....
    metaphase twig likes this.
  5. purdyamos

    purdyamos Active Member

    Oh god anger is my biggest monster! I simmer and I boil and I snap and I hate it! It's just volcanic and all the usual tips and methods just seem to fuel my irritation further. When I suppress it I get depressed (anger turned inward, and all that). The worst are the sudden outbursts of rage, I terrify myself and other people. I have to force myself to get away from people. Trapped at home, screaming was the only thing that didn't harm myself or inanimate objects! But it harmed my reputation in the neighbourhood. Drugs can zonk you out. But then you're not processing it, alive to what you're being forced to express. Breathing deeply I suppose is the answer, but when I'm off on one, I've got a different head on and that information isn't available unless someone else tells me to do it! I suppose the best relief is empathy from others on the forum! It's the shame and self-hatred and terror that do me in. I can't believe the person I turn into. But then here that's just normal!
    metaphase twig likes this.
  6. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    I can relate to pretty much eeverything everyone here has said about anger...In my last counselling session I got some of my anger out but I managed to stop because I scared myself and knowing that htere's soo much more where that came from doesn't help...Of ocurse she was tellling me tpo breathe etc so that helped calm me down too...though when I left I still wanted so kick/hit/smash everything in my way...When I'm in a rage I just grab whatever is closest and chuck it as hard as I can off the wall...or, in the case of my computer (yes, the poor thign has had it's share of attacks) I punch the monitor or kick the comp itself without any regard for it or for my fist/foot which usually hurts later...Ripping paper also sometimes helps...
  7. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

    Ohhhhh...I can SO relate! We had to replace the computer monitor because I got angry, went into a rage, and took it out on the poor thing! It worked for a while afterwards (I had to prop it up, as the stand was busted in a hundred or so pieces!) but then began its slow death with patches of vertical lines blocking out the images on the screen.

    Let's see...I've also smashed, stomped, and thrown my husband's $300 telescope - because it was there as my rage began. My husband's PDA was the unfortunate recipient of another rage. My old Buick LeSabre got it too, as I picked up an old water pump from the well (which, btw should've been hauled off in the trash) and threw it, hitting the door. I've had to scrub the kitchen from top to bottom because in the middle of a rage I managed to grab an open 2-liter bottle of Coke, shook it up, and let it go (that's pretty cool to watch, but a pain in the neck to clean up because even when you think you got the last drop, you'll still find more weeks later!). There are so many more that I know happened, but can't remember!

    One thing I have figured out, though, is these things tend to happen when my husband is screaming at me, "Don't you dare throw ____ (whatever I have in my hands)." It's almost as if my mind is taking that as a dare and can't back down. Luckily for both of us, I shared this with him and he doesn't do it anymore!

    My rages still come, but not as frequently - for that I am grateful. But, I DO have them. I can't remember much about them later on, though; it's so hard to face afterwards. The shame and guilt tears me up and the exhaustion I feel doesn't make it any better.

    Hang in there...we're all in this together!
  8. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    This is the frustration (emotion) stemmed from your trauma (fear) which you are releasing in anger (consequence). Remember this, because if you want to start ridding yourself of some anger, then continue reading.

    Did you ask her this? Or is this your assumption? Could she have possibly been going a little faster than she thought, and didn't want to hit you? Did she have PTSD also? You may think that last one is funny... but did you ask her? Did she just have someone die? Has she just had a fight with her husband? Has the baby onboard been screaming all day, and she is at her wits end?

    The problem with the above, is your making a suggestive statement, your assuming, your making things up in your head and getting frustrated at those thoughts, then consequently releasing your anger. Answer the above please MT, because that will give me more to work on you with.

    Now, why are you using your emotions here to feel terrible because a baby was in the car, and not using them to identify your anger? Anger, Rage, Violence, is not an emotion/s, instead a consequence of emotions. You felt terrible when seeing the baby, thus you got back in your car. You most likely felt frustrated when she honked the horn in the first place. Was it the horn, or was it more that had occured before honking the horn? What did you feel?

    What I will say, is trying to rid your anger with remedial tasks such as ripping paper, or punching a bag, etc etc... is nothing more than a bandaid to the actual underlying problem. What is the underlying problem? The underlying problem is you can't identify your emotions, instead; an emotion is triggered, you feel something, but not sure what, so you get angry (consequence). You aren't processing the emotion, instead your skipping directly to the anger.

    Lets use the four stages which really apply to any symptom:
    • pre-contemplative
    • contemplative
    • action
    • relapse
    Example time:

    What Your Doing Now
    • pre-contemplative - you identify someone has put the toilet roll around the wrong way!
    • contemplative - if anger is released, you skip this step and go straight to action, being
    • action - you yell out throughout the house for who put the toilet roll around the wrong way, with anger and hostility within your voice.
    • relapse - next time it occurs, you do the same thing
    A More Positive Method
    • pre-contemplative - you identify someone has put the toilet roll around the wrong way!
    • contemplative - you feel frustration because the toilet roll is around the wrong way. You think to yourself, "is this life threatning?" No, the toilet roll being around the wrong way is not life threatning to yourself or loved one.
    • action - you turn the toilet roll around the way you would like it, and continue about your business.
    • relapse - next time this situation occurs, you may in fact discuss with everyone in the house, that you like to have the toilet roll placed "x" way (under or over), but it is not life threatning, thus you will not exert anger for getting it wrong, being such a trivial matter.
    Are you now beginning to see the bigger picture MT? You can apply this to everything that provokes anger within you.
  9. metaphase twig

    metaphase twig New Member

    Ok, I think I get what you're saying Anthony...

    I thought the woman honked at me because she thought there was enough space for me to get into the traffic…but I didn’t think so, so I didn’t go…they were going too fast and there wasn’t enough space/time. I assumed she honked because she was telling me to go, dive right in there…but cars were coming too fast, too close, in my opinion.

    I was pissed because everyone here in the suburb where I live drives like maniacs—fast, reckless…and there’s constant accidents. I didn’t want to have an accident so I stayed at the stopsign and didn’t pull into the traffic cuz it wasn’t clear for me to go.

    I can see that I was pissed because I took her honking as a sign of irritated annoyance with me…but who knows what her real deal was…I get what you’re saying that I was making assumptions about what she was thinking. At the time, I was pissed because I assumed the woman was annoyed with me and didn’t seem concerned that I was going to get hit if I pulled into traffic. Before she honked, I felt overwhelmed—like this huge surge of traffic wasn’t going to let up and I didn’t know when I was going to get to merge…I felt stuck, irritated, and generally pissed off that my husband was such a f*ck up as to throw our marriage down the toilet and cause me to move back here to this dump…it was kinda a chain of thoughts that led me back to “I wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for you!!! (my ex husband)â€

    So what you’re saying is that when I get triggered like that, I need to identify the emotion, think about the situation for a bit, and then act in a more appropriate manner? And to not make assumptions about what people are thinking/why they’re doing the things they do? And the most important thing—when something like that happens, I should think for a moment before I get out of the car and beat somebody down—I should ask myself if it’s going to be important tomorrow or something like that…and not react. It sounds like something I can do…..but what do I do with this rage that’s at the heart of everything…which I think is my divorce/moving back here…How do I not have that kinda seething below the surface all the time??? i don't feel particlarly angry or angry all the time, but now that I think about it, I realize that the anger towards my ex is constant, just below the surface.
  10. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    MT... you just worked it all out, and that is one huge positive step for you. Well done.

    And there lye a real burning issue MT, your pissed at your husband for throwing your marriage away and you having to move back to somewhere you don't like living. That is a fair enough thing to be pissed about, because it is your feelings.

    Ok, you have your finger on it with general identification and your actioning process. This anger you have for your ex because he let your marriage fall down (however the facts presented themselves at the time) can be corrected with the same method.

    What do you feel about your ex husband just allowing your marriage to fall over? More importantly, what part did you play in your marriage breakdown, because there are two people within it after all? What are the feelings associated to this constant anger below your surface? You stated in your post already, "I felt stuck, irritated, and generally pissed off that my husband was such a f*ck up."

    Ok, lets work with that and see where it develops. You felt, which is a good thing, which is your identification of the emotions stemming your anger, being the consequence. Did you feel helpless that your marriage had broken down, and nothing you did could rectify it? Did you feel alone, that your partner was no longer with you? I am sure you can list many of these when you think about this indepth MT. Give it a shot and see what you come up with, because these are the cause of your constant anger, the constant burning within you... these are a cause of your anger outbursts and irritability. Anger is very controllable, and honestly MT, I think you just made it over your largest hurdle. Very well done.

    I think what you will find MT, is that as you think about these feeling in more depth, and we discuss them, you are going to begin getting much relief from your current feelings that are burning inside you.
    metaphase twig likes this.
  11. metaphase twig

    metaphase twig New Member

    My suppressed feelings maybe???

    Ok, let me first say that I believe my ex has narcissistic personality disorder. His first wife, her family, therapist, social workers, etc, and my therapists feel that from what we’ve described, my ex has this disorder. I didn’t find that out or make that connection until after I’d left him and moved back to the states and had a nervous breakdown.

    While with him, I felt hurt, betrayed, completely disillusioned. I was angry that he lied to me all the time and cheated on me—and was into such depraved stuff it was like I didn’t know him at all. I felt inferior, unappreciated, unloved, and taken advantage of. Later I felt afraid for my life, terrorized, and completely broken.

    Now, logically I get why he lied, cheated, made me feel small, etc—because it’s what the disorder is/does. Logically, I don’t blame him for what he did entirely because he’s mentally ill…I get that on a conscious level. It’s just the stuff under the surface that’s still inside me.
    What hasn’t gone away is the feelings—the years I invested in him and our relationship, how I feel stupid having loved someone who is incapable of love…and it hurts that I took all the abuse for so long thinking that if we went to therapy, that he’d “get†that he was hurting me and stop…I didn’t know about npd then, and I was going on the assumption that he was just a stupid man who had lived alone too long and was not used to being in a relationship and all the compromising that goes along with that. He warned me about being tormented by his ‘inner demons’ but how the hell was I supposed to know what those were? I didn’t know it was npd, I thought it was just ‘issues’ of some sort…daddy wasn’t around enough, mom spanked too much, wounded inner child, whatever.

    Oh yeah, I felt completely helpless and powerless. He took control of my money(and his) and made me ask for an allowance since I wasn’t able to work in AU(visa status stuff)…kept me from cash in hand jobs because he didn’t want me having my own money. And each episode of cheating, lying, etc, I felt helpless and powerless because nothing would correct the problem—I couldn’t leave because he wouldn’t let me(literally), the shrinks (3 between the 2 of us) weren’t fixing things, and as each problem surfaced, my ex would then develop a new crisis or problem. And he made sure that I was on edge all the time, making sure I knew his philandering could take place on his lunch hour, or via sms meetings, etc…it was sheer torture he was inflicting upon me, and that was before the physical/sexual abuse started. What I get now is that it was all ways to hide the npd—so I wouldn’t see the forest for the trees…that kinda thing. So now, logically I get why things weren’t working, why every attempt made to make things work just failed miserably, and why I was suffering so much.

    I have a lot of anger still at how he behaved during our marriage. In my mind I get that it was the personality disorder, but I still have anger that he would cheat and lie constantly…I used to get so mad, I could just rip his lips right off! But he’d cry and get sick and be so sorry, and I’d wind up forgiving him and feeling bad for him. So I guess on one level, I’m angry at myself—for staying, for not knowing what was really wrong, and for being deceived. I realize these things are not anything I could control, and I shouldn’t beat myself up about them…I guess the pain from all that is still here inside somewhere kinda sitting around there until it gets triggered (like by the honking lady).
    Ok, so if my conscious, rational mind understands why things sucked so bad and that I can’t necessarily blame my ex for being mentally ill—how do I get my subconscious to let go of all the hurt, shame, anger, etc??? What’s the key to getting rid of these buried feelings?
  12. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    MT, there is no secret to ridding emotion, more the secret is accepting your emotions, which you are starting to do in the above writing. Writing and talking about your past, about your hurt, at the emotional level, not the anger level. Above, you are starting to now identify your emotions that are creating the anger, so now instead of releasing your emotions with the consequence of anger, start working on more constructive ways of emotional release, ie. writing about how you feel when overwhelmed, talk about how you feel when overwhelmed, cry about your past pain, and anything that you feel is constructive, opposed to anger, rage or hostility. You can call them secrets if you want, but really they are more techniques, techniques that we often forget and we go for the easier, often more destructive methods, anger, rage and aggression.

    From the above, you are now on the more active and approachable road to recovery MT. Lets keep discussing how your past has made you feel, lets continue identifying the emotions, let keep finding appropriate ways for you to deal with these emotions and release them in more positive ways.

    Now, with your help, we can begin analyzing these emotions that you have described more. What I am about to get into below, is not my opinion or a required technique, but more how I am perceiving what you have written, and more throwing ideas out there for you to look at, and determine if any could work for you. We will start taking out some of the more illogical actions that our minds perform, and start looking at more logical determinations of circumstances (which you pretty well covered yourself, good work) and start working on those.

    You said in the last paragraph, "Ok, so if my conscious, rational mind understands why things sucked so bad and that I can’t necessarily blame my ex for being mentally ill—how do I get my subconscious to let go of all the hurt, shame, anger, etc?" Well, what this actually is more about, is now retraining your subconcious to be in sync with your concious, and not opposed as they currently are. There is no magical cure or remedy, just a little work on your behalf to think before you act, process as discussed already, and reframe (retrain) your subconcious to the reality of now, opposed to then!

    So, your first responsive emotions from the above are:
    • I felt afraid for my life
    • I felt betrayed
    • I felt completely broken
    • I felt completely disillusioned
    • I felt completely helpless
    • I felt deceived
    • I felt hurt
    • I felt inferior
    • I felt powerless
    • I felt small
    • I felt stupid
    • I felt taken advantage off
    • I felt terrorized
    • I felt unappreciated
    • I felt unloved
    • I feel angry at myself
    I intentionally left out one statement you made, being: "I was angry that he lied to me all the time and cheated on me", which is not an emotion, as you can see the difference between "I felt" vs. "I was", as the first is emotional the second is behavioural. So again, you didn't actually feel angry, you where angry, because he cheated on you and lied to you, you felt the emotions above, which realistically to get that anger, would be you felt betrayed, unloved and unappreciated, which are the emotions that caused the anger. When you wrote that statement "I was angry that..." it depicted the behavioural response to your actual underlying emotions. That is why I didn't include that within the bullet list, as we want to find the emotions, and deal with them only.

    Now... this is going to take a bit more work on your behalf MT, in that in the above bulleted list that I collected your emotional statements from your above post, you used "felt" (being past tense) most of the time, opposed to "feel" (present tense) within your statements. That says one of two things to me MT. Firstly, your in denial that these feelings are past tense and out of your life (which I don't believe, otherwise you wouldn't have all these anger issues now), or secondly; that you are still feeling many of these things today, being the stemming of your consequential anger.

    How about, from the list above, you separate what is past tense (felt) and what you still feel (present tense) today. What this will do, is whilst it gives me more direction to look at things, it will open up now exactly what you are left with, being undealt emotional trauma, being most of the issues you are having today and affecting your life so much.

    This is a very positive area to begin MT, because once you assimilate the past and present with the above feelings, I think you will begin to feel a bit anxious, a bit uncomfortable even, which is a good thing... because it means your starting to unwind the past, it means your starting to heal. You may already be a bit moody, a bit edgy, a bit tense and anxious just going this far... which is good. That means where going in the right direction, because where opening the very things causing your concerns, where opening your fears and dealing with them, putting reality onto your past, in that you are safe now, you are not under threat any longer, and so forth.

    I think we are beginning to make progress MT... I am looking forward to your response.

    Oh... I like the bit about wanting to rip his lips off... that cracked me up :rofl:
  13. metaphase twig

    metaphase twig New Member

    The list is pretty accurate for then, and now too...

    Hi Anthony, thanks for that.

    I would say that all the things in your list are things I had felt in the past, and still feel now to some extent. I think you’re right about being in denial…it’s kinda me suppressing things too. I feel like everyone (fam, friends) are all sick of me whinging about my ex and still suffering because of what happened—everyone’s all like, move on, put it behind you…so I put on a brave front and pretend for the most part that I’m over it, but inside really I’m not sometimes.

    As much as I’ve tried to move on, create a new life, etc, my ex hasn’t let go of me. He talks smack about me all over the internet and has 6 zillion freak friends on his blog whom he disses me out to. That’s part of why I still hurt so badly inside and can’t heal. I’ve left him alone, no contact, no discussing him on the net or anything. I could completely trash his reputation online because he’s a big deal in the online world and a lot of people know him…he’s a bit of a celebrity in some circles. And instead of letting things drop, he’s continued to tell all these people how horrible I am and I’m a “f*cking crazy, psycho gold-digging b*tch.†By him saying that about me, lying on me to everyone, it makes me feel all these bad things all over again…small, powerless, disillusioned, etc. I’ve made it a point to not check up on him online or in real life…the only reason I know he’s still dissing me is because my lawyer has a detective watching him since he’s been involved in crimes against me and his 1st wife and possibly other people. I have taken the high road and not said anything about him publicly even though I could very well provide heaps of evidence to all his friends and teammates and completely thrash him with the truth…but I wont do that because it’s wrong...and I’ve been told that any attention I show him feeds his disorder, whether it’s good or bad attention.

    I get that he’s mentally ill and that’s why he does what he does. And I get that the people he’s friends with don’t really know him…his closest mates aren’t even that close to him. No one has reason not to believe his lies, unless they’ve dealt with npd themselves and know the red-flags to look for in his stories…he’s a very skilled liar/manipulator.

    So part of my problem is that I’ve let the whole thing drop…It reminds me a little of how Nicole Kidman hasn’t spoken publicly against Tom Cruise, while he was vicious towards her and then completely flaunted Katie in her face. There is a pain in that type of behavior that is hard to overcome. When you have done nothing wrong but get viciously attacked, it’s hard to process.

    I get that all that’s what my deal is…that I’ve got repressed stuff going on that I don’t feel I have the right to be mad about, and I’m in constant inner conflict. I don’t want to be though. I want to settle it, be done with it and move on. I just don’t know how. Ignoring his antics hasn’t helped…as much as I ignore, he just continues talking smack…and I know what comes around goes around and eventually, as is happening now, people are starting to ask questions and seeing through him.

    So now what? With me being conflicted inside, and pretending the pain doesn’t exist, what do I do???
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