Date:  12/10/2007

Work This! (Anger...)

And so it seems that I have a problem with anger.  Like, an anger management problem with anger - as in, I'm often not "a safe person", anger.

So some folks are saying "no kidding, Chad, I've seen you go crazy over something ridiculously benign!"  Well - it was a surprise to me, anyway.  I used to say "I'm not angry... I'm frustrated" or "I'm not angry, but I am disappointed and I'm hurt."  Which is stupid because what I was doing was expressing anger but not admitting it.

Email me if you can tell me a story about when I've lashed out in anger.  I've been surprised by what people can remember.  Often I don't remember at all.  That's what happens when you're an angry person - you forget the lashing out, but others learn to expect it and try and avoid it.

My anger often has indirect expressions.  Like I'd be mad about something else and then react to some mundane circumstance like I was crazy.  Or I'd take a very strong position about something and people would think I was actually mad at them, when really, I'm just holding a strong position and I'm pissed off about something I don't even realize I'm pissed off about.

So I'm reading The Anger Workbook.  The thing about this book was that it was suggested by my supervisor.  Actually, there was a list of several books that I was supposed to choose to read and reflect on as part of my performance review.  So I picked the one I didn't want to do the most.  Having The Anger Workbook on my bookshelf meant admitting I was an angry person, which is absolutely the last thing I want to admit.  But I knew since it was the one I wanted the least to do with, it was the right choice.

So far the book has been amazing.

There's lots of 'check-lists' and example exchanges between authors and their patients, and some of the material has rang so true to what I feel and experience it's amazing.  I know that with these kinds of books there's always going to be 'over' diagnosing from self-diagnosis, but I don't care.  The things I experienced and feel are given words in this book.  And there's truth from Scripture at every step of the way to counter some of the lies I tell myself.

One key thing so far in the book has been explaining that some anger stems from unmet needs.  "Can't you see something is wrong?" "Can't someone understand me?" "Why can't you just love me?" - I know these questions are whiney, they're questions people ask all the time with some good reason, but, nevertheless, these statements resound with me.  There's feelings of invalidation for me to work through and renounce. Every small exchange becomes bigger than it should - and I know I'd lash out because I'd feel attacked about every small thing.  Many times every little thing would become a battle - and I felt like my identity and worth were in the balance.  Which was and is stupid.

That explains a lot for me.  I'd hold a lot in and then the baggage would carry over to everyone else.  It's like every conversation about any issue would be about whether or not I was feeling validated.    The last few months have been much better, people say, but I've got a whole lot more to go - ask my housemates.

My frustration with wrongs in the past kept me from experiencing a whole lot of wholeness in the present - and that was the choice I made. 

Feeling like I’ve done way more than wrong
Feeling like I’m living inside of this song
Feeling like I’m just too tired to care,
Maybe like I done more than my share
Could it be the way that I’ve carried on
Like a broken record for so long?

...There's not anymore that I can do...

"Uh, oh, Chad's listening to Guns N' Roses again..." - Josh Drake


// Chad@HartLX.Com //


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Copyright: 2007 - Chad A. Hart