Posts tagged ‘frustration’

April 4, 2011

Women and anger

by Dandy

The past couple of weeks I’ve received a few emails from women concerning my post on Boundary Lessons.  This has created some lively discussion on women’s issues, anger, betrayal, forgiveness, expression.  So I’ve been asked to write about this topic some more. 

There was a rough patch in my life awhile ago that caused me to have some serious anger issues.  I didn’t like experiencing  that emotion and sought out counseling and read many, many books about the subject.  I would like to share some of the tools I’ve learned. 

Know your triggers

For most women, our triggers are around issues of power, justice, and responsibility.  We  become angry when we cannot meet our own expectations, when we cannot change frustrating circumstances from work or home, and being treated unfairly or disrespectfully.

The self-esteem factor

Venting anger is even more harmful than keeping it in.  Labels like bitch, shrew, ball-buster mean to undermine self-esteem.   To enhance self-esteem people need to feel loveable, and competent, and venting anger does neither of these.  Having low-self esteem makes people more likely to be easily provoked and to express their anger in volatile ways.  When we are angered we  tend to regard innocent acts and words as personal affronts, further undermining self-esteem. 

Another counterproductive response to anger (this one was so me) is a tendency to ruminate and brood about the precipitating event, construing it as unfair and deliberately provoking said rumination only worsened angry feelings.

When we have high self-esteem we have fewer anger symptoms and are much less likely to brood about the events that provoke anger.  We also have a less propensity to become angry or to keep anger in, or to vent it. 

Rather than suppressing anger or negatively expressing it, women with high self-esteem tend to discuss their anger in a problem solving way, either with a confidante, or with the person who provoked it, or both.

Women with high self-esteem also do not have to busy themselves with protecting a fragile sense of self, but can identify the salient aspects of the anger producing situation and approach it from a problem solving stance.

Women who suppress their anger also suffer from low self-esteem, because they’d allowed themselves to be treated as doormats or punching bags.  Occasionally after prolonged suppression, their anger would erupt in a way that was out of proportion to the triggering event, making  them feel guilty and worthless, further lowering self-esteem( this was me too).

 

The difference between venting and expressing

*Analyse what makes you angry with out walking around it.  Without blaming or reaching for complaints.  Recognize it.  Validate it by writing it down. 

*Admit your anger, feel it out.  Exercise, yell into a pillow.  Go running.  Tear apart old phone books. Depending on the intensity of the emotion this may not always be necessary, some may prefer to draw, paint, or write in a journal.  Expressing anger in this way is so positive and healthy, and it is not venting out, hurting people.  Regardless of whether or not they make sense our feelings are an essential part of who we are – no longer allow repression.  With expression there is no room for it!

* Understand the deeper meaning.  Once you’ve allowed yourself to really feel it and you are aware of where or who it has been directed to.  There is almost always another feeling behind anger. 

* Set boundaries!  Plan ahead.  Say what you want.  Hold yourself responsible for your own happiness.

* Know your limits.  Recognize those triggers.  Find the roots of them.

* Value yourself and forgive.  Forgive others for not always getting it right.  Forgive yourself.

On a side note, any emails sent to me will absolutely, positively be private.  I do not share emails or names, and do not discuss private conversation with anyone, ever.  Privacy is a huge issue for me!  If there is anything you would like to discuss or comment on in private please email me at thereflectiveself@hotmail.com

January 31, 2011

The tragedy of self-deception and the gift of honesty

by Dandy

One of the biggest challenges to obtaining happiness is by living in denial and by telling ourselves lies and half-truths.  This self-deception enables us to live in negativity and invest in people who help us to create illusions.  This means we are resistant to acceptance, truth, and change.  If we didn’t resist, whether knowingly or unknowingly, we would have to see things in reality and possibly have to make big change and most importantly of all – take action.

When we deny and lie to ourselves, we:

*  Focus on somebody elses problems to distract from looking at ourselves.

*  Act happier than we feel, that we eventually lose touch with who we are, how we feel, and what our values are.  Bad behavior is seen as normal.

*  Become defensive or even aggressive when people say what we don’t want to hear.  This can result in us isolating ourselves, because we’re not ready to hear the truth.

*  Claim we want to make others happy, because it’s easier to do this rather than put the work into ourselves.  We think our happiness will be a by-product, but we end up often trying to make the wrong types of people happy.

*  Hold onto anger, frustration, and indignation for a long time.  We replay and analyse the situation.  Brood over the woulda, shoulda, coulda, and basically holding on “it” or “them” as a security blanket.

*  Create obstacles to why we can’t change or improve, and use these as reasons to remain fearful, and spend more time worrying than experiencing the reality of these fears.

*  Claim that the reasons we continue to engage with someone or something is for reasons that it’s not. 

*  Say it’s them not us.

*  Become so distanced from our true selves, that we become inauthentic, acting out of sync with our values, doing one thing and saying another.

Denial and lies let us keep telling ourselves the “story” that rolls around in our mind about what we believe to be true about ourselves, about other people, life, love, etc.

If we really want improvement and change in our lives that results in happiness, self-love, loving relationships, we have to minimise the lies and have an honest inner dialogue with ourselves so that we can get back to our real self.

This gives us boundaries, lets us know what feels right, wrong, good, bad, and basically treats us with respect, trust, kindness, and love.

We have all seen people participate in relationships where there are obvious red flags, but they were so wrapped up in all the illusions that they just didn’t see ir, or denied it.  They decided there were no problems, or that the problem was less than what it really was.  That if they love enough the problems will go away.  They think the good in the person outweighs or cancels out the bad.

To put an end to these deceptive illusions means minimising the amount of dishonesty in our lives, especially what we have total control over – ourselves.  No deceptions, no rose-colored glasses, no normalizing bad behavior.  No pretending to be or feel things that we don’t.  We will then stop being participants in unhealthy relationships and situations.  We will be able to catch ourselves and say, “no that isn’t the truth.”  There will be no excuses.  We will be accountable and we won’t shy away from the responsibility that we have to ourselves.

By stopping the denial and lying and start being truly honest, we will be more likely to take action and do something about a problem and actually find a solution.  But we must acknowledge the reality of the problem in the first place.

We will get over relationships if we stop trying to deny who the person is, their issues, and the holes in the relationship.  We will get over the lost love when we stop lying to ourselves about who they are, the truth of the situation, and our own feeling and learn to accept even the uncomfortable truth instead of trying to control people and situations through denial.

If we allow positivity to take up our lives, we will make positive decisions, find ourselves in positive situations, and we’ll become authentic. 

In what ways have you been in denial?  How have you been lying to yourself?  Have you made the decision to be honest with yourself?

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