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Questions about dealing with anger

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by ghostdeer, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. ghostdeer

    ghostdeer New Member

    I've been reading Freedom From Fibromyalgia by Nancy Selfridge and Franklynn Peterson, and I just finished reading the chapter on anger. I was hoping it would clear some things up for me, but I actually feel even more confused than before. At one point in the chapter, they say this:

    "What's the absolute number one best way to avoid storing up anger? Get angry! Get assertive! Interact!"

    Four pages later, under the heading "Change the way you think when you're angry," they say:

    "Instead of telling yourself, 'It's the most awful thing ever,' 'It's humiliating,' or 'I get all the blame,' use less damaging expressions like, 'It's frustrating,' 'It's silly,' or 'Getting angry will only make it worse.'"

    So...which is it? To get angry or not to get angry?

    It's especially confusing because I've been going over whether or not I should express my anger at someone in particular that I live with. About a year ago, he went to rehab after about ten years of alcoholism, and he asked me recently if I have things I want to say to him about it. Another family member talked to him about their perspective, and it seems like the conversation went well for them, but I don't feel comfortable doing the same. I have plenty of anger towards him stored up over the years, but I don't trust that he'll listen to me or change his actions, so I feel like trying to talk to him would just be a miserable experience with no payoff. Then again, journaling and meditation hasn't done anything for my anger so far, so maybe I need to do something like that for myself? I can't decide.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi ghostdeer,

    I agree the passages you quote seem contradictory or confusing.

    I would edit to say this:
    "Instead of telling yourself, 'It's the most awful thing ever,' 'It's humiliating,' or 'I get all the blame,' use less damaging expressions like, 'It's frustrating,' I'm angry. I'm mad, and that's OK.

    Not having read the book, but thinking I am getting the drift: Those first statements keep us entangled in the "other," rather than bringing the focus back to purely experiencing our anger. Blame, feeling put upon, even feeling like a victim can be helpful to follow so that you can feel the anger. But if we stay in those "relationship" entanglements, we are subtlety staying in frustration and making it about the other.

    Anger can have a cleansing effect, if there are no entanglements, or justifications for the anger. "So what? I'm angry. I am feeling anger in my body." This is the path to knowing when we're angry and making space for it, honoring it ----without lingering in it or wanting someone else to take it away from us by their action. It can become clean, honest anger. Yes, there will always be the other whom triggers it, or circumstances which might stimulate it, but they are secondary to the purity of our anger.

    About the relationship situation, and your anger from past experiences:
    --You may not really need to speak to this person in order for you to express your true feelings. Maybe you will, or maybe you won't, but start by
    ---You might journal directly to this person with a letter expressing your true feelings. Maybe more than once.
    --You might journal both to this person from your perspective, and answer as the other person --a sort of Gestalt.

    If you ever feel possibly ready to express directly in conversation, prepare with this person by expressing your feelings that you're afraid you'll get in an argument, or that this person won't listen.
    --If you do the conversation, make very clear parameters going in. "I'll talk for 8 minutes with a timer, then you get 8 minutes while I listen without interruption. When we're done, we agree to not bring this up until we find another safe 'container' like this." Something like this so that you have created agreed upon boundaries around the conversation.

    Giving this person a chance to make amends is a deep gift to them, and there is no way you're obligated to do this, no matter how they pressure you, if you don't feel very ready.

    Balsa11 likes this.
  3. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    My two cents.
    Very angry, enraged and enfuriated people are in the "ideal state" of committing the worse actions we could imagine.
    Recently Robert Aaron Long "lost his control" and killed eight people in Atlanta. Awful consequences of his extreme, unbearable rage.
    Some overprotective and hypervigilant brains (not Robert's brain, sadly!) work desperately for avoding the transition of our cumulated repressed rage from the unconscious mind to the conscious mind.
    The clue is: feeling all our rage without fearing of acting in consequence !
    To lose fear of pain is necessary (your entire body is OK!), but not sufficient. In the second place you have to lose your more elusive fear of being very enraged.
    For the "good people" the physical, explosive, unsocial, violent expression of his/her rage is almost impossible. And the full guarantee of being such a "good people" is being plagued with TMS pain and equivalents.
    Some kind of catch-22 ?
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  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I might be able to give you some perspective because I have TMS and am a recovered alcoholic via the twelve steps.

    IF he is truly working the twelve steps, he might want to make amends. In the process of making amends, the offender (e.g. the alcoholic i.e. ME) is only supposed to make that amends IF we are ready to quote 'Take the bit in our teeth'. Like a Horse. That means , we are to approach the person we have harmed with a true humility that only comes from our absolute dependence on God and that means we are there to lay out OUR offenses only. Then to Shut up and really listen to how our drinking and actions harmed the other person. We then literally put ourselves at their mercy and ask what we can do to set the matter right.
    That is called the 'condition' of an amends. The amends is NOT complete until any conditions are met. We are never to criticize or condemn the people to whom we are making the amends. There are very clear instruction about this in the Big Book.

    I have made amends to people who have done pretty sick things to me, but when I went through the process I was there to clean off my side of the street, not to quote "

    But, That might be a soft check to see if you are willing to listen to his amends .We are never supposed to cause FURTHER injury in the quest to clear up the past, and that means pestering someone to listen to our amends. It is supposed to be genuine and one sided. When I approached my ex-wife, she broke down crying (for the first time ever) and told me to fuck off..... that nothing I could say or do would erase her pain. I have met that condition by being as invisible in her life as possible. I have always helped her whenever she has asked for it.....that's the best I can do there.
    Conditions of other amends have included money being paid, staying off or out of certain places and all sorts of other peculiar conditions. I harmed quite a few people.

    Now... regardless of THAT deal, I will tell you as a former pain sufferer and alcoholic ...they were interchangeable.... when I drank and did drugs, the drama prevented me from needing pain as a distraction. Every time I tried to sober up, TMS....or worse, OCD!

    Now that they are gone, I worked through the anger ball by doing BOTH. Sometimes I acted it out and felt it... went and broke stuff, screamed, punched things and had gestalt therapy, and sometimes I just raised my awareness through counseling, writing and letting myself really NOT like someone for awhile. God always gives me little grace periods when I had occasional TMS relapses. Doing Sarno's reconditioning requires thinking some pretty evil thinking.

    Remember; people who write books are selling the same thing we do for each other here for free. They are just passing on information, THEIR viewpoints. Just because they got published doesn't make them anymore true or real.

    We all know what BS means, right? Well.... MS means "More of the Same"
    ...and PhD? "Piled Higher and Deeper"

    signed, Dr. Baseball65
    PhD doctorate in the Drywalling and Plaster sciences
    MS in Projectile trajectory physics
    BS in everything else
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  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    To address our TMS, we only need to be aware that we are angry and to accept that we are a person who gets angry, even at people we love. It is not necessary to express the anger to someone else to recover from TMS. We just have to be honest with ourselves about how we feel.

    However, there are reasons related to the nature of our relationships that determine when and where it is wise to express our anger. There would be different issues related to expressing anger to a spouse than to an employer, for example. Timing, intention, and tone are always important considerations.
    Balsa11 and Sita like this.
  6. ghostdeer

    ghostdeer New Member

    Thanks to everyone who responded, and sorry it took me a while to respond. I think I have a better understanding of dealing with anger now.

    FYI though, the person I mentioned hasn't been working the steps. He didn't go to any meetings after rehab (even before Covid), and I got the impression that he was just going through the motions in rehab and not really opening up to anyone. He's still not drinking, but that lack of self-reflection is a big part of the reasons I don't want to talk with him.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  7. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Hi ghostdeer,

    I am going to suggest that you consider a perspective on the relationship between anger and chronic pain, and how to deal with the anger, that might be entirely new to you. It comes from Dr. David Hanscom, who for years was a spine surgeon specializing in salvage work, i.e., fixing botched surgeries done by others. Although he was a successful surgeon, he was in his own abyss of anger-generated chronic pains for many decades but finally recovered fully. He retired from his surgery practice several years ago and since then has devoted full time to mindbody medicine. He is an expert on the neurophysiology of chronic pain.

    Here are links to two short pieces he wrote that are available on a subform of this tms.wiki website called the Mindbody Blogs (was Practioner’s Corner):


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