Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dealing with anger

Dealing with Anger:  Anger is something we all have at one point or another.  If someone says they've never gotten angry, they're either lying or they've simply forgotten - thanks to that lovely Lyme effect of memory loss at times.  I hope that my post will help someone reading in how they deal with anger based on how I handle mine.  First I have to say that I don't get angry a lot.  I'm just not an angry person in general.  However there are a few things that press my anger buttons - So I have to know how to channel that and how to control my emotions so that I don't do something I'll regret later. 

The one thing I've found is that anger is like crinkling up a piece of paper.  You can crinkle that thing all up and not tear it, but you can not get that piece of paper to go back to its original shape even if you iron out all the wrinkles - something is left behind from the crinkling (anger).  Crinkling paper for me is a release.  So if I'm extra worried or stressed, I may take some paper and crinkle.  So if you ever come to my house and you see a stack of papers crinkled on my desk, it means I was stressed or worried.  One day a few weeks ago I crinkled a whole notepad of papers.  It was better to damage that paper than to damage a relationship.  I'm sure there are better ways to deal with it, but for me - this is something that works.    You have to find your own way  to release the tension.  For some, it's a stress ball.  For others, it's one of those worry stones.For me, it's paper.





So I have to remember 4 basic things about anger. 
  1. Anger is a human emotion.
  2. Anger hides fear.  What is the fear and deal with it.
  3. Anger can damage relationships.
  4. Resolve the problem, Dissolve the anger, and Let It Go!

Whether online or in person - I try to work through some steps with anger. 

  • Waiting it out.  This is particularly helpful online. If someone does something that makes me angry, I try to wait.   If it made me REALLY angry, I wait for a whole 24 hours before reading it again.  Because chances are, I just read what they wrote wrong. Either I read it entirely wrong because my brain wasn't working right for reading comprehension or I simply read their intentions wrong.  By waiting it out, it stopped me from reacting before I say something I might regret later.
  • Journaling - sometimes it can be helpful to make an "emotions notebook."  There can be patterns.  I know that I'm more likely to take things the wrong way around my cycle.  I try to avoid making decisions and talking to people that I know are likely to set me off during that time of the month.   
  • When responding to someone, make a negative sandwich.  That means - start with a positive and end with a positive and sandwich the negative in the middle.
  • Anger can lead to depression.  Depression is never a good place to be.  I try to never to let a day go by without a smile.  Back in 2008 or 2009, I can't remember when, I made a promise to a friend that I would smile at least once every day whether I meant it or not.  The next year, I made a promise that I'd make at least one other smile daily if I saw people that day.  It has helped tremendously and soon enough I found that I was smiling almost all the time.  It wasn't a forced effort.  Even if we're sick, we can be happy. 
  • If I *must* respond to someone that's made me angry, I try to talk it out and use "I" phrases with calm words (this means no upper case letters in an instant message).  I also try to do this privately.  There is no need to take my anger out on someone else publicly.  It makes the other person look bad, but it also makes me look bad.    9 out of 10 times things can be resolved quickly with an instant message rather than going back and forth publicly.  While hurt can dissolve, trust can never really be regained if there is public humiliation. 

True story that happened recently.  One night someone raked me over the coals publicly.  It was a few people plus a friend that didn't stand up for me.  In my opinion this happened for a couple of reasons - They were angry at their own Lyme Disease and because of that they weren't thinking clearly and took it out on me.  I think they expected me to blow up at them, instead I waited.  I cried.  I got angry quietly.  They hurt me deeply.  I wasn't sure how to respond so I waited and cried some more.  I cry when i get super angry because I don't know if I'm going to make the problem worse by responding or just letting it go. 

I finally responded in a private message to my "friend."   I simply asked why.  And in keeping it simple, we were able to resolve some conflict - which didn't even actually involve me.  What this friend didn't know is that over the past week or two I had stood up for her behind closed doors and I gave her the benefit of the doubt first.  After the public humiliation, she made me question my own philosophies of giving people the benefit of the doubt.    She crinkled up our relationship and I will never be able to fully trust her again.  She planted a seed of doubt in my mind because she actively participated in raking me over the coals.

However, I did have a responsibility to help her and the others so I took care of the problem PRIVATELY.  Apparently I'm an innate peace maker.  I want to make peace between two people so bad that I put myself in the middle of it.  The other person felt so badly that she was the trigger for the group's anger on me.  This other person is actually a very good friend of mine and never would have done anything to intentionally cause me pain. 


Many people would have exploded to the people in a public way the way that these people did about me, but I'm not many people.  It may have looked like I wasn't standing up for myself, but I was standing up for myself.  I was just doing it privately -  I never got an apology from one person, the second person is acting like something never happened and the third told me she realized the mistakes she made.  However - Anger has damaged this relationship.  It will never be the same just like the pile of note pad paper that incident caused me to ruin.     




Bottom line is - When something is upsetting you, try to take care of it privately.  Don't go out of your way to make the other person look bad because in the end you make yourself look  bad.




So remember these thing - and I highlighted the two most important things:


  1. Anger is a human emotion.
  2. Anger hides fear.  What is the fear and deal with it.
  3. Anger can damage relationships.
  4. Resolve the problem, Dissolve the anger, and Let It Go!

2 comments:

Jamie Lynn said...

Very relatable blog entry on anger! Before having Lyme I never had experienced such anger but if a few good things came from Lyme, which they have, I have learned how to cope with my emotions!

Jamie Lynn said...

This was a great entry on anger. Before dealing with Lyme I never would have accurately been able to deal with emotions properly, but I am slowly navigating my way around this confusing Lyme world. With that being said, anger was one of the first emotions I had to learn to control and address. Your blog is very well spoken.