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healthbound

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I'm having a difficult time awknowledging and just voicing my anger towards my father. When I do get in touch with how angry I am, I feel it only for a brief moment and then it goes away. When it's there, it's intense though.

When my therapist asked me why I thought I was having a hard time experiencing my anger, I didn't know. The only thing I could really think of was "because I'm not supposed to".

Has anyone had similar experiences with anger? I feel somewhat new to feeling this emotion in the way that my therapist is suggesting (ie: actually feel it, awknowledge it and direct it where it belongs).
 

ThatLady

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Absolutely, healthbound! The ability to express anger and discontent was one of the most difficult things for me to learn. I, too, was taught that one did not do that. In my family, it was considered rude. It took me a long time, and a lot of hard work, to learn that I had a right to feel angry and to express that anger in a productive way. I don't go around beating up on people or things, but I can sure deliver a tongue-lashing when one is due. ;)
 

healthbound

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Hahaha. I used to be aggressive when I was a teenager. Then I was sort of an activist in my early twenties. Then I just didn't feel anger anymore.

It's a strange process.

I now realize that I direct any anger I have towards myself in very distructive ways. I'd like to direct my anger where it belongs. And I'd also like to dump some of my "old" anger off very soon cause I don't like carrying it with me anymore.

I've intended to write down some of my feelings towards my dad several times over the past few weeks, but am finding it very challenging. It's very good to know that this is somewhat normal :)
 

Halo

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HB

You bring up a good topic here....anger. I had some psychological testing done recently and it showed that I have a great deal of anger. When I was told that, I thought to myself but I am not angry at all....then I thought a little harder and all these things that have happened that I have been carrying around for years popped into my head and as usual I thought well I shouldn't be angry.....shouldn't being the word that I emphasized to myself. Who says that I shouldn't be angry....I can be angry all I want as it is my feeling. Now I just need to learn how to express it without taking it out on myself in destructive ways which I am sure that I will get to in therapy in due time.

I just wanted to say that I can relate to the feeling of being angry and not showing or acknowledging it.

Good luck with the writings and remember to take it slow so that the overwhelming feelings and thoughts don't come flooding at you (can you tell that I am speaking from experience here :D)

Take care
:hug:
 

Daniel

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My 2 cents: Just like there is "positive" stress and "negative" stress, I would think there is "positive" anger (one that is constructive or with survival value) and "negative" anger. The anger at Tom Cruise's statements about antidepressants could be an example of positive, constructive anger.
 

healthbound

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Good luck with the writings and remember to take it slow so that the overwhelming feelings and thoughts don't come flooding at you
Excellent advice!! AND I think this is actually one of the reasons I'm afraid to express my anger ---I wonder if it will quickly become overwhelming.

I remember feeling similar when I was getting back in touch with my emotions. I was scared to cry because I thought I might not be able to stop and that I would become totally enveloped by my sadness.

One of the things that I was (and still am) extremely sad about was the death of my sister. One of the psychiatrists I saw suggested that I write memories about her everyday for only 10mins a day. No more and no less. Just 10 mins. I think his suggestion was intended to do 2 things...1) to connect me with my sadness and 2) to do it in a balanced and non-overwhelming way.

I struggled with the exercise, but in some ways that doesn’t matter because the times I did do the writings, I really experienced and began to understand that my sadness is fluid. It is not permanent and it always dissipates with time.

Maybe it's the same with anger.

I would think there is "positive" anger (one that is constructive or with survival value) and "negative" anger.
Totally --- and I think I struggle with what's what. I've recently realized that I don't really know what's appropriate when it comes to expressing or even allowing myself to experience anger. I don't know what's healthy and what's not (or what's positive and what's negative).

I've seen extremely explosive and unpredictable anger. I've experienced a lot of silent anger. Manipulation, power/control, spite and revengeful anger.

But, assuming I want to express anger in a healthy way, what do I do? I can assume that I'd "own" my emotion, take responsibility for it and not judge it as right or wrong. But, do I just feel it...or do I yell or hit a pillow or simply state, "I'm angry"?

Sadness can be physically expressed with tears. Is anger through volume of voice? It seems to be connected with yelling or some sort of physical force.

Hahaha....it still amazes me that I have so many questions and confusion about some of the most seemingly simple things in life. Like, how to express a universal emotion. Oh well. If my perceptions are anywhere near accurate, it seems like A LOT of people struggle with anger!
 

ThatLady

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For me, expressing anger does not require raising the volume of my voice. It also doesn't require any kind of physical force. It simply requires stating how I feel, what I intend to tolerate and what I don't intend to tolerate.

I don't think rational people get angry just for the heck of it. Something has to engender their anger. Usually, it's an unkind comment or act. There's certainly nothing wrong with being angered by such things. Heck, you should be angered by them. Decency involves avoiding being unkind to others.

We have a right to be treated with decency and respect. Anyone who treats us otherwise needs to realize that it's unacceptable to do so. It's not necessary to scream at them, or to react in a physical way. In fact, I normally find that my tone of voice becomes quieter and more distinct if I'm angered. I feel I make myself most clear that way. I also tend to make and hold eye contact to ensure that the person I feel has stepped out of line knows that they do not intimidate me with their behavior.
 

healthbound

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I also tend to make and hold eye contact to ensure that the person I feel has stepped out of line knows that they do not intimidate me with their behavior.

It's interesting to me that anger seems to be more of an indication that our rights or boundaries have been crossed (when compared to other emotions). Like, if I acknowledged my anger, I'd probably be better able to 'take care' of myself because my anger would be my queue that something isn't right. Instead of ignoring it, I could just deal with it on the spot.

Heh...even writing that last sentence, I experienced a bit of fear. I imagined myself visiting my dad and acknowledging my anger...and then trying to deal with it. Ya, right. My dad would think I've lost my crackers.

Maybe sometimes, it's better to silently acknowledge it. I don't feel like I have any rights when I'm around him. It's not a blatant "rule" at all though...I just 'know' (or perceive?) that it's not appropriate for me to want or need or create my own dynamic or space.

Hm. Odd. I wonder if that is in fact the way it truly is, or if I'm distorted with that perception.

I know that anytime I try to talk about me or my needs, it's made into a joke. That I DO know. I'm selfish, or too sensitive, or too emotional. They have a certain way that they feel they need to see or experience me. And anything beyond that isn't recognized anyway. Seems strange.

But, that's one thing I feel angry about AND have a difficult time accepting. I spent years trying to "prove" that I was a successful, independent, intelligent, hard working over achiever. And even with my 'successes', I was still perceived in a certain light. Albeit, I'm sure they were happier with me when I was successful (rather than on medical leave), but they never believed my success. They always insinuated that I had somehow scammed my way into it. Or that I was blowing it out of proportion and I hadn't really achieved what I achieved.

I'll never forget my dad's wife telling me how surprised my dad was when I had invited them to something where they met the staff I was managing. These staff were also his definition of successful (pro athlete, past Olympian etc) and apparently when they met my dad they all positively commented on me as a person and a manager. My dad's wife explained how surprised my dad was to hear all that...that I managed them, they were productive AND they liked me. She told me that she responded to him by saying, "Well, DUH" and she said she couldn't believe he would be surprised. I wasn't surprised about it though...it's the same message I've been receiving for a long time. And one that I'm sick of adopting.

Anyhoooo....the point is that no matter WHAT I do...it's not going to catch the kind of attention that I seek from him. The attention I've received from him has either been via put downs or extremely inappropriate.

I may never matter to him in the way that I wish I did. And so, I might as well just be myself. And maybe soon, I'll get to the point where I can even feel and express my self around him too. Or maybe I'll just chose to acknowledge my feelings, but not act on them or assert myself as it won't make a damn bit of difference anyway.

But, I would like to somehow make sense of myself and maintain myself at least to myself. Hahaha...lottah myself.

Does any of this make sense? I'm just trying to work through some of my confusion.
 

healthbound

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I know that anytime I try to talk about me or my needs, it's made into a joke. That I DO know. I'm selfish, or too sensitive, or too emotional. They have a certain way that they feel they need to see or experience me. And anything beyond that isn't recognized anyway. Seems strange.
Or, here's a radical afterthought...

What if I AM emotional or sensative? What if I'm even selfish (although I do have a hard time with that one)? Who cares?!?!? Wouldn't I still be worthy of love and acceptance anyway?!?!

Bahh, I guess it goes back to the fact that I'm not gonna get it. So, it's best to accept these limitations, somehow make sense of them and move forward.
 
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It makes sense to me. I can relate in a lot of ways. My heart just goes out to you trying to figure this out.

Anyhoooo....the point is that no matter WHAT I do...it's not going to catch the kind of attention that I seek from him.

I think this is true and it has nothing to do with you. If you were a totally different person he would still be this way.

You are worthy of love and acceptance, and that is especially true of your parents who should love and accept you anyway. It sounds like he never approves of anything.

I guess it goes back to the fact that I'm not gonna get it. So, it's best to accept these limitations, somehow make sense of them and move forward.

And that's the hard part I think. Finding some way to accept things and let it all go, what you want from him, need from him and should have gotten from him. I think it's sad, tragic even, that it has to be this way. And I'm not sure how to get to the point where it won't matter so much, won't hurt so much, won't cause these feelings to well up inside that you struggle with. But I think it can be done somehow. It sounds like you're exploring this with your therapist. I hope that can help with this process.
 

foghlaim

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Hi HB..
1st yes it does make sense..:)

Reading thru the post above.. it occured to me (maybe wrongly ok) that some ppl can't handle the success of others and the only reaction they can come up with is to do as your parents have done.. it's like a jealousy on their part... making remarks such as above..is (to me) showing how inadaquate they are in reality in their inability to accept what is in front of their eyes.

I might as well just be myself. And maybe soon, I'll get to the point where I can even feel and express my self around him too. Or maybe I'll just chose to acknowledge my feelings, but not act on them or assert myself as it won't make a damn bit of difference anyway.
If you are true to yourself.. HB.. and being yourself is just that.. then what ppl say or do (if negative) is a lot easier to handle. Acknowledging your feelings is good.. as you know..:) acting on them depends on the situation at any given moment in time.

I did assert myself with my father while he was alive.. but it took me along time to realise.. hey wait amin... what gives him the right to say whatever and expect me to take it just because he was my father.. I stood up (or asserted myself) to him as an adult... not as the child i once was.
when he began to see me as an adult in my own right .. well he actually didn't like it.. but that's anther story.. point is... I was me.. an adult and not afraid of any comment he could\would make anymore. I stopped worrying what he may or may not think of me.


...I just 'know' (or perceive?) that it's not appropriate for me to want or need or create my own dynamic or space.
i'd say perceive is the word there.... and i believe that perception isn't right... maybe i should say it wouldn't be right for me..
I definately need my space and will create it,, whether physical or mental anytime i feel it's needed.

don't know if any of this is helpful to you HB.. but you got me thinking on it.. thank you!!

nsa
 

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