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When I read the latest thread on anger, I thought about the book, The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner. The most important part of the book is essentially the first page where the author says anger is a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being met.
Anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives or anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortably do or give. It may also warn us that others are doing too much for us at the expense or our own competence and growth. Anger signals the necessity for change.
If feeling angry signifies a problem, venting anger does not solve it. Venting anger may serve to maintain and even rigidify the old rules and patterns in a relationship, thus ensuring the change does not occur.
There are different styles of anger:
ƒæ React to anxiety by seeking greater togetherness in a relationship
ƒæ Place a high value on talking things out and expressing feelings and believe others should do the same.
ƒæ Feel rejected and take it personally when someone close to them wants more time and space alone or away from the relationship.
ƒæ Tend to pursue harder and then coldly withdraw when an important person seeks distance.
ƒæ Tend to criticize others who can¡¦t handle feelings or tolerate closeness.
ƒæ Seek emotional distance when stress is high.
ƒæ Consider themselves to be self-reliant problem solvers
ƒæ Have difficulty showing their vulnerable sides.
ƒæ Receive labels such as withholding and emotionally unavailable.
ƒæ Manager anxiety in personal relationships by intensifying work-related projects.
ƒæ May cut off a relationship entirely when things get intense.
ƒæ Open up freely when they are not pushed.
ƒæ Tend to be disorganized
ƒæ Become less competent under stress, thus inviting others to take over.
ƒæ Tend to develop physical or emotional symptoms when stress is high
ƒæ Have difficulty showing strong competent side in others.
ƒæ Know what¡¦s best not only for themselves but for others.
ƒæ Move in quickly to advise, rescue, and take over when stress hits.
ƒæ Have difficulty staying out and allowing others to struggle with their own problems.
ƒæ Avoid worrying about their own personal goals and problems by focusing on others.
ƒæ May be labeled as ¡§always reliable¡¨ or ¡§always together¡¨
ƒæ Respond to anxiety with emotional intensity and fighting.
ƒæ Have a short fuse.
ƒæ Expend high levels of energy trying to change someone who does not want to change.
ƒæ Engage in repetitive cycles of fighting that relieve tension but perpetuate the old pattern.
ƒæ Hold others responsible for one¡¦s own feelings.
ƒæ See others as the sole obstacle to making changes.
I am, an overfunctioner who not only has my own problems, but I take on the problems of others far too often. I seem to avoid my own problems by becoming engrossed in other people¡¦s issues so that I don¡¦t have time to change my patterns. My largest issue right now is not saying yes to other people when I want to say no.
When I say yes, I tend to become resentful because my precious time is being used up. When I get to an ¡§angry state¡¨ I become a distancer/avoider so people won¡¦t ask me to do more things
What is your stress/anger style?