Suggestions on dealing with anger?

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Sapling

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Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« on: July 20, 2021, 12:40:53 PM »
Does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions/strategies for dealing with the anger that comes after the boundaries are in place and the PD/s do not have as much access to you? (I do have a T I can talk to about this but I am only seeing her once a month at the moment and I'm struggling with this).

I have been finding it difficult, after reducing contact with uPD sibling and friends to cope with anger. It is not only about them. I think it is also anger that comes being raised in my FOO where my dad was a rage-aholic and this was one of the few acceptable feelings we were allowed at home. Growing up I had a major case of the fleas and mimicked his anger a lot. I'm sorry to say it is a bit of a go-to emotion for me.

One of my major triggers is when people give me cliched advice or repeat status quo thinking. This type of thing doesn't necessarily make them a bad person and they may well have my best intentions at heart. But I react disproportionately, am triggered and angry for days- sometimes weeks- afterwards, and then feel shamed for not having more patience and not being able to brush it off. That's just one example, but I have other triggers too and wonder if anyone else has had experience or can recommend any resources for dealing with anger in a healthy way?

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D.

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2021, 01:04:09 PM »
I think acknowledging your trigger and the challenge, then writing about it here seems like one healthy option you are practicing already.  As I am learning healthier ways to release anger like mentioned I find it does often need to be physical and intentional.  For me housekeeping works, or walking or music that mimics my emotion.  I noticed my partner releases frustration through gardening or wood work.  One time he found a project requiring hammering.   I know some people who like to shoot hoops, run, jump rope, etc.  Since we didn't learn these healthy releases as children we have to learn now.  And like you are doing here thinking ahead of time of what you will try next time you are angry to be prepared. 

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Coyote23

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2021, 03:30:15 PM »
Wow, this resonates! I used to wake up at 4 am and ruminate on the same kind of thing, as well as real or perceived rejections of me. I think that things began to change for me once I rearranged my life to minimize the external stressors. Then I was able to work on sleep. Then I had more time to evaluate what I was giving my attention to. From there I got some hobbies and started exercising a lot more. I think it all had a holistic effect where I was eliminating sources of anger where I could (for you—can you limit exposure to bad advice and platitudes? Maybe you could only talk about those topics with people who see and respect you?) as well as dealing with anger that came up (with the distraction of my hobby or the release with the exercise.) Exercise works really fast and efficiently to change your mental state. The anger might be a long term issue, but these little tweaks can help you manage the effects it has on you.

I hope this helps!!!

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Sapling

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2021, 07:55:08 AM »
Thank you D. The only healthy thing I could think of (that did not involve ranting to a friend) was to post on here. I like the idea of throwing myself into a household project and taking my mind off the trigger. Unfortunately lockdown has cut out a lot of my favourite physical activities like swimming and going to dance class or the gym. It's all been shut down and, even though I take a long walk everyday, it's not the same.

Coyote23, I can really relate to what you're saying! I also used to wake up at 3am or 4am in the morning because my mind had been hijacked by something that made me mad or worried me. I am trying to minimize external stressors too but things like platitudes seem to be pretty pervasive and not that easy to avoid. I find it hard to strike the right balance between being an authentic person and not oversharing with people who don;t see and respect me. I want to be open with people but, as everyone on here knows, sometimes people have other agendas with what you tell them. I also don't think I'm getting as much exercise as I'd like to during lockdown but I have noticed that having a hobby- in my case playing piano really badly :) - has helped in the holistic way you describe. Your suggestions make me feel like I'm on the right track but perhaps need a bit more tweaking. Thank you so much for your response.

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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2021, 12:38:35 PM »
Hi Sapling and others,

Wow this resonates for me as well. Like you said about when people give us cliches or status quo "advice"... it is infuriating!

My "solution" after realizing how often this was happening was to stop telling people about my NC process.

A lot of them did this thing that now has a name! Toxic positivity. I felt it was awful to get hit with that crap. After telling someone what we are working on and recovering from they hit us with some nonsense that has nothing to do with us.

Dealing with anger in a healthy way.... I think you are doing that by not denying it. Hopefully your T also recognizes anger as a valuable emotion for recovery and healing.

What I've learned is that most people I know do not know what to do with any of the info I could tell them - about my FOO and going NC and PDs in general. I stick to other topics with these folks.

As you can see from this forum - people who are ootf get it - but a lot of people just say those status quo things that don't help and actually just make us feel bad again.

Give yourself permission to take breaks from things that trigger anger. I think it is wise to find a project to focus on and work on. It can be anything that engages our senses in a good way. And Posting here helped me a lot when I felt all the anger about the PDs in my life.

Trees

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hhaw

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2021, 06:10:20 AM »
Hi, Sapling:

My trauma informed T said anger passes in 90 seconds if one can focus on other things..
.sensations in the body, what, where, assign adjectives, intensity 1-10..... breathe into the body sensation then check anger. 

I can't say I go through this ritual with any consistency, but I do remember 90 seconds.....I just have to focus on something else for 90 seconds.

What's getting easier is checking body sensations, bc I'm cultivating curiosity in everything...attempting to move out of judgment of any kind.  Curiosity helps me maintain observer mode or shift back into it if I lost it.

It's always shifting, I have no expectations of control, so I practice being aware of my inner world in order to better manage thoughts before reactivity pops up. 

This helps cultivate a second or 2 for me to SEE choice.....to be responsive rather than reactive which is really a biochemical hijack where our fight or flight survival brain takes over and higher functions of frontal cortex shut down.

There's no thinking my way out of fight or flight.  I've learned I have to sneak up under it, with breathing techniques, tricks like pushing as hard as I can on walls, bc fight or flight survival brain NEEDS to act, bc my brain is reacting to a threat as real as a tiger in those moments.  Survival brain takes me back into old reactivity to old unprocessed trauma bouncing around my brain until I calm myself, which is the sneaking up underneath with wire cutters/breathing/noticing body sensations/sights and sounds around me/smells/ feeling spaciousness around me, under, above, beside me and into the heavens.

A really helpful action was to locate the tension in my chest and breathe spaciousness into and around it.  I pictured pink cotton candy, which helped make and hold the space which, amazingly to me, remained and hasn't changed.

The key, as I understand it, is to keep calming ourselves in order to engage our frontal cortex responsible for logic, problem solving and creativity.  We do this by engaging our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS) which is responsible for shutting off our fight or flight survival mode.

If we can revisit the trauma, including the scary body sensations around the trauma, with our integrated whole brain....if we can calm ourselves to bring logic and problem solving skills to bear....our brains process the old trash in a fraction of a second and refile it in historic files so it stops banging around, unresolved, in our brains.

So....90 seconds.  Check the body.  Assign adjectives and intensity....name it.  Put your hands over the pain/tension, etc and breathe into it 10 deep breaths  Check it.  Better?  Same?  If better, breathe into it 10 more breaths and check until it's gone or stops improving.

If it stops proving.....
Find a place in your body you find is neutral.  Shins?  Thigh?  You'll get better at scanning your body as you practice.

And it this goal.....there are some important habits to focus on:
1.  Drop all judgments
2. Extend tsunamis of self compassion to yourself..as though you're an infant, be so very gentle and kind to yourself in thought, word and deed.
3.  Get very curious about what comes up....feelings all belong and are ok to simply notice.  You might wonder what's behind certain feelings and discover surprising things if you remain curious and in observer mode for longer periods.

You're learning to expand your window of tolerance and ability to self soothe and integrate your brain.

Our brains process like computers all day, every day.  It's what they were built to do with efficiency.  It only takes a millisecond to process old trauma and refile in historic files....but we must learn to calm the brain, be kind and curious when we fall short, tend to our feelings without judgment and cultivate calm awareness.....learn to rest gently in awareness so our brains begin to function properly again.

Our brains actually return to time and place of old trauma when we think about it.  It's very real to our brain.... we're there, in the trauma space again.  The brain believes.  Our biochemistry is hijacked and then we're lost until we go back to our toolbox.....
Push on doorjams with all our might...
Locate our pain or tension.....
Put our hands on it....
Name it.  Burning? Throbbing? Dull?
Assign a number of intensity 1-10.
Breathe into the sensation mindfully, tending to it.
Check body sensation.  Better?  Same?

These are tools for calming the brain, taking back one's hijacked biochemistry so one can process it, finally.

Ask what's behind the anger.  Ask gently, with curiosity.  Do not fear your feelings.....even as things feel really hard and scary....as things contract painfully....if you stay with it, things usually expand.  Relief can show up physically like blinds ruffled by the wind  or slide in gently hours later, ime.

The brain only wants a chance....only needs a chance to shift back into processing normally again.  One cultivates habits supporting calming the brain.  One realizes it's a process.  All feelings are ok and they belong.  Safely experiencing them changes everything, ime.

Finding a good trauma informed T changed everything for me.

Good luck,
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2021, 08:39:42 PM »
Thank you, hhaw. Great post!

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Sapling

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2021, 09:33:24 PM »
Thanks so much for your replies!

Treesgrowslowly, I'd completely forgotten there was a word for the kind of thing that triggers me: toxic positivity. Yes, my T definitely recognizes and treats anger as a useful emotion that, for one, gives information about when and where our boundaries have been overstepped. Anger can sometimes go on for days with me and that is when I don't think it's actually productive or useful anymore. Or it can flair up in a disproportionate burst that then takes me a long time to come down from.

hhaw, thank you for your really informative post. I will try more immediate physical solutions like pushing hard against a wall. The calm breathing thing is hard for me because my mind just starts racing as soon as I'm angry- it's all verbal, logical, building an argument for why this thing that's triggered me is wrong or why that person is awful etc etc. So in a sense, I don't fly off the handle when I'm angry and do irrational things or break stuff. I go into debate mode in my head and then that internal monologue lasts for days while the anger remains in the body feeding the monologue like fuel. My T and I have talked about how going into analytical mode is an avoidance of feelings, but this is tough to let go of as it, seems to give me a sense of control. I like how you approach this with "no expectations of control." I think I am a long way off from that tbh.

And this made so much sense to me: "The brain only wants a chance....only needs a chance to shift back into processing normally again.  One cultivates habits supporting calming the brain.  One realizes it's a process.  All feelings are ok and they belong.  Safely experiencing them changes everything, ime." If I can remember that the brain wants to shift back to normal processing, that might help me.

Thank you everyone, for the kind and thoughtful responses.

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blunk

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2021, 10:33:04 AM »
Something that treesgrowslowly wrote really struck me, not necessarily as it relates to PDs, but I hope it is still relevant.

What I've learned is that most people I know do not know what to do with any of the info I could tell them - about my FOO and going NC and PDs in general. I stick to other topics with these folks.

As someone who lost my mom at a young age, I remember feeling so so angry at the platitudes...she's in a batter place, she's watching over you. It just felt so insincere, and that made me angry. What I came to realize is just what you said, most people don't know what to do with the info. They can relate, in that they know what you've gone through must be painful, but that's as far as it goes. They don't know the right thing to say. And that's fair because, really, there may well be no right thing to say. But they still have that feeling of wanting to be helpful. So they say something generic. It's all they have. That's why IMO places like this forum, and the motherless daughters group that I belong to, are so important. Because truly, the only people who can relate in these cases, are people who have suffered the same as we have.

And no, thinking of it in this way doesn't completely stop me from feeling angry, but reminding myself that most people have good intentions in saying those things does help me not to linger in that anger. And yes, as you said, going forward, I choose to discuss other topics with these individuals.

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hhaw

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Re: Suggestions on dealing with anger?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2021, 11:08:40 PM »
Thank you, hhaw. Great post!

Thank  you, Poison Ivy: )

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt