Strong feelings are almost always the excuse used by those who behave inappropriately. The abusive mother who strikes her son across the face can always excuse herself, saying “I was angry”. Actually, she was angry at her husband, but she lacks the courage to confront him so she hits her son instead. It may be true that her anger was the source of the blow, but feeling angry and striking a child are not the same thing. The response is arbitrary. Feelings cannot be changed by force of will. How we respond to feelings, however, can be changed by force of will. Any response is learned. With time, effort, and practice we can unlearn negative responses. A father who is upset from a bad day at the office may cool his anger by jogging around the block. Enablers can avoid sabotaging themselves and their families by acknowledging feelings and accurately identifying their source. They are then free to decide on an appropriate response, rather than giving way to an automatic response which may be misplaced and destructive. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
Anger makes you smaller,
while forgiveness forces you
to grow beyond what you are.
To succeed, a relationship must have trust. Without ample trust, anxiety begins. When anxiety gets so strong one can’t stand it, blame arises. Then the great killer of relationships jumps in: BLAME. When we’re angry or upset at someone, blaming is the most common way to vent our feelings. We dump our junk onto on them and often stir up the past. The other person usually responds back the same way. Things escalate from there. It’s not easy, but stating feelings or complaints without anger, criticizing or accusing is best. The old adage of “counting to ten” before speaking when angry is good advice.
If you get upset when the toast burns,
what are you going to do
when your house burns down?
In the past I used anger as a way of pushing people away. Anyone I focused my angst on rarely knew what hit them. I never physically abused anyone, I just bellowed. To control people and keep them from getting too close I “scared them off” intentionally. Today I know my behavior came primarily from stuffed feelings about unresolved childhood issues I had buried deeply, but was still upset about. Once I was able to get a clear view of my behavior, working past it became doable. Questioning one’s behavior is often where getting better begins.
Anger is fear turned inside out.