Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 617049

Shown: posts 1 to 12 of 12. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

When there's no place to focus upset

Posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

Dinah's thread above made me think of this. It seemed to me, on reading what she's going through, that she's got a lot of people and events to be angry at -- but then, it's not their fault, either, so it's hard to know how it's OK to be angry with any of them. Does that make sense?

If not, my own is generally about my mother, or my teachers in jr/sr high school. With my mother, I know I'm angry with things she did, but as soon as I admit that, I start into the whole "but she was so young/she didn't know any better/she had too much to deal with/the same sort of thing was done to her/etc." And then, I have all this emotion built up -- but it feels as though it's blocked, it can't come out in an "I'm angry with my mother for failing me." It turns back on myself, as a sort of "I must be a really terrible person, to want to be angry with my poor mother, since she did the best she could with the resources available to her."

That's really not much clearer, is it? lol Guess no one would mistake me for Ronald Reagan, The Great Communicator, today, huh?

Or when I think of the teachers, I think, "Instead of just saying I was some sort of 'bad seed' child, and sympathizing with my mother, why didn't ANY of them look at my point of view? Maybe think if something was happening TO me? They'd recognize the signs now." (Always followed, of course, by "it's not fair," which just starts a whole different sort of self-reproach going...) But then, of course, I put myself into their places, and I see that they didn't have the sort of training for that sort of thing that teachers get now. I see that they were actually quite young, and no doubt doing the best they could, without the tools to recognize problems in middle class homes. I see that it's really not the teachers' responsibility to recognize signs of abuse. And the end result, again, is that I get into berating myself for being so unfair to them as {horrors} to feel something akin to ANGER.

It's something that we do talk about, a little, in therapy, but I still don't know how it works. What do you do, when you're angry, but you have this pathological need to put yourself into the others' place, and explain/excuse the behavior which makes you angry?

If anyone has any comments or thoughts, I'm eager for them.

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset Racer

Posted by JenStar on March 7, 2006, at 13:41:43

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

hi Racer,
I don't know the answers, but I do get what you're feeling. I have some of the same concerns. In so many, many ways my parents were GREAT, but they didn't recogize signs of serious depression/anxiety disorder in me as a child (but how could they!? They were young. They didn't know. That stuff wasn't common knowledge! They did the best they could.)

There are people who have wronged me, and for most of them, I can look at their behavior and "understand" it, even if I don't condone or forgive it. But it makes it harder to stay angry at them directly, and then I don't know what to do with my anger.

you're right, that leaves you with a huge amount of pent up rage with nowhere to go except inward.

I don't know what the answer is, but you're not alone. (I dn't know if that helps!) I think maybe it's OK to be angry at those people ANYWAY, even if you have understanding for their situation, and even if you love them. Part of you can still be angry at part of them. I suppose anger is the first step to recovery, right? Don't they say that? (I don't know, I'm asking myself too!)

JenStar

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset Racer

Posted by ClearSkies on March 7, 2006, at 13:51:36

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37


>With my mother, I know I'm angry with things she did, but as soon as I admit that, I start into the whole "but she was so young/she didn't know any better/she had too much to deal with/the same sort of thing was done to her/etc."

When it comes to how I feel about my mom and what she's done, or didn't do, I have quickly followed up my comments about my anger with the explanations of why she acted the way she did.
It has the effect of diffusing my anger and making it impotent. When I look at those "reasons" closer, though, they don't stand up to much scrutiny.
the sequence for me has been:

I get angry at how my mom acted.
I spring to her defense for her actions.
My anger loses its validity.
I am still upsert and now feel guilty for having those feelings since mom was <so young> <so misinformed> <so isolated> <repeating what was done to her>.

When I look closely at those explanations I quickly offer up for my mom's defense, they don't really hold water. She wasn't that young, really. She had all the information she needed if she had asked for it. She actually isolated herself out of choice. She had the ability to *not* repeat what had happened to her. All my defenses eventually crumbled under my own scrutiny. What I am left with was my anger, which I can express in all its validity. I can protect myself from being further hurt by her.
This is the process that I've gone through and it has helped me resolve my feelings towards my mom.

CS

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset

Posted by Poet on March 7, 2006, at 14:23:05

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

Hi Racer,

When there's no place to focus, I turn it all inward and blame myself.

<< I have all this emotion built up -- but it feels as though it's blocked, it can't come out "I'm angry with my mother for failing me."

My problem is that anger builds up until I do explode and generally take all the anger out on the wrong person. My mother would never get how her ignoring an obvous and coddling my abusive brother damaged me.

My T tries to get me to talk to myself at different ages. You're 12 what would you say to yourself knowing what you know as an adult. What would you say to the adults who ignored or were ignorant of your situation?

By the way I hate role playing, so I have to look at it as writing a screenplay. Too bad the title Mommy Dearest is all ready taken.

I'll try to come up with other things. I'm at work and afraid I'll get caught on babble.

Poet

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset Racer

Posted by sleepygirl on March 7, 2006, at 14:56:57

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

Good question, really good question. I tend to try to understand everyone's perspective too...it's realistic I guess to know that people are limited, bound by their own experiences and understanding, all that
It's hard to be angry at someone you love - of course you can be angry, but (for me) that darn guilt creeps up along side it, and then I don't know who to be angry at.There's always a "but", if you know what I mean... "but" they didn't understand, "but" they did the best they could....
well yeah, I guess that might be true, but for a helpless child in pain it doesn't do much
I guess anger then finds a place to go, misdirected, but somewhere, anywhere not to feel that horrible helpless feeling
This is a big topic isn't it?
I could go on and on. In my experience people have been terribly disappointing (not all of them, but a lot), and I wish someone could have had some good and decent sense.
I guess I don't have a clue so I'll read what others wrote now. ;-)

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset

Posted by Daisym on March 7, 2006, at 18:21:22

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

You aren't going to like my answer...

Why do we have to "do" anything with anger? I'm thinking that it is a feeling like other feeling that we learn to tolerate and titrate and let go. There is nothing wrong with understanding another person's reasons or position on something, even if we disagree with them or conclude that they elected to do the wrong thing or made bad choices. Understanding something doesn't eliminate anger. Also, being angry doesn't mean that you are now as bad or worse than the person who did whatever it was that made you angry. Anger is a response. We learn to control our responses and act them out in appropriate ways.

I think part of our task is to just allow ourselves to seethe. To feel anger in its intensity, to clench our jaw, frown with our whole face and even cry those angry tears. Perhaps we learn how to express our anger without giving it away. Words can be powerful. Maybe we learn to say, "Man, I'm so p*ss*d off at you!" and then stop talking. We don't have to prove that we have a reason good enough to be mad about. We just are. And I think the hardest thing we have to learn (I haven't yet) is to accept an apology and still allow ourselves to be mad. "Yes, I know you are sorry but I'm still angry right now." And leave it at that. This is really hard for me because I feel like if I can't immediately get over being angry, I'm something horrible: a grudge holder, a b*tch, a whiner, you name it...

Second to just letting yourself feel anger, it seems healthy to physically discharge it. Walk it off, run it off, box, hit fences or break dishes. Don't hurt anyone, but work to physically exhaust yourself. This might give "words" to this feeling that is very uncomfortable.

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset Racer

Posted by Dinah on March 7, 2006, at 18:54:43

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

I think I always manage to direct anger even towards those who don't deserve it. :) But then it just feels too bad to sustain it. It hurts less to direct it towards myself.

Darned if I know why, since anger was the language of my home of origin.

I think there is some general pressure put on "good girls" to be compassionate and understanding and reasonable, and in some ways not to get angry at all.

Not in my house though.

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset Racer

Posted by fallsfall on March 7, 2006, at 20:25:51

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

I would like to say something brilliant, but I don't know anything brilliant to say.

Your dilemma makes so much sense. It is one of those paradoxes - trying to hold both the anger and the forgiveness at the same time. But your anger is justified. Just because they have excuses doesn't mean that they didn't hurt you.

I don't know the answer, but I sympathize with the problem.

 

That sounds brilliant to me. (thanks) (nm) fallsfall

Posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 21:25:22

In reply to Re: When there's no place to focus upset Racer, posted by fallsfall on March 7, 2006, at 20:25:51

 

Lots to think about...

Posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 21:30:13

In reply to Re: When there's no place to focus upset Racer, posted by fallsfall on March 7, 2006, at 20:25:51

One of my mother's favorite lines was always, "To understand all is to forgive all." Any time I was upset -- let alone angry -- she'd trot that out, and either tell me what the other person must have been feeling, or ask me to tell her what I thought it might have been. It's only in the past couple of years that I've realized that I really don't know how to validate my own anger or hurt. (That's something I realize I didn't include above. It's not just anger, it's also hurt feelings.)

For many years, in therapy way back when, I would try so hard to be cool, and reasonable. (And the therapist I saw then never called me on it. Huh.) It's only now that I'm trying to learn to feel it, accept it, and express it.

And Daisy? You know you're right, about say it and don't try to explain it? Because I do. I still have my aunt's voice in my head, telling me I am not allowed to be upset if I can't explain why. I can't be hurt if I can't explain why something would cause damage. I can't be angry, because I can't explain why.

Gotta get an InternalVoiceEctomy...

 

Re: Lots to think about...

Posted by pegasus on March 8, 2006, at 9:12:14

In reply to Lots to think about..., posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 21:30:13

I'm sorry to be late to the discussion here. But I have to respond because I really struggle with this also. It's so painful, and it's led to a lot of my unhelpful behaviors and thoughts about myself. How can you be angry at someone who is doing the best they could, and just incidentally hurt you without meaning to?

What my Ts have said (I still can't really internalize it) is this:

1) Anger is a defensive response to being hurt or being afraid. So, it's sort of a secondary emotion. When we're angry, theoretically it might help to ask ourselves what hurt us, or what we are afraid of. Then we can deal more directly with the root, instead of grappling only with the anger.

2) It is OK to be angry, even if the other person had good reasons for their behavior. Similar to what falls and Daisy were saying. If what they did hurt you, or made you afraid, then it's natural and totally OK to feel angry. Their having a good reason doesn't make your response somehow wrong.

Of course, when these emotions come up, I usually don't have the resources to remind myself of these things. I wish you better luck with this issue than I've had.

peg

 

Re: When there's no place to focus upset

Posted by B2chica on March 8, 2006, at 10:39:10

In reply to When there's no place to focus upset, posted by Racer on March 7, 2006, at 13:20:37

little late but had to chime in:

>>"I'm angry with my mother for failing me." It turns back on myself, as a sort of "I must be a really terrible person, to want to be angry with my poor mother, since she did the best she could with the resources available to her."

that is EXACTLY how i feel about my mother!! i start trying to get mad and i turn it around too! i thought i was the only one that did such stuff.
i like clearskies sequence, i echo that.

part of it too is that i was basically raised to be submissive, and in doing so i put blame on myself not others. my 'mother's' words echo...'shame on you', you asked for it, god will get you for that, why did you let him do that....etc.


This is the end of the thread.


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Psychology | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, bob@dr-bob.org

Script revised: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.