Therapy: Session #12

Today we spent the whole hour talking about anger. I feel angry very often and above all too intensely and due to totally stupid trivialities (such as: the cereal pack doesn’t open; or people in front of me walk excruciatingly slowly and don’t leave space for me to pass by. So actually fundamental things in life…not!).

Anyway, it took the whole hour to differentiate between some essential things about my anger:

  1. This meaningless (and way too strong) anger about trivialities I tried to describe above. The problem with this is mainly that I am at 10 on a 1-10 scale immediately so I never get just a little annoyed about something like other people do. Also it often happens when I am in a good mood and then I feel like some small thing is ruining my whole day because I feel angry but can’t let it out as I don’t want to be a Rumpeltiltskin and so I keep feeling angry at myself as well.
    The main trigger for this I found in today’s session is impatience. We’ll see how much work I’ll have to put into that.
  2. There are definitely situations where I feel okay with my anger. For example when people say racist or homophobic things and nobody does anything about it. I can get angry about that, I feel right in such moments and I don’t have to suppress anything – when it comes to important values I even allow myself to speak a little too loudly.
  3. Now we get to the difficult point. Because my therapist thinks that anger is totally valid and important whereas I could do without it on the whole. I can see that fun is important because it’s beautiful. Or that we need fear in order to not walk into dangerous situations blindly. But so far I can’t find any reason for anger – after all I am not a Neandertal who needs some aggression for coping with a mammoth for sure 😉 Also I don’t take people who fuss a lot or even are irascible seriously which is exactly why I want to avoid acting in such ways myself.
    But my therapist says that the most important point of anger is that it enables us to set boundaries. And right there we stopped because I started shaking like mad. When my boundaries are crossed I feel disgust and shame and a lot of fear. Also I quickly find an explanation to tell myself why I don’t have the right to feel upset. But anger? Not in the slightest…and according to my therapist that is the actual problem.
    For me the world has always been a place where there’s so much “I have to!” that I never felt there was space for “I need!”, let alone “I want!”: Family, school, jobs with customer contact…I am used to understanding everyone else’s needs but never my own.
    So I guess the goal has to be converting the meaningless anger with cereal packs to a useful one with people who don’t respect my boundaries. Or something like that.

And now I am going to ponder on that for some time…

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