Why So Angry?

August 29, 2010

Someone you know and care about has been treating you very badly. To add insult to injury, they get angry when you criticize them. You think this monster has no conscience, but it may be quite the opposite- it may be a case of a guilty conscience:

Another form of unhealthy type is anger that comes up when you refuse to take responsibility for what you have done wrong. This is anger based on trying to avoid feeling guilt and shame. Shame is a fear-based internal state of feeling unprotected, vulnerable and defenseless. Shame holds the horrifying beliefs of being unworthy and unlovable. Shame conjures up intense painful feelings of mortification due to a fear of being seen as inadequate.

Shame feelings are a threat to the integrity of the self. Unbearable feelings of shame keep you caught in fear of being found out by others. When you are held prisoner by shame, the perceived deficits within yourself are so humiliating that you will go to extreme lengths to hide the flawed self. Like screaming in rage at another person to get them to back off!

Anger can be substituted when you feel guilty and cannot own up to what you have done. Anger can be substituted to avoid the more painful feelings of embarrassment and humiliation. Anger can be “used” to shut down the internal bad feelings of vulnerability and helplessness, as anger is a more comfortable emotion to feel. And it works! Anger can also be “used” to intimidate and force the other person to back off and stop their criticism.

Anger then becomes the prevalent emotion used to avoid feeling bad inside. The habit of shielding your self with the anger defense becomes a learned behavior of self-protection. Anger becomes entrenched as a protective device and you have trouble giving it up. Anger can work to protect you against threat temporarily. But it creates more shame because on some level you recognize that what you are doing is unacceptable. The guilt and shame of habitually angry people keeps growing because they circumvent the bad feelings instead of dealing with them honestly.

Sometimes anger can take the form of blame aka projection:

Anger, and the need to look good to protect the fragile self-esteem, is the basis of macho behavior, bullying and aggression. Denial, repression, projection, and blaming others are defense mechanisms, which help you try to avoid feeling guilt and shame. Blaming another person instead of looking at your own part of the problem is called projection: you spot it, you got it…

… Projections are a defensive mechanism where we ignore what we do not like about ourselves and become upset about that same trait in another. They are the disowned aspect of our personality. Blaming others protect us through distractions and help keep a lid on the terror that knowledge of our dark side might provoke

Projections are warning signals that something is unresolved in your self.

The misuse of anger can originate from something as seemingly harmless as an over-critical parent or as traumatic as sexual abuse/assault. Such experiences create a core feeling of guilt and shame that can last a lifetime if untreated. Feelings that can be exacerbated with further acts of indiscretion, inappropriate anger or potentially self-humiliating behavior. It then becomes a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself. The only way out of this cycle is to release all these negative feelings:

Forgiveness and the firm resolution to stop harmful behavior is the answer to releasing guilt and shame.

The author

The author

One Response to “Why So Angry?”

  1. […] control she had lost years earlier. Ironically, she would accuse all her exes of being controlling. BPs tend to project their undesirable traits onto others. It is less painful than judging […]

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