Check out the following blog from Dr. Cloud's Boundary website:
"Many people conceal their negative feelings of anger, sadness, and fear. These people are unable to cope with good and bad because they have never processed these negative feelings, and they suffer from many problems, such as fear of relationships, depressions, and anxiety as a result. Negative feelings are valid, and they must be dealt with so they won't cause problems.
Anger, our most basic negative emotion, tell us that something is wrong. We tend to protect the good we don't want to lose. Anger is a signal that we are in danger of losing something that matters to us. When people are taught to suppress their anger, they are taught to be out of touch with what matters to them. It is good to feel angry because anger warns us of danger and shows us what needs protecting. But, we are not to be mean or abusive in our attempt to solve a problem. This would mean to resolve it in some unloving way and would ultimately hurt us as well as each other.
Major consequences for denying our angry feelings range all the way from psychophysiological disorders, such as headaches and ulcers, to character disorders, such as passive-aggressions, to the inability to work, to serious depression and panic. Any way you look at it, denying anger keeps one from getting problems solved.
Another problem with denying anger is that it turns into bitterness and leads to a critical and unforgiving spirit. Instead of denying anger, we must own it and find its source. As we examine our anger, we can find out what we are trying to protect. Anger may be protecting an injured vulnerability or a will that was controlled. We may be under condemnation from someone and need to get out from under perfectionism. Whatever the source, anger tells you there is a problem, and it should never be denied.
We may discover that our anger is protecting something bad, such as pride, omnipotence, control or perfectionism. Maybe we feel angry because we are losing control of another person. In either case, if we deny our anger, we can't get to the source. Anger, then, is helpful because it is a sign something is being protected, either good or bad."
If you're ready to get help with your anger, meaning, you're ready to learn what your anger is trying to tell you, I'd love for you to reach out for a free fifteen minute consultation. Let's talk about your concerns and how therapy can help!
- Brittni Harris, LMHC, MCAP, ICADC
Mental Health Therapist in West Palm Beach, Florida
EMDRIA trained EMDR therapist
The video is cute yet powerful. Sometimes we are SO ashamed of our own past, filled with regret, hurt, pain, and shame that we are unable, or WE CHOOSE not to, connect to the regret, hurt, pain, and shame someone else might be struggling with. Why is this a problem? Because we stay at an arm's length from those who desperately need our love and support; and, whose love and support we could also reap benefits from if we'd step out and choose vulnerability. See our defense mechanisms rear their ugly heads to protect us, yet again, AND instead of leaning in to the relationship in front of us we withdraw, deny our own struggle, and "silver lining" the heck out of the other person's situation. This leaves no winners. The other person feels unsupported and unloved and we also have reclused into a protective wall that disconnects us from what we desperately need...CONNECTION. Vulnerability thrives only in authentic, open, and safe relationships. If you want to become a SAFE person you have to look at your own defenses (Where did they come from? What are they trying to protect you from? Is it detrimental to your ability to have true connections with others? And, who can help you understand and overcome these said defenses?) Remember, typically, our defenses helped us survive something. We recognize and give honor to these survival coping strategies; however, if our defense mechanisms are keeping us from having authentic, nurturing relationships, it may be time to ask ourselves some of those above questions. As well as these questions: Do I pull the silver lining card in conversations? What may be going on in my own heart and mind? How have I felt when others pulled the "silver lining" card on me in a conversation? What feelings came up?
In substance abuse recovery, we often see that a client has grown up in an invalidating environment with one or more caregivers. So, present day, it can be triggering when someone is invalidated by someone "silver lining" a situation in a conversation. It can be re-traumatizing to be told essentially to "toughen up", "get over it", or "it's not that bad". Unfortunately, we live in a microwave society where we believe this myth that you "should hurry up and get over a loss, bad news, or some other life altering situation". This mentality simply serves to help others feel "less uncomfortable" by the situation; it doesn't have the person in need of empathy in mind at all. We can be a people filled with empathy and truly show this to those around us but we have to do our own work first. We have to hold the mirror up to ourselves and check in on what defenses we need to let go of and replace with something healthier.
So what do you have to lose by dropping the defenses? (Nothing...except for maybe isolation, disingenuousness, and fear) I encourage you to reach out to a SAFE individual or professional today. Why wait? You're worth it. Your relationships are worth it. There IS hope.