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Thread: Anger and sadness

  1. #1

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    Default Anger and sadness

    Hi everyone,

    I started this thread because I heard something interesting today about mental health from a psychologist and I'm wondering what you think.

    The speaker was Dr Jeff Bailey. He was talking about anger management, and said his belief was that anger was a choice - a really bad choice. It's actually part of what he called 'choice therapy'. I'm trying to get my head around this as I really lost it at work yesterday. When I came back and apologised, one person waved their hand in my face (ie talk to the hand, because I'm not listening) and refused to accept it.

    So now I'm looking at my behaviour. I sort of get what Dr Bailey was saying, but I have also heard that anger is a stage of grief. So how can it be a choice in the one instance, and a stage on the other?

    Why I'm thinking about this is that I've been emotionally all over the place. Tears well up instantly any time I hear about something sad (today it was a child that had a stutter so bad he couldn't communicate). I have been hysterically crying at DH last week. I also get really angry really quickly. I'm really worried about myself as I usually don't react this badly. I am also spot bleeding and I'm in the final week of the pill. I went on it because I was bleeding for 2 weeks naturally. Work has been pretty stressful too.



    I'd love to hear what you think...
    Gargy

  2. #2

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    Hey,

    Sorry to hear you are having a tough time. I can't really help, but wanted to post a reply anyway.

    I think though, that anger is not all bad, all of the time. I think there is such a thing as good anger, which actually achieves good, productive results - the kind of anger that is a response to some kind of injustice and gets us fired up to do something about the injustice and work towards change. That kind of anger - well-controlled - has a great purpose in our lives - if we were just apathetic about everything, we would never be motivated to work towards changing something for the better.

    I also think anger handled correctly is not necessarily bad... I think it is important to handle it correctly. I read a book once called "The Other Side of Love" by Gary Chapman which is about handling anger correctly and using it for good and not bad.

    The other thing is, I find it really rude that when you apologised the person didn't want to accept it!! That's really not on! You did a really loving thing to apologise, a really brave thing as well, because often it is very hard to apologise. I think it is really rude that it wasn't accepted.

    Maybe it is the pill causing you to get more upset more easily?? I was VERY emotional on the pill, although I was only on it for a total of 29 days.

    Hope this helps in some way...
    Sending you some ((hugs)),
    Love,
    Michelle

  3. #3

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    Gargy,
    Wish I had a great philosophical answer for you, but I don't.

    I agree with both you and Michelle. How you handle the anger is what makes it a choice, rather than just another necessary and unavoidable part of our emotions.

    I think that anger is really a stage we go through, but I guess the point is what you use that anger for - do you choose to move to the next stage, or stay stuck at the angry phase.

    You did not stay angry, and chose to apologise - wow, that takes a really strong, centred person to do that. To the person who did not accept it - well, they chose to stay stuck at the angry moment and not move on. Their loss. You are definitely the bigger person, and can be proud of yourself.

    One thing this LTTTC group has shown me is that all the emotions that I have had are OK. And instead of beating myself up for feeling jealously, frustration, sadness, anger, etc and then feeling even worse about myself, and beating myself up for beating myself up etc etc - a vicious cycle that Iím sure many can relate to. Now I have learnt to accept each emotion as it comes, and go with it for however long it takes, and then I come out the other side feeling better about myself. My down-in-the-dumps times are much shorter these days and DH and the counsellor are even impressed with my more positive moods.

    Don't be hard on yourself about being teary and emotional. It could be the hormones, it could be just a phase, it could be because you have gone through a huge amount of things in the last few years and you deserve a bit of time to be angry and sad.

    I know I havenít helped you, but I do hope things ease up for you a bit soon.

    Jo

  4. #4

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    Gargy,
    I think there is a difference between anger as a rare response to a particular situation or a particular stress or when you are going through a period of stress or grief and a pattern of responding angrily to situations. The pattern of responding angrily is a choice that can be worked on. Whereas there are not may people who have not responded angrily to a situation at some stage, especially when they are under stress.
    Anger certainly is a stage of grief and in that instance, it is not a choice - it is something that has to be felt to come out the other side.
    hope you are feeling better soon. the hormones from the pill can play havoc with emotions.

  5. #5

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    I'm reading an excellent book called Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr Thomas Gordon who thinks of anger as a secondary emotion. It means that there is always an emotion that preceeds it such as disapointment, embarrasment, frustration... etc etc. Just thought I'd add that in.

  6. #6
    David_R Guest

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    Hi Gargy (and everyone else),

    First of all, I'm sorry to hear that you're having a rough time.

    I thought I'd respond seeing as I wrote a whole chapter on Anger in Swimming Upstream, but also because it was something that we dealt with a lot when we were on IVF. So I've had a look at anger and how it relates to fertility problems.

    When talking to couples having trouble conceiving, I found that anger was actually quite a commonplace reaction. It's quite normal to feel angry at life, the injustice of everyone else doing what you seemingly can't, other people when they say thoughtless things ... even God.

    I know we did. I particularly would get angry after yet another failed IVF cycle (which always seemed to coincide with someone else we knew getting pregnant).

    I don't agree that anger is negative and should be avoided. This whole Partridge Family-style psychology (come on, get happy!) about avoiding all the negative emotions like anger, sadness, disappointment etc is dangerous. It denies a significant part of the human experience and a real part of the healing process. And I found that trying to be happy all the time when you patently aren't can cause more confusion and despair than the actual situation itself.

    Anger is a part of the process. As some others have pointed out, it's not the anger that is the problem, it's what you do with it. It's fine to be angry, to sit back and take stock and decide what you're going to do with it and then work through it and move on. It's not fine to be angry, stay angry and then unload on everyone around you like a mini-Hiroshima.

    Our infertility counsellor - and now my co-author - talks a lot about taking control of these emotions and situations rather than trying to think of them as a choice and avoiding them. Especially when your whole life is seemingly out of your control during a time of fertility issues, taking charge of what you can is important. She even has a list of things you can do to let the emotions out, which is better than denying it's there in the first place or worse, letting it simmer under the surface until that one last straw causes you to explode, damaging everyone around you, or imploding and doing great damage to yourself.

  7. #7

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your responses. I've had a think about it too and I feel that the initial psychologist was also trying to say that anger is there, but what we decide to do with it is the choice.

    I resolved the issue with my friend at work - turns out that she was also frustrated with my manager and my yelling at her was the final straw. Her hand in my face was her way of saying 'I can't deal with this now even if you are apologising'. We're cool again.

    From the beginning of this term/year it has been a horror run. I've had worse years, but I find that I have been highly charged with emotion for the last couple of months. However I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel as things are slowly changing.

    Maybe this was just one of those times that you have to hang on white knuckled and just get through.

    Thanks everyone again.

    Gargy

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