Saturday, August 13, 2011


I have left a book about anger styles and how to manage them in our bathroom.  Yes the bathroom, I figure it's best chance to get a bored person with an anger problem to look at it.  So far I think I have been unsuccessful in getting anyone in the house to read any of it.  It doesn't really help that no one else in the house thinks they have anger issues but hey I'm going to leave it there anyway. 
This book "Letting go of Anger - The eleven most common anger styles and what to do about them." by Ronald T. Potter-Efron and Patricia S. Potter-Efron puts anger styles into three categories - Masked, Explosive and Chronic.  Those are further subdivided into the eleven styles.  It is a really easy read - very clear, concise with straightforward examples and concrete advice.  I find the concrete advise to be severely lacking in most self-help books.
I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone who reads this or to anyone who knows me that I am firmly planted in the Masked Anger category.  I have been known to explode and throw stuff and there are plenty of times when I've wanted to throw stuff.  There is something incredibly satisfying about throwing something that is not meant to be thrown (like not a basketball) somewhere it is not supposed to be thrown (like a basketball court).  Said throwing is that much more satisfying when something gets broken but I digress (as usual).
The Masked Anger category is further divided into - Anger avoidance, Sneaky anger and Anger turned inward all of which are pretty self explanatory and intertwined.  It is always a little weird (someone is reading my mind!), somewhat comforting (I'm not the only one!) and somewhat disappointing (hey what? I'm not unique that way?) and somewhat scary (What? I can change?  No, no, no I can't meaning, with a whiny voice - it's too hard)  to read something where I can so easily recognize myself.
One thing I read which confirmed one of my fears about myself is that the whole anger avoidance thing lets me be a victim, not take responsibility and remain helpless.  Now, the fact that I don't want to take responsibility for decision making (I get some kind of perverse satisfaction out of taking responsibility for my mistakes "See, I am useless") is not new to me but I don't think I ever realized that I kind of like being a victim.  Not a "real" victim of something awful but a self-pity victim like "It's not my fault, it's because ...enter any suitable or ridiculous excuse here...that I didn't...enter whatever task I don't want to do or conversation I don't want to have here."   If I make a decision and things go bad it's entirely my fault because I made a bad decision.  If someone else (usually my poor husband) makes the decision I'm off the hook.  If things go bad and inevitably they do sometimes, I don't blame my husband but I would most certainly berate myself endlessly if it was me. 
I don't know how this relates or even if it does but it brings to mind that any time I ever asked my father for help, he would completely take over the entire project.  It seems pretty clear to me now, that I learned to a) not bother asking for help which invariably led to a less than perfect (horror of horrors!) outcome, b) assume I'm incapable and let someone else take over, or c) not bother and just whine about it.
Wow, having realized that, I don't know what else to say.  I'm totally distracted from the whole anger thing now and my thoughts are all jumbled.  I'm going to have to try to come back to anger another time and the whole father thing is obviously it's own post entirely.  It's probably one of those things that will help in the long run but right now I wish it had not come so clearly and suddenly.

1 comment:

  1. My mom was like your dad. She always said it was just easier to do it herself, not thinking we would want to do it.

    My anger issues have gotten much better, but I think it comes from being able to live alone and thus, less pressure. You seem to have a good understanding of it though.