*~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~* It is a most insidious drug which must be administered to others in order to achieve its desired effects for oneself. ~ Marie Winn *~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~*
Post by Vyckie D. Garrison on Apr 15, 2009 22:01:29 GMT -5
29 comments: Laura said... And here we are. Thank you, my friend, for helping me to see that it was normal for me to be angry and that I need not beat my self over the head because of it. And for setting this blog up so we could get our stories (and our anger) out. Laura
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Anonymous said... Tabby/Tat!Anon here. Quick comment about Concerned People on the Internet. Most of us have things that concern us at the drop of a hat, and it's very easy to be Concerned on the Internet.
Don't try to make us happy. If we're hugely emotional, it's because we're sure we have a point--so grab that point and check it for yourself. But not to make anyone happy/unhappy, just because so much emotion could mean it's important. You'll have to decide.
But you can't -make- someone happy. Especially in a case when they're abusers/abused themselves. You're just stuck frantically smacking on band-aids. Live for you.
Practice on us. XD
Sunday, April 05, 2009 aimai said... Vyckie, Just ignore the posts on vaccines. I actually think you won't find many other such contentious issues and its ok to step back from a discussion that is painful if you aren't ready for it. Just let that one lapse if it bugs you.
As for anger, one of the funny things is that although I've experienced as much need to make things nice and to suppress anger as any other woman one of the things that I've noticed is how frightening anger is to men. Its not just the anger that might be directed *at* them that is scary, it is the anger that is directed at other people, or situations, that freaks men out. I notice that my mother, too, doesn't like me to get angry. My theory about this is two fold. One, men fear the anger of their mothers, as they recall it when they were little and felt helpless, and watching their wives become angry reminds them of those anxieties and fears. And two, as mothers we fear the anger of our children because we see their anger at their situation as a failing of ours. We should have made it so that they weren't suffering and didn't need to get angry.
The end result is that even mild anger, or criticism, or inquiry that seems to be leading to anger about an injustice, can be seen as very threatening to the men in our lives and to whatever women we have supporting us. Anger is the first step in a call to justice. Anger is the first step, often, before we start to realize that we *have to act* and yet anger is the most dangerous emotion for a woman to express (in a social sense.)
Its *waaaay* more socially acceptable to be passive aggressive and to say you are "tired" or "depressed" (of course there is a stigma attached to that, too), or too busy, or too uneducated to address certain problems. But get good and mad? People freak out.
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Anonymous said... I started a thread to discuss health issues ~ and almost immediately regretted it because as I've been reading the angry comments from those who feel very strongly that I need to get my kids vaccinated right away, I have been startled by that old feeling of "How can I make this person happy?" I want everything to be okay.
Okay, your comment on that thread had puzzled me and now I think I understand where you're coming from. It's absolutely true you shouldn't base your decision to vaccinate on whether it will make angry commenters happy with you ! Not that any of the commenters are angry with you personally, I think. You show every sign of being a reasonable person and you've even said yourself that vaccination is a topic you plan on thinking about at some point. How could one be angry at that ?
I think people just want to convey that they think it's an important topic, one you should think about for your own sake.
If anger there is (as opposed to passion, as another commenter pointed out), I'd assume it is at those people who promote anti-vaccine propaganda that endanger lives. And same thing with "pro" instead of "anti" for the other side ;-)
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Jadehawk said... oh, we're definitely not directly angry at you! well, I'm not (I am angry at some of the commenters in that thread, because they're being willfully ignorant, but that's different).
when we're angry, it's just because something is very important to us. we all have a right to such anger. at the same time, it's not your responsibility to make anyone less angry. it's just that i specifically feel very passionate about vaccines and i desperately wanted to get the point across of how dangerous not vaccinating can be.
anger and passion are essential parts of life,(ever seen a mothercat whose kittens are in danger? that's pure passion and anger right there) and nobody should be denied the right to feel angry. it's very much like the quote says: if we aren't allowed to get angry, how are we supposed to make things better?
it's actually an accepted theory in social science that demands of politeness and civility are often made by oppressors on the oppressed to make dissent impossible and/or invalidate the causes of the oppressed. remember, there were those tho tut-tutted the suffragettes for being un-ladylike, those who wrote off the civil rights movement as mindless, dangerous rioters etc.
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Charis said... Vyckie,
I think you have hit on one of the most seriously destructive pieces of the whole "good christian wife" myth. I did not have permission to be angry either. No permission from my husband, from the church, from the books, etc. (I do remember getting "permission" from my sister, though when I was beating myself up for having to get really mean, contentious, and angry with my husband to get some basic needs addressed. My sister- whose alcoholic and drug addicted husband has been CLEAN for a few years now- told me "If bitchy is the only thing that works, then by all means use bitchy!")
In the past few days, I have been skimming Gottman's books on marriage. I was fascinated to read (here):
"Embrace Her Anger Much to our surprise, Krokoff and I found that anger and disagreement is not the monster its supposed to be. In fact,... anger is a resource for the long term improvement of the marriage, particularly the wife's anger... ENDQUOTE
Too bad we didn't learn that in church or from the Christian self-help materials! Not sure why the oversight??? Since appropriate anger against injustice is good and Christ-like: "Jesus Was Angry"
Sunday, April 05, 2009 aimai said... A very interesting study came out last year by some psychologists who had been studying married couples for a long time. As I recall they claimed to be able to predict, with a high degree of accuracy, which marriages would fail and which would succeed, longterm, by examining video tapes of how the couples interacted in the course of an argument. The key issue, they said, was not *whether* a couple argued or showed anger but *how* they handled disputes, with what amount of respect for the other person, and with how much humor. The more respect and humor, the better the marriage would do. Not the less anger, but just the more you could balance that with respect and humor and a recognition of mutual worth.
I stayed rigorously away from the vaccine thread because its really an argument about much bigger things--like how the individual family/mother feels about "society" or "science" or "the world" or "god" or "corporations" and only tangentially about the efficacy or otherwise of vaccines. But I think that thread, and all such discussions, would work better with a huge dose of graceful, self deprecating, humor *on all sides* and a realization that if we are going to argue about science we should try to respect the scientific data and realize that there is actually a scientific consensus out there that is (more or less) based on consensus. That consensus is different from the kind we might be used to seeking on religious or personal topics. And by that I mean that for scientific questions we need to ask scientists what they think, and why. And for religious questions we need to ask religious experts what they think, and why. And for questions about family matters we need to inquire into our own hearts and take counsel with our family members. A board's opinion about whether to vaccinate or whether not to vaccinate isn't a good place to model any kind of argument or consesnsus building, or to build any kind of action plan. Each person is coming at the discussion with a different agenda--some are explaining their thought processes, others are explaining why they think a certain action is necessary, still others are just kibbitzing.
Sunday, April 05, 2009 EmK said... I agree with whomever posted on the original thread in which Anger came up, the person who said that marginalized groups' anger is considered unacceptable.
U.S. society pathologizes the anger of women and ethnic minorities. I am both. I am officially "not allowed" to be angry about the injustices I've suffered because of my gender and ethnicity. By "not allowed" I mean that a woman or minority (or both) has only to open their mouth to say "I see a disparity in equality in this arena," before many members of the gender and ethnic "power majority" recoil, shouting, "Your tone is SO ANGRY! [historically fraught word for some ethnicities, particularly Black American men]. So HYSTERICAL [historically fraught word for women]! Why can't you be CALM and LOGICAL [read: like we who have never had our observations thus discounted simply because of our genitals or skintone/ancestors' country of origin]?
The rights movements that have been historically acceptable to the majority society have been those that were couched in non-violence, peace, and passivity. The lunch couter protests, economic boycotts, and religiou-themed rallies of the American civil rights movement have been blessed by the majority society....not so Black Power or other more radical groups.
Cultural Feminism, the brand of feminism popular in the 80s that bought into essentialized gender (and even took it further, canonizing women's assigned gender role), was tolerated (even if dismissively). Radical Feminism, though, is decried by the majority as the "angry" and "hysterical" ravings of "Feminazis" (a term that is pejorative, IMO, to both feminists and to the people who suffered at the hands of REAL NAzis...you know, the people whose goal was genocide, not equality?).
Now, I do agree that violence is never acceptable, no matter how good the cause.
But what about anger? Is Anger the same thing as Violence? I don't think so. The former can be valuable, as others above point out.
I just want to point out that the next time you're in a conversation with someone who had a different life experience to yours, I understand that, in the face of their apparent anger, you might want to recoil and feel threatened or defensive.
But sometimes, it's worthwhile to say, "Wow. I can tell you feel this deeply and that it affects your life deeply. I'm all ears, keep talking."
It can be a big relief to women who are always told to "just smile"--even by strange men in the street harassing them--or to minorities whose anger is feared and minimized to diminish their threat.
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Arietty said... My ex-husband was angry 24 hours a day and I was not allowed to be angry in even the teeniest way ever.
After I was free I was REALLY, really angry. Many people couldn't handle it. The word "bitter" is immediately applied to any woman angry about relationships.
There have been a few occasions with my kids schools where I have been really angry at an injustice or just terrible behavior on the part of a teacher. I've then found out that the teacher has been behaving like that (throwing stuff at kids, ridiculing them) for YEARS. And I've wondered what would happen if a bunch of parents showed up at the school with signs and vented their anger at the school for allowing something to continue for years! I bet there would be changes! But it is seemingly very hard to get people to make their anger public. It is seen as not nice and not the way to deal with things (even though clearly other methods of dealing have been useless).
Anger is important for you and Laura because it's truth telling. It is the response that tells the truth about what happened.
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Sam said... You and Laura have every right to be angry. I was in a controlling marriage and trapped in conservative Seventh Day Adventism.
I've been away from my abuser and my church for a decade now. I still deal with anger from that period in my life. My life gets better the longer away the time is...but it's still a scar that I carry.
I spent my 35th birthday in divorce court. Divorce was the best gift I could give myself. Looking back as a mom, it was also the best gift I could have given my four daughters as well.
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Charis said... Aimai,
That sounds like Gottman (contempt is corrosive to a marriage) The respect you mentioned- must go BOTH ways (per Gottman). There's a pop christian teaching about a wife's obligation to render "unconditional respect". I won't mention the book title, but it really annoyed me- having lived that way for years I know it only enables masculine immaturity and entitlement mentality to continue unchecked.
Your point in your first comment about men being afraid of anger and the roots of that in childish fear of parental anger- I think you hit the nail on the head! I know I was emotionally arrested in some ways by childhood traumas, and I know my husband was too. So, a person in a 50 year old body is responding- in some situations- like a frightened or angry child. Only the temper tantrums of 50 yo men can be dangerous!
In my husband's and my case, our traumas were exposed and grieved in counseling, then began the process of "growing up" which I'm sure is never done, but has reached an acceptable level in about 4 years time.
Sunday, April 05, 2009 an atheist in the bible belt said... When you feel like you need to make us commenters happy, remember: xkcd.com/386/
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Vyckie said... atheist in the bible belt ~ thanks for the laugh ;-)
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Jadehawk said... yeaaahhh...SIWOTI syndrome is very very common among internet denizens
but I can stop anytime I want! No, really, I could, I just don't want to! ;-)
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Anonymous said... Well said Aimai,
I saw a documentary on that study about married couples you referenced. Respect is for sure the key. Right on about the vaccine debate there are many other issues going on there.
Vyckie and Laura: It's ok to be angry. It isn't your job to try and make everyone feel nice, nice, especially us internet folk! We can take it!
Because we are naturally social and relational, we don't like to be thought of as mean. And we don't want to hurt someone's feelings. Cops point out that this can get us killed in certain situations; like getting on an empty elevator with a creep that makes our hair stand on end - just because he might feel bad if we turn and walk away.
Anger at injustice and abuse is a good thing!
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Anonymous said... I sincerely hope you don't need to hear this again, but just in case: Be angry, be bitter if that's how you feel. Use it as motivation to do what is best for YOU and your children right now. If it ever interferes with your ability to be happy or function with your kids, then try to bleed off enough to make sure the bastards don't hold any more of your life than they took already. But, letting go of all of it and trying to pretend it didn't happen will kill your spirit in the end. It sounds like you both had more than enough of that.
Try not to let the nutters on the net hold much of your life either. Some issues seem to draw trolls and lunatics out of the woodwork. They're not worth a whole lot of energy in the end.
Best of luck, and know that most of us are hoping and praying for you both.
Monday, April 06, 2009 Linnea said... I keep trying to formulate my ideas about anger, and I keep giving up. It's a big, complex subject, and some of the things I think about it seem to be contradictory.
First of all, ditto to what was said above about oppressed people not being "allowed" to be angry, or actually not being allowed to express their anger.
Here's what I'm struggling with, though: we have this pop-psychology notion that "venting" anger makes it go away. But experiments show that encouraging people to act out their angry behavior actually makes them angrier. (Google "venting anger experiment" if you want to know more. Here is one article I came up with.)
Several women here have described their ex-husbands as being chronically angry. It may be that since their position allowed them to express anger, they actually became angrier over time. I don't know.
And then, just because acting out anger increases it, that doesn't mean that stuffing your anger will make it go away. So what do you do? I guess the process to strive for is: recognize that you are angry, and move on to action to change the situation that is making you angry. Which is what you, Vyckie and Laura are in the process of doing - hurrah!!
Maybe we should be thinking about the "anger process" - just like grief is a process you have to go through over time. Maybe it's actually an "anger>>resolution" process. Punching a pillow doesn't accomplish anything because it just keeps you stuck in the "anger" mode, and doesn't change the circumstances that made you angry in the first place.
Monday, April 06, 2009 Anonymous said... A good book about anger is "Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion" by Carol Tavris.
Monday, April 06, 2009 Linnea said... Thank you, Anonymous - I think I'll check out that book.
More rambling, if I may: I grew up in a family where people didn't get angry, at least not in a flying-off-the-handle kind of way. When my parents disapproved of something their kids were doing, they did that calm, quiet "We're very disappointed in you" thing. I can remember maybe half-a-dozen instances, when my brothers and I were teenagers, of my parents actually losing their cool and yelling at us. Of course yelling meant it was a major crisis.
In some ways I think this was a good way to grow up. Who can say whether it's nature or nurture (or both), but I myself am pretty unflappable, and I like to think I deal with frustration pretty well. I seem to transition very quickly from "I'm mad about this" to "what can I do about it".
However, my upbringing left me pretty defenseless in dealing with other people's anger. The first few times I had a significant other yell at me, I freaked out. It was very disturbing to me. It also made me want to give the other person whatever they wanted if it would make them stop yelling. (This was a short-lived relationship with someone who ended up being physically abusive as well, and I am heartily glad I got out of it. He was the first person I slept with, and I shudder to think that if I had been chastity-until-marriage-minded, I might very well have married him.)
For many years, I lived with a man who was kind of like Mr. Spock on Star Trek - he didn't get mad, because it wouldn't be logical, LOL. It was great, but I guess guys like that are hard to find. We ended up separating because of careers taking us to different cities.
My next serious relationship was with a fly-off-the-handle kind of guy. He wasn't abusive, but he was fond of guilt-tripping and issuing ultimatums. I kind of got desensitivized to the yelling, and when he'd threaten to leave me because he didn't like something I did, I'd say, "Fine. Goodbye." (Funny how fast that made him change his tune.) Eventually I was the one who kicked him out, because of money issues (he was a musician, which basically meant that he sat around the house playing guitar and I paid for everything).
I have more to say, but I'm going to post this now because I'm not sure I have time to finish it.
Monday, April 06, 2009 Linnea said... Okay, I didn't mean to post my life story. But anyway, I posted elsewhere about how I'm now married to a man who's bipolar, and who came from a family where flying-off-the-handle was a way of life. (Sometimes I wonder, which parts are his personality disorder and which parts are just his personality?) So there's yelling in our house, and occasionally stomping and door-slamming. Which isn't pleasant, or productive, IMHO, but there it is.
Like I said, I've gradually gotten desensitized to yelling over the years. And, I admit, sometimes I yell too.
I notice that my kids (now 11 and 13) are pretty much unfazed by it, and will just stand there and say "Dad, calm down." So at least they won't be in the position I was in in earlier relationships, of letting myself be manipulated by my partner's anger. I do see my kids resorting to angry behavior more than I would like . . .
I have also learned, in dealing with my husband, that sometimes what comes across as angry behavior on this part isn't exactly anger. It's "I'm raising my voice and talking fast because this topic is very emotionally charged for me and I don't know how to deal with it." So I try to deal with *what* he's saying, rather than *how* he's saying it.
As I write this, I'm wondering whether I'm making too many excuses for him, and what my original point was anyway . . . I think it's time to go to bed.
Monday, April 06, 2009 Vyckie said... Wow, Linnea ~ reading your comment here was almost like having a flashback to our years with Warren.
I want to call you up and talk to you ~ because I have more to say than I can type and it's getting late here too ;(
Just please keep reading ~ because I think as my story progresses it's going to really speak to your situation as well. For me, it wasn't until my daughter cut herself and tried to kill herself and I had lost my belief in God that I finally quit making excuses for Warren and hoping, and trusting, and praying that the children would somehow be protected.
I hate it that my daughter had to end up in the psych ward before I was finally willing to stand up and say, "Enough!!"
Monday, April 06, 2009 Former Muslim said... It just amazes me how similar the lifestyle you were living is to the liestyle many Muslim women are in, especially converts. My husband is a very angry person, a lot of Muslims are. But it's like you're only allowed to be angry at 'the system', everything else is unacceptable, especially for women. Be angry because someone laughs at your clothes, but don't be angry that your religion demands that you dress like a freak.
I am so angry about losing my youth, health, beauty, time, career, everything in the service of a religion much like the Quiverfull movement, and I see that some of my friends don't know what to do with it. Muslims blow it off or tell you to 'let go and let God' and non Muslims think it's because islam is bad or something. It's not that simple. Here, I related more to you guys than I do to men who are ex Muslims and are angry.
I am resolving to let go of being angry in terms of letting it dominate my thoughts. I just want to move forward before I lose any more time. And I'm trying to get past losing my youth and all that by doing something more positive for the future. :\
Tuesday, April 07, 2009 Jadehawk said... Linnea, my situation is exaclty opposite. I'm very easily frustrated with certain things, and when I get frustrated, i start yelling. not at anyone really, but I'm not in the habit of talking to myself so i end up bitching my frustration at my poor boyfriend. I'm eternally grateful that it doesn't faze him much. I generally thank him for being understanding and apologize, but it can't be easy
today, I was bitching (loudly, and with many hand gestures) about the my new Mac not working right, while I was in the kitchen making dinner. at one point, the boyfriend actually said "could you not maybe be less angry while holding a knife?" I wasn't at all angry at him, of waving the knife at him, but i'm sure it didn't look right to the poor guy standing in front of me
similarly, most people who hear my mom and my talk to each other think we're having a massive fight. to which i can generally only respond that a fight between us look MUCH worse (so far no dishes have been thrown at the other, but I'm not sure much was missing)
how do you tell if someone is just...um... extremely passionate, and when they're actually abusive...? I guess this qualifies under "needs anger management"
Tuesday, April 07, 2009 Charis said... Jadehawk,
ditto, I am the "yeller" in my marriage.
My husband demonstrated outward anger early on, but then (when he lost a ministry job due to anger) it all went underground. He would lower his voice almost to a whisper and pride himself on being "gentle and quiet" but his words spoken in that oh so soft voice cut like a knife. I used to wish he showed emotion. He was like an emotion-free zone. (except he would laugh out loud at the top of his lungs if he provoked a teenage daughter to tears). Not that you are in an abusive relationship (thank God!) but I just wanted to add to the conversation that not all abuse occurs in loud angry voices. Using Bancroft's labels from "Why does he DO that?" my husband was a cross between "water torturer" and "victim".
Jadehawk, I think you would appreciate Gottman's marriage research. He found that "anger in marital relationship did not predict divorce whereas contempt and defensiveness did so reliably". There's too much to post all of it, but if you go on googlebooks and look up John Mordecacai Gottman, there are lots of free limited book previews which are very interesting and ring very true to me.
QUOTE: In our recent sequential analyses of older happy couples (who had been married an average of forty years) the only sequence that came out significant was the husband's positive response to the wife's anger ENDQUOTE
I remember when I first started venting my anger (after 22 years of stuffing) how good it felt. I think a marriage without a wife's anger is a marriage without passion. And reading Gottman, he says that low conflict marriages are at high risk. Conflict avoidance is not healthy.:
former muslim, hi, welcome to the conversation! I am intrigued by your story.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009 aimai said... Former Muslim I, too, am intrigued by your story. And not to go totally OT but it seems to me that a lot of women on this board, for various reasons, are looking back with mixed emotions on the past years--ten, twenty, twenty five--and asking "what happened?" Where did those years go? I'm currently in a happy marriage, and my children are relatively young, and until recently that has sort of protected me from that "what happened" feeling but I'm actually quite the late bloomer--for me to fit in Laura's eleven children I'd probably still be having them well into my sixties!--so as I head towards 49 I'm suddenly realizing that, win, lose, or draw those years are just gone down the rabbit hole. I was looking over at my husband the other day and I found myself (thank god he forgave me) asking "hey, who snuck in and took my handsome young husband away and put this old grey haired geezer in his place while I wasn't looking?"
My grandmother used to say that people live "lifelets" and that they tear one old life off and see the new one the way they do pages of a calendar. I am trying to think of it that way as I head into my second half century and remind myself that just because that young woman's life has been used up in various ways doesn't mean that this older woman's life is over. Its just going to be different.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009 Anonymous said... Good discussion....it's funny-I've been married 16 years and my wife and I used to think that a good marriage meant not arguing or getting angry with each other.
Now if someone asks advice about marriage, we tell them the secret to a happy marriage is to learn how to fight fair.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009 Anonymous said... Learning to fight fair is hard, and important. My husband and I don't fight very often, but one of the things that has surfaced more than once is that I do not deal well with anger. Even when the anger has *nothing* to do with me, and is not aimed at me -- if he is ranting about something, I flinch and get upset. And he then gets upset because he can't get angry ;/ Most unproductive, and something we're both working on.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009 Linnea said... Loredena, I have the same problem. I hate the way my husband acts when he's mad, even if it's not at me. Especially when he doesn't express his anger to the person he's mad at, but comes home and stomps and swears around the house complaining about them.
As I posted above, in my family-of-origin, people didn't act out anger. (Hey, we're Scandinavian. We didn't act out any emotions ;-) I still don't think a loud, aggressive tone and body language do anything to help resolve a situtation, but if that's the way you've learned to behave, it's hard to un-learn.
Vyckie, you mentioned wanting to talk to me, and I've been avoiding you. My first thought was "Oh no, she's going to tell me I should leave my marriage, and I don't want to hear that." I do have this ongoing "Am I better off with him or without him?" dialog going with myself . . . But I realize that this blog isn't about me. Anyway, I'll send you some contact information.
Thursday, April 09, 2009 Tapati said... Anger is a stage of dealing with the aftermath of abuse and oppression. One doesn't get to the "letting go" and "forgiveness" stage overnight. Abuse survivors have a stockpile of suppressed rage to work out. I used to have dreams nearly every night that I was defending myself physically from my ex-husband. This went on until one night I succeeded in overcoming him. After this victorious dream I made a lot of progress in moving on and coping with the feelings that had nearly overwhelmed me.
Monday, April 13, 2009
*~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~* It is a most insidious drug which must be administered to others in order to achieve its desired effects for oneself. ~ Marie Winn *~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~*