anger and sadness

Click thumbnails to enlarge ..

In part one: anger and adrenaline I have tried to observe the sequence of events that lead to anger …

I treated the first two steps:

First there is danger. 

Let’s look a little deeper here:

… I already mentioned: confrontation/conflict/offender<>defender
Conflict is the source of danger. It is the danger, it is step one.

NOTE(1): So when there is danger without confrontation, or when one decides to flee before the confrontation, anger does often not occur.

NOTE(2): When there is a conflict. Person or Entity A has taken Person B’s dignity by saying/doing something. But, be careful!!! It is often not easy to see the difference between offender/defender. Any miscommunication can lead to two defenders, where each thinks the other is the offender. Sometimes the offender is ‘the state’, ‘nature’ and why not ‘god’.

NOTE(3): Most of the time it is the defender who gets angry first. The thief who steals, or the psychopath who attacks, might do so in cold blood, unemotional. But when there is an angry defender, the other will often defend his/her dignity too, resulting in two angry people.

Secondly there is adrenaline.

The adrenaline precedes any anger, although the conflict might already be there. Adrenaline does not cause the anger. But it makes us edgy. Any frustration can explode into full blown anger, because the adrenaline makes us hyper and stressed. Without adrenaline such might be more difficult. The pushing of my buttons (step one) releases the adrenaline (step two).

Third or not third (?): sadness

I have often noticed that sadness accompanies my anger. I feel sad because of an offence. But I wonder where this sadness comes from. It seems to be a reaction very much alike to ‘feeling suddenly tired’ when a very boring task is within view. In other words, feeling sad in stead of feeling angry might be an unconscious repression mechanism. Society doesn’t like me to show my anger, so in stead of showing this anger, I conform, and feel something else, unconsciously forgetting that I was really angry. This sadness could become sulking.

I wonder where the grey area starts when this sulking becomes passive aggressiveness. Trying to not confront the other with the sadness should be seen as a sign that there is no passive aggressiveness involved. I also suppose that if the sadness disappears by itself within a short time (half an hour or less), that the translation prevents worse. In passive aggressive behaviour, the sulking person deliberately confronts the other with his/her sadness in order to achieve ‘winning the argument’ in another way.

It also happens that I get angry, and next within seconds, feel the self pity. The anger is gone, but the self pity is not very healthy for my psyche either. In some people, anger translates to a headache, and the severity of the headache is proportional to the repressed anger.

Either case, if the repression mechanism translates anger into sadness, sulking or self pity, passive aggressiveness, or whatever other form, it still remains a form of anger. The anger that I’m trying to analyse in order to find ways of transforming it into patience, even kindness.

Clearly translation is not transformation!

So (un)fortunately, sadness is not the transformative power, capable of tackling anger. Moreover, anger most often precedes it.
Sadness, Sulking, any for of translated anger is step 4.

This calls for more investigation on step three … a part 3 is in the making


Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) December 2013 – @home – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG 4964/4970

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10 thoughts on “anger and sadness

  1. Very beautiful photos, very intriguing posts… I look forward to more. Sadness, yes, I go into a depression after being angry. It is just so horrid. But Jesus got angry in the Temple. And God got angry many times. Perhaps it serves some good purpose. It does clear the air. I just do not like feeling possessed by such a volatile mood.
    P.S. Thanks for the visit to my blog and the likes.

    • I thought like you, that anger had a purpose, but these days, I’m not so sure anymore. Yes, we need to get rid of the energy that the adrenaline mobilizes. But what about some physical exercise, or creativity with art and pictures … ?
      Sadness has many purposes, and should not be confused with anger, when it is not the case. The child cries when it doesn’t get what it wants, but that angry cry is different from the cry of sadness, I’m referring to this kind of ‘pseudo’-sadness.
      I don’t know whether god ever got angry, … 🙂 but I know that when I get angry with god, that it is the only entity who can handle it.

      • Yes, you are right. I am not sure about whether or not anger has some good to it. Perhaps getting angry with oneself. The sadness perhaps is because anger drives a wedge between ourselves and the object of our anger and this IS always sad though sometimes does not feel sad. Sometimes it feels good and right but that does not mean it is. The loneliness that follows may be at the root of the sadness. And the fact that one probably has hurt the object of one’s anger and that person is probably just doing the best he or she can do. But my husband is always talking about having to set limits. And sometimes setting limits is done in anger. I suppose the best thing would be to set limits kindly, without getting angry. That might be what to aim for– rather than losing one’s top. Words said in anger seem to etch on people’s memory erasing all other memories, including the good– or, at very least, damaging them. Anyhow the only way I can see out of getting angry is to try to keep oneself calm through meditation and the other alpha brain wave states (she says as she brews another pot of coffee). 🙂 And that and withdrawing temporarily, seems the only way to deal with someone who is intentionally pushing one’s buttons to see the anger effect.

  2. In part I…cause to effect, and your insights prove conscience self awareness and meditation has the ability to alleviate a natural expected response and trigger, I tried this myself ! Part 2, has now got me thinking how to alleviate the conforming or repressed response that so many of us experience. Besides being mindful and completely in-tune with observed responses, I see this takes a whole lot of patience in itself,… Im looking forward to reading your next two posts !! Thanks !!

    • Thank you for this comment. It is a very complex issue. I’m looking at my anger for about a decade now. I used to replay the film of what happened, but never from the very beginning. And only there we can prevent it. And once the anger is there, you need a fire brigade to stop it. (I do) — although once you realize what happens, it often stops (but always too late)
      Take also into account that what I do in these 3 perhaps 4 blogposts is only personal, but I hope that it is also valuable for others, but I cannot guarantee that my anger works the same way as yours. I see many kind of sadnesses, but nearly all of them after the anger, with one exception: the compassionate reaction when we see someone in turmoil — however, this has nothing to do with anger itself, there was no danger to begin with, no adrenaline, no fear. But my point is that I don’t know what kind of sadness yours is.
      Before I started these articles, I thought that sadness preceded anger, and that I could freeze at that moment, but this doesn’t seem correct, at least not in my case.
      I will come back to mindfulness in part 3 or 4, depending on how much space part 3 would take. I also see at least 3 possibly 4 different scenarios for anger, and they all have different timelines, so they need an appropriate different action.
      This is just the beginning. One week ago I thought that I understood the mechanism behind anger, but a set of experiments, and recent playbacks, prove me wrong. Perhaps this set of articles will also be proven to be incorrect very soon 🙂

      • Thanks and excellent…, appreciate your comment ! Perhaps you could consider the sadness in your sense a general sense that everyone might experience, just at different altitudes. Therefore even if you say it didnt seem correct, (the variable of sadness), and can’t be frozen, still it can be in mindfulness ?? I would like to believe the response mechanism to turn towards kindness or mindfulness is in there quicker than the latter…. 😉

        • I think that if we realize that adrenaline is there to get us, it will be difficult to channel that mobilized energy into sadness. However, before the adrenaline is released, it is well possible to be mindful of the situation and feel sad or compassionate about it, .. that is if there is nothing else we can do.

  3. Just yesterday, I experienced, I would not call it anger exactly but aggravation certainly; and it was with weather causing delays in receiving an overnight package with a significant sized check in it. And having now cover for not meeting their obligation, FedEx was backlogged and not motivated to give us priority. After trying my best to be understanding (which in this case included acknowledging realities) and trying my best to be considerate (though I was aggravated pretty highly because the US Mail would have had it in our hands by now, for our letter carrier hasn’t missed a day, whereas FedEx had now missed two days of delivery opportunities), I hung up the telephone and felt what you describe – “I wonder where this sadness comes from. It seems to be a reaction very much alike to ‘feeling suddenly tired’ when a very boring task is within view.” I felt drained of energy and reserves.

    I enjoy your explorations of anger because it is something I have grappled with for almost a decade with the birth of my older son, after never considering myself an angry person for a half a century. Whenever he has pushed me into anger (because truly he simply LOVES the stimulation of seeing me that way), afterwards I feel sadness that I am not able to find a more mellow response, even if he would be relentless in trying to get me into that state.

    • Hi Deb, thank you for visiting and for your very interesting contribution. Pushing the buttons, is what the son likes to do. I know everything about it: i used to push my father’s.
      Some time ago, I thought I would be able to defuse by looking at the sadness, but sadness does not come first, so this won’t work.
      part 3 is in the making: perhaps some suggestions of how to intercept anger in the making will be included.
      🙂

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