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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