Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips at Ask Dr. Darcy!
I grew up in a family and in a culture that equated anger with strength. People were seen as either being badass or as weak. I coveted anger, and it worked for me until college, at which point I began my decades-long quest to rid myself of the very quality that enabled me to survive my less-than-ideal childhood. I have since helped dozens of clients do the same – and it always begins with a shift in the way they understand the meaning of anger. Raise your awareness to the below-referenced truths and you’ll begin a paradigm shift which is step one in managing your anger.
1. The adults in your life failed you growing up. Harsh, but true. At best, they failed to intervene and coach you through your temper tantrums, teaching you how to effectively self-sooth. At worst, they modeled for you how to react to discomfort angrily.
2. You’re a bully. Another harsh reality. You’ve learned to get your way by becoming angry and by intimidating others. No one likes an angry person, and to appease you, the people in your life let you have your way. It’s not that they agree with you – they just don’t want to deal with you.
3. You think the world owes you something. At the very least, you think it owes you compliance. Everyone should think and operate the way you do, which is why your go-to emotion is anger when people don’t drive the way you think they should.
4. You suck at seeing things from other people’s perspective. I’m not saying you’re a narcissist (though maybe your friends would), but I’m saying that your perspective is the first and the last one that you contemplate. The idea that other people might have a different way of thinking or might have circumstances in their lives that would explain their behavior generally doesn’t occur to you.
5. You hunt for evidence that people suck. Or that they’re incompetent. Or that they’re untrustworthy. And because that’s the lens through which you view the world, you find evidence to confirm your beliefs at every turn.
6. You don’t take responsibility for your life. If you did, you wouldn’t be angry – at least not with others. Everything is someone else’s fault or a result of circumstances beyond your control.
7. You think everything is personal. How I treat you says nothing about you and everything about me. But you don’t understand this. You think that every affront was intended specifically for you.