Saturday, June 11, 2016

Anger, Irritability, Moodiness

The trouble with anger, irritability and moodiness is that they may be wholly unrelated to external factors.  Commonly these ‘feelings’ are ‘self generated’  and result in a ‘feeling looking for a reason’.  This is a bomb looking to explode.
That’s why there is a term ‘righteous anger’ because angry people will attack anything simply because it’s in their line of vision.
My mother used to say ‘too often we hurt the ones we love the most only because they’re closest’.
A feeling isn’t ‘truth’.  Anger can be ‘triggered’ by something in one’s past or be an interpretation of something internally causing anxiety. People unused to love and care will get angry with those who are loving and caring.
The natural state of an untreated alcoholic is ‘Restless, Irritable and Discontent”.  This is the RIDS.  It’s what people mean when they say someone is ‘dry’ but they’re not ‘sober’.  Sober people are ‘slow’ to ‘react’.  They’re actually not that ‘reactive’.  That’s what serenity is.  It doesn’t mean that they are dull and cold and unresponsive but rather that they are not ‘hair triggered’.  They don’t have that drama queen quality that dominates the male and female world of addiction.
It’s often called ‘moodiness’ because a lot of people ‘deny’ that they ‘get angry’ but will admit that they can be ‘moody’.  Everyone knows them because everyone walks on egg shells around these people.
I appreciated STEP 4 in the 12 step programs. In the original Big Book of AA a person is encouraged to write down all their fears and resentments.  Anger is often the active form of fear.  Just as we say the alcoholic is an ‘egomaniac with an inferiority complex’ similarly most angry people are really deeply afraid though they problem can’t admit it or don’t even have the emotional depth to realize it.
In Step 4 it says we list people, institutions and/or principles which caused us ‘resentments’.  Unfortunately while I hear that so many people claim to do step 4 their continued shares about their ex, marriages, work or authorities often sound like they missed the part where it says ‘what’s my part in it.’  This is the ‘4 column’  one completes looking at where in any conflict or disturbance was ‘i dishonest, selfish or self serving.’  It doesn’t in any way negate the behaviour of the other.
For instance, a person shoots me in the foot.  They remains the antagonist but if I review my actions truthfully I can see that I probably should have checked if they were packing when I called them a fag or some such thing.  Understanding that one’s life is not a series of punishments or tragedies or sources of self pity and anger empowers one to avoid the pain that led to the desire for anesthesia.
I don’t do a ‘step 4’ in the middle of a war per se. I have to live my life.  But in the process I have to question whether what causes me anger, irritability or moodiness isn’t self generated. Maybe I’ve got the flu coming on and that makes me impatient and irritable and then the post man comes to the door. I explode at him for dropping my mail in the mud and yet it’s me that’s the moody one.
So many people walk around as social terrorists, emotional suicide bombers.
This is often the reason for medication.  Bipolar II disorder and borderline personality disorders commonly appear like this.  Just like the person who with drugs or alcohol has caused their normal ‘self regulating’ emotional controls to be thoroughly broken  Left with little self regulation of the emotional states the person in recovery has to learn a whole new way, other than drugs and alcohol, i dealing with their emotions.
I’m angry with Justin Trudeau  and the Liberal Government right now but given I have friends with cancer and a fellow threatening to kill my dog, frustration with the ever increasing taxes, etc it’s equally possible that there is a feedback loop between my own inner stress and the events of the external world.
I have to be aware and see ‘my part’ in any area of anger and if I can’t see it I really ought to see someone who will enlighten me about this.

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