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Clients, Politics and Religion

Finally, Someone Agrees: Anger is Normal

Dr. Ken Eisold, a psychoanalyst writing for Psychology Today states in his article, "Anger and Exercise", "Anger is a normal and adaptive response to an attack or a threat. It has been useful in our evolutionary struggle for survival. The brain detects the danger and the body is aroused and energized to react with fight or flight."

Thank you, thank you!  Maybe someone will listen when a doctor says it!  I've been trying to tell people this for years.  We (Americans, especially Southerners) have such an unnatural relationship with anger.  When I say "anger" many seem to hear "rage", "violence" or "aggression".  No.  When I say "anger" I mean anger.  Those other things are called by different names because, well, they are different things.  Anger is simply the emotion.  When one is angry they might rage, or get violent or become aggressive.  And those things are not healthy.  But the emotion itself is not to blame.  The emotion of anger is simply an emotion.  You have a choice what you do with it.

I've heard mental health professionals state that "anger is only a secondary emotion".  (We almost had an outright battle over this in one of my graduate classes.)  Would anyone ever claim that embarrassment or shame is only a "secondary emotion"?  How about humor or sadness?

I find this belief that anger is unacceptable especially troubling in women.  Many women, at least here in the near South, are taught that anger is "unbecoming" or "unladylike".  Great move.  Anger is your self defense.  It's what announces in your head that you have had enough.  It tells you when your rights or your boundaries have been violated.  It tells you when you have been disparaged or abused, maligned or manipulated.  It is the emotion that screams for justice or cessation.  Take it away and you are defenseless.  When we rob women of their anger we rob them of the ability to leave an abusive situation, to stand up for themselves, to talk back - honestly and directly. 

Prohibiting women (or anyone) from having anger sentences them to a life of being abused, of being doormats for the world.  I have often wondered if this prohibition against anger is the reason why women whimper, wheedle, manipulate, guilt, cry, hyperventilate or a million other sideways expressions of anger.  If you can't tell someone to "step off" what else can you do except come at it sideways?  This side stepping of an honest, anger response hurts not only women, but the men who try to love them.  How many men would prefer to be told to "back off" rather than to be guilted?  It's straight, it's honest, it's real and it addresses the actual problem. 






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Finally? I have always agreed with that! Oh, perhaps I don't count because I am not an analyst or a doctor.


Of course you count! And thank you for the validation.

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