Anger Feed

When, "I'm sorry" isn't an apology

When people say they are "sorry", but keep doing a hurtful behavior - they aren't sorry.

I'm just saying...

I see this a lot with antisocial folks.  Since they feel no remorse, they can't really be sorry.  But they say the words "I'm sorry" because they have learned are socially expected.

So everyone says you should forgive them - because they said they were sorry.

But you can't, can you?  Because they haven't actually apologized, they've just mouthed the words.  And because they keep hurting you.  If someone says they're sorry, but continues to hit you in the head, how can you forgive them?

You can walk away from them.  You can stop allowing them to hit you in the head.  You can let go of the hurt and the betrayal and the sadness and the anger.  You can get over it and get on with your life. 

But you can't forgive them, because they haven't truly asked you for forgiveness - or earned it.




Whose Problem is It?

When people come to me, upset by an interaction with another, I often ask them, "Whose problem is it?"  Many people assume that if someone is mistreating them,they must be doing something to deserve it.  "If the boss yells at me, I must have screwed up."  "If my partner rejects me I must have done something wrong."  "If someone cuts me off in traffic I must have been driving too slowly."

There are three things wrong with that thinking.

First, no one deserves to be mistreated.  Even if you have made an innocent mistake, you don't deserve to be mistreated.  And what if you did provoke it?  You may be acting like a jerk, but retaliating against you doesn't make the other person right.  It just means you are both behaving badly.

Second, some people are ugly to you for reasons that have nothing to do with you.  I once worked with a colleague who would blow up at clients constantly.  Her wrath originated at home, but she took it out on the clients.  After being lamblasted by her, a client would come to me completely crushed or ready to fight.  But when I asked them to step back and observe her behavior, they found that she blew up at people all the time - innocent people.  Once they saw that it happened to other people, it was clear where the problem was.  

Third, people sometimes behave badly because of what you are doing, but what you are doing is healthy and appropriate.  For example, you try to set a boundary with a narcissist and they rage back at you, then project their anger onto you and accuse you of being the angry one.  This can be a really wild ride if you have trouble hanging onto your sense of self.  But that is their unhealthiness, not yours.  (It's probably why you needed to set a boundary, too!)

The next time you have an altercation with someone, take a step back and ask yourself, "Whose problem is this?"  If it's yours, take responsibility and make it right.  If it's theirs, take a deep breath and walk away leaving the problem where it belongs - with them.




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."

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ADHD Medications Do Not Affect School Performance

A recent article on the Child Psychology Research Blog, "ADHD Medications and School Performance" cites a research study which shows that "medication alone may not have a significant impact on" the childrens' school functioning.   

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When Childhood Bipolar Disorder - Isn't

I really have a problem with the recent surge in diagnosing children with Bipolar Disorder.  The children I see with this diagnosis are often the victims of serious issues at home, issues which may even include abuse.  Some struggle with PTSD and the mood swings which are inherent in a traumatized individual are attributed to "Bipolar Disorder" and medicated. 

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