202: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry – Part 1 (Sort Of)

We are talking about anger on this episode. Jenny, Billy and Jason explore all the inner workings of anger, what it can feel like, when it tends to happen, what is going on underneath and inside your body, and what we can do about it. We talk about the shame cycle, how fear leads us to react, and why anger does not work in the long run. Listen in as we talk about anger, stay tuned for part 2 next week, and share your thoughts with us.

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welcome back it’s recovery sord of the podcast where we explore the struggles of Life the challenges of mental health and Recovery in the spaces between we express our personal views on life here and this podcast is not meant to replace medical advice or tell anyone the right way to live this podcast is best used as a place of curiosity and questioning to accompany you on your journey be aware there is strong language here we [Music]

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hey it’s Jenny I’m back I’ve missed you guys I haven’t been here since July and then uh I haven’t recorded since July U I’ve been around guess who’s back guess who’s back I don’t know that song what’s that one oh Eminem Eminem songs you don’t know you don’t know that song really sorry I’m just shocked it’s okay there’s nothing wrong with I know whatever like you know that the movie whatever that popular song was he’s fine oh yeah yeah yeah the my genre I got um anyway so it’s good to see you guys um Jenny if you had one shot that’s the one yeah I can’t remember how would you do this podcast if you had one sh I really like that movie that was good uh but I guess um so uh yeah I haven’t been here since the big change since like yeah the big shift since recovery sort of had menopause um is that what it was thought it was like our teenage years oh really okay maybe I know not the Crone years like earlier um so do you guys want to talk about anger let me tell you [  ] no I hate that [  ] this is where I want to go I want I want some input on this so I’m I’m exploring anger I I have come to realize that I cannot manage my anger it sneaks up on me and takes over and I’m like possessed by it doesn’t happen a lot luckily I live a pretty peaceful life but then when it does come I guess it makes it that much more dramatic cuz I’m like pissed off and I’m like I want to yell at everybody and uh make people feel as bad as I do basically so I haven’t like read any books or listen to any podcast or anything about anger I’m starting to explore it starting to journal about it starting to notice what conditions lead me to be angry like how it feels you know like I can feel it in my like chest and arms and hands and then how to calm myself down because I I know they talk about it like so I have the intellectual checklist of how to calm down from anger but actually doing it like is weird yeah take three breaths when you get angry does it seem to linger for a long amount of time or do you get like angry and then it passes pry quickly yeah it lingers and then I’ll end up like all right I don’t yell at my kids a lot because I did work on that early recovery my kids were little but then when I do get mad I want to [  ] like torture them like you know like I want to like really let them have it and I know that’s my parents like speaking through me and um I don’t want to be that and I like I’m I’m ready to like next level work on anger because it does linger like I want them to feel as bad as I do about whatever pissed me off I don’t want to be that I don’t want to be that person that Mom or person so I’m super good at intellectualizing away my feelings are you so I don’t stay angry for too long usually that’s fascinating that so that’s a benefit to that huh but I used to like get angry and like react like physically react like Break Stuff and throw [  ] and yell and cuss and be really bad um I’ve gotten way better there I tend to to now but it would pass really quick like I just get mad and then blow up and then it’s over and then it’s like oh now I have to feel bad about whatever I just did so it made the anger pass pretty quickly um for me one of the big things I sort of struggled with for a long time was thinking that it was not okay to be angry like I somehow wasn’t allowed to be angry or that it was a a a bad feeling to have and I’ve gotten away from that like you’re allowed to be a or at least I am I’m allowed to be angry about stuff go ahead give everybody else permission too yeah you’re allowed to be angry about stuff like if you know if my kids do [  ] that’s not right or my parents you know do stuff that’s not right or my wife like it’s okay to get mad and to let them know but how do I want to do that do I want to do it in a way that like degrades them and hurts their feelings or damages my own property or disrespect myself probably not you know like that usually feels like [  ] right um but there are other ways to deal with anger that aren’t aren’t that and some of it’s just telling them like hey you did this and this isn’t okay like this isn’t we’re not going to sit and tolerate this like you got to do something different all right this is going to be great man I feel like I got a ton of information about anger maybe if I can remember it yeah I feel important yeah good thing you’re recording this because otherwise I’d be taking notes yeah okay so first thing I think would be important to acknowledge is like Billy talking about the idea of where allowed to be angry what’s the [  ] purpose of anger right why do we feel it at all well in my understanding anger is saying you have done something that in a way I feel wronged and harmed by and this is coming up to tell you that to set my boundary to stop it right so if that was somebody punching me the anger’s point is to come up and defend myself and stop them hey that’s not okay you don’t touch me that way I don’t like like it and then as soon as they respect that or stop the anger can cease because it’s done its job it’s set the boundary right if Jenny was to walk over and push me right now I would stand up probably out of my chair and say what would you do that for I mean maybe not because I would probably be like why the hell’s Jenny pushing me that’s so weird but I’m just saying like the the point of the anger is to set the boundary to keep us protected that is the original purpose of it so like yeah of course we’re allowed to feel that you know we we need it it’s a it’s kind of like when you touch a hot stove you get pain it’s telling you get the hell off of there before you do a ton of damage to your hand right these are all messages these feelings and the the message of anger is hey stop that hey don’t do that you know so yeah that’s a base piece um so anger has a purpose now that you know that the ways we use anger I guess in my mind um I was an explosive anger kind of guy but I was also a I’ll hold this Grudge till we’re both dead and Beyond kind of guy too so I don’t know that but it faded all that quickly for me yeah when you’re talking about the explosiveness of that anger right I I’m picturing like I hate using military terms but we have that nuclear reaction and that nuclear blast that eliminates any threat of you know something harming us but then we’re left with the Fallout of the nuclear blast and you know what’s left in the aftermath is I just crushed my kids or my wife’s or somebody else’s feelings or spirit in that moment with all that anger you know it’s it’s really oppressing to be around angry people um yeah and one of the things I tend to look at now is like is the level of my anger relevant to the situation you know what I mean like if my kid leaves a glass on the table and I freak out and want to throw the glass across the room it’s probably not there’s probably something a little more going on there that sometimes I can take a look at like what is that you know what what’s really going on there is it really this glass on the table that’s a big deal or is it I feel disrespected that I come home from work every day and the house is a wreck and you guys been here all day doing nothing you know like [  ] Billy stop calling me out man and then being able to like and I guess that’s the part of intellectualizing [  ] that helps you know what I mean like why am I freaking out this like there’s something a little deeper behind it than just because there is a thing where it’s like I’m not just Justified to blow up and yell at people about stuff even though I’m it’s okay to be angry but what am I really angry about and how do I address and fix that not just get rid of these bad feelings yeah you brought up the word respect and through my journaling I discovered that that was part of my anger I feel disrespected by my children that’s the second episode today yeah and I mean and I have to stop and wonder like well who am I I’m like am I their mother their boss I queen yeah well I’d like that but um like lately what’s gotten me angry is um I drive Millie to school and I have plenty of alarms like I have Alexa alarms and you know uh iPhone alarms to like remind her shoes fill your water bottle like I’m she’s 9 and a half fourth grade I’m you know easing her up to like being self-sufficient getting ready for school then I drive you and like I put in the boundary I’m like if we’re late to school and I have to walk in and sign you in there’s no iPhone in the morning and and um she just really drags it on and it feels disrespectful like I’m like pushing her along like I filled your water bottle for you like real passive aggressive like let’s go come on you know and I I I’m like I build up anger and then I’m I’ll end up lecturing her the whole 9 minute drive to school and then I drop her off and I’m like this is not the day I want to set her up for and then I feel like [  ] too yeah yeah and it’s it’s gross all around and then she gets she gets I pick her up at whatever 3:30 and I’m apologizing for something that happened hours earlier like she’s like way past that I’m like am I doing this right because she she had a whole day of school with her friends and she’s fine and I’m like like I don’t know if I’m repairing right you know so it’s just if I could just not and when you think about it who cares if she’s [  ] late you know like if I have to walk in and sign her in is that a really a big deal like except for that I have to like I don’t know walk into the school with my Crocs on like look like I mean both things are true that’s the thing like yes it is like with our kids I put a lot of effort into my kids and doing their stuff and making sure they get to their Sports and making I expect an equal level of commitment and input from them now my kids are a little bit older than yours but even still like I expect them to like at least meet me halfway not me do everything and I feel like that’s reasonable but how I address that with them is important you know if I’m doing it in a way that’s disrespectful or belittling of them you know like take my son with with baseball when it’s time to go to the game I’ll give them usually half hour War hey we got to leave in about a half hour for the game okay sits there plays video games dos all kinds of stuff until 10 minutes before we got to go then he’s grabbing all his stuff and rounding everything up and then screaming cuz we’re going to be late I’m like yeah that’s because you didn’t get your [  ] together when I told you a half hour AG go you know I got lingering Shame about being late too which I totally need to get over that’s like I have this like priority of my that I put on myself for being on time you know were we going to say Jason sorry yeah I don’t do that yeah I was going back to Billy’s uh comment about the glass on the table and is it that big a deal and um you know taking the therapist hat off for a minute getting real like the we were in the grocery store last night and uh my wife allowed my older son to grab these generic Fruity Pebbles that’s what the [  ] I was frustrated about at the store last night generic Fruity Pebbles right like but here’s the reality for me it is a real thing right I I have made my my feelings about these generic Fruity Pebbles in a couple of ways clear right in one way we’re trying to eliminate some of these processed things out of our our regular routine of eating right and on the other hand I’ve also mentioned that I don’t like the generic Fruity Pebbles I like generic Cocoa Pebbles and we should alternate and I felt wholly ignored last night in this because when I you know confronted my son and said hey why I don’t think we’re getting them this week he said mother already said yes right and so I got frustrated I got overwhelmed in the grocery store and I spoke up about it I said but I felt like I needed to say in a sentence or two and I knew it wasn’t going away so I went to the bathroom I got the [  ] out of there I was getting ready to be that guy I was getting ready to be that guy that needed to apologize 6 hours later like you were talking about Jenny like and I and I don’t want to do that no more and and what I’m realizing for me is I’ve been doing this wrong and I think I heard it in Billy’s statement he’s got expectations that the people around him are going to do their half I don’t want to have those expectations anymore I don’t give a [  ] if people want to do their half or not I’m going to do my portion what I’m willing to do set my line and call a day what you do on your end I don’t want to be mad about it you don’t or do things in your life or don’t get to them or you’re late to them okay I don’t have any feelings about that like you said but who the [  ] who do I care if they’re late for school like oh well you know but like I think it’s that expectations that’s making me angry I’m expecting these people to show up in a certain way and treat me a certain way and they’re not but I don’t have to be angry about it because the truth is I’m the one that keep showing up there I don’t have to right yeah but I don’t know that anger is a choice so much as a reaction to situation the initial piece yeah yeah but I I don’t think like I’ve always used that place and and I think we’re all saying the same thing to justify whatever came out afterwards and like for me I’m realizing that I can s in there and be frustrated with those people for doing the same thing treating me in a way that doesn’t feel good for the 20th time or I can say you know what I love me I don’t want a 21st time of this I’m over it right and I get it that’s big right I’m saying a whole big thing there and I’m not I’m not saying that that’s the right answer for me or anybody else I’m just saying like that’s the place I’m at that feels like I don’t need to hold on to anger right now I’m just evaluating man maybe we live in such a different way that like this ain’t good for us to keep trying to do it next to each other you know yeah and I guess I’ve got there in a slightly different way of just being like yes it’s okay for for me to be angry but it’s never okay for me to like be disrespectful or belittling or put down or or hurt you know even if I’m angry about something it doesn’t make it okay for me to hurt the people around me because then I just feel like [  ] yeah well then you just did what you were mad at them for right and that’s still my like reaction I do oh yeah I mean it is a lot and that’s where I end up like hurting me more because then I sit in the guilt of that like oh you did it again you idiot you because it’s not something you have control over and that’s what you keep blaming yourself for on the back end which is just creating the cycle again because you blame yourself and shame yourself on the back end for doing it again but then in trying to cover up that shame and not feel it you then put the shame back onto your kid and sometimes I have to do like you were talking about especially like with my wife and I if we’re having a pretty deep relationship conversation I will say like look I’m getting pretty angry I can’t right I need a break I got I got to get that’s so good I got to walk away or we got to stop right because this is not going to go like I can feel the levels like I’m at a seven and we’re going to be at a nine like if you say one more word it’s it’s hilarious to me me and Billy feel like over the years we are growing and growing and ending up at the same spot in such vastly different ways of getting there right he’s like intellectualizing and like I don’t want to Ang be angry with you and take this somewhere bad and I’m like anger hurts me and I love myself and enough that I just don’t want it anymore and it’s funny me and and so like I I guess probably am more closer emotionally to his wife and he’s more cck emotionally closer to Jen to my wife so it’s like we have the opposite perspective together so well well he he says I don’t want to be angry anymore because I’m hurting other people and that’s not nice and I say I don’t want to be angry anymore cuz it hurts me and that’s not nice to me but it’s like we end up at that same place okay cool you know what and anger hurts me too but when I’m in it I want it like it feels so good to be angry it’s like that self-righteous because it’s not you in that moment and the more you can understand that one it takes the shame away afterwards you were taken over in that moment because nobody ever sat you down when you were for having your temper tantrum overwhelmed by your feelings and basically under attack by them right nobody sat with you and said I will make sure you don’t hurt yourself or anybody else I know you’re not in control right now yeah because had they you’d have gained the ability to tolerate all this [  ] and you wouldn’t have to take it out on other people or like with our kids the messaging I never got was like it’s okay to be angry about stuff it’s just not okay to do whatever the [  ] you want with that anger and so that’s the message we Tred to teach our kids like hey it’s okay you can be mad that your sister took your toy or that you know you got in a fight or whatever but how you de you’re responsible for how you deal with that it’s not your feelings that are wrong you’re justified in being angry that person Did You Wrong we get it you’re angry but there’s a way to do that that’s healthy and right and there’s a way to do that that’s just going to cause more harm in your life let me let me walk us down the path of you and your morning routine cuz that kind of stuck out to me and and maybe this is part of what we’re getting at right here in my understanding if I get my kid in the morning in fact this happens every morning with my kids I wake them up for school right like I wake my son up 6:15 he’s got to get on the bus at 6:42 I say hey buddy good morning welcome to the world again 6:15 you got whatever amount of time you know let’s get rocking and rolling right I’d rather not have to walk back up here again but pretty much every day I go back up at 6:25 right and I’m like dude you got 15 minutes you got to move now or you’re going to miss the bus which means our consequence in our house is you don’t have your Xbox box and stuff tonight okay like this is for you this isn’t about me this is for you do you want your stuff tonight you need to get up sometimes he does a lot of times he does sometimes he doesn’t he gets a ride to school doesn’t have his Xbox but my old theory was what the hell’s wrong with him why can’t he get it together he’s disrespecting me blah blah blah blah blah my new theory is I’m watching him he’s showing me he can’t he can’t do it without a second wakeup call if I was to ask him to he he would never get the bus right some days he needs a third wakeup call whatever it is he needs he can’t do it he knows the consequence he knows that it’s going to disrupt the connection I have with him which is hugely important with him and with his mother right he’s incapable he’s not capable and as as soon as I can see it that way I know what my job is my job is to get it done me modeling getting it done and taking care of him is what will allow him to be able to take care of himself later he’s not supposed to be able to do it now she’s not supposed to be able to do it now she can’t your job is to make sure she gets taken care of now so that later when she leaves your house she’ll know how to do it herself it’s not to we get so scared as parents that we don’t see what it takes to get by in the world in our kids and then we start trying to put it in them oh God they don’t have enough of this I better fix it and that’s where we’re [  ] up yeah and we are having like my household is having a big push towards like self-sufficiency you know and I think I’m just pressuring myself too much like yeah and for sure it’s like my parents Voice is coming down like that and grandparents like that why aren’t you this way yet you Ain be ready you’ll never make it yeah it’s fear my parents were definitely not as touchy feely as me or our generation or whatever whatever like well that could get oh sorry fin oh and I just I like I can’t help like I have a response of guilt like I am not doing it right that she can’t get ready for school on time I it’s like me I’m like you messed up Jenny otherwise Millie would be able to get ready for school and you know the main answer that’s been for me Jenny and you’re really good at this just being [  ] present cuz you can look right in your kids’s eyes and tell when you’re missing mhm it’s right in all all over their [  ] face and as soon as you see it just stop nope this is where I’m missing it’s not I’m not missing in getting her ready for school or her not having that down yet at 9: this is where I’m missing when I’m looking at her face and I can see it m it’s just written all over her face I am not being the parent that she needs yeah and there’s that uh interestingly it crosses over into I think what we’re going to talk about later possibly but the like attachment style stuff and one of the things I come across in the book was this teaching and I guess it’s from like the 20s and [  ] that as a good parent you’re supposed to raise this completely autonomous individual that can fend for themselves and do everything for themselves and is uniquely independent and can meet every challenge of the world and that’s totally unnatural to human beings like our Natural State you know we’ve evolved to be dependent on other people or Natural Evolution yeah has you know basically people that rely on others tend to survive better so that our Natural Healthy state is to depend on other people but yet we’ve been conditioned to think like each one of my kids is supposed to be this unique autonomous independent unit that can survive and thrive on their own yeah well that sells more houses that’s a myth right sells a lot more houses that way well I’ve lived my whole life like that and of course now that’s how I am in my relationship like oh when something’s wrong with my wife I’m like oh oh you’re in a bad mood you better take care of that [  ] cuz I got you know what I mean that’s on you like I don’t feel like oh what can I do to help you how do I help you not be in a bad mood or is there something I can do to to make you feel better it’s like Oh no you’re [  ] you’re in a bad mood you better figure it out right right cuz that’s what I do to myself you know but that’s a myth that’s a lie like that’s thank you so much for saying that Billy right and like and and I’m not this is not a knock to my wife I love my wife for sure no matter what right like but that’s how it feels for me sometimes in my house and I don’t know that she’s has the ability to quite see it from that angle yet or maybe you never will right maybe that’s just a unique Billy angle that that he sees but like it feels nice for you to say it feels I just heard it in a book a week ago so okay well thank I mean my whole life I and this is you know and talking with my wife like my whole life I’d live that other way of like I’m supposed to be I when I was a kid a teenager I was diagnosed as being uh what’s that where you’re uh codependent you know and and I was had a codependent personality and I learned from all this that codependency wasn’t something that was a something that you were laid upon individuals you know as a condition it was a condition that was like I guess more specifically talked about for people that were in like either abusive or addictive relationships and they could leave them and there was a lot of dysfunction it wasn’t like as a normal person you were supposed to be completely independent of others like right that that’s a myth but I didn’t know that I was and I’m sure my parents raised me the whole way and I had a [  ] therapist and a counselor tell me that was my problem that I was too codependent and I was too emotionally attached to other people and that I needed to be like stronger and more independent so that came from a professional [  ] therapist when in the ’90s you know so right it’s not something that is um I guess it’s something our society’s pushed on people as being healthy and it’s not you might want to see our episode about the difficulty in finding a good therapist that’s in there somewhere um to me that’s like boundaries gone wild yeah like it’s too much and then aren’t they changing that language like they’re not using codependency anymore I mean I think there’s been a shift away from it for years now because of that I mean even like when you guys are talking about this the whole underlying Dy dyamics or belief system around poly vagel theory is that there is this other section of nervous system on top that responds and reacts to other people’s facial expressions and body language that assists Us in staying in a calm safe place throughout the day to not go into these other survival stuff like it it’s basically saying we’re dependent upon these safe relationships in life to not be in survival mode all the time as mammals and like mhm yeah that kind of makes us completely interconnected it’s like I can’t do this without any of y’all saying I got your back even when I’m not around you know and that’s just the the book I’m talking about talked about it as being like a survival skill or whatever like back in [  ] Hunter gather days and [  ] like if you were this completely alone individual you didn’t tend to survive like either animals ate you or you couldn’t get enough food or you weren’t able to protect yourself whereas tribes and groups tended to survive because they had this dependence on each other and when this group of five people met up with this group of six people and they had to know if they were safe sleeping that night or if the other group was going to like stab them and take their acorns or whatever they had to be able to read their faces they had to be able to feel they could trust them this is why resting [  ] face gets so much criticism probably probably but back to anger like I I just I think anger is a natural reaction and it’s not the emotion that’s the problem it’s what do we do with it and how do we use it you know do we use it to hurt other people and belittle other people to make ourselves feel better or do we use it as an indicator like hey I feel like either a boundary’s been broken or something in me has been hurt and how do I address that when I first started exploring Buddhism I misunderstood like I think the Daly Lama was like anger you must you know expunge Anger from your system but that’s really not how the practice is supposed to go it’s acknowledge it and then like heal it you know like that more I because I think in the beginning when I was trying like Buddhist recovery practices I was like oh I’m angry I’m wrong I better not do this but it’s more about like is that a Christian Buddhism sound a lot like Christian Buddhism I’m just wasn’t my Jolly tone in my voice yeah um but I’ve I’ve I’ve come to a better understanding of like it’s a message you like anger is a message like we were saying like something needs to change you know like abound cross well even thinking that first like Buddhist practice I would think of and I don’t even know if this is a Buddhist practice it’s a meditative practice but like just lay in there body scan and tolerate the experience of anger you you talked about what it was like you feel it in your chest and your arms and your hands and it’s just flooding of maybe energy or heat or vibration and and like it’s possible that you could be getting escalated into a level of nervous system disregulation where your adrenaline is kicking in and people talk about that feel feeling a little electricy or Sparky inside and like lay down and body scan that [  ] feel it tolerate it what is it like to experience anger yeah I I think it’s years of body scan practice that even makes me able to check it out now like I I couldn’t do that like four years ago be like I feel it where like totally not connected well and for me it’s like a couple of big deep breaths like I got to [  ] you know just big deep breaths and try to like calm all right let’s calm like and just recognizing that like I’m worked up now and nothing good is probably going to come out of this well the the thing about the the nervous system right so it’s getting these cues from the environment it’s sending them up your your spine basically into your brain and it’s got a little basically uh it’s kind of like a metal detector but for good or bad memories right have I ever encountered this before and what happened was it jarring was it scary was it painful cuz those things are going to trigger it right away soon as that happens it starts the process of releasing all kind of chemicals into your body shutting off the ability to communicate to your logical brain some people have the ability to communicate and they can say I don’t want to be doing this this is wrong in their head but can’t stop because they are overwhelmed at that level of disregulation there’s too many chemical reactions going on right the thing is once our body gets to a level of being Beyond its ability to tolerate an experience that experience is now queuing more danger in itself because it’s cycling through and continuing to cue the nervous system of this is too much and there’s no coherent thought about too much for what or what happens at the end of that like there’s just kind of this hazy looming Doomer Gloom I’ll die if I were to just lay here with all this overwhelming anger I would blow up or something I’d spontaneously combust like there’s no clear thought out ending to that of what we’re actually scared of and I think part of it for me was reminding myself that I’m not going to die I can lay here for 20 minutes with this feeling and I will not blow up what will happen I don’t [  ] know and that made me curious enough to say you know what I’m GNA keep doing it until I figure it out I want to know what happens yeah why can’t I sit here and not react that annoys me I like control over myself it was like it made me frustrated enough to want to I’m a [  ] layer if it’s available to me I want to try that yeah like all right Millie let’s be late to school and get me pissed off so I can try this I mean it’s going to happen you’re going to get mad no [Music] yeah have you found that listening to the recovery sort of podcast has helped you in your day-to-day Journey please share the message of compassion and well-being with the loved ones in your life connect with us more at recovery sort of.com Facebook Instagram threads YouTube and other social media spaces and have a great [Music] week [Applause] [Music]