203: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry – Part 2 (Sort Of)

We continue the conversation 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. We talk about the purpose of anger, and what can be done with it. We explore how we can listen to anger and let it guide us to what needs to change in our life. Anger can be a warning sign. Listen in as we talk about anger, stay tuned for part 2 next week, and share your thoughts with us.

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Transcript:

welcome back it’s recovery sort of the podcast where we explore the struggles of Life the challenges of mental health and recovery and 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 this week we’re picking up where we left the conversation off last week here we go [Applause] [Music] okay what’s a good discussion about anger without talking about the patriarchy right ways we express anger ways we’ve been conditioned that we’re allowed to men are allowed to be angry in our world in fact a lot of times it’s looked at as a positive thing when men are angry and and you know stand up for what they believe and assertive and all that and like these are qualities we also don’t champion in women they are not very feminine resting [  ] face we don’t want to see all this masculine qualities in our women and they’re not allowed to be angry and I encounter a lot of people men and women at this point that don’t feel like anger is aoud like at a deep core level have trouble even when they decide okay it’s time for me to be angry I should be angry here this was not right this was an unjust thing and nothing happens definitely because in in exploring my own anger I realized growing up I was not allowed to be angry which is why I don’t know how to manage it I you know like so it when it does come out it’s I’m totally out of control because I was never allowed to you know nobody coached me through it it was like you you’re not allowed to be angry which also deepened my uh uh sense of not being able to trust my own feelings and intuition so here I am in my 40s trying to learn my own intuition ition and feelings and anger because I was told that whatever I was feeling was wrong and I wasn’t allowed to you know like zero through 20 be angry or confused or what well even if you are all your powers taken away because if you’re mad at school for a policy or a thing that happened like you don’t have any recourse like well you don’t have any Authority so you just have to listen and do whatever we say and then for most of us in our homes growing up if you were mad about a punishment whether it was just or unjust or you were accused of something didn’t do when you got mad about it you didn’t have any authority over it because you were just subject to whatever your parents said yes and how cool would it be if and I didn’t do this well for my older ones and I’m trying now but how cool would it be to live in a house where the experience was if you felt something was unjust later that day or the next day you could approach that parent and say hey man that didn’t really feel good just felt like this yeah or that’s the strength of my wife to be like to say to the kids like hey how do you how do you feel about that like it and creating an atmosphere where they feel safe to say I don’t like it or I don’t want to do that or I’m not in for that course you don’t like it I told you no it’s fine right so Millie and I have a safe word now um because there was a situation it was me her and another grown-up and she felt uncomfortable and she told me later and I’m so pleased that she trust me to tell me later she’s like I didn’t know what to do because you know this person was there whatever so I was like thought about it for a little bit and I was like we have a safe word now and so if she drops this safe word in conversation I could be like oh hey Millie come out to the car with me we got to do something and this way if she’s angry confused scared I can take her away from the scene awesome I know uhuh and so I have a reminder in my phone just to keep it fresh so we don’t forget the safe word luckily like these scary scenes don’t happen very much right but um uh so we have yet to apply it in real life and I’m just per you know every couple weeks I remind her like don’t don’t forget our safe word you know like if we that’s pretty cool and we were lucky I mean our kids went to that alternative school where they had a means to address you know grievances or or issues that come up and like in their uh judicial proceedings whatever you want to call it like they could write up a staff member if a staff member did something they didn’t like they could write up the staff member and they would have a hearing about it and yeah you know they had a way to address that and things didn’t always you know it’s not even necessarily about fairness per se because things in life just aren’t fair and it’s it’s really about being heard and and being able to voice your opinions without being disrespected or put down or belittled and like having a say it’s so mature so we had a situation last year where one of my daughters uh she was a junior and she had a math class didn’t do well in the class had trouble understanding said she really tried during the class period frequently to ask the teacher for help but he would say to get help from the people that at your table and stuff like that and like never felt heard by the teacher and so there was a lot of conflict some parental emails back and forth that my wife was handling and like I wasn’t great at it but even me I’m just happy with the fact that I heard her right I I I didn’t just say [  ] that you’re the problem there’s all these other kids in that class they all by right this that and the other like go back harder like I not that I didn’t say some of those I’m like look I but I also heard I said this could be a really tough teacher for you just could be a teacher that’s not hearing you when you’re asking for help right or the ways you ask and I think even just being able to acknowledge that makes a big difference for a kid man I wish I’d have had that some of the times growing up like somebody to say maybe you’re not 100% wrong every [  ] time you do everything you know maybe some of these other people have a role in in being shitty too cuz we do sometimes you know I’ve addressed people wrong and and been wrong like we’ve all been like a shitty person to people you know yeah so that message meing that we’re not allowed to be angry is something I think a lot of us get just out of society whether you know I don’t know if patriarchy is the right word but just in society in general like it’s just the way that it is for most kids growing up like you don’t have a place where you can express your anger uh feel like you’ve been heard been able to you know get that stuff out and somebody’s going to listen sorry I’m getting so excited I’m ready to cut you off but like yes and then then we send these 18 to 25y old men out into the world and they do find that like on their own they do get a place to stand up for thems here or there maybe it’s online or something but then they’re all championed for that anger right you know what I mean it’s like suppress it all these years and then comes out and then you’re [  ] applauded for it and then it’s like well yeah no wonder we’re all angry now everybody’s getting cheered on for it you and you get the people with the over Authority attitude they’re like the whatever the postal worker and they want to yell at you cuz you’re not standing in line right or you didn’t fill out the form right and they want to use this like their Authority now is like to make sure you filled out your form correctly that always makes me wonder like how bad is your life if you’re freaking out which is people that have never learned that regulatory skill as a kid like now they’ve gotten into the world and they’re like oh my God Authority you know go ahead Jason your’s a part I was just wanted to go back to the uh the code word thing and you were asking about like you know the other thing besides being present because I’m not always present man my brain likes to take me a lot of past and future places you know or or other present places that ain’t where I’m at but like my 99-year-old and I have a a little Code system too like if I’m overwhelmed and he’s doing a little bit much yapping at me um I walk over and I put my hand on his shoulder right so I don’t have to be mean or anything and we know what that means and then if I’m in a moment and I’m not hearing him or if I’m saying stuff that he feels is missing the mark he comes over and he touches my arm and that tells me to pay attention

I told him I’m like dude sometimes I and I don’t know where I’m at and I’m like just kind of lost inah like I need you to come so we agreed on that so it’s like I you know just having these more reminders right involv the person you’re with and reminding you like let them be the reminder let them be the alarm that wakes us up from that that pattern cuz we are we’re stuck in a rut we’re stuck in a rut we got trained to we’re doing exactly what the programming calls for and then we’re beating the [  ] out of ourselves on back end for not being good enough and it’s like that’s just causing more shame which is going to make us do it again MH we need that backend parent to come in internal parent and be like hey it’s really [  ] rough on both of y’all so sorry that moment happened you know yeah you you know my my older daughter River has limited language abilities and when she sees me getting like built up she’ll she’ll like put her hand on me and she goes you can’t see it on the podcast but she raises her hands like breathe in and breathe out and that’s she knows because like my kids know I go to meditation and I talk about all the time like I’ll tell them take a breath take a breath so River does that and I’m like you’re right you’re right sometimes I still want to be like not right now but like she’s like she’s right telling me just take a breath mommy you know well and I mean from a calm place like right now we can all acknowledge probably ain’t nothing none of the ways I expressed anger in large Impressions Looking Back Now I don’t feel like any of them are Justified or valid or you know what I mean like from a calm place I can know that that anger is going to pass and I’m going to be on the other side of it the Situation’s going to change all I got to do is take enough breaths and it will pass right but it’s like in that moment it’s just that feeling of I need to do something to make this stop I gotta get this feeling out of me somehow yeah well when Billy was young because he had a lot of anger issues I mean it was you know hit a pillow or you know whatever like anything like say we’re like hey you’re allowed to be angry you’re not allowed to throw things or break things or you whatever else you got to figure out some other way and that might be hit a pillow go outside and scream whatever it might be but you know there’s healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with that emotion I would even say screaming to a pillow maybe not outside that’s scary for your neighbors and I I I remember those tips and those tips just make me want to sit in the anger more for me like if I’m punching something and screaming that’s keeping me in the anger there is actually apparently some research that says that the idea of hitting something uh reinforces the idea of hitting something later and so it’s not necessarily the greatest Outlet um I definitely saw that in me yeah somebody else brilliantly suggested do the anger motion that you want to do slowly right right throw an incredibly slow punch and what’s happening in your fist while you throw that can you feel your you know fingers tightening what about your shoulder where is what’s the feeling it like basically it’s slowing you down to make you present really with the the sensations of it but thought that was a kind of a neat idea I guess yeah it would slow my mind down because I think that’s part of part of when I get ramped up in the anger is my mind’s like flipping so fast like you’re a bad parent you didn’t do your job there awful to you they’re disrespecting you and it’s like that rapid fire messaging if I focus on the fists well and and let’s Circle back to where we started with this the purpose of anger is to be a quick thing it comes up it sets the boundary it creates the safety and then it goes away so if the anger is lingering what does that mean that means our body does not believe it has created the safety it needs to yet well this is very different in 2023 than it is when you had the Lions on the Sahara chasing you right I mean obviously once the lion is dead or you’re out of its reach you’re safe then your body can calm down doesn’t need the the juices anymore but when the problem is my kid disrespected me and they continue to do so well now I got to hold on to that anger almost permanently because that’s not going to end until I find a way to [  ] cease it right MH but what’s the way to cease it shame and anger and oppress them from having thoughts and feelings or you know what I mean like that’s so what I realized I was angry one night my da had uh borrowed my car or something it was something around a car not cleaning it or whatever and I was frustrated about it and I was angry and I realized in that moment I was holding on to that to teach her a lesson and that was [  ] pointless and the second later I was like well that’s stupid she’ll never learn a lesson from me being angry and then I stopped being angry like instantaneously the [  ] feeling left my body when I realized it had no purpose anymore I don’t I mean maybe that’s what we need to get to when we’re feeling angry what needs to be done here what do I need to do to address this situation right for me it’s saying no around the car sometimes if you haven’t taken the care of it that I would if you can’t use my belongings like I do and give them that kind of care I’m not going to let you use them that’s what makes me feel okay that keeps me not angry at my daughter right it was something I needed to do and and I guess once I realize that I don’t need to think of anger as like something I need to hold on to I feel they’ve been telling me that in 12 steps forever like you know anger is like drinking poison waiting for somebody else to die and I’m like yeah that sounds really cool I’m going share it to the next meeting and I’m still going to be angry at everybody yeah well and that’s like the the you know speaking of recovery principles like that’s always what I think about when it’s you know I’m not responsible for my thoughts but I am responsible for my actions you know so I can be mad and think whatever I think about my kids in that moment you know but if I don’t say it or I don’t put it into words that harm you know I’m not hurting them part of me too wants to um so being disrespected is making me angry I think I need to chill out on my need for respect I got to kind of shatter that well and that’s almost what you were just talking about with your daughter like sometimes when I’m angry like for me it’s like well what am I actually angry about like what what am I mad about and sometimes I look at that and it is ridiculous stuff you know what I mean it’s like you know my son a bad playing a baseball game and I’m angry you know because and when I think that through it’s like because that’s a reflection of me out there and now he just made me look bad and I’m like that’s [  ] stupid like I should feel bad for him because I’m sure he feels embarrassed and he knows what he did was wrong cuz I’ve been there too so just thinking like giving myself that minute to like think about that and then I’m like H well I should be empathetic here because I know what that feels like I read something recently that our children are an extension of our ego and that’s when they when they mess up it’s like I messed up and I putting it in that light helps me like why do I get so hurt when like if you know my daughter messes up you know well we had a conversation at work the other day and and I think this gets to the respect part but maybe not um lady at work was saying her son you know got super mad at his daughter and and you know whatever because she was seven and she was in the back of the minivan and I guess she took some markers and Drew some pictures all in the back of the minivan all over the inside of it and so he freaked out and they freaked out on her and there’s all this punishment and all this other stuff and I said what do you think a seven-year-old like that’s what a normal like do you think the seven-year-old recognizes the value of the car like they have that’s not a concept they don’t know any of that stuff they just probably were sitting there like this [  ] place is boring I bet you some cool pictures of stars and lions and you know that would make this so much better like who wouldn’t like some my parents tell me they like my drawings in fact they hang them on the refrigerator all the time I must be a great artist you know like that’s what’s gone through a seven year-old’s mind not you know what I mean this car costs my parents x amount of dollars and if I draw these pictures it’s going to ruin it like they just that’s not where they are mhm and of course it’s easy for me to say that cuz it’s not my car yeah yeah but it’s like when you can get you know to that perspective it’s like your kids probably don’t know anything about respect at least in the level of what you’re talking about or or what that means because they’re just thinking about themselves because that’s the natural state of a child to be self-centered yeah so of course they’re not thinking like oh my parents do all these great things for me and they sacrifice so much of their life like no they’re like [  ] yeah I’m hungry you need to get me some food right cuz that’s what you do you’re the food getter you know what I mean like you’re the house cleaner the laundry doer what you do I don’t know I play games and do other [  ] you are the needs meter yeah you’re the person that gets me what I want that that’s exact perfect example because that’s the other thing get Mom get me chicken nuggets I’m like I taught you how to use the air fryer go get your own chicken nuggets like I that kind of disrespect quote unquote makes me so mad yeah hold that thought right so in in my mind I’m thinking why would kids draw on the minivan they’re bored why are they bored nobody’s given him any attention why did they have this kid in the back of the minivan with no attention for so long like what are they doing know the full story right I’m just saying like I mean are you putting the kid in the back of the car and assuming they’re going to be fine while you drive around for hours and run errands cuz maybe you need to reevaluate that right like that’s what I think our problem is we’re so focused on getting the things done that we miss the lives being lived around us you know um so your version right this respect thing um and we talked about it a little bit on here before but I’d love to say it again like respect is almost made up we use it especially as parents as such a catchall for our kids not doing what we wanted them to do right that’s what it is this is what I wanted you didn’t do that now you have disrespected me somehow right when most of the time I think what they’re saying is I couldn’t you know I’d like to show up and pleasing ways for you loving parent I couldn’t I wanted to a kid always wants to show up and get that [  ] love and adoration out of us they’re always trying to meet those demands we put on them if they can’t it’s truly because they can’t it’s not cuz they don’t want to trust me don’t you always want people’s love and adoration aren’t you always trying to act in ways that gains that even when it’s not great for yourself just because I’ve been thinking about something a little differently lately I want to challenge that a little bit only for older kids like so at some point and I’m going to say for me it was around 14 15 years old I didn’t trust or believe my parents anymore because they weren’t like what they said didn’t seem to match up with what I F or saw like they didn’t they were supposed to be I had an expectation of what they were supposed to be in my life and they weren’t those things they didn’t protect me growing up they didn’t keep me safe they didn’t do all this stuff so when they would tell me things like well you need to clean your room or do this or that or take care of this or that I was like well you’re whatever you’re saying is not necessarily true I’m going to figure this out for my own or I’m going to go get information from somewhere else because you’re not a source of information that I trust or believe anymore they don’t have to trust or believe that I need their room clean I need their room clean has nothing to do with whether it’s supposed to be done or rooms are meant to be cleaned or any of that [  ] this is my house in our house we take care of our rooms I oh yeah but I just meant at at some point like my interest wasn’t necessarily in pleasing my parents anymore you know like that that shifted somewhere in my teen years to be like you [  ] people don’t matter like you’re not the people I’m trying to please anymore now I’m trying to please like my peer group and my you know other people and and that’s the people that I’m going after here’s my take on that so with the understanding that the frontal Globe doesn’t fully develop to somewhere near to 25 right we are adults and because we were untrained when we get to a certain percentage of disregulation whatever the [  ] that is I have no idea these numbers right but say it’s 70 once we get past that 70 our frontal lobe is not strong enough to do anything for us anymore it’s completely taken over like Jenny’s talking about she is acting outside of her control in that moment right so I can only assume that people who don’t even have a fully developed one are much less a lower number of percentage before they are taken over that’s my guess I don’t know if that’s true or not um my take is that by the teenage years we had our programming downloading for all these years and then hormones kick on and when hormones kick on what we start saying is I need relief from this [  ] pain I can’t stand the disconnection and dysfunction in this house and the ways these people that are supposed to be showing up and loving me [  ] treat me like dog [  ] and it hurts so bad I don’t have any control over me seeking relief from that anymore and I’m going to seek it however the [  ] I find it and you know where I find it amongst that group of kids that had them fun drugs right it’s not it’s not a choice anymore then I don’t think it’s just a level of pain that people can’t tolerate and we’re seeking the relief from it in different ways most of us on our phones now I hate these [  ] phon um those make me angry too yeah yeah it’s just it’s I lose me when I’m there man anyway um I do want to go back to the the thing about my daughter and the car right because I think this is where I’m finding success for me I was there in my backyard frustrated that she was taking my car and I had said Yes again I was mad at her for treating me bad and disrespecting me why didn’t I just say no and not disrespect myself if somebody can’t take care of my belongings in the way I’ve asked them to and the way I do I can inform them hey you’re not taking care of my car the way I really need you to it’s not the way I do it right this is how I do it and if they continue to not to why am I not loving myself that’s my car I don’t have to let my daughter use it it’s this sense of obligation that my parents gave me that they weren’t allowed to say no they weren’t allowed to set healthy boundaries to make their lives happier that’s what they gave me and so I’ve been [  ] miserable trying to make everybody happy my whole life and all I got got to do is decide what makes me happy it makes me happy if people use my car and bring it back the way I use it and if you can’t you ain’t [  ] using it I don’t care how closely related you are to me that makes me feel better I can respect myself my anger towards everybody else was that I didn’t know how to set my own boundaries that was my anger I didn’t even know where the [  ] they were and that’s what I was thinking when you said that like maybe anger is a good way for us to look at and set boundaries you know it’s like a tool to like be like hey this feels like a boundary’s been yeah broken here and what is that something is wrong here there is a huge thing wrong if I am feeling anger what is it so my only thing with that like I think all right the times now I struggle the most with anger would be driving when other people drive terribly or don’t use turn signals or [  ] do all kind I get super angry at that lose my temper um inanimate objects that I’m working on with myself I’m doing something at home and I [  ] kick the paint can over or whatever like I’ll freak out then pretty bad I do really much better nowadays not directing anger at other people but when there’s not an immediate uh I don’t know what you want to call it like individual that is going to be hurt then I’m freak out right right there’s not a if it’s just a cause almost all right so my my take on this and and I don’t know if this answers the question of like why or any of that but where I come from With It is anger is hurting me right yeah I can kick that pain can over and be angry but there’s also a part of me that is really hurt by the feeling that I got to clean up all that paint and I wasted the money and the time and like all those things right and when I get angry at things out there I abandon that hurt part of me that needs somebody to come along for it yeah so usually I’m angry at myself so what most of the time like [  ] idiot what you got you went to your parents with pain and they said you [  ] idiot yeah maybe not in those words but they made it your fault right instead of caring for the hurt part of you that was underneath the problem and that’s what we’ve all chosen to do with our anger is we abandon the hurt part of ourselves I’ll go out there to the paint can I’ll go out there to my wife my kids but nobody’s in here taking care of the part of me that got hurt and when I can show up as that loving parent to parent that guy I don’t have to go after anybody I tend to the part that’s inside of me that’s hurt the anger doesn’t need to be there anymore because I’m taking care of a pieace and the anger doesn’t have to step up to protect it and then I can just go tell people how I feel hey this happen man it hurt me but I got to I got to be able to tolerate the hurt and that’s where the meditation has been a huge [  ] thing for me like anytime I feel I’m going to laying the [  ] down man I can’t it just it’s too much and then I’m an [  ] and I just don’t want to be that no more man I’m not willing and this is kind of like where I’m at in my marriage this isn’t about me telling you you’re doing it wrong anymore or being angry I’m not willing to be frustrated and argue with you that’s [  ] hurting me I just don’t want to I just want to evaluate how can we do this can it be in a way that feels good for both of us and if not then let’s call it what it is and acknowledge that right I get it that hurts but like let’s just look at it for what it is and stop blaming it I don’t want to do that no more yeah it’s about where we’re at I don’t know present moment did any of us feel like we we touched on anger I feel like we did a good job on anger honestly think a lot I mean some skills that I use are just deep breaths taking a moment but some of that just comes as a result of meditation right right just [  ] reacting and blowing up cuz I’m mad about [  ] spouting off at whatever idea comes into my head or insulting people or whatever else doesn’t help you know just recognizing that immediately is like all right that’s not what I want to do yeah well and for me I think it was acknowledging that’s just not what I even think I am I don’t even I’ve been running around screaming at people for [  ] like 40 years I don’t even think that’s who Jason is like what am I doing right like I it just doesn’t even feel authentic to me um you know another thing I think sometimes just changing our wording right we talk about anger and frustration and these these levels of I don’t know those words remind me of violence for some reason right and like the truth is that feeling in our chest in that moment it’s the sympathetic nervous system it is the fight flight energy it is your body being flooded with the amount of force it would take to defend yourself against a physical attack or to run the [ __ ] away from it like that’s what it is it’s sympathetic nervous system it is not I mean there’s a feeling that goes with it and I get that but the over overwhelm that body sensation is is a nervous system reaction and we don’t have to be scared of it we can just learn to understand it and work with it a little better you know over time it takes practice Yeah again like I said it’s a it’s a tool something’s going on what’s an appropriate thing to do with this besides insult my kids or belittle my wife right right right anger anger is like the flag something needs to change like a boundary maker something needs to change I mean Rage Against the Machine said anger is a gift right so just say all right see you next [Music] week 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 week [Music] [Applause] [Music]