Anger transcends feelings. Indeed, your body goes into overdrive when it detects a danger. It begins by releasing adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone. Your heart rate accelerates and your blood pressure rises in response. Simultaneously, your senses are stimulated, your muscles tense, and your hands and cheeks flush.
In times of crisis, these reactions might be beneficial since they inspire you to take action or speak up for yourself. The issue arises when you are unable to manage your anger in a healthy manner by:
- Expressing your emotions in a sensible, acceptable manner,
- Converting your rage into a productive act,
- Calming down and allowing your emotions to pass.
There are three sorts of anger, each of which influences how we respond in a situation where we feel anger. Passive Aggression, Open Aggression, and Assertive Anger are the three types of aggression.
Passive aggressiveness does not imply that anger isn’t there; rather, it is suppressed and manifests itself as sulking and shutting down. It is the most common strategy of avoiding confrontation, yet it ensures that an explosion will occur at some point as emotion builds up and can turn into open aggression.
Many individuals, on the other hand, have a propensity to lash out in rage, becoming physically or verbally violent and injuring themselves or others. This is referred to as “Open Aggression”. Fighting, bullying, blackmailing, accusing, yelling, squabbling, sarcasm, and criticism are all examples of this. The anger comes from an anxiety and stems from a desire to be in control, something that is part of codependent behaviour.
Being in control and confident, communicating and listening, and being receptive to aid in dealing with the problem are all good ways to cope with anger. This assertive method of dealing with anger may aid in the development of relationships. It entails thinking before speaking, being confident in your delivery, but being open and adaptable to the “other side”. It entails being patient, without raising your voice, sharing your emotional state, and really attempting to comprehend what others are going through. You display maturity and caring for your relationships and yourself when you deal with anger assertively. Now let’s look at codependency.
On the internet, there is a wealth of information regarding how codependents suffer at the hands of other people. In the grand scheme of things, much of this may be considered to be correct. However, one thing that the authors and articles sometimes neglect to emphasize is how tough it may be to live with someone who has a codependent personality.
The drama triangle that often occurs around codependency as a technique of exerting power over others is something I’ve talked about before on this blog. The notion of fixing, anger, and self-victimization is a harmful one that has the potential to ruin any relationship. However, although many of the writers who publish information are more than willing to characterize those who are the target of this treatment as narcissists (and some really are), many are just “normal” individuals who are distancing themselves from being controlled, albeit subtly. While this is not a solution in and of itself, it is comprehensible to a certain degree.
Anger and rage are common emotions in the lives of codependents and may be seen as a part of the drama triangle. However, although many observers of codependent behavior focus on self-sacrifice and victimization, codependents may also be tremendously angry when they believe their power is being threatened. This is deep-seated rage that has most likely been repressed since infancy or adolescence. Children might be reluctant to display emotion for a variety of reasons. One possibility is that they were instructed (or commanded) not to, or feared the consequences of doing so. It is important to note at this point that not all codependents display all of the characteristics of the drama triangle, and many simply have a mix of two or three of these characteristics. Their roles may include rescuer (fixer)-victim, victim-anger, or any other combination of roles that one could think up.
In codependents, rage and anger generally reveals themselves after the “fixing” stage of the drama triangle has occurred and failed. This is the stage at which the codependent believes that control can be maintained by demonstrating that they are willing to go to any length to become indispensable in the life of the person they have chosen. There is typically no limit to what they will be able to do and provide. It is praise, security, and confirmation that the person thinks they are worthy and will remain with them that they are looking for from this sacrifice. This, of course, does not always work out, and when the expected return does not materialize, anger might develop from frustration. The frustration of putting one’s own needs aside to “fix” someone else.
As previously said, this manifestation of anger originates from a deep place and may stem from not just frustration but also fear, overwhelm, impending loss, and poor self-esteem. It may be both chronic and sudden in some individuals, and others around them get used to “stepping on eggshells”. The major worry, however it manifests itself, is a loss of power in the relationship, as well as the dread of being abandoned and alone. Once the anger has subsided, it is generally followed by the victim stage. This self-pity is used to gain favor and to entice others to come to their aid.
As you can see, rage is just one component of a highly complex collection of behaviors linked with codependency and the relationships to which they are drawn.
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Dr. Nicholas Jenner, a therapist, coach, and speaker, has over 20 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. His specialty lies in treating codependency, a condition that is often characterized by a compulsive dependence on a partner, friend, or family member for emotional or psychological sustenance. Dr. Jenner’s approach to treating codependency involves using Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, a treatment method that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. He identifies the underlying causes of codependent behavior by exploring his patients’ internal “parts,” or their different emotional states, to develop strategies to break free from it. Dr. Jenner has authored numerous works on the topic and offers online therapy services to assist individuals in developing healthy relationships and achieving emotional independence.