The Angry Narcissist – Part 3

How I Am Currently Working Through My Anger

While I have made the decision to let go of anger, anger resolution is a process, rather than a binary event, for we are talking about anger that was built up since childhood.

The following steps / example is how I’m dissolving my anger permanently. You may find them useful for your situation as well.

1. Being Conscious of My Anger

After my friend brought my anger to my awareness, I began working on being conscious of my anger.

While I used to be 100% unconscious of times when I was angry (I would think that my ticked reactions were “normal” or that I wasn’t angry when I really was), I’m now aware of the times when I’m angry. I’m also aware of moments where I’m not angry yet but I can feel anger about to stir – an awareness which I find invaluable. Additionally, I’m also aware of specific things that tick me, i.e. my anger triggers.

Having developed consciousness of my anger, this then leads to Step 2.

2. Understanding the Source of the Anger

After realizing that my anger has never been external; it is internal, I focus on understanding the true source of my anger every time I get angry, rather than seek for a solution in the external world (which had never resolved my anger anyway).

I do that by using the root cause exercise, where I keep asking myself “Why am I angry? Why does this make me angry? Why? Why? Why?” to get down to the bottom of my anger.

Example: Irritation from Kids’ Screams or Cries

For as long as I could remember (up until I began healing this issue), I would be ticked whenever I heard kids screaming (at the top of their lungs) or crying. Such screams and cries were frequent occurrences in my old neighbourhood.

Whenever I heard them, it would feel like a siren went off in my head. I would feel like ripping a piece of paper to shreds or hitting someone with an object. I wouldn’t be able to do anything constructive because I would be so intensely annoyed by the screams. I would feel incapacitated.

I used to deal with this annoyance by (a) shutting out the noise, (b) changing to a quieter environment, or (c) blasting music to block out the screams. The methods would work to varying degrees, but were merely short-term measures. As soon I heard the screams or cries again, I would feel frustrated all over again.

After realizing that anger isn’t external but internal, I then took a different tack – I dug into myself to understand why I would always be so pissed off by the screams and cries of kids and babies.

Root Cause #1: Anger at My Helplessness

• “Why am I angry?

◦ I’m angry because these kids just keep crying over and over!

• “Why am I angry with them crying? What’s wrong with that?

◦ I hate the fact that they are helpless. They can’t do anything. They have good-for-nothing parents!

• “Is it their fault that they are helpless? They are just babies and kids!

◦ I know… I just can’t stand helplessness.

• “What is the real problem here?

◦ Seeing or hearing their helplessness reminds me of my helplessness. It reminds me of how I used to be helpless as a child, trapped and afraid to move. It reminds me of how I continue to be helpless today, surrounding the state of my family today and their willingness to remain dysfunctional and bleed our welfare system.

I felt a “thud” in my heart when I heard that from my subconsciousness. I had been reacting in anger all this while to my own helplessness. I had been so pissed off at the kids’ cries and screams because they reminded me of my own helplessness in my past and in my present life.

Root Cause #2: Childhood Resentment

Here is another set of answers I got from doing the exercise in another setting.

• “Why am I angry?

◦ Because the kids are really freaking noisy! Why are they screaming at the top of their lungs like that?

• “Why am I angry at that? They are kids – of course they are going to scream without restraint.

◦ Because they are disrupting my peace and quiet!

• “Why is it so important to have my peace and quiet?

◦ Because I was never able to get my peace and quiet when I was young. All I want is just some privacy and quiet time with myself today, as an adult. Can’t I get that?

• “…What am I really angry at here?

◦ I’m angry at my father for taking away my peace and quiet, my happiness when I was young. I’m angry at my family for taking away my childhood from me.

Wow, I had thought. It was finally starting to make sense. I had been so angry at noise disruptions all this while, since I could remember, because my head was still filled with the yellings and shoutings of my parents from when I was young. That was why even the slightest noise would irk me. This was why my ears would be so sensitive to even the littlest of sounds.

I wasn’t really angry at the kids for “taking away my peace and quiet”. I was really reacting from my childhood anger for having my peace and quiet taken away when I was a child. This was why my reaction to the screams of kids would be so violent – I was displaying compounded anger from since young.

Root Cause #3: Anger at My Lack of Consideration for Others

And finally, the last set of answers:

• “Why am I angry?

◦ Because these kids are being so inconsiderate. They are just screaming around without considering others’ need for privacy!

• “Why am I angry about that?”

◦ Because inconsiderate people have no regard for other people. They are among the worst kind of people to be around.

• “Why am I angry about that?”

◦ Because it reminds me of how I can be very inconsiderate of others’ needs. It’s something I hate about myself. I wish to be more mindful of others needs and never hurt or implicate other people because of my callousness or insensitivity.

Rounding Up

Okay, as it turned out, I was never really angry at the kids or the babies. My anger at them was an expression of my latent anger toward myself, my family, my abusers, and my past.

No wonder I would react so violently whenever there was a kid screaming or crying. It wasn’t the kid’s screaming or crying I was reacting to per se. It was my past and my inner issues that I was reacting to.

So nowadays, every time I experience a hint of anger, I would do this self-questioning exercise. Each time, I would get a new dash of insight. Sometimes, I would get a huge revelation. Each of them would reflect an inner wound that had not been healed yet. I would then work on healing these wounds.

By Brian Nadon

www.vaticfoundation.com

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