Understanding and Overcoming ANGER & FEAR…
Here’s a clip from Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction &
Overload by Lucy Jo Palladino – one of the main scrolls I used for research when I put Conquer Yourself together back in March…
It’s a part where she builds on anger: how we’re “out of our focus zone” (that state of flow, full engagement, etc.) whenever we get angry, frustrated and ‘rage-ful,’ and how those emotions are really hidden expressions of FEAR.
In my own experience – both with myself and with other people – I’ve noticed that anger is usually just a cover up to disguise vulnerability.
I’ve noticed that whenever I’d feel hurt emotionally (or afraid that I was going to be hurt emotionally), I’d use anger as a tactic to intimidate the other person…that way they’d never get to see that they have the power over me to make me feel that way.
Confronting Fear & ALL It’s Cousins
So Palladino has a chapter in her book called “Confronting Fear & All It’s Cousins,” because that’s exactly what anger is – a close relative to fear trying to disguise itself as something different (power). She says:
At work, fear usually has to do with loss of money, time, status, respect or security. Suppose your boss goes forward with a project that you don’t agree with, and you’re mad. Underneath, you may be afraid that:
>> You’ll work hard but won’t get your bonus,
>> You’re going to have to work a lot of Saturdays,
>> You’ve lost a rung on the political ladder at the office,
>> Your expertise isn’t valued as it once was or should be, or
>> They’re getting ready to outsource your job.
Deep down, angry parents fear for their child’s welfare. They’re usually afraid that:
>> Something harmful will happen to their child,
>> Something undiagnosed is wrong with their child,
>> Their child’s not going to be successful,
>> Their child won’t be treated fairly, or
>> They’re making mistakes as parents.
Angry couples usually fear abandonment, entrapment or rejection. They’re usually afraid that:
>> Their significant other is going to leave or betray them,
>> They’re going to be stuck in a relationship that doesn’t meet their needs, or
>> Their significant other doesn’t want them as much as they want their significant other.
Kids who are angry at their parents are usually afraid of being controlled, but when they’re angry at peers it’s because they fear rejection, humiliation or loss of status….remember that adolescents are constantly establishing a pecking order for popularity or dating, fear of embarrassment underlies a lot of their anger.
Uncovering the fear gets your brain’s CEO (the logical part) back in charge. As soon as you give your fear a name, your amygdala (the emotional part) starts to let go, and you can then re-engage the newer, front part of your brain (what’s called the “pre-frontal lobe”).
Unlike the amygdala, your brain’s CEO sees the source of your fear as a problem to be solved, NOT a life threatening event…”
Concluding Thoughts & Solutions
She then talks about assertiveness skills as a logical, healthy resolution to those fear-based issues.
Personally, I feel that most of our fears have little to do with other people trying to manipulate or take advantage of us, they really come from us not having the courage to speak up for ourselves.
Also, since the media conditions us with images of conflict and drama, we falsely project those dynamics onto our own relationships, when the reality is that most of us are just doing the best we can. The conflicts we have almost always come from simple mistakes, misunderstandings and a lack of communication.
“Our brains were not made to constantly process streaming close-ups of murders, accidents, suicide bombers, disease victims and guerilla warfare attacks… (so) we need strategies to protect ourselves from this larger-than-life, all-the-time adrenaline, digital age of fear.” ~ Lucy Jo Palladino, PhD.
Therefore, we can conquer our fears, build healthy relationships and take back control of our lives once we have the self-esteem to be transparent and honest with other people about where we’re at and what we’re feeling.
Self-esteem is like one of those invincibility power-ups in an old Sega-Genesis game. Once you hold yourself in high regard, nobody can phase you…