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Noticing my anger

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I’ve recently been noticing that where I thought I didn’t often get angry, I have instead been repressing feelings like irritation and anger. When they came up, I have been stuffing them away deep inside. It’s a long established pattern, I have been doing that for a long time because I have felt that getting angry was dangerous, that people wouldn’t like me when I was angry and that it might cause permanent rifts. I guess it is something that goes back to my childhood and the separation of my parents.

I still don’t get angry often but when it happens now I have decided to try and observe it mindfully, rather than repressing it. It is funny, it only seems to turn from irritation into anger when I actually express it. Otherwise it is just a small dark cloud on the horizon... I recall Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a whole book on mindfully handling anger.

It seems to me that when you become angry, your thinking is somewhat twisted, you are no longer reasonable in your thinking. It takes an effort to think logically when you are angry. Things within me seem to protest when I attempt to think logically while I am caught up in the righteousness of temporary anger. For me anger is always about getting justice, righteousness.

Just another thing to let go of...

BunkslobsterpersonJeffreyadamcrossleyDharma_VibesShoshinLionduckDimmesdale

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I am exactly the same @Kerome . When I get angry I think I am a bad person and I beat myself up about it.

    A good practice I found (but don’t often enough use) is to welcome the anger like an old friend and invite it in for a cup of tea. Funny how quickly it scuttles away....

    adamcrossley
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I haven't really been totally able to distinguish experientially the difference between suppressing an emotion and letting go of an emotion.

    I can understand it intellectually. But it seems like maybe I've for a long time either been largely only suppressing some emotions or letting go of them, such that I'm not really sure what the difference is anymore.

    BunksFosdickadamcrossley
  • コチシカコチシカ Berlin, Germany Veteran

    Hi @Kerome

    If you would be so kind to share the title of this book. I have to admit I sometimes become very angry with myself. I'm trying to let go but need an extra boost of help.

    But @Bunks , your method will be tried definitively. Next time I enter these states of rage...I will tell them to sit down and drink some rooibos tea. Hopefully he won't start yelling in Afrikaans.

    BunksadamcrossleyNerida
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Thich Nhat Hanh’s book on anger is called Anger — Wisdom for Cooling the Flames.

    BunksNerida
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @コチシカ said:
    Hi @Kerome

    If you would be so kind to share the title of this book. I have to admit I sometimes become very angry with myself. I'm trying to let go but need an extra boost of help.

    But @Bunks , your method will be tried definitively. Next time I enter these states of rage...I will tell them to sit down and drink some rooibos tea. Hopefully he won't start yelling in Afrikaans.

    Yes! Give it a go......Ajahn Brahm often quotes the same story as the one below. It's quite inspiring.

    コチシカ
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    While it is good to find a way to address the anger that has captured anybody, there are also forms of practice that can help teach how to not get captured by it in the first place.
    This applies as much to anger as any other strong emotion.

    I have found for myself that the moment to moment data flows from all phenomena that arrive at my sense gates often gets dampened immediately preceding an arising of any strong emotion.
    I usually think of this dampening as one of our minds main preparation tools for limiting any competing data that might bring a questioning of the ego's dominance of it's story line over any alternative sense gate storylines.

    When I am attentive enough to my present data flows, any disappearing data streams alert me to that loss and trigger an intentional reawakening of those snoozing sense gates so that the mind loses some of its freedom to completely monopolize its storyline. This forces the mind to return to relating collegially to all the sense gates and whose data often doesn't support the dream production of it's own supremacy, which in this case would have otherwise expressed itself as a manifestation of anger and the connecting consequences of it.

    Another way of describing a harmonization of body & mind.

    lobsterコチシカShoshin
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Noticing difficult emotions, letting them be and letting them go seem to me to make sense as an effective strategy.

    I've also heard practices that seem to contradict that style. Specifically the practice of watching the mind and applying antidotes to negative emotions. So if lust arises, intentionally changing the mind state to reflecting on the disgusting aspects of the body. If anger arises, cognitively reframing the narrative giving rise to that anger maybe reflecting on the positive aspects. I think this is something similar to CBT.

    They seem to be at odds but each sounds like they can be effective. I'm wondering if they aren't simply different skillful means that would be more beneficial towards differing types of people? Like feelers vs thinkers.

    adamcrossley
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    My name is Lobster and I am an anger junky
    Anger Anonymous

    Useful reminder from @how of the importance of awareness.

    Dharma sloth and zzz will never make a Buddha. We have to be vigilant/attentive/practitioners. Most of us have to bite the tongue, bend and fold before being engulfed by negative farces such as inappropriate, hurtful, hateful, harmful demonic chew monsters. They do feed on us.

    Thus:

    Raise the positive, virtuous, redirecting bodhisattva quality emotions first and foremost.

    • Kindness/compassion/metta
    • Wise restraint/noble silence/attentive minfulness
    • Clean up your act/grind and polish the karmic residues

    コチシカpersonadamcrossley
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    You are applying your Buddhism. That is where change happens.

    Anger is one way to avoid having to face pain or helplessness. We are advise to allow the pain to be there, accept it, and relax with it. We don't have to LIKE it, but it is our desire to not have pain that causes our discomfort more than the pain itself.

    lobster
  • Dharma_VibesDharma_Vibes California, USA New

    I used to have a similar problem with lust. Repressing these feelings just made them stronger when they eventually came up as well.

    After a while I finally realized that lust, anger, fear, these emotions are ok. It is ok to feel these things, we are human and these are natural but what we don't want to do is ACT on these feelings. It sounds like you made the right choice by deciding to observe the feelings. Just don't "accidentally" break something or someone haha. 🙏

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Noticing my anger

    I'm reminded of what Rumi had to say about transient emotions

    lobsterDharma_VibesWalker
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I've gotten really sloppy about my diet during the pandemic and have put on the proverbial COVID 19. I'm recommitting myself to be more disciplined and a key part of doing so is accepting that I am going to have to be emotionally uncomfortable with the cravings that will arise and that I don't want to chase.

    Bunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Dr Paul Ekman on How to control your emotions...

    He and his daughter developed Atlas of Emotions at the request of the Dalai Lama ( @Bunks posted a link a while back on it)

    Bunksperson
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran

    Part of dealing with anger is using your own wisdom to pull you out of that same scenario where you are always short handed in terms of finding alternatives to acting it out in an unskillful way. I have to learn to allow myself to lose an argument even though I know am right, because given she is the kind of person who makes decisions based on assumptions. In other words acceptance.

    Shoshinlobsterperson
  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    We all get angry about major and minor things.
    Simply put: The key is to not be controlled by your anger.
    We can choose to redirect our anger into positive action.

    Peace to all

    ShoshinBunksWalkerlobster
  • コチシカコチシカ Berlin, Germany Veteran

    -Anger Issue -

    My mother and I struggle with her brother (my uncle) and how he has basically scammed my mother and also the way he treats their mother (my grandmother). He controls her life and wishes to do so in order to keep accumulating money and properties...

    My mother has given up on all of these material issues to avoid conflicts, but feels sorry for her mother as she tells her how she dislikes this control and how she feels not free. We are talking about a 67 year old man controlling a 90 year old woman who is physically and mentally independent. Her anger is redirected into trying to show her brother how his actions are not wholesome but she does not achieve anything really, in fact she keeps having these sad thoughts and constant reminder of reality in her mind on an intensive cycle.

    I have the same issue. My blood boils when I'm informed of his latest advancements. The last one is him taking over her cellphone and forcing her to remain with him at his holiday house with his family. This is pretty bad particularly when I have plans of moving to the city where he lives and my grandmother lives. It makes me feel uneasy and I'm getting too affected by it. I know it would be great to be equanimous, but right now I think the best is to avoid them and keeping a safe distance from them. But this is seen by mother as being passive. She in fact considers Buddhism as excessively passive in certain aspects.

    I believe that sometimes we need to learn to accept that injustice will occur no matter what we do but her argument is how specific injustices have been defeated thanks to people actually standing up to them, just like rights were won by people fighting for them.

    I'm trying to redirect my anger into something positive, so I write here on this NewBuddhist forum thread to seek water for the flames.

    I used to feel really angry towards him. Even to the point of wishing him death. Now I feel sorry because I see his life is full of suffering, but it spreads to my mother. Still, hell's gates open from time to time...

    Have any of you had any similar experiences? How did you overcome this sense of helplessness and anger? How could I help her? How could I help myself?

    助けてください!!!

    personShoshin
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Bunks said:
    I am exactly the same @Kerome . When I get angry I think I am a bad person and I beat myself up about it.

    A good practice I found (but don’t often enough use) is to welcome the anger like an old friend and invite it in for a cup of tea. Funny how quickly it scuttles away....

    Thus have I heard:
    If you wear a smile, and let it reach your eyes, and continue smiling, even though life may be mundane, and you don't believe that, here and now, you have anything to smile about, gradually, this smile you wear will actually have a positive effect on your psyche, and you will become more cheerful and optimistic.
    It's rather like whistling. People can't really whistle if they're not happy...

    (It works, by the way...)

    lobsterFosdickShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @コチシカ said:
    -Anger Issue -

    My mother and I struggle with her brother (my uncle) and how he has basically scammed my mother and also the way he treats their mother (my grandmother). He controls her life and wishes to do so in order to keep accumulating money and properties...

    My mother has given up on all of these material issues to avoid conflicts, but feels sorry for her mother as she tells her how she dislikes this control and how she feels not free. We are talking about a 67 year old man controlling a 90 year old woman who is physically and mentally independent. Her anger is redirected into trying to show her brother how his actions are not wholesome but she does not achieve anything really, in fact she keeps having these sad thoughts and constant reminder of reality in her mind on an intensive cycle.

    I have the same issue. My blood boils when I'm informed of his latest advancements. The last one is him taking over her cellphone and forcing her to remain with him at his holiday house with his family. This is pretty bad particularly when I have plans of moving to the city where he lives and my grandmother lives. It makes me feel uneasy and I'm getting too affected by it. I know it would be great to be equanimous, but right now I think the best is to avoid them and keeping a safe distance from them. But this is seen by mother as being passive. She in fact considers Buddhism as excessively passive in certain aspects.

    I believe that sometimes we need to learn to accept that injustice will occur no matter what we do but her argument is how specific injustices have been defeated thanks to people actually standing up to them, just like rights were won by people fighting for them.

    I'm trying to redirect my anger into something positive, so I write here on this NewBuddhist forum thread to seek water for the flames.

    I used to feel really angry towards him. Even to the point of wishing him death. Now I feel sorry because I see his life is full of suffering, but it spreads to my mother. Still, hell's gates open from time to time...

    Have any of you had any similar experiences? How did you overcome this sense of helplessness and anger? How could I help her? How could I help myself?

    助けてください!!!

    Are you familiar with "Power of Attorney" agreements...Perhaps your mother could discuss with her mother/your grandmother the possibility of her becoming her power of attorney...this way her brother would have no control over your grandmother's finances...

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~Edmund Burke~ (in a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer).

    コチシカlobsterNerida
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited August 15

    Anger is a loud teacher shouting out to us about what we want and don't have...and what we don't want but are stuck with. It's like the alarm of a nervous system warning you that something needs to be attended to.
    A fire alarm is distressing but it's function is simply to warn you that something needs to be paid attention to right NOW! If you only focused on the distress that the alarm was creating in you without attending to it's cause, you'd think that was foolish.

    When it comes to the arising of anger, a Buddhist practice is first and foremost about not mistaking the clattering of this alarm system for anything more than a thwarted attachment alert.
    All manner of responses may or may not be required when it's sounding but if one wishes those responses to also include some measure of skillful means, then learning how to face with some equanimity, the spurned attachments which triggered this alarm, will be required.

    Otherwise, be prepared for a life term of relatively close proximity to that shouting teacher.

    ShoshinJeffreyコチシカ
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Bunks said:
    I am exactly the same @Kerome . When I get angry I think I am a bad person and I beat myself up about it.

    A good practice I found (but don’t often enough use) is to welcome the anger like an old friend and invite it in for a cup of tea. Funny how quickly it scuttles away....

    Thus have I heard:
    If you wear a smile, and let it reach your eyes, and continue smiling, even though life may be mundane, and you don't believe that, here and now, you have anything to smile about, gradually, this smile you wear will actually have a positive effect on your psyche, and you will become more cheerful and optimistic.
    It's rather like whistling. People can't really whistle if they're not happy...

    (It works, by the way...)

    Which reminds me of Goenka's poem..

    It's easy to wear a smile and be pleasant when one's life flows a along like some sweet song
    But a person worthwhile is one who can still wear a smile, when things in their life go all wrong

    lobsterコチシカBunksKerome
  • NeridaNerida Denmark Explorer

    Like @Bunks I made the mistake of visiting Twitter and staying a while..... it was a horrible experience. And my practise suffered for it too (completely my own fault).

    But, the lesson for me was that I am too tired to be angry now. There is so much suffering in the world and I need to help more than I can afford to torture myself by getting angry. I don't want to get angry, it's a horrible thing and I don't have the energy to fight people I don't know, along with those I do know. Plus, I really don't want to feel like that anymore. It's horrible.

    lobsterKerome
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Nerida said:
    Like @Bunks I made the mistake of visiting Twitter and staying a while..... it was a horrible experience. And my practise suffered for it too (completely my own fault).

    But, the lesson for me was that I am too tired to be angry now. There is so much suffering in the world and I need to help more than I can afford to torture myself by getting angry. I don't want to get angry, it's a horrible thing and I don't have the energy to fight people I don't know, along with those I do know. Plus, I really don't want to feel like that anymore. It's horrible.

    It is @Nerida - I actually ended up deleting my account and have been better for it. I rarely watch the news now either. Just digest what's required and turn it off.

    Well done!

    lobsterfederica
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 26

    🤯
    Just lost an email I spent some time creating. Computer glitch. Whom do I kill? 🤬

    Ah yes kill the anger demon ... On it. Metta to the fury ... 😌🕊💗🌈✅

    ShoshinBunksKerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Nerida said:
    Like @Bunks I made the mistake of visiting Twitter and staying a while..... it was a horrible experience. And my practise suffered for it too (completely my own fault).

    I use Twitter in a very limited way, I basically follow some local news services, local government and a few interesting figures like the Dalai Lama, Brian Cox and Stephen Fry. I avoid most of the angry crowd that way and still pick up a few things. I rarely post on it.

    But I think it is best not to give anger a voice. When you are confronted with an angry person and their anger is triggering your anger, i have found it a good path to not respond, to try and stay with equanimity and mindfulness. For a long time while I was living alone it hasn’t been an issue, but I think in contact with other people that is where the real practice happens.

    The difficulty arises when people are argueing on issues. It becomes difficult not to respond, and also not to repress, but to stay mindful and aware of what is going on inside.

    Bunkslobstermarcitko
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited September 1

    Just now I caught myself raging against someone alone at home for about two minutes who’d actually done nothing wrong by me......it’s a funny thing anger!

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    My experience is that anger shows up only when something has triggered it. If you can stay aware of these triggers then you’re getting good insight into how your mind works...

    BunksShoshinNerida
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Noticing my anger

    It would seem that it's all to do with one's sense of self entitlement...and one's desire for things to go/flow how one would like them to go/flow, which for the most part is against the grain ....of what is naturally unfolding through cause conditions & effects....AKA "What Is"

    It's possible the triggers of anger stem from deep seated grudges (consciously or unconsciously) one holds/have accumulated over years of conditioning, and theses grudges can for example be against people, the behaviour of others, opinions expressed, or how a situation presents itself ...

    Focusing on the six sense doors & the five aggregates...The trigger can be squeezed by something one, sees, hears, feels/touches, smells, tastes, or recollection of past experiences/ memories via thoughts.... Of the five aggregates, mental formation (AKA impulses, habitual behaviour patterns, karmic reactions,) is the accumulated energy which squeezes the trigger for the other clinging aggregates to kick in....completing & fueling the cycle....

    Mindfulness (thus have I heard) gradually loosens the trigger finger, so one is no longer so trigger-happy...no longer a tendency/the urge to shoot from the hip AKA Shoot first ask questions later

    BunkslobsterKerome
  • @Bunks said:
    I am exactly the same @Kerome . When I get angry I think I am a bad person and I beat myself up about it.

    A good practice I found (but don’t often enough use) is to welcome the anger like an old friend and invite it in for a cup of tea. Funny how quickly it scuttles away....

    If not careful anger will drink your tea, add sugar and drink your boiling blood. Naughty anger! <3

    Many people, I am one, are unaware of the difference between aggression, anger and assertiveness.

    I had to return some chocolate that had melted. Had a piece missing and been hastily repackaged. It also seemed badly manufactured. 'Taste the difference' from Sainsburys.

    It went back after the driver insisted it could not be returned after payment. Not worth being bullied over? The principle matters? Not worth the aggravation?

    Tee hee! It will be resolved. I am Tara Durgha. Chocolate is life.

    Did I go wrong again?

    BunksKerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I hope you will be well in your search for unmelted chocolate, @lobster...

    lobsterShoshin1
  • DimmesdaleDimmesdale Illinois Explorer

    I struggle with anger too and it is definitely a long process to overcome this character fault as I see it. You can't overcome it in a day, especially when you have been entrenched for years in poisonous habits.

    One of the things I've decided upon is keeping a certain integrity of soul, or not publishing my more inner self to anyone. This can have to do with politics or religion or anything that you genuinely feel only you or your intimates can properly be exposed to. That may seem like common sense, but it's actually quite a revelation for me recently. Politics and religion are my trigger, so I avoid airing such views willy nilly, I've concluded.

    And yet, many people make a living off of controversy, and I see the allure of it myself. Still, it is like a drug, and many of us are better off ditching it altogether.

    For me the antidote to anger is also setting my mind on calming inner thoughts and seeing the beautiful things in life in a very innocent, wondrous way. But I know that might just be sentimental for some people. But in my life it has become more than that.

    lobsterKerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited September 10

    @Dimmesdale said:
    This can have to do with politics or religion or anything that you genuinely feel only you or your intimates can properly be exposed to. That may seem like common sense, but it's actually quite a revelation for me recently. Politics and religion are my trigger, so I avoid airing such views willy nilly, I've concluded.

    These kind of triggers are deep down usually about attachment. For me triggers are damage to myself or the things I perceive as myself — financial, property, physical. But ultimately we are not our bank balance, our car or our body, so is there anything really to get upset about? It is good to remind yourself of that regularly.

    The world requires that we manage these things as if they are ourselves, but really they are just attachments, things that we ultimately let go of. When we become old other people start to manage our money, our property for us, and we get the choice of either going off into a dreamland where we still think we have those things, or letting go and seeing the world as it is.

    I saw this happening with my grandmother, who went from living in her own home to living in a flat, to living in a cared-for one room apartment, to living in a full-time care home where she died. Each time she had less space and fewer possessions around her, as she gradually became less capable. There were some funny episodes, like where she stuck hearing aid batteries in her ears because her hearing aids weren’t working anymore, or the time she tried to phone up my aunt with the television remote control.

    The point is, you don’t have to let go, but there are some benefits to doing so, not the least of which is that you are less troubled by anger. And if you don’t, then eventually life takes a hand, when we become old and frail and ready to leave this world.

    lobsterDimmesdale
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited September 11

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve recently been noticing that where I thought I didn’t often get angry, I have instead been repressing feelings like irritation and anger. When they came up, I have been stuffing them away deep inside. It’s a long established pattern, I have been doing that for a long time because I have felt that getting angry was dangerous, that people wouldn’t like me when I was angry and that it might cause permanent rifts. I guess it is something that goes back to my childhood and the separation of my parents.

    I still don’t get angry often but when it happens now I have decided to try and observe it mindfully, rather than repressing it. It is funny, it only seems to turn from irritation into anger when I actually express it. Otherwise it is just a small dark cloud on the horizon... I recall Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a whole book on mindfully handling anger.

    It seems to me that when you become angry, your thinking is somewhat twisted, you are no longer reasonable in your thinking. It takes an effort to think logically when you are angry. Things within me seem to protest when I attempt to think logically while I am caught up in the righteousness of temporary anger. For me anger is always about getting justice, righteousness.

    Just another thing to let go of...

    Anger is something I struggle with every day, especially at work. And I find this part extremely relatable: "It seems to me that when you become angry, your thinking is somewhat twisted, you are no longer reasonable in your thinking. It takes an effort to think logically when you are angry. Things within me seem to protest when I attempt to think logically while I am caught up in the righteousness of temporary anger. For me anger is always about getting justice, righteousness."

    I find I take things very personally, and have been having trouble not immediately reacting to rudeness and other things with irritation and anger and feeling righteous. In my job, we often deal with calls from nurses who are rude and don't treat support staff particularly well. And some people are better at diffusing things or simply letting them go. But I feel like it's getting harder and harder for me, and I even reiterate interactions I have throughout the day with my coworkers, reinforcing the narrative that the other person was being shitty and I was justified in being shitty right back. I know that things like patience, humility, and loving-kindness are antidotes to anger, but in the moment, my angry mind takes over, twisting my logic and feeding itself more fuel.

    I remember one of the first books on Buddhism I bought when I was like 18 or something was the Dalai Lama's book Healing Anger. I actually picked up a copy at a book sale a year or two ago and stashed it away in my bookcase, and think I should reread it when I have the chance. I don't know how much it will help me, but this thread reminded of it, and it couldn't hurt going back to my roots.

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Jason, that feels to me like a very honest assessment. I think the whole area of my-making and feeling damaged by somebody’s poor reactions or rudeness and any anger that arises from that is something we keep experiencing. But as long as we can keep looking at it honestly we can look at the chain of effects of its arising and it’s continuing to feed on us.

    That chain looks something like, I am damaged, anger follows, I am caught up in the anger, I repeat the events in my head, I get a little obsessed with it, until I lose my temper or it dies out. Usually I am sufficiently even tempered to not get caught up. But it depends, on rare occasions I have lost it.

  • think I should reread it when I have the chance

    Let us angriers know any tips.

    Here are mine:

    • Exercise. Outlets. In other words cathartic (safe) protected physical expression.
    • Distraction. Move away from the causation, triggering.
    • Calm induction strategies. Meditation. Cool the heat.

    Keromehow
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