We have all done it … or heard it done.
A kid who is in trouble, and trying to avoid being punished says “I didn’t do it .. Jonny did it!!!”. And the worst part is we/they did this even when it was obvious that we/they were the guilty one.
Now let’s ask ourselves …. Have we outgrown this tactic as adults?? Do we pass the buck. Well, it was time for me to be honest with myself and had to ask some tough questions … this post may not sit well with you either, but as Davene likes to say “time to put your big boy pants on”. Projecting our mistakes onto other people or circumstances and blaming everyone but ourselves, might feel good at the time. It protects our ego, but what is the fall out??
A great deal of the anger we feel is motivated by a desire not to experience guilt—and beyond this, the distressing emotions of hurt and fear.
Anger, is almost never a primary emotion. For underneath anger is feelings like, unimportant, accused, guilty, untrustworthy, devalued, rejected, powerless, and unlovable.
Anger, really, is just sadness turned inward,
And all of these feelings are capable of creating considerable emotional pain. So its understandable that we can go to great lengths to avoid feeling these things.
In fact I think we can get so good at using anger as a buffer from these other emotions that we can fool ourselves, even lying to ourselves, that it becomes real. Anger creates adrenaline, and adrenaline can even feel good (for a moment). We can get addicted and attached to those feelings. (neropeptides remember those??)
This is really how all negative emotions work. They allow us to escape shameful thoughts , anxiety, and even guilt. At least they have the potential to do that, before we learned these skills over the last 6 months
Lets give a real world example. Your Wife/husband/coworker says something hurtful or thoughtless. You have choice; you could boldly share your feelings, show your vulnerability and possibly risk opening yourself up to more assaults …
or you can ATTACK … find something … anything really … “why don’t you pick up your stuff” … “remember that time 12 years ago when you said ….” “oh man , your just like your mother”. We use these things to counter punch and attack with.
What we are basically doing, unconsciously, is trying to make them feel hurt, or really hurt them back. Tit for tat. Verbal Blow for blow. And while we are on this rampage, guess what happens?? you guessed it … you no longer feel hurt, rejected, or guilty … for the time being at least, (until you realize what you’ve done). And this continues the childish behaviour we mentioned at the outset “No you did it!! not me”
And now the person you’ve just unloaded on is left holding the bag of unwanted feelings. You have managed to transfer whatever feelings of hurt you were having back to them … “congratulations jackass… you win”.
or did you??
Now they have a choice … Fight or flight
The most primal of all instincts …. by being the lighting rod of your anger they now will either: attack back … continuing and possibly escalating the anger between the two of you … or they will unconsciously believe you wish to do them harm and back away from you. Stop talking to you and avoid you altogether. Which does nothing to solve the issue that started the whole thing in the first place.
So, to change what can be a never-ending vicious cycle, it’s absolutly crucial to understand not only what caused the anger but also its detrimental effects.
Ultimately, feeling hurt—and then acting out a compulsion to retaliate in kind—is really childish … and quite frankly after all that we learn in the last 6 months … beneath us.
In such cases, can we learn how to hold onto our most rational adult self and “process”—internally—what’s happening inside our head?
And to do this before we alleviate our feelings of guilt, hurt, or fear by turning them into anger?
I don’t know … But I’m working on it. I’m natures greatest miracle and I’m making the conscious decision right now to “STOP THE MADNESS” and go make the peace.
Even if it was her fault 🙂