Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Angry? Who, Me?
Meg asked me to write about anger.
It's funny. Two years ago I was having sinus problems for the first time and God led me to a terrific book called Sinus Survival, by Robert S. Ivker, D.O. He wrote that 90% of his chronic sinus patients have had problems with anger. So of course when I read that I said, "Well, that's not me!"
(Note to self: Anytime I immediately come off with, "That's not me!," chances are, it probably is.) シ
He then went on to quote another doctor, David D. Burns, who wrote that, "unhealthy, negative emotions--depression, anxiety, excessive anger, inappropriate guilt,etc.-- are always caused by illogical, distorted thoughts, even if those thoughts may seem absolutely valid at the time."
And then wham! He gave Dr. Burns' list of thought distortions and it was like reading my past and present diaries. Good grief:
1. All-or-nothing thinking. You classify things into absolute, black-and-white categories.
2. Overgeneralization. You view a single negative situation as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3. Mental filtering. You dwell on negatives and overlook positives.
4. Discounting the positive. You insist your accomplishments or positive qualities "don't count."
5. Magnification or minimization. You blow things out of proportion or shrink their importance inappropriately.
6. Making "should" statements. You criticize yourself and others by using the terms should, shouldn't, must, ought, and have to.
7. Emotional reasoning. You reason from how you feel. If you feel like an idiot, you assume you must be one. If you don't feel like doing something, you put it off.
8. Jumping to conclusions. You "mind read," assuming, without definite evidence of it, that people are reacting negatively to you. Or you "fortune tell," arbitrarily predicting bad outcomes.
9. Labeling. You identify with your shortcomings. Instead of saying, "I made a mistake," you tell yourself, "I'm such a jerk... a real loser."
10. Personalization and blame. You blame yourself for something you weren't entirely responsible for, or you blame others and ignore the impact of your own attitudes or behavior.
Whew! Can anyone else identify with one or two of those?
Dr. Ivker also says when we're young, many of us are taught that having anger and expressing it, is wrong and we should repress it, instead. And after years of repressing it, we automatically hide our anger in a secret place inside without even realizing we're doing it. And once you've got a bunch of bottled-up anger, it's going to eventually shoot to the surface. And if not dealt with correctly, it will start seeping through our bodies in forms of disease--sinus problems, arthritis and other degenerative diseases.
When I was young, people told me this kind of information and holistic teaching were nonsense. Non-biblical, useless nonsense. Sadly, many of those same people sank, like ships, into anger, bitterness and thirst for control and now are suffering in their bodies every single day of their lives.
I don't plan on being part of that group.
In my next post I'll share some healthy responses to anger. For now, I'll give you some time to recover from the shock that perhaps, like me, you've got some re-thinking to do.