"A woman who I was dating and who I really liked ended our relationship and is dating someone else. I see her all the time at the market and I feel like yelling at her."
"I keep vowing not to, but I keep getting really angry at my husband when he is distant."
"I lost my temper with my assistant and now she is suing me. I just can't seem to help getting furious when people mess up."
If this is like you, do you know why you continue act this way, even when your angry behavior generally doesn't work and may end up creating more problems for you? Do you know what is going on for you when you attack and blame? Below are some of the reasons. See if you identity with any of them:
- You believe that you can have control over others with anger or blame, and that controlling them will get you what you really want.
While sometimes you might be able to intimidate or guilt a person into doing what you want, you can NEVER have control over how a person thinks and feels. At some point, even if a person complies out of fear or guilt, it may backfire on you.
You want to connect with someone, such as a partner, but you don't want to connect through true openness, as you are fearful of being seen and rejected. Connecting through a fight or argument seems like a safe way to connect. If the other person engages in the argument or fight, then you get the connection you want, but if the other person disengages, then you may be left feeling even more lonely and helpless.
- You have low self-esteem. You are terrified of rejection and engulfment. You fear being alone. You feel insecure and powerless and getting angry and blaming makes you feel more powerful.
The problem is that true power comes from power over self, not power over others. While having control over another might feel good in the moment, since true self-esteem comes from power within, controlling behavior over others never ultimately leads to feeling safe or secure. In fact, it leads to more fear and insecurity when others respond by distancing themselves from you, or resenting you, or resisting you, or rejecting you and leaving you.
- You are terrified of your more vulnerable feelings of helplessness over others, loneliness, aloneness, emptiness, fear, insecurity or anxiety. Anger and blame work to cover up these feelings. You have no idea how to manage your pain so you have learned to get angry and blame to avoid these feelings.
The problem is that getting angry and blaming are forms of self-abandonment. While you might believe that it is others, situations, events, or the past that are creating your pain, it is the fact that you are ignoring your feelings rather than taking responsibility for them that is actually causing your painful feelings. Until you learn how to take responsibility for your feelings, you might continue to cover them up with your anger and blame.