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POSTED
2020-04-12
07-081940
08-47148
09-081966
10-31

Could "having a temper" really be a symptom of emotional repression?

This page is a stub, created on 2020-04-12 (last updated on 2021-10-24). Its contents are notes on the issues and angles I want to address about this topic.


It seems to me that "has a temper" and "anger management problem" are superficial characterizations that have the force of being dispositive, like they're some unchangeable, irreducible primary that describes a person's fundamental nature.

  • What would a compassionate approach to understanding someone's anger reveal?
  • Is chronic anger (and uncalibrated angry outbursts) really a function of something that's maybe a result of a different stressor?
  • I'm not talking about anger that's properly calibrated to a perceived injustice or harm, but anger that seems "out of the blue" or disproportionate to the stimulus. Could it reveal that a person is repressing the expression of emotions more broadly, which then ends up manifesting as angry outbursts because of the impracticality of trying to bottle things up?
  • Could it reveal opportunities for self-reflection, growth, and the development of skills to rumble with difficult emotions and learn how to be more emotionally expressive in general (in a constructive and kind way), preventing the build up of pressure that ends up only getting "relief" through hurting other people?
  • Are angry outbursts sometimes a manifestation of compassion fatigue, ruinous empathy, and a failure to engage in authentic self-expression (instead engaging in self-suppression)?
  • What is the connection to "micro-corrections" in a proper feedback model, rather than waiting until you're driving into a ditch and jerk the wheel?
  • What is the connection to prioritizing play, fun, and joy? Could a failure of pursuing those manifest in a sort of anhedonia that compromises resilience to life's stressors, which then build up and explode as angry outbursts?
  • What is the connection to psychotropic drugs that are typically used in psychiatric contexts to manage anxiety/depression (such as SSRIs)?
  • When in the grips of emotional turmoil, why do some people take out their frustration on others, while other people end up manifesting more kindness and compassion?
  • How is this related to the yo-yo effect of the "doormat" parenting style? (And are "doormat" and "authoritarian" really the same phenomenon, but in different proportions at different times?)
  • How is anger connected to frustration or annoyance? What is the role of injustice? Is there a meaningful difference between "anger at" and "anger that"?
  • If anger is fundamentally a response to identifying something as an injustice...
    • what is the connection to the natural disposition to "fuck their shit up" versus being more conciliatory or deescalating?
    • is it possible to "fight" against an injustice with love in your heart, rather than needing anger to be impelled to action?
    • how can you reconcile anger with believing that people are generally doing the best that they can (assuming positive intent)?
    • what is the connection to good versus evil?