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Overreaction of anger

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  • #212679
    Kel
    Participant

    So, I have this issue, and back when I was seeing a therapist, who was good in most other ways, she sort of dismissed this as “not an issue” and I’ll explain why.

    So, I have what to me is a problem, that when people act in an irritating way, I feel a lot of irritation inside of me. My therapist dismissed this as not an issue because it’s normal to feel that way when other people act that way.

    However, it is an issue to me, because I waste a lot of mental energy on being angry / annoyed / irritated rather than just dealing with the situation. Yes, some of the time is spent on trying to decide whether I want to confront this person, or whether I’ll comply with what they ask, but even if I know 95% that I’ll just comply with what they have asked, I waste the time and emotional energy on being upset.

    So, this happened again yesterday. I got a call from a client who was a little annoyed that I hadn’t already done some work (which I knew I needed to do, but we hadn’t discussed a deadline). I was dragging my feet because client said they would pay me on June 1 for last month, and they hadn’t yet. So end result of the call, they paid me, I will now rush to do these reports.

    I think because I feel *guilty* about not doing the reports earlier, I start going through all the reasons that this is client’s fault, and feeling annoyed. Client scheduled a call to talk about this, and then didn’t show up to the call nor reschedule. I gave client first drafts of the report on time a week ago, and they didn’t look at it yet, just provided more info after the deadline, which is why I now need to update and rush changes, etc.

    So, these are all valid points. What I would like is to learn how to avoid the guilty / angry / blame someone else combo. I feel calmer when I read advice here to forgive yourself (i.e. it’s okay that I didn’t get to this report, what’s happened in the past is in the past), but I also feel like if I forgive myself too much, I’ll just keep being a procrastinator and dragging my feet! I’m playing around with the thought that trying to chastise myself for procrastination might be part of what causes procrastination, but honestly, I then start to feel so relaxed that I go play games instead of do work!

    I’d love your words of wisdom on this balance between keeping yourself on task to get done what needs to get done, vs being kind to yourself, and letting it wash over me when other people have expectations that I didn’t meet.

    #212687
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kel:

    You got a call yesterday from a client who was angry (“a little annoyed”) that you didn’t do some work. You intended to do that work but were not in a hurry because there was no deadline and because the client didn’t pay you yet.

    What happened next is, (it is my understanding), that your critical inner voice started beating you up: you didn’t do the work you were supposed to do! Bad, bad Kel! That inner critic was not a little annoyed with you, it is angry. And it has been with you for a long, long time taking its opportunities to harass you.

    Then you tried to reason with that inner critic: but the client didn’t pay me.. and the client didn’t do this or that, kind of pleading your case with the inner critic.

    The anger in “Overreaction of anger” is your natural response to being beaten up, mentally, that is.

    Is my understanding correct?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by anita.
    #212691
    Kel
    Participant

    Anita, yes, your summary is correct.

    The inner voice is partly aimed at the client too though, “This guy has shown me no respect, he hasn’t responded to my emails, he’s so disorganized and expects me to be organized 200% so that he doesn’t have to be,” and this “spirals” to “I should stand up for myself and let him know this isn’t acceptable, I’m not going to work with people who expect me to be more organized than they are, maybe I just shouldn’t work with this guy.”

    But at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s worth it to chastise the client directly, because a) I need the money from working with them and b) they are, in other ways, nice to work with.

    So the time wasted is also spent on working through what I would say to this other person to tell them all the reasons that they are wrong. I would like to both be kinder to myself, and also kinder to them (because they are probably mostly grumpy because of some external stress too.)

    #212693
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kel:

    The way to function well or better professionally is to learn to better separate the inner going on conversation in your  brain from the external reality and in reality communicate with the client in the most effective way.

    To separate the inner communication from interfering with the outer conversation, or from just making your life more difficult than it has to be, let’s look at this inner conversation and understand it better:

    “This guy has shown me no respect… I should stand up for myself… maybe I just shouldn’t work with this guy” –

    question: as a child, was there a parent that didn’t show you respect, hurt you, and you wished then that you weren’t there, weren’t present with that parent?

    anita

     

    #212697
    Kel
    Participant

    Absolutely. I think my parents are good parents, but everyone brings with them their own issues from *their* parents and passes it on…

    I recognize that a lot of the inner critic is repeating things that my critical parent frequently told me about myself “You’re smart but you’re lazy. You can do anything, but you’re lazy. You’re a negative person.” Which is maybe why there’s a weird mix of “I’m good at this, oh but my laziness is holding me back.”

    But I think my question is, accepting that I have this inner critic, understanding that it came from my parent, how do I move on from it?

    I think the trouble is when it coincides with an external critic–I have gotten much better over the last few years of not having the inner critic be so vocal when the people I’m working with appear happy with me. The question is, how can I keep the inner critic quieter when the people I’m working with seem like they might be thinking the same things as the inner critic? Suddenly then, the inner critic seems so correct!

    #212699
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kel:

    The outer critic (parent) is the inner critic. The part of you that existed before the parent criticized you believes the critic, this is why “the inner critic seems so correct”. To quiet the inner critic, got to change your belief that it is correct.

    For as long as you believe what it tells you, whenever you hear a bit of criticism from a client (or someone else), that inner critic will voice itself, loud.

    How to change this core belief that your parent turned inner critic is “so correct”?

    Did you work on this in therapy, ever looked into your core beliefs in the context of when they were formed, that is, specifically looking at whether your parent was correct when repeatedly claiming that you were lazy, that you can do better but are too lazy to do better?

    anita

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