This is my response to this image posted on Nat’s Facebook that was considered funny and light hearted.
Cat: oh yeah!!! Hearing ya!!
Desmond Sherlock: I think there will come a time when we will realise that anger is as unacceptable as prejudice and sexism. Sorry not funny to me
Scott: Anger is an emotion, its innate and healthy. Sexism & Prejudice are learned behaviours??? I think it would be totally acceptable to become angry if someone acted towards me with prejudice, how I act on my anger is the clincher!!
Desmond Sherlock: Funny, I find that people that try to justify their anger tell me this a lot when I mention that I think anger is understandable but to me no acceptable. I think anger is a choice of mine determined by my resentment when I have expectations of others. Simply put when I reduce my expectations of others I get angry less.
Have you ever noticed how some people get more angry than others over the same thing or that we may have gotten angry more when we were younger and in less control of our expectations of others?
I dont think I would like to hang around someone that felt that they can already justify their anger with me
now before it even happened as you seem to have done here. If I get angry at anyone for whatever reason, I think I first off owe them an apology for my poor behaviour as I think that there is always a better way to deal with poor behaviour than matching their poor behaviour. As they say two wrongs don’t make a right.
Cat: glad, sad, mad, scared. The fundamental 4 feelings (from which all other emotions form) – from psychology models. No doubt there are useful and not-so-useful and appropriate and not-appropriate ways to express all of those … but anger is by no means ‘unacceptable’ like prejudice and sexism’. Normal, healthy emotions.
Desmond Sherlock: No, to me anger is unacceptable. If I am breaking all the psychological rules so be it, who makes them anyway, Freud? My brother and I are the only two people that I know that believe this but it means that when our conversations are tinged with anger (it is pretty easy to recognise) we pull each other up and because we have already agreed that anger is unacceptable it is not hard to put up our hand and admit it.
It works for us so far and something that he and I have been working on for some 25 years.
This might be the paradigm shift needed to reduce and ultimately end anger by simply agreeing that it is understandable but not acceptable.
Scott: Maybe you are thinking of aggression????? There is no causal relationship between anger and aggression both have biological bases but aggression is learned, everyone experiences anger but not everyone exhibits aggression.
Cat: I’m glad it’s a paradigm that works for you and your brother Desmond, I really am. I think Nat’s post about being short tempered (which isn’t necessarily anger btw) when it comes to bullshit is really funny … really. And I find it mildly curious that you needed to equate a paradigm that you acknowledge is unique to you and your brother to something that is widely seen as unacceptable as sexism and prejudice …
As you say, the two of you have been working on this for 25 years … yet you needed to make a light-hearted joke ‘wrong’ with your statement …
As I said. Curious. But just as sincerely, very happy that you have figured out how to live without anger. quite remarkable
Desmond Sherlock: Sorry Cat “light hearted joke” I don’t see where I have used that?
Cat: Nat’s post is a light hearted joke …
Desmond Sherlock: To you and I am sure a lot of people it is but to me it is not as I see that being short tempered as one of the biggest problems in relationships and as I mentioned above voiced that ie “Sorry not funny to me”
Desmond Sherlock: Ok I will drop the word “anger” and rephrase it I think that being short tempered is understandable (can possibly occur) but not acceptable (as being inevitable to occur). ie with a little bit of work I can reduce it instead of me trying to justifying it (as some psychological norm or rule).
Nat: Oh Hi Guys? Look what happens when I post something “light hearted” and then piss off to the hairdresser! A robust discussion occurs without me! To end this discussion – as I did technically start it – I will say that we will have to agree to disagree. I think anger is a primal base emotion that we are born with – its a protective emotion we’ve developed thru natural selection. Like any emotion it can be used well (ie. an abuse victim saying enough is enough thru anger) or it can be used badly. And watching SBS last night on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – some people have no control over this emotion. As an example of being born with anger as a base emotion – I’ve seen an angry baby. Pissed off! And expressing it. Finally, the best thing to come out of this discussion is that Cat and Scott have “friended” each other and I can tell you both – a valuable decision. Thanks Desmond Sherlock, Cat, Scott It’s been food for thought.
Nat: And working in the advertising/film industry will continue to make me feel very very angry at times. Good night xxx
Desmond Sherlock: How did you know that I was a hairdresser? Anyway, thanks all for the forum for my pet subject.
Desmond Sherlock: Sorry Scott I only spotted your post now.
That is interesting that you say that but I see anger and aggression as being inextricably connected. You see some people do not see words as aggression but I do.
“Don’t you think…” or “Why to you always say that…” or “I am sick of this…” are all rooted in and from anger and are to me mild forms of or the beginning aggression.
So sorry to disagree with you but I see aggression as the result of anger and anger as the result of aggression and usually it is in the form of being reciprocal between another person.
Then throw in expectations of others and resentment because they were not met and resentment because we lost control and you have a big mess that I think we call anger and displayed aggression.
If our anger is not displayed then maybe it is simply repressed and maybe it is called stress and sickness.
Some people think by being silent that they can “deal with” their anger. I just think it can be another form of aggression or display of anger.
Anyway I don’t want to repress my anger I want to reduce it by understanding its origins which I have been steadily doing.
What I do find amazing (but understandable) is that there are so many (so-called) experts out there on anger and facts as to why it is inevitable. I am yet to be convinced or impressed by any such evidence but have no facts or evidence to back up my view either, hence it is a view only not a fact or rule or norm etc.
So maybe we could all at least agree that no evidence or facts has been presented so far by any party in the discussion. I wrote this earlier today:
I Love Possibilities
People seem to turn me off when they continue to offer their possibilities as facts & I seem to turn people off when I continue to offer their facts as possibilities. So we both are happy at least 🙂
Wow – nice microcosm of the topic of angry (angry behaviour as you mentioned, though I think feelings fit here too)
Great that Scott and Cat were prepared to expose their thinking to you. They seemed so sure that some what they were expressing was irrefutable. Ie words like: (totally, it is, No doubt, by no means, There is no etc) I think when we use such language we start the process of closing the discussion and retreating to defend our existing thoughts – though I think such expressions are a lot better than just keeping quiet, so credit to them.
To me anger (behaviour & feelings) is a form of prejudice ie we prejudge that we have been wronged, that it’s the other persons fault, that they deserve our anger (or we when anger is directed at ourselves), and I think conveniently we prejudge we have no choice in how we feel and/or behave.
Likewise I think prejudice and sexism is a form of anger via resentment. I.e. a resentment towards the opposite sex, a resentment towards people who are different to us.
I guess the concept that hasn’t been converted with you chat buddies – is that even though a baby might display anger (through it’s screaming) as we get older and hopefully more in control of our emotions – that anger as an adult is a long way from anger as a baby. But admittedly I still do sometimes react like a baby though I try don’t excuse or justify it, given I believe I can choose a myriad of things leading up to an episode of angry behaviour or feelings.
I suspect it’s difficult for people to add nuance to the subject given the prevalence and acceptability of angry behaviour and feelings and its many forms; within their family and circle of friends. Hence if they were to question the use of anger as inevitable and therefore acceptable – I think they’d put into question/risk pretty much every meaningful relationship they have. So I guess it’s understandable their reaction – but I’d be weary of relating about anything meaningful with someone who would tend to justify their anger behaviour towards me – ie as if I deserve it.
I don’t like to use the word feeling with anger as people seem t revert to their fact that they have no control over them.. I think I could possibly prove that anger is a behaviour.
I have read that when we experience the stimulus (that creates the anger/resentment)
it goes direct to our amygdala and then loops back to our frontal cortex for verification.
When we experience anger and lose control it is failing to get to our frontal cortex.
This is the behaviour of our neurons and they can be trained. Ideally they should be trained when we were children, in my view, I think everyone experiences anger and responses to it and its causes. I also believe that there is hope for us to reduce and improve our responses at any time in our lives, especially if we are not willing to accept them as inevitable. I guess it is a bit like saying “it is genetic” or ” it is my hormones”.
Most of the time, to me, it is just a mind game of justifications and excuses from being responsible for future behaviour.
A simple example……
I’ve been travelling in Latin America for 6 months – and if I had the expectation that’s cars would stop at zebra crossings (or even traffic lights) I’d get run over and get angry and would be somewhat flatter.
Instead I weighed things up and decided to drop my expectation that cars would give way to pedestrians – and decided to give way to them instead – and consequently I haven’t gotten run over nor angry.
Granted this is a pretty basic example – though I reckon a similar logic can be applied to any pre-existing expectation I have – to help reduce my resentment & angry episodes.
I guess it’s a bit like the blue pill or the red pill.
I can take the blue pill and stay plugged into the thinking that says we are pre-programmed to expect and get angry and there is very little we can do about it .
Or I take red pill and unplug from that thinking and instead practice choosing what expectations I have and subsequently influence the reaction of angry behaviour.
it makes sense to me….
What is interesting is that Cat accused me of saying seeing the joke as “wrong”
Cat: .”..yet you needed to make a light-hearted joke ‘wrong’ with your statement ”
It sounds like she is at the beginning of resenting me for disagree with the so called joke.
Disagreeing with someone’s view does not make me the judger of right and wrong, in my view but it is already clear to me that that is how Cat saw it, which is interesting and I can see that her anger could arise from this way of looking at my participation.
Also all the question marks used on two occasions with Scott is also an indicator that resentment is setting in already from my dissent or lack of agreement.
So I agree it is a microcosm of forms of aggression already bubbling up in all of us me included.
But I was the odd man out and I had not agreement with them about them actually showing any aggression towards me.
3 against 1. Thank goodness that science is not a democracy. 1 million people can be wrong and 1 person can be right.
Yeah as I read it I thought you kept your cool pretty well!
I think it seemed to escalate from the “I couldn’t be wrong” language – and I guess that’s the advantage of having an agreement about the 6A’s (even just adjustable language) before hand so that we can all be accountable during an exchange.
Admittedly such an accountable environment is quite rare – but possible like in the work place and relationships and perhaps one day in society 🙂 ojala!