Symptoms of Type II Anger
In a previous article, I outlined some of the differences
between Type I and Type II anger. Here are more “conditions”
and symptoms that suggests the presence of Type II anger:
1) Hysteria. Nowadays, this is called by many names like
Histrionic Personality; meaning, over-reacting to minimal
stress (the so-called “Eek…a mouse, syndrome”). It also
refers to conversion disorders, like “hysterical blindness”
or “hysterical paralysis.” (These can also be tied to the
repression of other feelings.) It also refers to Dissociative
Disorders (formerly multiple or “split” personality disorders).
Dynamically, hysteria refers to the over-suppression (usually
resulting in the repression) of strong feelings, usually anger,
which then contaminate other behaviors from the inside out,
usually with dramatic presentations. The key ideas behind
hysteria are that feelings are suppressed long enough, then
repressed to create very strong pockets of associations and
feelings in one’s personality. These experiences are not in
awareness and work “under the surface,” popping up in extreme
emotional reactions that do not seem to be related to what was
repressed. Thus, anger is “indirectly” processed and then
expressed without the person’s awareness. Other feelings are
expressed, which serve to transmute anger. The “symptoms” are
anger-circumventing, which makes them appear as something else,
neatly keeping anger out of awareness.
2) Non-Assertiveness. People who are “incapable” of getting
angry are usually incapable of standing up for themselves. It
is important that people learn how to express anger, or any
feeling, appropriately. Sooner or later, people have to learn
healthy and socially respectful ways to express angry feelings,
and to not let anger get out of control to the point so that it
negatively affects relationships, employability and health.
The simple fix for this is to learn assertive communication skills.
3) Passive-Aggressiveness. Type II people are just as angry as
Type I people, but express their feelings in indirect ways, hence
their proclivity towards passive aggressiveness, or worse.
In short, they often “hold it all in,” trying to make it go away.
With only a little investigation, these indirect ways of
communicating can be shown to tie directly to unexpressed anger.
These people will “stick it to you” in ways that, not
coincidentally, are not their fault. In some cases the indirect
symptoms are just as deadly.
4) Reaction formation. Reaction formation is typified by
overly stating or behaving in ways that suggest anger (or some
“issue’) is the last thing on one’s mind. Reaction formation is
behaving in too strong a manner in the opposite direction of one’s
true thoughts, values or feelings. For example, a mother may
cling too tightly to her newborn, expressing fear of dropping it,
when in reality she may be enraged that her life has now
dramatically changed. She may have very negative feelings about
the baby, but on the surface, appears to be an overly conscientious
mother. Thus, the mother protects herself from the full
experience of rage by being just as powerfully over-protective.
The key to recognizing this dynamic is the “over” production of the
behavior. In this case, most mothers would protect their infants,
but not this much.
5) Hypochondriasis. This is another way anger can manifest
unconsciously. On the surface, it does not seem to be related to
the over-preoccupation with one’s own illness or symptoms. Yet,
frequently anger is involved, in this case by either taking it out
on oneself (self-punishment through mandatory regular physical
inspection) or by taking it out on others in a passive, yet
aggressive way (constantly calling attention to oneself, thus
alienating others from normal social interaction).
6) Eating Disorders. This includes Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa.
The former is a condition of starving oneself. Sufferers are
typically very, very thin and won’t eat or will eat only very little
despite the obvious need. The latter condition is purging after
eating. Often the eating is binging in nature, followed by making
one self throw up or purge by over-using laxatives. Either way,
in either condition, weight is an issue, but so is self-esteem and
most importantly, so is the processing of anger.
7) Fusion. Fusing happens when one strong feeling is strongly
attached to another, usually by early trauma. Traumatic association
arbitrarily and artificially pairs the two feelings and the more
superficial feeling dominates the deeper feeling, which is the
troublesome one that remains out of awareness. In other words,
when the deeper feeling is cued, the more superficial feeling emerges
instead, thus hiding the deeper feeling. For example, let’s say
someone is abandoned at birth. The child comes to feel worthless
because of the abandonment, but also is enraged and at the same time,
sad. Here is the case of sadness from abandonment fusing with rage,
both of which cover the trauma and associated feelings of abandonment.
As an adult, whenever someone rejects this person, they should feel
lots of anger, but instead they experience everything but--sadness,
diminutive or lowered self-esteem, and of course, abandonment.
In this case, sadness, abandonment, and lowered self-esteem collude
to keep anger, even rage under raps.