Anger Makes You Smaller

Anger makes you smaller while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are
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“Anger makes you smaller while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are.”

We all know what makes us angry-traffic, bad drivers, cancelled flights-but what is it really for? Have you ever wondered about the function of anger?

The answer can be found in Steven Stosny‘s excellent book “Treating Attachment Abuse,” which takes a look into the chemical perspective of anger. Apparently, it acts as a sort of “psychological salve.” When our self-esteem is under attack, we have the tendency to go from hurt to angry; from threatened to angry; from scared to angry. Thing is, we can’t even recognize the former emotion because anger suppresses it before it further damages our self-worth. When we get angry, the brain secretes norepinephrine, a form of analgesic.

The self-elicitation of anger can successfully fend off feelings of hurt to the point of being addictive. A person suffering from significant self-image deficits may become dependent to its numbing effect, but it’s ultimately detrimental to relationships. Ironically, anger is crucial for the emotional survival of many vulnerable people!

Interestingly, psychologically healthy people have the least need to self-medicate through anger. They have the internal resources to self-validate when their self-esteem is endangered by external forces, unlike the vulnerable people who still feel bad about who they are. Anger is not necessary for people who have enough self-love to combat feelings of invalidation.

Anger is not a manifestation of strength but of a fragile ego. So work on your self-esteem; you’ll be surprised at how responding instead of reacting gives you peace of mind and better relationships.

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