Tag Archives | Anger

The Hidden Emotion World: Some Personal Examples

Understanding the realm of emotions is beset by an elemental difficulty: the meaning of words that refer to emotion are so ambiguous that we hardly know what we are talking about. Virginia Woolf stated it succinctly: “The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted” (1922). Compared to maps of the material world, and studies of behavior, thoughts, attitudes, perception, and beliefs, the realm of emotions is still terra incognita. One way of approaching this chaos is to examine one’s own emotions.

Image: Daniel (CC)

Image: Daniel (CC)

 

I became interested in studying emotion because of a series of unanticipated incidents in my own life. At the time my interests were focused on a more conventional topic in my discipline, the sociology of mental illness. When I was 40, I began exploring a new field because of experiences with my own emotions. I had just gotten divorced, and my ex had taken our children to Hawaii for a year.… Read the rest

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The World of Hidden Emotions

Machine Elf 1735 (CC)

Machine Elf 1735 (CC)

Emotions are important, but there is the massive confusion in both popular and scientific conceptions of even what they are.  There is also a sizable structure of erroneous assumptions, such as venting anger “gets it off your chest.”

There seem to be at least four defenses against confronting emotions directly:

1. Ignore.

2. Generalize (using only abstract terms: emotions, affect, arousal, etc.).

3. Disguise: use one of the vast number of alternative words that hide emotional content, such as “an awkward moment.”

4. Confuse: especially in English, the most important emotion terms are at least ambiguous and often misleading.

The elaborate hiding of shame studies by the use of alternative words is described in detail. Approaches to emotion that allow them to be noticed and discussed openly and directly are probably important us as individuals and for our whole civilization.

Understanding the realm of emotions is beset by an elemental difficulty: the meaning of words that refer to emotion are so ambiguous that we hardly know what we are talking about.… Read the rest

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The Wisdom in the Dark Emotions

eclipseMiriam Greenspan, writing in the January 2003 issue of the Shambala Sun:

I was brought to the practice of mindfulness more than two decades ago by the death of my first child. Aaron died two months after he was born, never having left the hospital. Shortly after that, a friend introduced me to a teacher from whom I learned the basics of Vipassana meditation: how to breathe mindfully and meditate with “choiceless” awareness. I remember attending a dharma talk in a room full of fifty meditators. The teacher spoke about the Four Noble Truths. Life is inherently unsatisfactory, he said. The ego’s restless desires are no sooner fulfilled than they find new objects. Craving and aversion breed suffering. One of his examples was waiting in line for a movie and then not getting in.

I asked: “But what if you’re not suffering because of some trivial attachment? What if it’s about something significant, like death?

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At God We Rage: Anger at the Almighty Found to Be Common

morgan-freeman-god-in-bru-007

Sorry.

Stephanie Pappas writing at LiveScience:

If you’ve ever responded to tragedy by raging at God, you’re not alone. A new study finds that anger at God is a common emotion among Americans.

The anger often stems from the belief that God is responsible for bad experiences, according to the research, which is published in the January issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. But anger isn’t an indication that someone is turning his or her back on God, said study researcher and Case Western Reserve University psychologist Julie Exline.

“People can be angry at God while still feeling love or respect toward God,” Exline told LiveScience. “In other words, the feelings are not mutually exclusive.”

Religious rage

Exline and her colleagues collected data on people’s feelings toward God from five separate studies. Two studies asked undergraduate students to reflect on negative experiences in their lives and how those experiences made them feel about God.

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Belief in an Angry, Punishing God Associated With Increase in Mental Illness

sinners hands angry god2A new study reveals that if your vision of God is that of a pissed-off monster then you may be more likely to have certain kinds of for mental health problems. And yes, I mean beyond just believing that there’s an ill-mannered invisible monster watching your every move:

Analyzing a Gallup survey conducted in 2010, the researchers sought to determine how one’s perception of God — as punitive, benevolent, or indifferent — was associated with five different psychiatric symptoms: general anxiety, social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion.

Respondents’ characterizations of God were gleaned from their opinions of how six adjectives — absolute, critical, just, punishing, severe, or wrathful — applied to God. A numbering system was used to gauge the degree to which the subject viewed the adjective as an accurate descriptor of God (very well = 4; somewhat well = 3, not very well = 2, etc.). In a similar fashion, respondents answered queries designed to measure the five aforementioned psychiatric symptoms.

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Online Anger: Where It Comes From and How to Control It

An admission: I have, on occasion, been an asshole on the Intarwebs.  While I don’t agree that “disgruntled customers” complaining about companies is as bad a thing as online harassment and cyberbullying, this article has some useful info.  Andrea Weckerle writes at the Good Men Project:

When people are harassed, attacked or intimidated, what’s really going on is that someone is trying to take away their voice and browbeat them into submission. That’s not okay and it’s not an effective persuasion method. Unfortunately, with a low barrier to entry and the ability to remain anonymous or hide behind a pseudonym, coupled with instant dissemination, global reach, and the inability to fully retract statements, everything is amplified online. Poor self-control and anger management feed right into this. There’s a lot of hyper-aggressive posturing online, venting for the sake of venting, and being intentionally provocative just to get a reaction out of others.

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When Angry Commenters Find Common Ground

Photo: Mikemol (CC)

Photo: Mikemol (CC)

A lot of visitors to disinformation could learn a lesson from these two. Joanna Schroeder, a feminist, and David Byron, an anti-feminist, write at the Good Men Project:

JS: So, David, you and I have a pretty interesting history, don’t we?

DB: I have talked with feminists on-line for years, and been thrown off hundreds of feminist sites.  I am always looking for someone I can talk to, but I didn’t think you were a good prospect at first.

JS: Yeah, maybe I wasn’t at first. I have always been open-minded, but I started off pretty righteous.

As far as I remember it, you and I first met online at The Good Men Project in the comments section of a piece I wrote called The (Quiet) FeministRevolution. I was pretty sure I had written something so deeply based in common sense, that the whole world would read it and say, “Oh wow, now I get it!”.

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