Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bipolar Anger (Part 3)

Although I've been writing about anger, a few people whose advice I treasure, have privately emailed me about forgiveness. And it's certainly something to think about. I haven't liked any of the books I've read on forgiveness so I think I'll go to the library and see what's new in the field.

Still, I think "anger" is an important topic for BIPS and non-BIPS alike.

What's interesting to me is that I just looked at the indexes of three books on bipolar disorder--Surviving Manic Depression: A Manual on Bipolar Disorder for Patients, Families and Providers by E. Torry Fuller, M.D. and Michael B. Knable, D.O.; The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide by David J. Milkowitz, Ph.D.; and New Hope for People with Bipolar Disorder by Jan Fawcett, M.D., and Nancy Rosenfeld--and there's no listing for anger at all.

So I looked further in my home library, and found The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D. The following quote is from chapter 1: The Challenge of Anger.

"Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to. Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right...

"Our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives, or that too much of our self--our beliefs, values, desires, or ambitions--is being compromised in a relationship. Our anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortably do or give. Or our anger may warn us that others are doing too much for us, at the expense of our own competence and growth...

"Just as physical pain tells us to take our hand off the hot stove, the pain of our anger preserves the very integrity of our self. Our anger can motivate us to say "no" to the ways in which we are defined by others and "yes" to the dictates of our inner self."

Any comments?



I believe the quote you gave is interesting, but I doubt it. Anger is an emotion. It signals nothing and is usually caused by nothing. It is a raison d'etre. It is morphine. It is a way of life. It needs no cause nor object; these are merely opportunities.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with other people. It is we who require it.

Why is it one person feels anger toward something/someone while another finds humor?

Syd said...

I think the quote about anger is right on point, and eloquently written. I think people sometimes have a problem recognizing anger and we often confuse it with other things (boredom, irritation, fatigue, pain, insecurity, and the list goes on). But when I'm honest with myself, I realize that rarely am I truly "angry", and when I am, there is definitely a reason. The hand-on-the-stove analogy is a great one and I think if I'd looked at my anger issues in that light in the past, I probably could have saved myself (and others) a lot of hurt!

Thanks for another awesome and thought-provoking post.

And, BTW - I think the bubbling thing is a GREAT idea!

Chas. said...

I am so fucking pissed at my mother. I am 42 and was diagnosed when I was 21. I have never been able to accept that she cannot handle learning about the illness and helping me. When I push the issue (I recently suggested a book), I get hostility and criticism. When I try to avoid my mother, I feel guilty and fearful that I am hurting her. I have siblings and a father but really do not care as much about their ignorant, inhumane approach. Anyway, I do not see how to let this go. Right now I am worried about having to go home for Thanksgiving.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Chas,
I'm just back from vacation and I read your comment. I need to think about what you've said and I'll write about it in my blog on Tuesday to see if any of my readers have some suggestions as well.

I can imagine how difficult it must be for you not to get any support from your family--particularly from your mother. Perhaps people who have a similar experience to yours can offer some good advice or at least tell you how they've handled it.

Know that I have great empathy for you. Hopefully, I'll also have some advice once I reflect on it.