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Some Distortions and Perversions of Anger:
What Anger the Emotion ISN'T

by Dave Decker M.A.

Being Controlling: Being demanding, expecting that others will do what you want, or telling others what they should do and how they should be

Sulking/Pouting: Trying to hurt others with a silence that is punishing, hostile, ominous, and threatening
...e.g. emotionally withdrawing from your partner and refusing to talk for long periods of time when you're angry; giving your partner “the cold shoulder” or “the silent treatment”

Being Blaming: Not taking responsibility for yourself (i.e. your thoughts, feelings); continually focusing on others and what they say and do to justify what you have said and done
...e.g. "I never would have said that to you if you wouldn’t have put me down first”

Scapegoating: Dumping your anger on others who don't deserve your anger but who are "safer" and "easier" targets than the original person would be
...e.g. yelling at your partner or your children rather than speaking up directly about your concerns at work with your boss.

Lecturing: "Going on and on" and "talking at" someone to try to make a point or convince them that you are “right” and they are “wrong”

“Ranting and Raving:” “Going on and on” about some topic or issue that bothers you whether the other person wants to hear about it or not
...e.g. about the taxes you pay, a disliked neighbor or in-law, local or national politics or political figures, how the government is run, a micromanaging boss or a lazy co-worker

Labeling: Making simplistic and critical judgments about others
...e.g. "What an idiot!" "You're a moron!" "You need to grow up!" "You're Nuts!"

Preaching: Moralizing and making "right/wrong" assessments about others and what they say and do
...e.g. "No one should ever act like that"

"Therapizing:" Making "grand interpretations" about why others do what they do
...e.g. "You're just saying I'm abusive because of what your last boyfriend did to you"

Being Sarcastic: Devious and hostile joking at someone else's expense
...e.g. "You're really a winner!" / "Right...I'm sure you know what you're talking about"

Being Aggressive: Being "pushy," rude, abrasive, bullying, and intrusive and ignoring what others think, feel, and want
...e.g. "I don't care what you want" / "To hell with you"

Being Vicious: Taking advantage of another person's vulnerability
...e.g. "going for the throat; " "hitting below the belt;" using confidences to hurt someone

Being Punitive: Wanting to punish someone by making your reaction so strong that they won't repeat the behavior you dislike

Being Vindictive: Being vengeful and trying to "get even with" and "get back at" others for the "wrongs" they have supposedly done to you

Violence: Allowing your internal pain to build to the point where you make the choice to strike out at others physically or sexually
...e.g. grabbing, pushing, restraining, slapping


© 1987 David J. Decker, MA, LP
Phone: 612-725-8402 or 651-646-4325 -






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