Let’s be honest. Hanging onto healthy and helpful expressions of anger when we are triggered can be really challenging — especially if we have grown accustomed to letting our anger control and define our behaviors.
This is particularly true for those of us who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, or trauma. Because of our past experiences, we may be hyper-vigilant—always looking for danger, always distrustful of others—and we may be very sensitive about how others relate to us.
…What I probably won’t do once my old wounds are triggered is hit the pause button and take a moment to question my perception or put myself in my co-worker’s shoes. My anger has clouded my ability to have empathy or to think about the situation in any other way than from my self-protective stance.
That’s why anger is so tricky. If my emotional thermostat is not calibrated correctly because of past abuse or hurt, I may believe that others are out to get me or that they are intentionally hurting me when they are not.
–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101
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