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Alan G. Anxiety and Rage

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    Question
    I have a great deal of anxiety from growing up with an alcoholic, raging mother and then living with an alcoholic raging husband (who got sober after 15 years). If someone gets angry, I freeze up with anxiety. I've had quite a bit of success writing about my rage at my mother and my husband. I'm wondering if you can tell me something about anxiety and how to explore it. Is it actually repressed rage? Both these people bullied me so I'm wondering if my anxiety is rage in disguise. Or should I actually address the anxiety itself?
     
  2. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Anxiety can be a defense mechanism keeping you from feelings, or it can be a normal response to a dangerous situation. It sounds like when you were a kid, you would have anxiety as a response to a raging mother. This was the appropriate response. There was a dangerous situation and your body went into a state of fight or flight as a result.

    What you seem to be experiencing now is a form of post traumatic stress. Everyone has this to some degree, since we've all experienced trauma, either major or minor.

    Time does not exist in the right hemisphere of the brain, so when someone gets angry, your primitive brain is right back in your childhood thinking it's in danger once again.

    I'm sure there is some rage in response to this past treatment, but one tactic you may want to take is working with your primitive brain to assure it that it's safe now; that the real danger of your childhood is no longer a threat.

    Your primitive brain is like a rescue dog. Even though the dog is in a new home with a loving family, for the first several years it still jumps every time the door slams. Over time, the dog learns that it's safe and is no longer in that dangerous situation.

    Spend time with your primitive brain as if it's a scared child (because it is.) You can do this when things are peaceful and also during times when you feel anxious. The goal is to teach this part of you that she's safe now.

    Here's an 8 minute segment of a session I did with Mandi exemplifying this concept:
    https://soundcloud.com/alantgordon/mp3e-mandi

    Alan


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
    tarala likes this.
  3. ikreim2

    ikreim2 Peer Supporter

    Alan,

    Thanks so much for posting this. I can certainly relate to the person you were speaking to. I also grew up in a household where I didn't feel safe. I am going to try and learn soothe myself the same way you described in the podcast.

    -ikreim2
     
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dr. Gordon's reply struck a note with me.
    My darling dog Annie is 13 now. I got her when she was abandoned as a puppy.
    It took her about two months of being as close to me as she could get,
    then she looked at me with eyes that told me she was saying
    "Oh, I get it now. This is my new permanent home and you love me
    and are going to keep me."

    Feelings of abandonment can take a long time to go away.
     

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