1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
    Dismiss Notice

Alex B. Confused about repression

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Huckleberry, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

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

    Question
    I'm a little confused about the concept of repression and how this relates to TMS and pain.

    I am well aware that I am an angry and probably quite a bitter person and don't actually feel that I repress my anger...if I'm out with my wife and I get agitated by other people, annoying circumstance etc etc I quite often lose my temper or express my anger to my wife...I know I do this as my wife can actually get quite embarrased about it and she often says she can almost feel the anger in me in certain situations. She has also said that at times it can be like walking on eggshells around me as I can anger about quite trivial things so easily.

    Now, I'm pretty convinced by Sarno's thesis that much of TMS pain relates to repressed anger but what does it actually mean to repress anger? I did read once that Monte Hueftle mentioned that an act such as slamming a door in anger did not express anger correctly and that this was like a get out of jail card for feeling the anger. i am just trying to tie this in with me and how I deal with and express anger. If something angers me and I fly off the handle and get myself worked up (which is probably my default response) I'm assuming this is wrong but then surely if something angers me and I just smile to myself and think oh just let it go surely that is the very definition of repression. In short, when I'm angry what do I do? What is the correct response to the anger?
     
  2. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Hi Huckleberry, thanks for the great question.

    This is really a good one, and an issue that trips a lot of people up. I can't tell you how many times I've been working with a client and as soon as we get to anger they insist that they are very in touch with it; they feel it all the time! It sounds like you are in exactly the same boat, and I think you are showing good intuition by picking up on the idea of expressing anger "correctly" vs. incorrectly. This is exactly the problem.

    Right now your reaction to being upset is volatile, unpredictable and it sounds like it creates friction between you and the people you care about. It might feel good in the moment to blow your stack and release some of that pressure, but a) it's causing problems for you and b) it's not actually addressing the root of the issue. It's like scrubbing the oil off of your driveway but not fixing the leak on the bottom of your car.

    While people and circumstances out in the world can certainly be frustrating at times, it sounds to me like you are meeting these frusting stimuli with an innappropriate amount of anger, more than is called for. If the guy in front of you at fast-checkout has 11 items instead of 10, sure you want to roll your eyes and shake your head, but losing your temper and getting downright angry? If this keeps happening it's clear that something else is generating it. Your expressing the anger you feel in a way that is "safe". While may cause some friction, ultimately it feels safer for you to vent this steam at strangers rather than confronting the actual issue. People will often channel rage into places where it is safe to do so. The classic example is otherwise mild mannered folks screaming and cursing at total strangers while in the isolation of their car.

    The problem with this method, like I said above, is that it doesn't address the root of the issue. The real problem, the one that you may be unconsciously avoiding, is that the more it stays off-limits, the more difficult it becomes to face. All that anger needs to go somewhere, but if you don't face it openly and honestly, it begins to leak out in unpredictable and unproductive ways.

    As far as "what to do with it" in the moment, I think it's important to look at what you are getting upset at, and think of the points I've made above. Are you actually angry at this? Is there something else going on? Sometimes the fear that comes from not "knowing what to do" is what makes anger unacceptable in the first place. People see themselves as a ticking time-bomb and so anything that upsets them poses a potential risk, which upsets them even more. I hope this is somewhat helpful.


    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.

     
    JoJo, Ellen, Walt Oleksy and 2 others like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like Alex's reply. If we're angry we need to figure out why. It may not have anything to do with
    being angry that the guy ahead of us in the supermarket checkout line has more than the maximum number
    of items for that register. It goes to something deeper causing the anger.

    We're living in such a fast-paced world and want instant gratification and things to go our way RIGHT AWAY.
    I recall an old 1930s song, "I want what I want when I want it."
     

Share This Page