Always the bad guy

Postby Aphrodite 2012 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:16 am

Recently I realized that I am always getting caught in traps people set where I am the one who ends up looking bad or losing face.

A person will do something rude and uncalled for but because I allow it to make me angry I lose my temper and say or do something worse than they do, essentially putting all the focus then on me and how bad I was but none on them.

I know one of my intentions for saying or doing something worse than them is partially to let them know how awful they had been.

The other day for example I made a joke that was unintentionally offensive to someone and they told me how the joke was so awful to them, I immediately replied nicely and calmly saying I had not meant it to be offensive and I meant no harm, but then I made it clear I preferred not to discuss it further (knowing that the other person was a bit moody that day and wanting to avoid a fight) anyways the joke was nothing, at a table this girl had said her roommates like to walk around naked and I joked to the others wouldn't you like that of your roommates did that? Meaning nothing at all just joking. The person who took offense claimed I had made them seem like a pervert but I explained I absolutely meant no harm at all. Still after the discussion they after I said I rather not talk about it told me to go **** myself and to get the **** out.

Oh my was I then sky rocketed into anger.
I knew my smart side said, walk away. Don't engage. But I just had to show them back. Because they were clearly in the wrong.
I ended up saying horrible things which I was forced to apologize for later.

There was a public display as other people were involved and all fingers pointed at me of course.
Here I am thinking isn't this funny they started it and I just gave them what they wanted.

Not sure how I can avoid this as it seems to always happen to me.
I hate bullies, and rude people. But I understand how going to their level always makes you look like the wrists one but I guess I feel like I have to show them.

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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:05 am

So don’t apologize.

Getting offended is an art form these days. Shame, guilt, etc. are the weapons of the offended. Don’t give anyone that satisfaction.

I “offend” people and have offended people pretty much every day for several decades. During my first year or two of service I thought I was doing something wrong.


I was allowing other people to manipulate me by whining about anything and everything they found didn’t suit their sensitivities.

My solution. I have self imposed values and rules of dialogue. I don’t intentionally attack a person, but I will criticize and judge their thought process. I don’t make ad hominem or derogatory statements about a person. Being human if I find that I have violated my values, then I will apologize and experience regret.

As long as I follow my values, I don’t give a flying rat f*&$k if you are offended. That is not my problem. You can not like my tone, my implications, my delivery, my critique, etc. And you are more than welcome to attack me, call me names, etc. I don’t care. It’s your problem, not mine.

In your situation you had no intent to offend. You did not violate your values so you should have never apologized in the first place. As soon as you apologize just to appease someone that is an admission you did something wrong. Did you? No. It didn’t sound like you did anything wrong to me. So why the hell are you apologizing?

My advice, get your head on straight about your values and what you stand for. Once you are 100% solid on those, then you should find it much easier to recognize when you might legitimately need to apologize.

Applied phrasing when you have done nothing wrong and someone acts offended includes statements like:

It’s unfortunate you found it offensive.
Sounds like that is an issue you might want to address.

Never phrase it as an apology if you have not violated your values. It is their problem, not yours.
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Postby Aphrodite 2012 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:30 am

Good points
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Postby Leo Volont » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:31 am

Hi Aphrodite,

Welcome to the Forum. I see that Richard has already spoken with you. Of course, I agree with everything that Richard said, but since this is an Anger Management Forum, perhaps we should discuss it from that angle. Now in regards to you’re joke, well, yes, it seemed to me also to be quite innocuous. And, yes, from the worldly perspective ‘one person’s annoyingly naked roommate would be another person’s pruriently interesting roommate’. Your comment was merely something of a worldly-wise observation. Hmmmm, did anybody laugh or smile? Perhaps you spoke to a room full of prudes. As the comedians say, “you have to know your room”. But, yes, you got some offended push-back from the joke, along the lines of “What, so you are calling us all a bunch of perverts, are you?” Probably the perfect repartee response would have been “Of course not. I was speaking only for myself”. But we can’t always, in fact hardly ever, think of the right thing to say when it is the time to say it. But you did the next best thing; just as you yourself discerned and then acted upojn, the proper form is to always to apologize where you have given offense, and to use exactly the form you used. It only takes a few seconds, and since it is such a formula nobody could suspect that you might actually mean it (like saying ‘excuse me’ while pushing and elbowing through a crowd). However, where you screwed up is where you went off formula and told the offended parties that you would not wish to discuss further why they feel abused and offended. Ooops. You really should have ridden it out. Perhaps it would have dropped right there. And if it would have gone forward, well, you are a clever person and would have been able to channel the discussion back into safe waters.

But, Aphrodite, it did not work out so well for you because you do have a moderate tendency towards anger. You’re ‘not wishing to talk about it’ also shows a strain of social irritability – that you are willing to speak yourself but are annoyed when anybody else speaks back. And then your ‘blow up’ anger rose up when it was triggered by a violated sense of territoriality (telling people to “get out” is almost a certain trigger for anger to which even the saints are hardly immune. Almost the only calm response open to one is to, well, leave… wish everyone a ‘good evening’, get up and split). Remember, it was you who said that you did not want to speak about certain topics that the group might wish to discuss, and so one could anticipate that another person in the group, who also speaks on impulse, might wonder aloud ‘what’s keeping you here if you don’t wish to talk’. But, yes, you got all ‘lit up’ when they pushed that ‘territory’ button.

Aphrodite, I can tell you what you must have felt when your sense of territoriality was threatened. You felt a Cortisol Rush: your teeth clenched, and then your fists tightened, and inside of 3 seconds you were verbally exploding. It’s the Cortisol that does that. Also, the Cortisol would have kept you ‘wired’ the whole rest of the day, and you probably had a difficult time falling asleep that night. The episode played through your mind a thousand times, and you thought of a million things you might have said (all of which would have made things worse, so you might be glad you never said them). Aphrodite, you can read in most of these threads, involving people with moderate to severe anger, that I discuss Cortisol with them. My favorite point to make is that if you can catch the Cortisol Rush in its first moment, then you can shut it down and remain calm. The Trick is to relax your jaw muscles the very instant your teeth clench. That tells the gland in your brain that is pumping the Cortisol that it was all a big mistake – a false alarm. But you need to act quickly. That gland will flood your brain and body in ‘Anger Juice’ given just 3 uninterrupted seconds. Then the Cortisol will inhibit the brains Higher Functions, making it almost impossible to ‘control one’s anger’.

You can practice shutting down a Cortisol Rush by taking a pin and preparing to stab yourself in the top of your other hand. No, you don’t have to actually stab yourself, but as soon as you get serious about stabbing your own hand, you will feel your teeth clench. Immediately unclench them. Do not practice this several times in a row, because while a little bit of cortisol can be integrated into normal behavior, if you have too many repeated instances of ‘first squirts’ of Cortisol, then you will begin to feel wired up and on edge. Oh, by the way, people who appear ‘stressed out’ are suffering from what may be termed a slow leak in the Cortisol delivery system. It seems that the more times that Cortisol is ‘triggered’, the more the brain sets up its pathways trigger the Cortisol even more. Being ‘stressed out’ only gets worse. The only fix is to learn how to shut down the Cortisol triggering, as I indicated above, and let the brain re-wire itself back to normal, peaceful and easy-going. .

Now, Aphrodite, may I please ask how often you get yourself into trouble with these Blow Up episodes? Even a few episodes a year are now considered as moderate problematic anger. We are approaching a sort of a Zero Tolerance Society. In most Corporations it will take just one documented instance of ‘blow up’ anger for HR to advise your Supervision to ‘Document towards Termination’ – to prepare a case for firing you. Every Company has a list of about 100 rules which people can ignore as long as they are not perceived to be a problem, but once you are targeted for Termination, then your every move is watched. Your supervisors will tell their ass-kissers to watch you and inform on you if you happen to walk out to the parking lot with a paperclip in your pocket. But, then our Social Circles are hardly less intolerant. I would suspect that you are now a famous “hot head” among your crowd. It makes it difficult to get into a relationship, if that is the kind of thing you like, if you are spoken of as a ‘hothead’; the guys don’t want anything to do with a ‘crazy chick’, and gals are nervous about domestic abuse.

So, yes, this is why more and more attention is being placed in Anger Management. Yet there are still people out there who insist that Anger is normal and natural. Of course it is, but that is not the point, is it? If almost any demonstration of anger is ruinous and will destroy your life, then, natural or not, it must be quelled, isn’t that so? Well, Anger Management offers us the tools to achieve that end; we can navigate through all the rough waters of life without displays of anger. But it takes a lot of work. The dominant Therapeutic Model being used by Psychologists to treat Anger is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is premised on the idea that many of our thoughts and behaviors are habitual and stem from previous conditionings. It is like we do not have Free Will and that we are automatons that run on the same programming that we received earlier in our lives. So all we have to do pay attention and reflect upon what we think and do, and try to catch all the bad habits of thought and deed and to stop them, and replace such thought patterns and behavioral complexes with more beneficial models. I have read somewhere in the Anger Management Literature about the “3 Rs” – Review, Revise and Rehearse. We review our thought and actions for that which gets us into trouble. We revise them and contemplate new ways of thinking and doing. And then we rehearse these new ways so that when the situations come up, we will be on the ready with our New Selves. Well, yes, you can imagine how complex we are as human beings. So, yes, it really takes quite some time to show significant progress with all of this. You might notice in yourself an increased ability to cope after perhaps six months. But the practice of Reviewing, Revising, and Rehearsing should become a habit that lasts the rest of your life. To actually have Free Will and to be the person we choose to be, we can’t just ride along in the rut of our past… even our recent past. We must always be open to conscious re-evaluation.

Well, Aphrodite, has any of this helped? I need to get some breakfast, and so I will end it here and let you take over by reading it. Let me know what you think.
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