Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Frustration causing my anger

Anger is a symptom of either being hurt, of fear or of frustration...at least according to Dr. Phil's show today. This got me thinking after DBT group tonight because the issue of my anger was brought up while discussing our weekly trackers because my anger has been exceedingly high for quite some time.

I realize that my anger is primarily born out of frustration. As a result, I was questioning whether or not I place unrealistic demands on others and blow situations completely out of proportion; or am I at all justified in being angry over the situations I encounter. Since I was extremely angry today, particularly due to my frustration with the group, I figured I'd try to take a look at what I believe to be the triggers of my frustration today.

First, group starts at 6:30 pm. I arrived early because I had wanted to make sure I left enough time to stop at Starbucks and the gas station on the way in without being late. I had no problem with arriving early. I simply sat in my car, sipped my coffee, enjoyed a few smokes and listened to a Korn cd. I went into the building at about 6:20 pm to find the waiting room deserted. I knew that one woman, the one that usually arrives early, wouldn't be there because she was considerate and notified the group last week she'd be out of town this week. I didn't immediately get angry that no one else was there because it was still early and I know several people don't show up til just minutes before 6:30.

At exactly 6:30 pm my anger kicked in. I walked into the group room and promptly announced to the two therapists that I was the only one there and that someone else had better show up quick because if they cancel the group because no one else bothered to show up I was going to go ballistic.

Ok...so am I justified in my anger in this instance? I'm well aware that my anger stemmed from the frustration that no one else bothered to adhere to their commitment to the group to show up and/or to show up on time. Is this an unrealistic expectation? Personally I don't think so. I know that I missed one group due to being in the hospital. I realize that people have obligations that come up that they can't get out of. But none of the other people has bothered to show up with any regularity. This is the same shit I went through the first time I tried to do DBT. It's as if they don't view this as an important obligation that effects other people. They seem to take the attitude "oh, I'll show up if I show up, it's not that important".

I spoke up about this before and they addressed it with the group. About people coming in late or not bothering to show up at all. On the very first day of group they said that you weren't allowed to miss more than three days or you would be asked to leave the group and couldn't rejoin until the next session started. Other than myself and one other person (out of ten total) the rest have all missed at least three groups already. So yes, I think I'm justified as hell to be angry.

Next trigger....Someone else finally shows up, 10 minutes late. Hurdle #1, group being cancelled, avoided so I start to calm down some. This other person happens to be quite ill, so I give her credit for coming in and trying to keep her commitment despite being sick. But, and this is a big BUT, she's sick with the fucking chicken poxs!!??!! Supposedly she is no longer contagious, but she's sitting there hacking away without covering her mouth. She then mentions that her son has strep throat. From her very hoarse voice and the amount of coughing she's doing I'm getting the impression she has strep as well but because of her other illness doesn't realize it yet.

My anger rises yet again. Justified this time? Maybe, maybe not. She's risking infecting the rest of us just to attend the group. This is a catch-22 situation. I'd be pissed off if she hadn't shown because the group would have been cancelled, but she's obviously too sick to be there and the disregard she's showing for the health of others is just as bothersome. At least cover your fucking mouth if you're going to be coughing.

To me the second instance was a lose/lose situation, so I can't determine if my anger was justified. I'd have been angry had she not shown up, but I was angry because she showed up as sick as she was. If I get sick with either the chicken pox or strep, I'm beating the crap out of this woman.

Everyday I encounter situations that piss me off. Think I'll start keeping track of them and discuss this with my T. I realize that I only have control over myself. But how do I learn to not let other people's complete inconsideration and rudeness keep me from getting mad, especially when as with what happened today, it has a direct effect on me?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think anyone would be annoyed that there's such a high degree of absenteeism re the DBT sessions and, certainly, where there's last minute cancellations. And the spluttering woman would definitely annoy me.

Just HOW annoyed I'd get would depend on a heap of things: how tired, agitated or generally pissed off I am; how emotionally charged I am; what sort of attitude I have towards ppl doing the DBT or running the DBT program; how inconvenienced I feel etc.

I think when we're in a good frame of mind and not too run down, stressed out or whatever, we can be a lot more tolerant.

I don't think the anger is "wrong" as such -- it's simply an intense response, for whatever reason.

But having said that, I think it's good for our self-esteem and relationships with others if we can manage to contain our anger and calmly deal with frustrations that crop up.

Easier said than done tho!

3:13 AM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger mizeeyore said...

there's nothing wrong with justified anger. it's a very real, very intense emotion. and frustration with certain things can cause one to be angry, especially if one has been deeply hurt, and all of it builds up inside.

for the most part, i'm basically a "let it flow" kind of person. okay so one person showed up -- a good thing; on the other hand that person came with a highly contagious physical illness. now, i can certainly agree that the lady who came with chicken pox and possible strep should absolutely cover her mouth if she is actively coughing, or at least worn a mask because the illness is spread thru airborne droplets.

if it were me, i would have went to one of the staff and asked them if they had a mask they could give that lady because she has the chicken pox and possibly strep and that i didnt want to be susceptible in catching her germs. but that is just me.

everyone has their own levels of frustration and anger, it's just all about keeping it under control for appropriate situations. and, we cant expect people to live up to our expectations, because they will ultimately dissapoint us in the long run. now, certainly with the high degree of absenteeism and/or last minute cancellations, yes, i would probably be annoyed but not pissed off to the point of elevating my blood pressure and blowing my top. instead i would have probably took one of the staff aside and as calmly as i could muster, let them know my frustration with having to come to group and not finding the others there, or the tardiness of those who do show up. i would also let them know that until they rectify that problem, i will not be wasting gas to come to a group only to find nobody else there but me.

sorry this post is so long. please dont be mad at me Sid...i'm only trying to show you how i would have handled the situation if i were in your shoes.

much love

10:17 AM, February 22, 2006  

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