So Let’s Talk About This Little Anger Thang

16 Jul


Hi, I’m Chris. And I have an anger-based personality.

I’m also Irish……and German……and have sleep apnea. This is clearly a cultural powder keg laced with tiredness/exaustion/irritablility, just waiting to explode. Sometimes I just have to smh.

I don’t think I’m the extremely irate kind of angry, punch-your-fist-through-the-driver-side-car-window-kinda-angry like Sensai Kreese. I don’t think I have an anger problem. But I do think I need to have a post about it because it’s the basis for my personality. Yeah, that’s grand.

In this post I’m going to talk about what I’ve learned about my angerishlishness from the Enneagram.

quote saying, "I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson:  to conserve my anger,  and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmitted into a power which can move the world.  -Mohandas K. Gandhi"

Type One: The Reformer

That right there? That’s where I fall in the Enneagram – The Reformer. I won’t go into what makes us what we are but here’s a little diagram to peak your interest-

Symbol_Names of the Enneagram

Nine Personality Types of the Enneagram

So I’ve used this tool to study my personality. If you’re interested, you can visit the site to take an online quiz that will help you learn more about your personality. You can even subscribe to get daily Enneathoughts sent to your inbox, like the one at the beginning of this post. If you’re interested, I explored my anger in another post where I wrote about the connection between my dad and I.

Chapter 7 of Riso’s and Hudson’s book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram is dedicated to my type.

Here’s what the book says about anger- 

1.   Healthy anger – Anger in itself, is not a bad thing. It’s a natural reaction to the things that arise around us that we do not like or want in our lives.

2.   Hanging on to anger – When we hang on to anger it manifests itself in increasingly obsessive thinking, emotional constriction, and physical tension.

3.   Talking about anger – Talking openly about our anger with others can be a healing process – a positive step in learning to process resentments.

4.   Denying anger – Ones often deny their anger through clenched teeth because the superego (our inner critic) prohibits us from being too emotional. “To be angry is to be out of control, to be less than perfect…”

5.   Directing anger – Anger is directed at ourselves for failing to live up to our ideals, “and at others for what Ones see as their laziness and irresponsibility. As Ones become more [emotionally] unhealthy, the displace more of their anger onto others…”

6.   Anger awareness – Ones are not always aware of their anger.

7.   The blame game – When we’re angry, we blame – ourselves and others.

8.   The anger police – Anger causes us to police ourselves so no one else will; punish ourselves so no one else will.

9.   Expressing our anger – Anger is harder to see in the One than in any other personality type. We tend to express anger in-Buddha quote,

♦   stiffness

♦   rigidness

♦   impatience

♦   frustration

♦   sarcasm

♦   criticality

♦   irritability

♦   resentment

10.  The word on chaos – When things seem unorganized and uncontrolled, we become tense and serious, and focus on what is wrong with things.

11.   Self righteousness – Because we are introverts and feel like we have something to teach those around us (many teachers are type Ones) they may see us as pompous and in turn, resist our help. This frustrates us.

12.   Over doing it – We become irritated because (even though others are trying their best) we see others’ efforts as insufficient. We feel that we must work overtime to make up for other peoples’ laziness and sloppiness.

13.  Boxing ourselves – We beat ourselves up constantly because we are trying to achieve an impossible ideal that our superego sets for us.

14.  Criticism – We are highly sensitive to criticism. We criticize ourselves SO much, that it is near impossible when we receive it from someone else. No matter how gentle or passive it is.

15.  Anger and our body – We hold a lot of our anger in our bodies. For me, it is in my hands. When I am writing, journaling, or drawing I clench the pen or pencil so tight that my hands shake and everything looks shaky and slovenly.

SOURCE: The Wisdom of the Enneagram – The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types. Riso and Hudson, Bantam Books, 1999.

Anger - it's one letter short of danger.

Anger – it’s one letter short of danger.

What I’ve learned-

Grace – We need to be able to give ourselves grace. I mention it to folks in their Comments section and in phone calls – it’s a big deal to me. I remind myself to accept it from myself as much as I can.

Type Ones are the largest of all self critics. Learning to give myself God’s grace and love has done wonders for me in accepting who I am. It has been a game changer. If we could all take His love for us and, instead of criticizing ourselves, see ourselves through his eyes, there would probably be less anger in this world.

We’re not perfect. We’re going to screw up. Grace helps us live through those times.

GRACE acrostic - God's Riches At Christ's Expense

Patience – I have gotten a lot better at this over the years. I think it happens with age. You learn not to sweat the small stuff like you read in that book in middle school. You learn that things aren’t as big as they seem. You live to see that the world ain’t gonna stop turning just because you’re ten minutes late to your doctor’s appointment.

And you’ll probably learn that a lot of people will give you grace and extend empathy to you because they’ve been there before.

You’d be the first person to be patient with someone else. Learn to be patient with yourself, friend.

Relationship – Yes, I used the singular. Does it help to talk out your anger to someone? I think so. Did I used to? Nope. Whether it’s your therapist, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your pastor, a neighbor, or the person who took the noose off your neck, I believe it helps to have just one solid person that can be your confidant…your sounding board…someone who really knows who you are.

You don’t need a lot. You just need one.

Focus – I need to redirect and focus my anger appropriately. I’ve calmed down a lot since I’ve gotten out of the Marine Corps – duh! – but it’s still there simmering under the surface. You know – that dude that cuts you off on the interstate, the person going the speed limit in the left lane (applies to U.S.-based readers), the screaming kid in the grocery store.

I really don’t know the point that I want to make here. I don’t know where to focus my anger. What does that mean? Put it in a bottle? Lock it in a closet? Aim it at someone? I guess it’s like the Samurais – kill during the day, garden and calligraphy at night.

Yeah, I’ll have to get back to you on this one.

Walk away – My temper can flare like an angry Arkansas hog going after some tater tots and grits. I need to chill. I need to slow my roll when times is rough and the pressure cooker of life is getting ready to burst.

I need to take my foot off the gas instead of speeding up and tailgating, shouting in some ancient dialect that was used in the Exorcist (that was Sumerian for my history buffs).

I need to pray.

In fact, instead of walking away, I need to walk the other way before I even enter a potential pit of vipers.

Exercise – I haven’t done it in a long time. I need to get my lazy donk up and start getting active.

Eating – Lately I’ve been eating like a college bachelor. With the sugar crashes and the junk food fixes, this is another area I need to tighten up.

Thank you for taking your time to read this post, my friend. How have you lived with anger and how do you deal with it? Would you mind sharing your thoughts in the Comments section?


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24 responses to “So Let’s Talk About This Little Anger Thang

  1. Tessa

    07/28/2015 at 16:26

    I needed this right now. My anger is coming through combined with my hysteria over the last few days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surviving the Specter

      07/28/2015 at 17:18

      I’m glad the message arrived at the right time, my friend. Were there any triggers you noted? X

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tessa

        07/28/2015 at 18:03

        overwhelm (the blog has grown more than I thought possible and I have 2 blogs)
        severe pain at the 10 level almost as bad as childbirth
        stress over everything
        stupid stuff is making me angry and very emotional right now and crying hysterically for 2 days

        Liked by 1 person

        • Surviving the Specter

          07/28/2015 at 18:11

          OH NO, DEAR! I know I can’t help out from Virginia but will pray for your peace and for the pain to subside. You are a warrior, this I know. Big virtual hugs XXXXX

          Liked by 1 person

      • Tessa

        07/28/2015 at 18:37

        Right now I am a cry baby warrior LOL! Thanks for the prayers for peace and pain.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. abbiegrrl

    07/18/2015 at 14:04

    Thanks. I shared this a couple of times. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surviving the Specter

      07/18/2015 at 15:00

      You’re welcome, abbie’ 🙂 Thank you for sharing with others. Readers have actually gone to the site and taken the test for themselves. How exciting! X

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gingersnap74

    07/17/2015 at 23:09

    This fits my codependent personality to a tee! Scary!
    The Helper
    People of this personality type essentially feel that they are worthy insofar as they are helpful to others. Love is their highest ideal. Selflessness is their duty. Giving to others is their reason for being. Involved, socially aware, usually extroverted, Twos are the type of people who remember everyone’s birthday and who go the extra mile to help out a co-worker, spouse or friend in need.

    Twos are warm, emotional people who care a great deal about their personal relationships, devote an enormous amount of energy to them, and who expect to be appreciated for their efforts. They are practical people who thrive in the helping professions and who know how to make a home comfortable and inviting. Helping others makes Twos feel good about themselves; being needed makes them feel important; being selfless, makes Twos feel virtuous. Much of a Two’s self-image revolves around these issues, and any threat to that self-image is scarcely tolerated. Twos are thoroughly convinced of their selflessness, and it is true that they are frequently genuinely helpful and concerned about others. It is equally true, however, that Twos require appreciation; they need to be needed. Their love is not entirely without ulterior motive.

    Twos often develop a sense of entitlement when it comes to the people closest to them. Because they have extended themselves for others, they begin to feel that gratitude is owed to them. They can become intrusive and demanding if their often unacknowledged emotional needs go unmet. They can be bossy and manipulative, feeling entirely justified in being so, because they “have earned the right” and their intentions are good. The darkest side of the type Two fixation appears when the Two begins to feel that they will never receive the love they deserve for all of their efforts. Under such circumstances, they can become hysterical, irrational and even abusive.

    Because Twos are generally helping others meet their needs, they can forget to take care of their own. This can lead to physical burnout, emotional exhaustion and emotional volatility. Twos need to learn that they can only be of true service to others if they are healthy, balanced and centered in themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surviving the Specter

      07/19/2015 at 17:59

      I just saw this, Chelise! Yes this is a great tool to help us see patterns and behaviors. It has helped me validate who I am and though I don’t always like it, it gives me the chance to change anything I want. I also love that it explains where we drift to when we’re healthy and when we’re in our unhealthy states. Thank you for taking the time to comment my friend 🙂 XXXXX


  4. gingersnap74

    07/17/2015 at 23:06

    Type 2 for me,The Helper….no surprise there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. amyegardner1

    07/17/2015 at 16:21

    Thank you for this thoughtful and honest post. My first impulse was to think that I’m not an angry person, truly a peacemaker, and thus can’t relate. Then I realized that most of my anger is usually directed towards myself.


    • Surviving the Specter

      07/17/2015 at 17:34

      Thank you for your warm comments, amy’. That’s what Ones do. Direct the anger inwards because they can’t live up to their own ideal. Remember to acknowledge it and let go of it, my friend. Allow yourself grace.


  6. morgueticiaatoms

    07/17/2015 at 08:36

    I view anger as fuel in my battle to keep going. I mean, had that one idiot in school not told me to do the world a favor and kill myself…I just might have. But his idiocy made me so mad, I vowed to never ever kill myself. I’d call it healthy anger if it keeps you fighting.
    As for what type I am? I’m the “it’s 7:30 a.m. and peeling cobwebs off my eyeballs, I’ll let you know later” type. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Surviving the Specter

      07/17/2015 at 09:26

      Sounds like you’ve mastered the healthy anger, N 🙂 I must be accepted as your Padawan so you can teach me your ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. KatieComeBack

    07/16/2015 at 21:44

    That Enneagram test was really interesting. I’m an Enthusiast. I actually scored pretty closely in a few areas but read the part about “misclassifications” and I think the test is spot on….You’ve given me food for thought.

    Oh – anger. I eat my feelings. Shocker. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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