Anger and Addiction
The following is an excerpt adapted from the writings of Claudia Black concerning anger and addiction. Anger can be related to addiction/compulsivity in many ways. Several of the relationships between anger and addiction are listed below.
1. Acting-out in addiction can be passive-aggressive way of “getting back” at somebody else.
2. Unresolved anger toward a parent, spouse, perpetrator of violence/abuse can “fuel” destructive impulses within the addiction.
3. Being passive with anger fuels shame, which in turn fuels addiction.
4. Intense anger can distort rationale though processes allowing decisions to be made that set one up for relapse.
5. Anger combined with being in a victim role can lead to “destructive entitlement” in which one feels justified in victimizing somebody else (cheating on spouse, verbally assaulting somebody, going through partner’s notebook from therapy, etc.).
6. Anger can be an emotional wall, which inhibits intimacy, which can result in loneliness and therefore, an impulse to act out.
7. Anger can result in a disinhibition of moral values allowing one to engage in addictive behaviors he/she otherwise would not consider doing (e.g. going to a topless bar), resulting in a need to “stir up the pot” of conflict/anger to silence the part of self that says “don’t do this, it isn’t right!”
8. Fear of another person’s anger can result in the avoidance of conflict and turning to the addiction for a means of escaping the negative consequences of unresolved conflict.
9. Fear of one’s own anger or the belief anger is “bad”, can result in the use of the addiction to avoid the experience of anger, or to avoid becoming aggressive.
10. Anger used to assertively set boundaries, allows for the development and maintenance of healthy self-esteem and true intimacy, which are crucial for recovery.
11. Anger directed at the messages and behaviors that led to shame, fear, and modeling of destructive coping mechanisms, can result in a rejection of those beliefs/behaviors and a true healing of related emotional wounds.
12. Anger expressed openly/honestly/assertively within relationships can allow for a deeper intimacy to emerge, allowing addiction to become “less necessary.”
If you live in the Baton Rouge Area, and would like to enter counseling for anger and/or addictive issues, please call Baton Rouge Counseling at (225) 293-2913. If you need relationship counseling, check out our Marriage Counseling in Baton Rouge.
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