Psychological explanations: "He is still a baby and wants to be
cared for." "She needs attention all the time, she flirts with
everyone." "He is afraid I'll be more successful than he is,
that's why he wants me to stay home." "You're just trying to
make me mad so you'll have an excuse to go drinking."
Psychological name-calling: "You're paranoid." "You're a latent
homo." "You're a hypochondriac--it's all in your head."
Accusations about the other person's ability or desire to
change: "You're sick, you must want to be unhappy." "You
don't care about me, you don't want to change." "You just don't
care how I feel."
Accusations of poor insight: "I have more and more to do at
work, why can't you understand that and stop bitching?" "Can't
you see I'm upset and want to be left alone." "You just don't
get it, do ya?"
Blaming permanent characteristics (or human nature) in the
other person: "He has a terrible temper." "She is super
sensitive." "All women are scatterbrained." "Men are so
insensitive." "Boy, are you stupid!"
Psychological concepts are often misused. These aggressive remarks are
likely to hurt others and harm relationships. The attitude underlying such
statements is not acceptance, tolerance, understanding and unconditional
positive regard. It is anger and hostility. One of the major tasks of a student
of psychology is to, first, recognize these resentments and pet peeves, then
learn to understand the causes of the resented behaviors. To truly understand
is to forgive.
Anger and anxiety, guilt, depression, dependency, and sex
There are very complex interactions between anger and several other
emotions. Examples: Most of us feel anxious or scared when we get angry.
We know there are risks involved; we might lose control and others might
retaliate. Also, whether we are angry or not, it is scary when someone
becomes angry at us. Yet, in some situations we would never express
ourselves unless we got angry, so aggression can also help us overcome fear.
So, we actually need to be intolerant of injustice.
Hostility and abuse can cause painful guilt; the pain of being an abuser or
abused can cause more anger; two aggressive people are likely to form a
"vicious circle." We have already seen that feeling put-down may cause us to
aggress in order to inflate our ego.
It is a classical assumption in psychiatry that a weak, submissive,
dependent person is resentful of this situation (chapter 8). How many
subservient wives and selfless mothers have experienced resentment when
the women's movement increased their awareness? Millions. However, the
"super nice" giver, who often feels guilty for not giving enough, hardly has
time to recognize his/her resentment for not getting enough appreciation or