People getting angry at me: the end of the world?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by BPD anon, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. BPD anon

    BPD anon Here I sit, broken hearted

    A couple of weeks ago, my stepdad ended up having to pay in full for a medical bill of mine because I hadn't talked to the insurance people about it in time. He seemed pretty frustrated, so I asked if he was mad at me. He said yeah, he kind of was.

    Note that A) he's never been violent or verbally abusive and B) I acknowledge this is a situation where he had the right to be angry.

    I freaked out. I backed away from him and started apologizing in a terrified voice. And blubbering, and taking a defensive posture. On a rational level I knew I had no reason to do this. But I just kept going even though he kept saying it was fine. I ran down the stares and said "please don't hurt me!" I thought maybe I was afraid because when mom was mad, it always meant bad news, and I tried to explain through a few frantic metaphors like "if you got stabbed every time you opened the door, you would be afraid of doors." The whole time, I kept backing away until I curled up defensively on the couch and it took a couple minutes to calm down.

    He kept telling me it was okay and there was nothing to be sorry for the whole time. I knew consciously that I shouldn't have been acting like that. But I didn't feel like I could stop.

    Other people have the right to be angry at me without me pulling this bullshit. Any suggestions?
  2. Ink

    Ink Well-Known Member

    I don't know enough about the particular troubles you're having to really give advice, but I'm kind of impressed that in the midst of all that you were still trying to give your dad a rational explanation. I mean, you realized your reaction was way out of proportion, that there were reasons for this, AND that the reason wasn't your Dad. And you were trying to tell him that. That's something.
    • Like x 2
  3. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Can't remember, are you doing any kind of therapy? Like, cognitive behavior therapy has been super useful to me, and I can point you at some resources if that sounds helpful. (If Ive said this before feel free to tell me and I'll shut up, I can't always remember)

    Basically, you've got a panic response you need to deal with so you can think, and once you're able to think you need to decide how to act. There are lots of ways to deal with both those problems, and not every way works for every person, so figuring it out for you is gonna be a bit of trial-and-error, not to mention practice.

    What I do, for what its worth, is tell people "im having an irrational response, give me a minute to deal with that," and then i go exercise a bit--running for preference or crunches or just paces or finger-touches if theres no space. That lets people know whats up and burns through the adrenalin. This is what I do for being angry or really sad too. Then I mostly try to logic my way through how to handle it--probably this is the same process that let you arrive at "Other people have the right to be angry at me without me pulling this bullshit."
  4. BPD anon

    BPD anon Here I sit, broken hearted

    I'm not currently in therapy because I have an annoying habit of screaming at therapists.
  5. Ink

    Ink Well-Known Member

    Wow. That's a catch 22.
  6. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    You may not have considered this yet, but while you are looking for lists of things that your brain is doing, maybe consider PTSD? Because that sounds really PTSDish to me.
    • Like x 1
  7. Vacuum Energy

    Vacuum Energy waterwheel on the stream of entropy

    Oh, definitely! You should also look into complex PTSD, which is... not so much a diagnosis as a hypothesis for how many cases of BPD are actually a kind of PTSD/early attachment problem in disguise.
  8. Lissa Lysik'an

    Lissa Lysik'an Dragon-loving Faerie

    I can relate in that I can't handle people being mad at me. I never was abused - quite the opposite, I was sheltered from it.
    People getting mad at me freaks me out. It doesn't matter if I'm wrong or right - just the other person being mad makes my brain say "something is horribly wrong here, prepare for the end of the world".
    It's why I don't "debate" online anymore - I will give a long blurb about my position and just drop it because going back to it stresses me way too much to continue. In person, carers don't allow people to be expressive of anger toward me because of it.
    No PTSD, just complete inability to deal with other people's anger.
    • Like x 1
  9. Rongeur

    Rongeur ~Heartless Bitch Extraordinaire~

    Suggestion: maybe let them know about that tendency beforehand?
    Have you ever read the part in the Odyssey where Odysseus and his crew have to sail past the sirens? And he's gotta know what their song sounds like, because he's Odysseus, but he also knows that everyone who hears it tries to sail right into the rocks. So what he does is, he tells his men to tie him to the mast, and to plug their ears with beeswax, and to just keep sailing, no matter what he says or does. He knows how he's gonna react when he hears that sound - he'll do or say anything to get near it, he'll scream and cry and curse his men for not listening to him and keeping him tied up. But he also knows that if they keep sailing, eventually they'll be out of the earshot of the sirens, and he'll be able to see clearly again.
    When my own mental health problems were really out of control, I'd use that sort of tactic with my parents and my therapist, if I knew they were gonna give me feedback that I needed to hear on something I'd flip out about. I'd tell them, "I might start crying or cursing or trying to make excuses when you start talking, and I'll feel awful in the moment, but in the long run, I want to hear this. Just finish what you need to say, and let me calm down, and then I'll be able to actually consider it."
    I think that sort of thing could work for you, provided it's
    A) Someone who you can trust to actually give you good, helpful, advice
    B) Someone who cares about your wellbeing, and won't push your buttons just for the hell of it
    C) Someone who you can reasonably expect to be able to maintain detachment when you're freaking out
    A good therapist would be ideal for this. Psychologists are trained to deal with people You could also try it with your dad, just to let him know that your freaking out doesn't necessarily mean that you don't acknowledge his right to be angry.

    EDIT: also I'm on mobile so I have no idea how this is formatted. Apologies if it's an unreadable wall of text.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
    • Like x 1
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