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149/444 Healing from Infidelity: Indirect Churchy ways of Expressing Anger
151/444 Healing from Infidelity: Henri Nouwen on Anger

150/444 Healing from Infidelity: Toxic Anger

We've discussed direct and indirect ways of expressing anger. Now let's look at the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl ways of expressing anger.  These folks damage and demean others.  

Avenging Angel – These men and women are terrors.  They attempt to dominate and crush others.  Their anger is used to pulverise souls.  Their words are toxic, cruel, bitter, degrading and judgmental. Their deep shame is a reservoir of polluted fuel. 

The Critic – Some of these are blamers.  Whatever the deal is he or she won’t take responsibility for their actions. Primary actions are to criticize others or play the victim from past events. These folks are always looking for someone to nail for their own problems.  All critics are after destruction.  They accuse with words like should, ought, never or always.  They use guilt – “you must not care for me since you didn’t call.”  Intimidation with loud words and periodic outbursts is another vicious tool on their belt.  With their elephant brain they'll recall something that happened ten years ago and hold it against you.

Here are some variations of The Critic.

Angry Jokers – These men and women take a good thing like laughter and make others the butt of their jokes to embarrass them and humiliate them.  This is very subtle at times.  Both husbands and wives may do this.  If confronted they say, “I was just kidding, can’t you take a joke?”

Fault-Finder – The fault-finder points out everyone’s defects but their own. They might make you sick to your stomach by pointing out your faults quickly with an annoying smile on their face that says I am just trying to be helpful.  One can’t ever totally please these people.

Cannibals – These people attack through severe forms of criticism.  “How could you be so stupid?”  “Nobody is that dumb.” “I wish your mother would have taught you to cook instead of making this slop.” Invalidation and emotional abuse are the calling cards here. 

Finally, there is one more common category of toxic anger.

Passive-Aggressive – Common features of this include being very clever and denying accusations quite well.  These guys don’t admit they are angry and don’t want to give up expressing anger. They like to get even in very subtle ways with criticism and resentment.  Procrastination is wielded expertly to express anger.  She'll say, “I’ll do it”, but has no intention of doing it.  You may just say she is lazy or irresponsible.  He'll claim to forget to do something he's promised; he'll show up an hour late claiming that he thought he was on time.  He uses sarcasm to compliment and cut you down at the same time.  “That is a nice dress.  It really slims your hips.”

I feel myself wanting to put on armor as I go through all of these. I have to check myself occasionally on the angry joker and passive-aggressive parts in me.  

Have any of these been part of how you express anger?