Feigning Negative Emotions: Anger

Written by on June 21, 2012 in The Healing Journey with 3 Comments

Fear is just one negative emotion that can be feigned. There are others like righteous anger and indignation. Instead of coming from a place of weakness like fear, indignation and righteous anger appears to come from strength. But in truth all manipulation comes from weakness.

Feigned indignation and righteous anger is a multipurpose weapon used for distraction, control and punishment.

Abusers will often act indignant or shocked at being held accountable. They act as if they are wounded by any assertion or question of wrongdoing. They claim to have no idea what you’re talking about or they’re indignant that you perceived it wrongly. Even if they are as guilty as can be, their indignant response leads others to believe they are innocent or causes them to back down. But this anger is not real. It’s a sham.

They may be angry, but it’s not for what they claim. They may be angry because you just got too damn close to the truth. They may be angry because you have the nerve to challenge their entitlement to do whatever they want. They may be angry because they feel guilty, and they are angry at you for making them feel that way, not for doing anything for which they should feel guilty.

But they won’t admit to that anger. They feign anger on the false reason that you insulted them in some way. So while they may actually be angry, their professed anger is not real. It is a manipulation to throw you off track.

This feigned anger, however, may be so convincing and so intimidating, that you may actually think you really did insult or hurt them. They may succeed in redirecting your attention from your original concern to attempting to deal with this smokescreen.

Are you calling me a liar? spoken in rage by someone who has something to hide is very effective in putting you back in your place and shutting you up. You may backtrack and apologize for suggesting they’d do anything unethical or feel guilty or bad for making them feel bad. (Warning: this backing off by you will be used against you as some kind of collusion on your part if they are ever outed and their deception is revealed.)

It’s a dance. Their feigned anger sucks up your time and your concern for a non-issue that can’t be resolved, because it’s main purpose is to keep you away from the real issue.

Righteous anger can be used as justification for intentionally hurting someone. It becomes the excuse to actually continue to assault the target under the pretense of being the initial victim and now finally retaliating – “no longer being able to take it”.

She hurt me first.

Who can blame the covert abuser in victim’s clothing? After all, they are only protecting themselves. When in fact, the abuser has merely found a way to continue their offense under the masquerade of defense.

Or righteous anger can be the justification for unintentionally hurting you. They didn’t mean to…BUT they were angry. And , of course, you made them angry, therefore they are justified in whatever manner they hurt you.

They are justified for lashing out on you, for tearing you to shreds, for screaming at you, for every word of cruelty spoken, for chewing you up and spitting you out.

They were angry. That says it all. They were entitled.

The presumption is that there was good cause, and even if there wasn’t, their being angry, in and of itself, is justification for any bad behavior. Again, you’re supposed to understand this.

One of my ex’s used “I was angry” as end of discussion. I was just supposed to accept that with an “Oh, okay then.” Pick up the pieces of the parts of me that were just blasted all over the place, satisfied as if that just explained and justified everything. There was to be no further talk about how his actions may have impacted me. No talk at all about my feelings.

I suppose “I was angry” sounds better than “I was vindictive or punishing or vengeful or feeling particularly sadistic in the moment and enjoyed seeing you traumatized.”

But anger is not a free to do anything you want card. The only thing anger “entitles” you to do is to express it in healthy ways for the resolution of whatever authentically pains you. And to do it in such a way that honors both you and the person with whom you are angry.

Feigned anger is self serving. It hides its true motives for control. Real anger is merely genuine. It seeks to reveal itself for resolution.

With peace,
Demian Yumei

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, uses spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. "For the Sake of Love” is her collection of songs written on Demian's healing journey, and “Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes” is a children’s book she wrote for her daughter about the interconnectedness of life published by Illumination Arts and endorsed by Jane Goodall. Currently, Demian is working on recording episodes for her podcast and writing on the "Where There's Smoke Series on Covert Abuse". .

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  1. Covert Bullying (Abuse) says:

    In what ways have you experienced feigning anger as a manipulation – either on the receiving end or using it as a weapon for your own purpose?

  2. Tracy18 says:

    Whenever I would question my ex’s motivations, he would say something along the lines of, “I can’t believe that you would think that I would do something like that!”  I would back off immediately, feeling ashamed that I had accused him of being so hateful.  I know now that I played right into his hands.  He got me to shut up.

    • DemianYumei says:

       tracy18 Welcome, Tracy. Sorry for my delay in responding. I’ve been taking a little unplanned break from the blog, which just became longer than I realized!
       
      Anyway, “I can’t believe you would think that I would so something like that!” is such a common response! Self-righteous anger is meant to intimidate you…and is non-responsive to the question. It implies you just accused them of something false without directly addressing what you just asked.They could have just said, “No, what makes you think I did?” or “Why do you ask?”
       
      A person who truly cares about their relationship with you will be concerned about any misunderstanding that threatens to harm it and will want to clear up any misunderstanding. Even if what you are asking them is beyond what they would do they would realize that this is a sign there is something is wrong with the relationship. That would be the time to address whatever problems there are. Not go into major temper tantrum.
       
      It got me to shut up too, but after a while, I began to realize that such defensive responses existed only because the emotional assault was designed to cover the truth of what they were so offended about.

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