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Woman, Depression & Anger
By WhiteCrow

Last year when I started the Warrior Woman post I was looking for ways to fight without really thinking about the anger that lay within that. At the time I needed to focus more on what to do with the situation than with the emotions surrounding it. Last month someone subscribed to me elsewhere and on their profile I found a very interesting book recommendation, which I've already mentioned on the misogyny thread. I've been reading the free portion available online (my budget doesn't run to book buying at the moment!) and realized that this is a topic in itself. The author writes about the fact that most societies of the world don't teach women how to deal with their anger and how this in turn creates "female" problems such as depression and low self-esteem. Although it does link to all kinds of misogyny, and how to be a true warrior archetype, I think it deserves a topic of its own. I'm going to put some quotes from the books, and about the books, to get things started. I'll add them below to keep things tidy and easy to read. Here is the author's website link.

“Behind the Mask - Destruction and Creativity in Women's Aggression"
Dana Crowley Jack

Dana Jack provides a rich account of how women explain (or explain away) their own hidden or actual acts of hurt to others. With sensitivity but without sentimentality, Jack gives readers a range of compelling stories of how women channel, either positively or destructively, their own powerful force and of how they resist and retaliate in the face of others' aggression in a society that expects women to be yielding, empathetic, and supportive.”

Some pertinent quotes from the book...

The development of a distinct self occurs not through detachment from relationships but through experience of the "self-opposed-to-other" within relationships. ... healthy aggression is mandatory to the development of self and to positive connection. ... Women's ways of expressing anger aggression have evolved through centuries as they have lived intimately with others who had power over them, and, at the same time, have borne and raised children. There is not just one version of femininity, or of female aggression. What a girl learns about dealing with conflict and opposing others varies from her location in society. Yet all women face two common issues because of their gender: the threat of male retaliation for their aggression, and socially structured male dominance.

The relational perspective leads to an obvious question: Where does aggression fit into women's psychology? At every stage of development, a girl's desire for relationships can come into conflict with her positive aggression, compromising both. Staying within the boundaries promises goodness, self-control, continuing relationships, and social order. This construction of femininity as niceness is deeply attached to inequality in relationship. It demands that a woman put her needs second to those of everyone else as she fulfills the nurturing roles... At the core of this image of femininity is the requirement to create harmony, or at least the appearance of harmony; its corollary is the absence of angry conflict, or at least the absence of overt conflict. Any self-assertion is labelled selfish and, by implication, aggressive. Anne Campbell (1993, 20) characterizes girls' learning about aggression this way: "The most remarkable thing about the socialization of aggression in girls is its absence. Girls do not learn the right way to express aggression; they simply learn not to express it." Actually this type of socialization for niceness (to which not all subcultures subscribe) teaches girls to hide their aggression.... Women who equate femininity with niceness and nonaggression show striking similarities in their socialization and in their conflicts around self-expression. Not only does this construction of femininity enforce gender inequality, it continually incites anger at the frustration of normal needs yet, simultaneously, demand the repression of anger. No wonder such women fear their opposition or anger will lead to loss of relationship. In such a setting, a child's vision of relatedness can shrink to a choice between self-silencing (leading to a loss of self) and expressing feelings (leading to a loss of other). When girls do not learn how to engage in overt conflict but do learn to fear its consequences, they practice sending voice, anger, and desire underground (Brown and Gilligan, 1992).

I know I promised book two info, but I realized it really more or less echoes what I've already put up, except book 2 deals with depression stemming from repressed anger. So I'm going to let this lie with book 1. Book 1 impressed me at first because it arrived in my notice box with such perfect timing, echoing things I'd been saying on the Warrior Woman post about anger and frustration. Even when you know you're talking your own truth you still wonder if you're any use to the bigger picture, so it was nice to get a confirmation from Spirit that my ideas fitted further than just me. What struck me, reading the book, was how I realized the struggle within myself between the opposing viewpoints I encountered in childhood. At home my father always treated me like a boy - I had no limitations. As my grandfather's favorite I had an ally there too. As a result I struggled at junior school. I couldn't understand why I never got to go to woodwork class, but always ended up in sewing/craftwork. I gave up Brownies (the female version of boy scouts in our area) after one day... when I discovered I wasn't going to be taught to make a fire or tie knots! So... at a glance my home life was based on equality and full freedom without gender issues, but if I look deeper I can see how I picked up things from the women in my family life not because they taught me, but because I observed and absorbed. My dad always taught me to deal with anger in a male way, but the underlying message from the women in my extended family was very much as Dana describes the typical "white middle-class" female experience - don't rock the boat, keep things harmonious, put others before yourself, being angry is not being a lady, etc. Through wanting to keep harmony, or merely be "fair" or "nice", I've swallowed my own truth and my own needs. I've done that since the age of twelve. I can now see how the subtle changes in expectations of others started at puberty. When you constantly have to smile and say the exact opposite of what you believe or think, or keep quiet, it does start to wear you down. That's a short generic version, obviously. You can't sum up a lifetime in a paragraph and I'm not wanting to write a book on me. I want this to be generic and "one size fits all". But briefly... for me thing changed for every decade I've lived. Different ages bring different expectations - both from within and without.

Earthwalker:
Crow,

Between the conflicts in the world, the debates going on regarding changes in the government and the drama being played out at SL, I have for the most part chosen to just stay within. Still, I believe there is a middle way which can eliminate most of the anger and frustration that may arise from differing points of view. I have found that it is important to express an opinion but to also step out of myself and try to see where the other person is coming from. The Medicine Wheel is a great tool when doing this. Except for times when I have authority to decide an outcome or how to proceed, this middle ground approach works well for me. I believe that when I am personally impacted by someone imposing a decision on me that I disagree with, that is then the appropriate the time for the warrior to come out and fight.

Personally, I think it important to realize that changes, in larger cultural issues, take time, discussion and contemplation before they occurs. One can seed and follow through by action in your personal life to show or lead by example but for the most part in these situations no one is the sole person responsible for change. I also feel that the groups often end up having hidden agendas so I tend to make my opinion known, stand back, watch and try re-evaluate things from as objective point of view as possible .

I do find that if other people are honored and spoken to in respectful manner rather than in anger then they typically are willing to try and see where you are coming from. Still it is important that their right to make their own decision is respected just as I am requesting. The difficulty arises when personal desire and expected outcome are met with resistance. Yet, the resulting frustrations can be minimized by letting go of an expected outcome and acknowledging that I can't change the world only that which I am responsible for. When I let go of an expected outcome, I have found two possible extremes. A new outcome may grow from this place of mutual respect and it may grow to even a better place than I thought possible since the input of many is often better than the input of one. The other is that my opinion is rejected. In either case, I can stand self-respect (I have offered a perspective), haven't just given in and I recognize I have the choice of self-determination.

Still I find that if I stand in respect for myself and others, respect is returned and who know where that might lead. The future is ours to create. I personally won't accept depression or anger albeit frustration still moves the wheel.

WhiteCrow:
Earthwalker, It's a lovely reply, but it's not about the topic. Not for me anyway. I can understand how you might jump to that conclusion, but it is an incorrect conclusion. It did make me realize I probably started this at the wrong time... So I'll leave this to return to later. Thanks for pointing out my error there. I was rather dumb in thinking others could move on that fast.

CinnamonMoon:
Crow, I don't think that Earthwalker is off topic at all. In reading and re-reading her comments I continue to see she's shared a means of honoring the Self and personal views while honoring those of others so depression and anger are not a factor. It can be released when we apply these techniques. It may be that you would want to use other semantics but the gist of what she's saying is how to step into that neutral state that allows a sense of balance to come forward with the energy we're holding. It does not harbor negative energy of depression or anger. We can look at an issue or situation that triggers our emotions and we can let those emotions lead us into depression feeling rejected or we can get angry and want to change things. At the same time we can step back from that knee-jerk reaction to pounce or dive deep into the Shadow side of things and choose another course. Reason, logic, respectfully honoring the other side of things we can work through differences and come to a mutually satisfactory resolution. It's choice and balance again. *Soft smile* Through Earthwalker's choice to not allow depression and anger to reside with her she holds a neutral position and can work with issues or situations that arise peacefully and gracefully. IMHO she's very much on topic, she's presenting a means of transmuting a negative into a positive or the contrary means of dealing with things into honed skills that produce positive results.

WhiteCrow:
Hi Cinn and Earthwalker, Ok. Big *Whew* moment. Thank you, both.

“Still I find that if I stand in respect for myself and others, respect is returned and who know where that might lead. The future is ours to create. I personally won't accept depression or anger albeit frustration still moves the wheel.”

Well, the book is about how women don't realize they are frustrated, or that they have choices, and how this leads to anger and then depression. As such it's not a path taken knowingly. As for personally not accepting depression or anger... I can understand someone refusing to live with either, but I can't see any use in denying either. Surely the natural biorhythm of humans shows that we do most naturally go "up" and "down"? In that respect, isn't feeling blue is no more than part of the natural rhythm of being alive? And anger, to my way of thinking, isn't a bad emotion. It's only how it is used. I could blackmail someone using love. I could use love as an excuse to not let go - as an over-protective parent or obsessive spouse. It seems to me that the emotion isn't the problem as much as how it is used... or how much you allow it to use you.

CinnamonMoon wrote: “Crow, I don't think that Earthwalker is off topic at all. In reading and re-reading her comments I continue to see she's shared a means of honoring the Self and personal views while honoring those of others so depression and anger are not a factor. It can be released when we apply these techniques. It may be that you would want to use other semantics but the gist of what she's saying is how to step into that neutral state that allows a sense of balance to come forward with the energy we're holding. It does not harbor negative energy of depression or anger. We can look at an issue or situation that triggers our emotions and we can let those emotions lead us into depression feeling rejected or we can get angry and want to change things. At the same time we can step back from that knee-jerk reaction to pounce or dive deep into the Shadow side of things and choose another course. Reason, logic, respectfully honoring the other side of things we can work through differences and come to a mutually satisfactory resolution. It's choice and balance again. *Soft smile* Through Earthwalker's choice to not allow depression and anger to reside with her she holds a neutral position and can work with issues or situations that arise peacefully and gracefully. IMHO she's very much on topic, she's presenting a means of transmuting a negative into a positive or the contrary means of dealing with things into honed skills that produce positive results.”

I still don't see how it connects to the book, to be honest. And I don't see anger as negative. It's like fear, desire, hate or love - a natural instinctive emotion that serves a purpose. I do agree that knee-jerk reactions aren't useful, but surely it's more important to work out why there was such an instinctive reaction before you can deal with it? I prefer to know why I'm labeling something before I label it.

Cinn, Ok, read it again and got it. Lord, I wish my brain would come back! But I am learning not to get angry over that. Over Christmas one of my family (after I'd asked for a story to be repeated twice) said, "It's very frustrating having you so slow lately." I just grinned and said, "Yeah... can you tell me again, please?" Being able to laugh at yourself helps a lot, but then that might jut be a crow thing. I suspect all the trickster creatures (Crow, rabbit, coyote...) have the gift of laughing themselves into balance.

CinnamonMoon:
“I still don't see how it connects to the book, to be honest. And I don't see anger as negative. It's like fear, desire, hate or love - a natural instinctive emotion that serves a purpose. I do agree that knee-jerk reactions aren't useful, but surely it's more important to work out why there was such an instinctive reaction before you can deal with it? I prefer to know why I'm labeling something before I label it.”

I believe working it through before taking action or diving into the emotion with knee-jerking reactions is what Earthwalker was in essence saying. Of course we're going to feel the impact of an emotion, that's very natural. But feeding it when it's negative or jumping down the proverbial rabbit hole is a choice. If we don't see it happening at first we do have the choice at the point of recognition to do something positive about it. At least that's how I see it. If we dwell on the negative that's what we'll see or find, if we focus on the positive we'll see and find it. I try to look for the light in everyone and all situation, at least to the best of my ability. If it's being swallowed by darkness I'll dig around and look for a spare flashlight. Dead batteries? Then it's a run to the store....entering the Silence with Spirit to find my answers. (Edit: Glad you got it, we must have posted at the same time.)

WhiteCrow:
“We can look at an issue or situation that triggers our emotions and we can let those emotions lead us into depression feeling rejected or we can get angry and want to change things. At the same time we can step back from that knee-jerk reaction to pounce or dive deep into the Shadow side of things and choose another course.”

Agreed, but the book is dealing with the opposite of knee-jerk. It's about the anger we bury, because we are told anger is inappropriate, unfeminine or simply "bad". So instead of dealing with it it is bottled up, shoved under... buried deep. Then the knee-jerk reaction, in my experience and observation anyway, can happen on something utterly different to the actual cause. For example - my mom has a buried childhood trauma about an adult threatening to drown her when she was little. We never had any idea it existed until one day my dad drove us too close to a water's edge and she went a bit crazy in the car. Yelling at him. It had nothing to do with him - she was yelling at a man long dead and in her case the anger was based on fear, not frustration. That's another thing I've noticed - something a friend once pointed out to me. He said people don't start angry - they start hurt or afraid and they turn it into anger to cope. Of course he was a guy so this might not apply to this topic exactly, but it is a point I'd forgotten - that anger is the second instinctive emotional reaction, not the first.

MonSnoLeeDra:
Let me preface this with I used to hate these type books in my psychology and Sociology classes.

When I read these type things the first thing that always jumps to my mind is it is another of many books that support and in some cases defends the victim mindset. It's not even a notion that is aimed at just one sex either but both depending upon which author one elects to read. Of course if it is to be the fault of men then it's aimed at women. If it is to be the fault of women it's aimed at men. It if is to allow or place blame on everyone else then its aimed at both. It seems that many still follow the same old tired routine, if it happens it's not your fault. It's the fault of men, the fault of society, the fault of your mothers, your father's, it's the fault of everyone but you. Granted there are up sides and down sides to any issue that delves into the notion of social structure and order. Some things that impede growth and some that support it are to be found in all levels across the scope of the system.

Fissure's that originate in our collective pasts that run into the present though more and more attention and effort is being applied to many to close it off and remove the ancient influence. It's funny I hear "If you’re a woman, you’re not supposed to display anger" and it's used as a legitimate reason for them to have issues. Yet if it is a man that displays emotions then it's against the system. Sorry but it does not cut it. The earliest issues I had originated from my mother, issues that you have to be strong, you have to take care of women and treat them like ladies. Similar issues my sisters would encounter that originated back in the earliest days of our lives. Some blame it upon a male dominated society yet more often than not the women dictated the life and expectations of her offspring in the early stages and set the stage for what would follow.

Yes there were social restrictions and expectations to be found. Even racial barriers to be encountered and manipulated based upon ones year of birth and locale. Yet those changes and charges almost different for each generation and many times coupled to advances in technology and warfare. That didn't even touch upon social changes and upheavals that impacted across the board. The excerpts of this book I have read seem to support that notion yet once again, enable the victim mindset.

WhiteCrow:
Hi MSLD, Great reply. You always challenge me to look deeper. Thanks.

“When I read these type things the first thing that always jumps to my mind is it is another of many books that support and in some cases defends the victim mindset.”

I'm only quoting the first chapter. I don't think you can pre-judge an entire book on a few quotes from one chapter. But I do understand the instant irritation when you come up against something that reminds you of SOS (same old s**t) that you've encountered over and over again in life. I do find that what some see as knee-jerk reactions might merely be "I've been here before too many times" impatience for another. In other words... even though I don't feel it myself with this book - I know the feeling.

“It's not even a notion that is aimed at just one sex either but both depending upon which author one elects to read. Of course if it is to be the fault of men then it's aimed at women. If it is to be the fault of women it's aimed at men. It if is to allow or place blame on everyone else then its aimed at both. It seems that many still follow the same old tired routine, if it happens it's not your fault. It's the fault of men, the fault of society, the fault of your mothers, your father's, it's the fault of everyone but you.”

Why does it have to be anyone's fault? Why can't it just be what it is - an event that had consequences? Okay, I admit I really don't like the word fault, so I'm arguing from my own perspective here and not trying to defend the author. I've only read one chapter, so I can't comment any further than that chapter. But for my own life experiences... why does it matter if someone needs to claim where a problem comes from in order to fix it? My mom will never deal with the person who made her scared of water, but she did need to look at that event and talk about her fear and anger before she could let it go.

Was it my mom's fault for not realizing that just because one grown up threatened to drown her didn't mean water was bad? Probably, but she didn't even think of that until she was a grown woman sitting in a car at a harbor one day. It took a trigger for her to even know there was an issue.

“Granted there are up sides and down sides to any issue that delves into the notion of social structure and order. Some things that impede growth and some that support it are to be found in all levels across the scope of the system. Fissure's that originate in our collective pasts that run into the present though more and more attention and effort is being applied to many to close it off and remove the ancient influence.”

Yeah, agreed.

“It's funny I hear "If you’re a woman, you’re not supposed to display anger" and it's used as a legitimate reason for them to have issues. Yet if it is a man that displays emotions then it's against the system.”

The book isn't about displaying anger - it's about learning to control anger. Or at least that's what I gathered from what I've read so far. It's about the fact women are less likely to be taught how to control and channel anger positively. My dad taught me ways to control or use anger, but the women I grew up with bottled anger until they'd explode in all sorts of damaging ways. That's not dealing with it - it's denying it. Denying things is never healthy, IMO.

But I do agree with you that bottling emotions is not a single gender issue. After I started this topic I realized it really belonged under both genders, not one, but by then it was started and I couldn't exactly undo that. Yes, I think men are as likely to suffer from bottled/repressed emotion problems as women. I've read articles on how bottled emotions causes more men to drink than any other reason. My dad grew up in a family where men cried openly and didn't hide their "softer" emotions. I never realized there were men who didn't express emotions so openly until I was older and out in the world more. I didn't grow up with that, but I have male friends who did

and some of them have had a hard time of stifling emotions society sees as "inappropriate" for men.

That, IMO is bunk. No emotion is inappropriate for one gender - that idea is ridiculous.

“Sorry but it does not cut it. The earliest issues I had originated from my mother, issues that you have to be strong, you have to take care of women and treat them like ladies. Similar issues my sisters would encounter that originated back in the earliest days of our lives. Some blame it upon a male dominated society yet more often than not the women dictated the life and expectations of her offspring in the early stages and set the stage for what would follow.”

Well, the book chapter wasn't about how men treat women. It was about how women don't learn to deal with anger. Where that came from wasn't important. It was the issue itself - women thinking anger was "bad" or made them less feminine.

“Yes there were social restrictions and expectations to be found. Even racial barriers to be encountered and manipulated based upon ones year of birth and locale. Yet those changes and charges almost different for each generation and many times coupled to advances in technology and warfare. That didn't even touch upon social changes and upheavals that impacted across the board. The excerpts of this book I have read seem to support that notion yet once again, enable the victim mindset.”

Then I obviously didn't quote enough, I was getting tired of typing it out. I'd suggest going and reading the whole portion and then you'll see that any misunderstanding about the book is my fault and not the author's. Then again it might be your own perceptions that triggered your reaction and not my quotes or even the book.

For me... the victim mindset is one I'm well used to observing. In Africa the colonial rule of Europe created it in many indigenous peoples - a sense that they were helpless children under the control of the parent colonial country. Some forms of terrorism were no more than the huge temper tantrums by hurt children who refused to grow up and stop blaming their "parents" for a cruel oppressive childhood. I could say more there, but it might be offensive to some. The point is... entire nations can suffer from a victim mentality, but it doesn't change the fact that they were abused or ill-treated. They do need to let go of blaming and start healing themselves, but that means balancing the truth/facts of their past, and the natural anger-grief-bitterness, against empowerment and letting go of being victims. You can't make the victim feel bad, or guilty, for being a victim. That doesn't empower or heal any more than pity or "feeling sorry", for others or for self, does.

Earthwalker, I thought of something else... I was thinking about what MonSnoLeeDra made me go back dredge out my brain (he's good at that! *grin*) and I was thinking of the term knee-jerk. When I look at anything in people I tend to go back to nature to find a balanced viewpoint. Animals don't suffer with mental or emotional problems... unless they live deeply entwined with

humans, like dogs. So I went back to looking at how emotions like anger play a part in the natural world. As far as I can figure anger in nature seems to be used to set boundaries - personal hierarchy boundaries, territorial boundaries, defense and protection. I was watching a female wolf on a TV documentary last year. She was the alpha female and two male wolves were courting her, wanting to be the alpha male and her mate. Although she snarled several times to warn them she was not ready to choose they kept on bothering her... even when she was trying to sleep. This time she didn't snarl. She just flew to her feet and bit them both. So... for the wolf there were no knee-jerk moments. She stated her boundaries clearly with her warning snarls. When that was ignored... she dealt with it quickly and firmly. BUT... and here's the big difference I think... there was no resentment and no holding on to the event. The next day she picked her mate and no-one held a grudge, felt hurt or resentful. It was dealt with and over. I think humans react knee-jerk when they aren't good at setting their own boundaries. So they allow people into their own space when they don't really want it. When this happens constantly, like the she wolf they snap and attack. The problem there is that's okay IF the person had first made it clear where the boundaries were. If not... it’s the person who snaps fault and not the person who got bitten. If I don't make it clear to others where my boundaries are I cannot become agitated or angry if someone unknowingly steps on my toes. The problem for humans, I think, is that we've moved into a state of evolution where each of us is both an alpha individual and still needing to fit into society/family groups where there are leaders and followers. In the wolf pack you either are alpha or you are a follower. Things are simple. It isn't that way for humans. A human can be dominant-alpha in their family and then step into a job where they are the lowest life form in the building. It's a bit insane, when you think about it. No wonder we get confused on where and how to set our boundaries! And no wonder we constantly struggle with seeking a balance.

Earthwalker:
Crow, I think the example of the wolf is important and it is about drawing boundaries. The boundaries, once drawn and stated, do eliminate harbor annoyances which can turn into deep seated anger and depression. However, humans are also capable of reason and our roles and responsibilities within the human community are more complex than the alpha and beta roles of a wolf pack.

To me the answer is really just about being oneself (the wolf). It's about making a decision (the wolf attacked) and taking responsibly for one self and for any personal actions taken (she may no longer be able to mate). As a human, we could question is that what I really want forever or could I change my first inkling to react and instead find a better way of saying no while keeping options open.

I find that when I step back from the knee jerk reaction, I can typically make better decisions. I personally think it's important to recognize and taken into consideration that all individuals involved each filter anything said or any action taken through our own cultural and experiential filters / personal stories. As an example, when I was younger and in collage, a group of us would go out dancing. Obviously, we are not always attracted to everyone. So what do you do when someone asks you to dance that you don't find attractive? I always made the choice to dance at least once with everyone that asked me to dance. I reasoned, how would I feel if I got the courage up to ask someone to dance and they said no? I further reasoned that it often took a lot for an individual to ask a person to dance and I wouldn't want to miss out on potential friendships. Most often I didn't dance with the person a second time since we had nothing in common. Still I felt we were both better off. (As a wolf, I said no but not by disrespecting and humiliating the other wolf)

If we care enough about the other people or the situation, I feel tempering our response to yield a positive response can be beneficial, even if at times we need to agree to disagree. I try to look at another's response to a question through their perspective before responding. This doesn't mean we all don't go off the deep end at times and /or offend without intent (stress from other situations and lack of knowledge about cultures can be typical causes of problems). To stay in balance, I find I need to forgive myself and / or others for these types of responses as well. WHO is benefitted by long standing anger. Take action instead.

In other threads, discussion has taken place about the anger stemming from a male dominated society. I can only say that I believe we are changing and a lot has changed at least in the US. When confronted with this type of anger, I don't stand in the anger but ask what action can I take to resolve the immediate situation. As an example, when I was filling out forms (34 years ago) to enter the hospital for my first child I too was asked for my husband's information only. Admittedly I was surprised. Annoyance was removed by a simple discussion and laughter. I remember questioning if they didn't want my information as well since I was the one having the child and that my insurance carrier was the primary carrier. After thinking about it, the administrate clerk stated good points and they simply added my information to the form. This simple question resolved my frustration. Three years later when filling out forms for my son's birth I wondered, the forms had been changed.

I lived in NYC when the feminist movement just started. In theory, I support equal rights but never felt I had to be something I wasn't. I never agreed that disrespect of male counter parts was the path to liberation. I simply was myself and did a really good job. I never felt I had to dress as a male etc. Another example of action as opposed to anger was when my father felt I needed to have an education degree whereas I wanted to go into research. I just got both mnor. education and chemistry (after all he was paying for part of my degree and was only trying to protect me). I then went into research. There are many examples of actions taken to resolve the anger of situations. I have always found that just standing in respect for oneself, attempting to understand where others are coming from , and making a decision that respects everyone is best, avoid and overreaction response. Be yourself, fight for yourself and let the situation acted upon to evolve over time. This eliminates the depression and anger associated with larger issue that one person cannot change.

Admittedly, this path is natural for me and I sometimes would love to have personal characteristics that are more spontaneous in nature. If however, I can recognize that I often need the counterbalance from someone different that myself, I can also achieve balance and remove anger. In other words stand in respect for others way and again the way for action is cleared and anger is dissipated. We are the wolf but we can choose our way as well.

I often find myself frustrated. There are big global issues out there. I question internally how will they be handled when we can't resolve even the small ones? Still I recognize that sometimes the small issues are the only one we are capable of dealing with so they are chosen as a priority. Balance is therein found, and anger and depression is dissipated.

Still, for simplicity; the life of a wolf seems?

WhiteCrow:

Hi Earthwalker, Thanks for the considered response.

“To me the answer is really just about being oneself (the wolf). It's about making a decision (the wolf attacked) and taking responsibly for one self and for any personal actions taken (she may no longer be able to mate). As a human, we could question is that what I really want forever or could I change my first inkling to react and instead find a better way of saying no while keeping options open.”

Interesting point.

“I find that when I step back from the knee jerk reaction, I can typically make better decisions. I personally think it's important to recognize and taken into consideration that all individuals involved each filter anything said or any action taken through our own cultural and experiential filters / personal stories.”

I would add that you have to take personality type into consideration too. I'm an INFJ. I'm betting how I process and react is always going to be different from many of the other types. I always prefer it if I know the astrology of a person I'm dealing with, because what works for one sign won't work for another. I know my Gemini friends have vastly different personal boundaries to my Taurus friends and I try to respect the differences. There are topics I can talk about quite freely with one person that another views as appallingly personal.

“(As a wolf, I said no but not by disrespecting and humiliating the other wolf)”

I agree with you. I've never said no with disrespect, but I have said yes when I wanted to say no... and thus shown myself no respect - usually because I feared hurting or harming and so put my own needs or boundaries last. To use your dance analogy - I'd be the girl who kept dancing with a guy she didn't like because he was sweet and shy and she didn't know how to say no without hurting him!

Last year I had several lessons in saying no to people, which was stressful, but educational! In some of the lessons last year I had no choice - I was too ill to say yes. Some people accepted my no, others were annoyed or took it personally. In that respect being ill was a blessing, because (as I told two of the people I said no to) I was forced by my body to be more "selfish" than I would have been normally. I feared others would react badly to it and in a few cases people did... and I survived. It was a breakthrough - I said No politely and was taken as being a pain in the butt and the world kept turning. In the case of the man who stole... that was a very heavy lesson and not one I did well with,

because what I wanted wasn't the same as what he wanted and wasn't the same as what my family wanted (they wanted to sue him). So... I had to say two types of No - to him and to family. It nearly killed me off, but I survived that too... with a little help from two months on mild tranquilizers.

I have realized that I struggle the most if the person who is pushing through my boundaries is someone I like or who is sensitive. Recently I had to deal with claiming my boundaries in a situation where I was aware that this person was highly sensitive. I did it, but only with help from a friend more or less coaching me through what to say. Interestingly I have realized that I'm fine with saying no to someone I see as an equal.

“This doesn't mean we all don't go off the deep end at times and /or offend without intent (stress from other situations and lack of knowledge about cultures can be typical causes of problems). To stay in balance, I find I need to forgive myself and / or others for these types of responses as well. WHO is benefitted by long standing anger. Take action instead.”

Agreed. I have also realized recently that part of why I was bad with boundaries is because I show more respect to others than myself. I joke that I'm a recovered perfectionist, but the truth is merely knowing I'm a perfectionist isn't enough - I have to still take action. I've learnt to laugh at myself in school, but it's taken me till my 40s to learn to forgive myself for being me. I'm still working on that.

“In other threads, discussion has taken place about the anger stemming from a male dominated society.”

Not exactly, as several people have pointed out - women can be misogynists. For me the topic of misogyny was not a gender bashing issue - it's an issue of societies seeing women as less. But it is interesting to see how many people automatically jump to conclusions on topics like that. Not meaning anyone personally, just an observation based on reactions here and other places. Several of the links I used here I used on my blog last November and several of the links I used were from friends on Facebook. The reactions from both groups has been quite different to here and to each other.

“I can only say that I believe we are changing and a lot has changed at least in the US. When confronted with this type of anger, I don't stand in the anger but ask what action can I take to resolve the immediate situation. As an example, when I was filling out forms (34 years ago) to enter the hospital for my first child I too was asked for my husband's information only. Admittedly I was surprised. Annoyance was removed by a simple discussion and laughter. I remember questioning if they didn't want my information as well since I was the one having the child and that my insurance carrier was the primary carrier. After thinking about it, the administrate clerk stated good points and they simply added my information to the form. This simple question resolved my frustration. Three years later when filling out forms for my son's birth I wondered, the forms had been changed.”

I did something like that once in South Africa. I was 18 and needed to use a public phone (my lift home from a 21st party had gone AWOL), but the only phone was in a bar. In those days women weren't allowed in bars. I was told by the hotel manager that I would be thrown out if I went in. (I'd asked him about a phone and he'd been very smug to tell me there wasn't one) My friends were going to hitch, but I was not going to do that. So... I went into the bar. I was probably radiating "leave me alone" vibes (calm assertive energy?) because the men parted like the sea for Moses. I used the phone and left.

The time when they gave me forms at the doctor for my husband's details I was just too embarrassed. I filled them in as best I could and never said a word. If I were to be there again I'd request a better form that fitted my needs. You learn as you get older.

“I never agreed that disrespect of male counter parts was the path to liberation.”

Yes, I really hate that. I cannot understand how any group can think they can become equal by demeaning and lowering the other side! Doesn't it occur to them that by doing that they are simply creating a new inequality?

“I have always found that just standing in respect for oneself, attempting to understand where others are coming from , and making a decision that respects everyone is best, avoid and overreaction response. Be yourself, fight for yourself and let the situation acted upon to evolve over time. This eliminates the depression and anger associated with larger issue that one person cannot change.”

I think, with all respect, that this might not always be possible. I was reading an article yesterday about Afghani women committing suicide in protest/despair of the new laws in their country. I can't imagine any woman taking such a horrific action as setting herself on fire unless she truly felt all other avenues of expression and hope were gone. I cannot even begin to conceive how it is to live in such conditions, but I also know that we, other humans of all genders, have a certain moral responsibility to not let stories like theirs simply vanish because they are unpleasant. To use an old example - war. It has brought our planet misery and havoc, but also positive change. I tend to be a Pacifist (I'd rather rage with words than a gun!), but I am aware that not all wars are "bad", even if I hate the concept of war and would far prefer humans to use other ways to work out their differences.

“Admittedly, this path is natural for me and I sometimes would love to have personal characteristics that are more spontaneous in nature. If however, I can recognize that I often need the counterbalance from someone different that myself, I can also achieve balance and remove anger.”

When we realize how wonderful our differences are we take the first important step in mutual respect, I think.

“I often find myself frustrated. There are big global issues out there. I question internally how will they be handled when we can't resolve even the small ones? Still I recognize that sometimes the small issues are the only one we are capable of dealing with so they are chosen as a priority. Balance is therein found, and anger and depression is dissipated.”

Re global issues... it can get depressing and overwhelming. I tend to take on small issues so that I can feel I've at least taken a few thimble-fulls out of the flood. I belong to several activist groups. I use my blog to "soapbox" the issues I support. I usually don't bring any of that here, but I did with the misogyny post. I'm finding my own boundaries blurring lately. I had separate "me"s I kept for my blog, Facebook, real life, here... lately they’re' blending more into one. I think it's a positive thing. Ok, got to go cook. Thank you for a very enjoyable afternoon of thought and discussion.

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