Are you someone who never gets angry (and could that be making you anxious/depressed?)

"When I was younger, I would tell people proudly that one of my strong points was that I would never get mad.

“Have I ever been angry?” I would ask, knowing full well my reputation for being mellow. However, as time went on, I began to lose track of what being nice really meant.

When faced with challenges or confrontations with other people, I would automatically act nice, without actually feeling that way. It was as if I was set to automatic, where by habit, I was agreeable. However, on the inside, I felt depressed and anxious whenever someone did something I did not agree with.

Despite feeling sad, I did not give myself an outlet to communicate my opinions, and this finally came to a climax when I was unable to truly voice my thoughts during my four-year relationship.

For me, being agreeable had transformed into something ugly and submissive, where at times I did not recognize myself. During arguments, I would attempt to be accommodating; however, when alone, I was caught up in self-pity and resentment".

This is an exerpt from the following site.

It goes on to recommend tow books. One is "Born to Win" by Muriel James and Dorothy Jangeward. Another is "don't sweat the small stuff" by Richard Carlson.

I am starting to realise that for myself my problems of anxiety and depression (think it is both with me) lie in the way my personality has developed to be over accomodating to people and overly adaptive. I know I have posted about this before but I am even more certain now and am wondering if there are others out there who may see some of themselves in this. Just thought I would post up (put it on both sites as I am never quite sure which site I fit into, if either) but this is the nearest I can get to explain to myself how I get to feel how I feel. Hope it is helpful to someone.

The books are quite cheap; the one is only £4.50 to download onto Kindle.

Please ignore if its of no relevance but if it can help one person then it is worth me posting. I am a genuine poster by the way. Been on this site for about 4 months but normally post of depression alliance. I think my depression comes about through anxiety in the way that is mentioned in these books which is why I have posted this.

Gemmalouise :)


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20 Replies

  • This is a subject sooooo close to my heart. I am a hopeless people pleaser which developed as a coping mechanism in the long distant past and stuck with me. I also pride myself on not getting mad, until recently that is.

    Very recently i have figured out how many of my personality traits developed as coping mechanisms. These are now outdated and I no longer need them, in fact they get in the way. More than in the way, they actually cause my anxiety! Holding in anger and other emotions which I perceive as negative causes my anxiety. Very recently I have had some breakthroughs inidentifying and dealing appropriately with my anger. When I feel anxious or upset I ask myself what is it that I actually feel. Once I identify the correct emotion to go with the situation the anxiety feelings dissipate. It's early days but it's working.

    Basically I totally see what you are saying. Holding in emotions = bad idea for anxiety.

    Take care.

  • Hello Anxietyang, this is really interesting, as is the fact that we look quite "similar" ( although I'm older; your photo is on your avatar thingy, and you have the same sort of "softness " or" kindness" in your face that I have ) What kind of therapy,if any, has helped you? These books I recommended are transactional analysis based. Therapy seems to be a bit of a "hit and miss" affair. I am gradually making these realisations over a period of time but not necessarily through one kind of therapy.Quite often I feel I have been misunderstood; however I am excited to have found that "tiny buddha" website as there seem to be lots of things on there that sound like me or that I can relate to. This is a real relief to be honest as I was feeling so "different" from others. I haven't looked into it deeply yet, (but am just about to) However it seems to be saying that there are "super sensitive people" out there (and I am one of them). I know for me it developed as a way of coping with my parents. My mum in particular is narcissistic and I believe it came from this although the sensitivity was probably always there in me. I will carry on researching, but it is nice to know that someone else on here can relate, and if you have any tips over any particular type of therapy or any particular thing that has worked for you I'd be pleased to know.

    At the moment what I am doing is experimenting little by little with making opinions on things and not always "pleasing". It is a hard road because I think the original fear is of being rejected or abandoned if I didn't "please" and "adapt". However as I am an adult now I have bigger resources and am not necessarily As dependent on these people or any people as I may think I am. That's the theory, or what I'm telling myself anyway. That is as far as i've got. Gemmalouise:)

  • I've had lots of counselling. Every week for 15 months to be precise. I have a great counsellor so I've been very lucky I think. In fact I don't know what I'd do without her to be honest. As I was saying it is a fairly new realisation to me about my emotions. Interestingly I have no issues with expressing positive emotions like love and compassion etc. My dad once said to me that I am just way too nice for this world and sometimes it feels like he's right ha ha.

    I have made a bit of a decision recently and that's to focus on being my own person. No more people pleasing and looking to others for affirmation and support. I will let you know how it goes but as they say its hard to break the habit of a lifetime. The bottom line is its gotta be easier than living with anxiety and panic cos I hate it. X

  • Thank You Anxietyyang. I share a lot of these feelings , even down to the very words "too nice for this world". Makes me think about that song "Starry starry night" (you're probably too young to remember ??) but it is about Vincent Van Gogh and it says "this world was never meant for someone as beautiful as you." or similar. I think it is good to be sensitive and considerate to others but not at the expense of yourself. I know my problem is a sense of insecurity in myself (brought about no doubt by my background) and therefore seeking the "approval" of others rather than being my own person. Decided to edit my initial reply to this as it was getting rather over long! Let me know how it goes on and thanks, Gemmalouise x

  • Well we have to just go with it. I feel I am in a state of flux if that makes sense. I've been reading this book and it says a bit about Russian dolls. Babushka. That little girl that tried to please ya mam is still in the nest of dolls, the outer one is an older and wiser person. We are all of those people, all in one nest. X

  • Yes that is a really good way of putting it Anxietyang x

  • You're both exactly the same as me, and most of my family, i find my dad going to ridiculous lengths to please customers and undercharging them. Without a thought for himself. I also do this at college and my mum has become depressed with trying to please everyone.. i feel that if i do anything for myself then i am being selfish and it's crushing.

    nice to know we're not the only ones,

    Best wishes

  • What a lovely analogy. I'll have think about that.x

  • I was always made to believe that anger was somehow unhealthy, & that nice good little girls didn`t get angry. I think that`s why I can`t deal with anger now I`m an adult, mine or anyone elsesI let of steam by going onto internet sites like "the weekly gripe", where people go to moan about stuff.

  • Thanks hairyfairy. I would like to find a way of feeling "positively angry" ie. feeling angry in a way that was channelled in a way which was positive for myself. :)

  • I'm definitely one of those people. Outwardly laid back and very easy going.

    I had counselling in the mid 1990's for anxiety and health anxiety, and the councillor said I was the perfect person for anxiety as I 'internalise' all my feelings, which is very true.

  • The trouble with being trained into being one of those "nice" people who never gets openly angry with people is that you end up being taken advantage of by those who have a radar for detecting people who like to take advantage of others, & they treat you with total disrespect. You then end up seething with resentment, & hating people in general.

  • Yes I agree. Sometimes finding oneself in a situation wherein being taken advantage of is pushed to the extreme can lead to "change"; it is either going to completely destroy you or you think well now is the time to look after me and value myself; that was my experience anyway. I am a long way from feeling ok but I have a lot more insight now and am making gradual changes. The biggest one has not being dependent on another person's valuation of me to feel that I am ok. Still very much working on this and sometimes I feel weak lonely and depressed, sometimes I feel like there are parts of me missing and I will never get through. Other days like today I feel positive and stronger. Just found 10 biros down the back of the sofa; guess what I've been doing today in this nice weather (well it is nice here anyway ; we have had sun today. Gemmalouise x

  • I see no value in anger. When I get angry, I watch it objectively and bit by bit it fades down. I deal with other negative feelings and emotions the same way. I am learning not to condemn myself for the thoughts and feelings that occasionally cross my mind. I am not my feelings. The are intruders. To overcome the intruders, I have to know their nature.

  • If I could choose my personality, I would much prefer to be one of those insensitive people who skip through life taking things as they come, & not agonising about what others think of them. People like that always enjoy life to the full without having mental health problems. I remember the song previously mentioned about Vincent Van gough, & who`d want to end up like him?

  • For myself I like being sensitive; I could not bear the idea of being inconsiderate or a pain to others. However I feel I need to "hone" my sensitivity so it works for me. Being considerate of others at the expense of myself, even amounting at times to having a sort of "sacrificial" property I have realised was a misplaced boundary. Its important for me to realise when I am actually being taken advantage of and to put boundaries in place to prevent that, but I would not want to lost my generally considerate and cordial nature. Thanks for replying hairyfairy. No, we wouldn't want to end up like Vincent :) x

  • Hey there

    Your post really resonated with me..... I had a break down last year , Id had a terrible time where my son had not been speaking to me for a year, my relationship broke down and Id given up my business to move up to Teesside with my partner, when this ending my world fell apaart,

    Ive struggled with picking up the pieces of my life, but through all of this crap , Ive realised that all of my life Ive avoided confrontation, run away from it and never ever said what I wanted in relationship and with family too...... So through this journey of discover Im realising this, Im having counsellinjg and cbt and I know now I have to be assertive, and I am making changes to do this, not easy but Im doing it.......

    THANK YOU for your post cos it really hit home for me!!

    Love Ker xx

  • Ker, I'm really pleased it has helped :) Look after yourself :)

  • Is there any way to reverse the effect of depression due to this. I can relate, ever since I can remember I've done my "best" to please everyone; whether it be a complete stranger or not. I feel it's starting to eat away at me, I can't find the words to express myself anymore like I should. I know I don't lack the vocabulary, it's just that I can't even express it emotionally; I feel I've forgotten what it is to express one's self, I don't feel angry, when something that's supposed to be sad happens it just makes me think, there's no feeling behind it though more so just a thought of what comes next. What "agony" awaits that will be thrust onto me? and simply why? All I know is to be polite and well mannered. I'm the face of a completely happy human being, but the inside feels empty of emotion. As well as, love the emotion feels nonexistent when I know it should, there are certain times when I feel it but it never stays with me for longer then a week, afterwards it's back to the same empty state. I don't like it and if I could I would do anything to change it. I hate the feeling of depression. It's made me feel unconnected from the world. I've noticed one other thing, I can fake, fake emotions like I really feel something. Except anger, I can't fake that, because I've never felt it to a real extent. Maybe you'll have a partial answer for me, I hope at least. Thank you.

  • Well I will try and give you some answers to your questions. It sounds like your self esteem is low and you have got used to not making any demands on people and maybe a part of you believes you are not as good or worthy as "others". Yes I think you can reverse all of these effects. It is a question of realising that you have worth as much as anyone else and if you have not received what you need in the world it isn't necessarily because you are lacking but just because you were unfortunate. You may be a naturally placid person (like me) but people pleasing can get chronic and it's important to remember that you do have rights and needs just like everyone else. I would suggest occasionally experimenting with trying different ways of being with people. If you disagree with something why not say so (not angrily but just matter of factly) There can be a danger when you have been all one way to go too much to another extreme so just so it step by step little by little, start thinking of yourself as someone of value as we all are but it can be hard to believe in . Gemma X

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