the grid

the grid

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Week Three: Managing Anger and Frustration

Last week we had one major milestone to celebrate, with Good Enough Woman submitting her thesis ON TIME. Congratulations!  I trust you have well and truly celebrated.   At the same time, while reporting in, several people reported events and interactions which had made them angry.  And so while we had been asked to think about making space, it was intriguing how many of us needed to – at least for some time – make space to deal with anger and frustration, whether at the idiocies of the contemporary university, bad bosses, bureaucracy, or what.  In my experience, stress makes it much harder to put abuse, bad behavior, or even bad luck in perspective.  So how do you quiet the voices of those who have harmed you or just made your life difficult?  How do you prevent them from (as Dame Eleanor said) “hanging out rent-free in your head”? 

Last weeks goals:
Allan Wilson
1. Exercise 4x. This is a priority for me, and as things remain chaotic, I am holding on to this for dear life as part of my 'space'.
2. Redo paper 1 for resubmission.
3. Read a novel or similar for 20 mins a day as part of my calming strategy.
4. Work out a strategy for discussing the above issue with my manager.

Contingent Cassandra
--come up with session goals

1) Introduction, Literature review and previous work section for Paper 1
2) Data organization for Paper 1

Dame Eleanor:
Goals for next week:
1. Sort out a translation-related thing.
2. Review 500 lines of translation.
3. Put in 8 hours on R&R #1 (tasks: review paper, review feedback, review my notes, start revising paper by entering comments etc in the margins of my printout).
4. Grade/comment all the current low-stakes things. 
5. Do a financial thing I've been putting off.
6. Make 2 phone calls for estimates on house repairs.
7. Self-care: daily exercise and yoga; meditate 3x.

Earnest English
Work: Syllabi done and into printing, Blackboard uploaded, first week prepped, make most unpleasant phone call, write service letter, schedule meeting, begin to write up document, minimal time on drama, email service obligation
Gardening: move forward on blueberry project
Writing: 3 sessions
Health: start going to bed earlier; take supplements
Mental health: meditate 1x this week; move like water; pay some attention to checking in and trying to relax
Cooking: one meal this week
Planning: give self enough time to get things done; try to get organized
Spirited!: onward

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell
Plan and schedule doctors’ appointments
Write commentary 1 hour x 5
Walk the dog ½ hour x 4

Good Enough Woman
1. Health: Exercise 2x (already swam once).
2. Home: pay bills, check on credit card security breach
3. Research: chapter or article 1x
4. Read a chapter of the Slow Professor.
5. Family and friends: Enjoy camping for nieces b-day next weekend, try to make time to see a movie with a friend

Humming 42
1 Ungloomy is due in a week so I expect that will occupy most of my time
2 Finish book one for book review
3 Final read through for rpb chapter 5

Jane B
1) be kind to my colleagues, and to myself. Do not get annoyed by platitudes - focus on the real feeling they mask. Write a nice letter of condolence to Colleague's Spouse
2) self care. Take vitamins and Echinaceae, sleep, eat better, move a little more. Make an appointment to meet the Man At The Gym when I get back from the residential trip.
3) half an hour a day, or 2.5 hours over the week, on researchish stuff - I HAVE to do two refereeing tasks and edit/polish an encyclopedia entry for the 30th, but I'm calling this TLQ anyway, just because.
4) crochet, tidy, clean, 10 minutes of SOMETHING most days

1. Make visible progress in the garden.
2. Value sleep

1. Finish assessment stuff and personnel stuff that is long overdue (TRQ, but must be done)
2. Check one chapter of footnotes
3. Return to book I need to review
4. Walk one time.


1. Figure out what to do about LOI (I can't be PI and the faculty member I asked to be PI is being weird about it).
2. Write blurb
3. Analytic plan
4. Read some articles in the suicide literature and come up with project ideas
5. Write outline for intersection paper


  1. Last week's results:
    1. Sort out a translation-related thing. NO
    2. Review 500 lines of translation. NO
    3. Put in 8 hours on R&R #1 (tasks: review paper, review feedback, review my notes, start revising paper by entering comments etc in the margins of my printout). 3 hours/first three tasks
    4. Grade/comment all the current low-stakes things. ALL THE UNDERGRAD THINGS, NO GRAD THINGS.
    5. Do a financial thing I've been putting off. NO
    6. Make 2 phone calls for estimates on house repairs. NO
    7. Self-care: daily exercise and yoga; meditate 3x. NO: didn’t get to the gym till Friday. 3x yoga, 2x meditation.

    Goals for the coming week:
    1. Self care: gym 5x, walk 2x, yoga 5x, meditate 3x.
    2. Put in 4 hours on R&R #1 (enter comments in the margins, finish reading one book I bogged down on, type notes from it)
    3. Sort out that translation-related thing.
    4. Do one of two financial things I’ve been putting off.
    5. Make 2 phone calls for estimates OR put in 1-2 hours in the basement.
    6. Take care of TRQ, so it doesn’t distract me from TLQ.

    In the spirit of this group, I’m not listing all the urgent things individually, whether or not they are important. I’m focusing on the important long-term things. Perspective!

    Last week was rough because of some extra stuff on campus and very, very bad sleep. Getting back to the gym will help with sleep, I hope. Coming up, I have some extra tasks, so I'm cutting back a little on expectations.

    My thoughts about perspective got so long I'll take them over to my blog.

  2. One of the reasons I find anger particularly difficult is that it has NO INTENTION of being allowed time for itself, of waiting until I make space to deal with it, of being dealt with in the space given to it (and this is one of the reasons, on top of socialisation-as-a-nice-girl and low self-of-steam and all that, that I have an 'anger problem' in the form of not admitting it or letting it get any time, but turning it in on myself using/causing self-blame, depression, over-eating etc. in response to external nonsense - one of the difficult things about working on oneself is that sometimes one has to UNDO coping mechanisms that aren't helpful or healthy, then start over on dealing with the thing one was trying to cope with, in my case intemperate rage).

    Anger takes whatever time and space it wants NOW, with FIRE and PREJUDICE. It actually REALLY LIKES blazing up when I've already taken time for myself (e.g. been to the gym, had a nice relaxing evening not working etc., and just going to bed at a sensible hour).

    Some of this is because I do still have to sit on it a lot of the time when the trigger occurs (i.e. around other people) because of trying to "be professional", and it doesn't really trust that it'll be allowed to express itself after years of being ignored, so it's acting out. But some of it is, I think, the nature of the beast itself, in the same way that depression or vomiting don't wait politely to be invited to come out for half an hour. It's the nice stuff - the feelings of flow, of calm, of pleasure - that tend to be polite and wait their turn (I prefer to think they are there all along underneath and what happens when I take time is I turn to them and notice them, but I think that's a rather fanciful way of looking at it).

    1. JaneB - I really resonate with this. I recently stopped eating sugar (well, maybe 2 months ago) which has made coping with anger/frustration more difficult as previously I would just eat something tasty to calm myself. But now I'm stuck feeling the damned feelings and IT IS NOT FUN.

    2. This also resonates with me -- especially the observation that anger can often well up precisely when I take time for self-care (i.e. time to think). That's not necessarily bad if one then has time to deal with the anger, but if one was hoping to sleep, get back to work, etc., etc. (all those good things we tell ourselves self-care activities will facilitate, and that they generally do facilitate), and that time/energy gets redirected to the anger instead -- well, that's frustrating.

  3. This week was rough - new semester, many many details and crises around this darned residential trip, not enough sleep and continuous long days and everything piling on - oh, and my colleagues memorial service this Friday, so a lot of sadness to work through as well. AND a vomiting bug is going around through all the colleagues with small children (it's "in the schools" apparently, a common phenomenon happening a bit early this year), so we started the week understaffed, and knowing we'd be very understaffed on Friday due to the memorial, and all week different people would not come in one day then come in all pale and wobbly the next, which meant a lot of scrambling when no-one felt like it.

    Oh, and on a tangent, I have a trivial Incoming complaint to share. We submit all our exam questions to the department exams officer before the semester, they check and approve them or ask for small amendments. Fine. Bureaucratic, but fine. Incoming decides this year to intervene because the Exams Officer is inexperienced, and sends me a long, discoursive email about the exact phrasing of the question I've set the second years, and my underpinning rationale for including the topic, and how I plan to teach it. I of course READ this as highly critical, although it was probably intended benignly. After some fuming, I emailed back and said politely, look, I'm mad busy, can you just tell me which bit needs changing? And he said "oh, none of it, I just wanted to check that you'd thought through your teaching properly". To which - well, it's so absurd it rapidly appeared funny (but also caused chocolate eating). I've been teaching this content at this level in various formats most years since I joined Northern Uni. It's my 'home territory'. And I'm covering for absent people, taking on two new modules one a completely new write for a new curriculum, including all the bits and pieces around getting nearly 190 new first years not just registered, but getting details of all their little health issues and food preferences, sorting out their rooming allocations and group allocations for a trip, dealing with supplies that didn't arrive and students missing compulsory risk briefings so having to reschedule them and all that sort of stuff. And he thinks it's the perfect time to start an email discussion of my pedagogical practice by second-guessing that I haven't actually thought through the assessment I composed. And I wonder why I have an anger problem at the moment??

    Tomorrow I go off on the residential. Five days. Friday night it will, I hope, all be over, with no accident or incident reports to fill in. Expect incoherance.

    Last week was a week. The encyclopedia entry is done, the reviews are not, I tried to be nice to myself but lost it a bit as the week went on, most people (Incoming aside) are actually being kind and reasonable and supportive of each other for once, even if cluelessly, so whether my reframing helped me see a truth or colleague's death has actually changed people's behaviour a little, either way, that wasn't so bad.

    Goal: Survival. Not shouting at anyone outside my head.

    1. Good luck with your residential event. That's always exhausting. As for incoming, I find the well-meaning but clueless people exhausting. What are they thinking? Are they thinking...

    2. Yes, crossing my fingers that the trip goes well! And that you don't have further nagging from Incoming when you return.

  4. Topic: one of the good things about semester is that being busy reduces the time for anger or frustration. Or, at least there are plenty distractions to help quiet the voices! I'm already too tired to work up satisfactory anger about anything.

    From two weeks ago
    1. revise scary research tool, project information sheet and consent form and get it ready for printing - nearly done
    2. edit house research tool 1 and get it ready for printing - done and printed
    3. make headway in teaching prep - partially done.

    This coming week:
    1. use scary and house research tools to get some more data
    2. refine teaching plans for academic year and work out what might be doable and what is impossible
    3. sort diary out as best I can and start declining things

    1. Yes, you're right -- though my experience when I'm busy is that anger/frustration shows up when I try to unwind or sleep...

    2. Fatique has also (lately) led me to roll with the punches. I hope you can rest soon (but still avoid getting angry).

  5. Last week's goals:
    1. Figure out what to do about LOI (I can't be PI and the faculty member I asked to be PI is being weird about it). - DONE and SUBMITTED
    2. Write blurb - DONE
    3. Analytic plan - NOT DONE
    4. Read some articles in the suicide literature and come up with project ideas - DONE
    5. Write outline for intersection paper - DONE

    I have some challenges with anger/frustration - and like JaneB notes, my coping mechanisms aren't necessarily the healthiest. I had an interaction this week that exemplifies this. As noted above, I submitted an LOI for a research area in which I have some research expertise, but a good amount of practical/clinical expertise. I asked a junior faculty who is a research expert in this area to work with me on it (esp since as a postdoc I can't be PI, so I wanted them to be PI). It was a really frustrating experience - but came to a head when they emailed me their critique of my LOI and said that they "needed to put their foot down" on one piece of the project and refused to be a part of a project that did that. They then launched into a detail list of all they ways they are an expert in this area (which I well know, and which is why I asked them to be on it with me). I was really offended by the tone - and offended that they seemed to not understand that I brought expertise to the project as well - and that what they said they could not support was a piece that directly made use of my expertise.

    I sat on my response for some time and castigated myself over it. What I wanted to do was stand up for myself - and assert that I also have expertise. But I get so worried about how people will respond, I get worried that emails will get forwarded and I will get "in trouble." It's challenging as a new postdoc to know how to navigate these things when I have years of experience of being deferential and deferring to those more senior than myself. But I think that isn't helpful to my development at this time as a primary response. I'd prefer to - on occasion - stick up for myself and assert myself. As an aside, things worked out okay - we talked on the phone and I gently mentioned my area of expertise. Also, they later sent a kind of whiny email to my mentor and me about the LOI - and my mentor had a big negative reaction to it- so I felt like my own earlier reaction wasn't so off base.

    Keeping on this for another moment - one of my takeaways from this too was that it's maybe not helpful for a junior faculty to be so difficult. I don't think it's helpful to just bow to everything and feel a press to be THE WORLD'S BEST AND MOST ACQUIESCENT COLLABORATOR - but I think junior faculty may need to play a little better with others. So, my takeaway reinforces my desire to learn how to be appropriately assertive when needed, but also to keep working on my work relationships.

    Goals for this week:
    1. That stupid analytic plan
    2. Survive mock review of my NIH grant this week
    3. After mock review, figure out my game plan
    4. Work on CSA paper ideas
    5. Work on ideas for SU grant.

    1. You're right - there's a line between being a good colleague and pushover, just as there's a difference between being rightly assertive about your own skills and experience, and being over-confident and condescending to others. And lots of it is tone. It sounds as if your mentor may be a good person to help you think this through.

    2. I'm sure it was helpful (and vindicating?) to see your mentor's reaction. That "put my foot down" language is so parental! Your position must be very difficult one to navigate. It sounds like you might have handled this one just right (or as well as you could).

  6. Anger and frustration. I am terrible with these. I get angry and frustrated rather easily, and when I'm angry, I'm consumed with it. I have books on anger that I don't read. I went to a therapist I didn't listen to specifically to focus on anger.

    But now I want to change my stripes because I find that the drama is ruining my health and because my department is just a disaster. The person who almost always helped a hothead like me come away with a new point of view because of hir calm manner: gone. The changes are so worrying that until just this minute I've had a crippling stomachache since dinner. I need to learn how to let it all flow over me and move like water at the same time. I want to be grounded and not hate every moment of it, but enjoy my work insofar as that's possible and not get wrapped up in it enough to get angry. And no matter what: when I come home, I want to be done with it -- and give my family the time they deserve. No more free rent in my brain, Institution. I choose to think about other things and even -- crazy talk -- be present during *my* time. I can't afford to get angry about it.

    So that's my challenge this week when I shall be steeped in it for the first time in a while. Gulp.

    Work: Syllabi done and into printing, Blackboard uploaded, first week prepped, make most unpleasant phone call, write service letter, schedule meeting, begin to write up document, minimal time on drama, email service obligation: DECENT PROGRESS not all done, but mostly under control; minimal time on drama; logging my work time
    Gardening: move forward on blueberry project NO
    Writing: 3 sessions; 2 that were super-productive
    Health: start going to bed earlier; take supplements NAH
    Mental health: meditate 1x this week; move like water; pay some attention to checking in and trying to relax: Trying
    Cooking: one meal this week: YES
    Planning: give self enough time to get things done; try to get organized: SOMEWHAT, enough to get by =)
    Spirited!: onward

    1. What I find (FWIW) is that the things that drive me nuts don't stop driving me nuts, but I try to put other things front and center in my brain.

      But at her blog, Dame Eleanor also asked an interesting question -- "How can I make these voices pay rent?" -- how can we make this productive?

    2. That's a good question. I've sometimes turned anger (adrenaline, maybe?) into energy, but I generally tend to be a fairly deliberative, slow-moving person, so kicking things up a notch isn't entirely a bad thing (though it tends to take a toll once the emergency is over, so I'd probably be at least as productive at an even pace, with no anger/fear/whatever-fueled speed-ups, or corresponding near-collapses afterward).

  7. Upcoming Week: Theme: Quiet Calm

    Mental Health: Planning prevents panic. Think ahead. Mantras are good. When in doubt, breathe. Meditate 2x this week. See if it helps at work. Yoga? Keep eye on the ball: what counts is doing a good job and going home.
    Gardening: 1 hour of gardening next weekend
    Writing: 3 sessions of writing/revision
    Health: sleep, rest, relax
    Cooking: one meal this week
    Planning: Spirited mail.
    Spirited!: therapy.

  8. Well, it's an interesting question. I've been working very hard on letting go of things that I can't control. And I do that mostly by not thinking about them. If thinking about something enrages me, I work on not thinking about it. Sometimes I do that by drafting a memo or response (which I may or may not send), but also - as KJHaxton suggested -- when I get busy I don't have time to brood. It also depends on how directly things affect me -- the more direct, the more difficult it is to put the issue in a closet and close the door. So the reality is that these things to take up space in my head for a bit, but I work on stuffing them in the closet and telling them to shut up. As with all overstuffed closets, from time to time something spills out the door. But it does give me a fair bit of freedom.

    Goals from last week:
    1. Finish assessment stuff and personnel stuff that is long overdue (TRQ, but must be done) DONE
    2. Check one chapter of footnotes NO
    3. Return to book I need to review A LITTLE
    4. Walk one time. YES

    Analysis: well, I caught up with a whole bunch of administrivia, which was great, and I've cleared up my inbox. This weekend I decided to relax rather than push work -- especially because I've got into a terrible sleep pattern (waking up at 4 AM, not going back to sleep). But the book review just feels like a mountain, which is ridiculous. On the other hand, I have a preliminary schedule on the production of my book, which makes footnote checking very important.

    Goals for this week:
    1. Finish book review
    3. Two chapters of footnote checking
    4. Walk twice

    1. I also sometime draft things when I am really angry. Sometimes I even send these things when I think they are worth sending, but other times, I will delete whatever it is (or just leave it in "drafts") after working on it for an hour. I tend to still feel better.

    2. Yes, just writing the anger out helps! I learned years ago not to mail at least until the next morning, and preferably a few days.

    3. I like the writing-it-out-and-then-letting-it-sit strategy, too. The problem comes when I'm too busy to actually write it out, and end up endlessly drafting responses in my head, without getting them on paper/pixels. I don't recommend that.

  9. First, huge congratulations to GEW. I hope you had a massive celebration for turning in the thesis!

    Topic: So how do you quiet the voices of those who have harmed you or just made your life difficult? How do you prevent them from (as Dame Eleanor said) “hanging out rent-free in your head”?

    I’ve gotten better at quieting these voices as I have gotten older, which does not mean that I don’t rage and rant at times. I have read a lot of Stoic texts in the past couple of years, following DH’s recommendation, to deal with my grief, and find the philosophy helps with other situations I cannot control. The main idea is that I cannot control people and what they do, but I can control (to a degree) my reaction. To that end, I love Dame Eleanor’s quest to make these people pay rent. I have only been slightly successful in that, but I have managed to find a positive in some cases. When my colleagues in a former position called me a “professor wanna-be,” I reflected on the teaching award I received, and realized that I have taught, and have proven I can teach, rather than being a wanna-be.

    Where I find it very hard to see a positive is when I have been treated badly. I have been promised better positions on three separate occasions at three different institutions, only to be told at some point that I was “uppity,” or “Well, you did everything we asked, but it wasn’t enough,” or, most recently, “You did everything asked, but not the way I would have done them.” I suppose one positive is that I pay things forward when I can, mentoring and supporting colleagues as much as possible. Another positive is that I was capable of doing everything well. Finally, I tend to work on my scholarship when I feel unappreciated, especially by the bean-counters, in the way of “Ha! I’d like to see them work with Latin, Old French, and Middle English--so there!” I must admit, though, that at times I do feel like I have a bullseye on my back, and I dream of a retirement, which is not imminent.

    Last week’s goals:
    Plan and schedule doctors’ appointments YES
    Write commentary 1 hour x 5 YES
    Walk the dog ½ hour x 4 YES

    A trifecta, despite not wanting to deal with the phone calls especially. I found that working on the commentary was useful when dealing with difficult colleagues--a way of shutting my ears to the noise like I did as a child by swimming underwater. Walking the dog helps me physically and mentally, going out to admire the changing leaves, the wildlife, the social nature of sharing pleasantries with neighbors doing the same, and the stillness of the early morning.

    Next week’s goals:
    Continue physical therapy exercises x 14
    Improve eating habits, avoiding bad things x 7
    Walk x 7
    Yoga x 1
    Plan vignettes with my sister
    Prudence x 5
    Pierpont x 3

    Move like water, float like mist, everyone. Have a great rest of the week!

    1. Oooo, some of those comments would burn me up, especially the wanna-be comment and the "uppity" comment. Don't people know they can't bust out the "uppity"?

      I don't know Latin, but if I did, I might spend time thinking up Latin come-backs in my head (if there are such a thing as Latin come-backs/insults).

      Kudos on last week's successes!

    2. Yes, the connotations with "uppity" are really nasty to me, I have to say.
      There are Latin insults, and some are great. I inherited a Latin phrase book from my father that was written for the boys' schools of the late 1800's with wonderful ways to say "Hold on, old chap," and other sanitized British translations for the Latin. Hmm, I should go look into that!
      And thanks for the kudos!

    3. I hate the changing goal posts, and since I've most recently had to deal with these voices when I was treated badly (with a job I had been doing really well given to a mediocre man - who is doing a predictably bad job - because how could there be any difference?) I feel your pain.

      I'll have to start reading the stoics, but that's been my approach - I can only control me. And walking actually does help. As does reminding yourself of all your skills!

    4. Being treated badly has been my major anger trigger, too (at least as an adult), especially cases where people have explicitly promised to do something, and then have failed to follow through *and* have been entirely unapologetic about it, and dismissive or denying of the real consequences for me. I think my response for the past few years has been to expect less (of both other people and institutions), which definitely comes under the category of things I can control, but could be taken to an unhealthy extreme.

  10. Thanks for the congratulations, everyone! And while I have done some relaxing and low-level celebrating, I am waiting until after the viva to do big-time celebrations. I don't know yet when the viva will be, and since I had only minimal supervision on the second half of the thesis, I'm pretty nervous about it. I've also been playing catch-up with my classes, which I neglected for a couple of weeks before submission. Nevertheless, I feel great about getting it done!

    Topic: I am fortunate that I haven't felt angry about much lately. I do sometimes get worked up about things (and when I do, I really do), but I tend to remain fairly even much of the time. Currently, I don't have any especially difficult situations to deal with at work or elsewhere. This could change on a dime, of course, especially if I fail the viva (but I don't *think* I'll fail). When I do get angry, I (like Susan) often craft letters that outline my outrage. Sometimes I craft them in my head; sometimes I actually draft them. Only occasionally do I sent them to their intended audience. Often, just writing out my anger is helpful.

    Last week:
    1. Health: Exercise 2x (already swam once). DONE.
    2. Home: pay bills, check on credit card security breach. NOPE.
    3. Research: chapter or article 1x. FOUND SOURCES TO REQUEST FROM ILL.
    4. Read a chapter of the Slow Professor. NOPE.
    5. Family and friends: Enjoy camping for nieces b-day next weekend, try to make time to see a movie with a friend. DONE!

    This week:

    So. Much. Grading. Essays and exams from all 125 students. So TLQ will be minimal, but not absent.

    Health: Exercise 3x.
    Home: Bills, security things.
    Research: Order the ILL things. Read one thing.
    Family: Take daughter shopping for pants; do Halloween shopping, costume prep, and party prep with kids. Help son get started on Code Academy.

    1. Ah, I have also drafted lovely poison pen letters that I merrily burn in the fireplace. As both you and Susan say, it is satisfying.

    2. I find the "drafting in my head" thing can sometimes get out of hand (see "taking up space without paying rent"), but, in general, it's a good strategy, I think.

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  12. Hi all, a better late than never check in!
    Last week:
    1. Exercise 4x. This is a priority for me, and as things remain chaotic, I am holding on to this for dear life as part of my 'space'. YES Thank heavens
    2. Redo paper 1 for resubmission. YES. Not quite finished, but good progress made, and back with co-authors in the re-working process
    3. Read a novel or similar for 20 mins a day as part of my calming strategy.YES. Loving it.
    4. Work out a strategy for discussing the above issue with my manager. PARTLY. As yet, though , still figuring out when to do this. We don't have on site managers, so trying to find face to face time is difficult.
    This week:
    1. Exercise 4x.
    2. Reduce eating from boredom and frustration
    3. Sort out all data for next TLQ paper- let me call it WMorph - first, by doing some measurements, then checking data spreadsheets.

    I use exercise as my number 1 way of reducing stress and being a nice person! I love endorphins.I also have to admit to using my partner (or very close friends) as a great resource for working out how to handle difficult situations, as I much prefer to handle things in a zen kind of way as opposed to being angry or passionate in public. Writing down my angry thoughts doesn't really work for me, unless I am trying to sort out the logic of something, although I definitely craft long conversations in my head! Going back to moving like water I suppose :)

    1. And music! I love music, and when I am angry, playing music that I like (not anyone else's), loudly, helps a lot. I feel assertive, and I 'take' my space, and it helps me burn off energy and negativity.

    2. Oh yes, I hadn't thought of music, but I play classical symphonies (usually German ones) at ear-splitting level when I am angry. It helps leach out my anger.

    3. I hadn't thought about music! But yes, of course.

    4. Music, indeed. There was a time in my life when I spent a lot of time listening to "We are a Gentle Angry People" ( ) while trying to figure out how to play my part within complex family dynamics. The song is originally and preeminently a GLBT rights anthem (and I'm straight), but I think the juxtaposition of "gentle" and "angry" also speaks to the contradictions women of varying orientations face when we try to reconcile conflicting values of being kind and caring for others and standing up for ourselves and others when we/they are mistreated.

  13. Late check-in and mostly FAIL on all fronts related to TLQ...

    1) Introduction, Literature review and previous work section for Paper 1 MADE SOME PROGRESS BUT NOWHERE NEAR DONE
    2) Data organization for Paper 1 ALMOST DONE, PROOFREADING NOW

    As per Dame Eleanor's question about making the voices pay rent - I try to channel the anger and frustration into working out. A good run does wonders for my outlook, and I let myself be properly angry for the whole run, yell at people, say everything I wouldn't say in real life, and then by the end of it I'm usually done with it. Doesn't work all the time, the voices do come back, but it makes them much quieter and eventually they go away.

    I'm going to keep the same goals, and add one:
    Next week:
    1) Introduction, Literature review and previous work section for Paper 1
    2) Data organization for Paper 1
    3) Conference talk, and fully written out discussion for the topic to put into paper later

  14. Another very late check-in, but I'm making progress.

    Topic: though anger and frustration don't have a large role in my life at the moment, they certainly have for much of it. As a child, I was seen by my parents (particularly my father, who had anger issues of his own) as angry, having a "temper," inclined to tantrums, etc. I've probably spent a bit more time than I really should have thinking about the causes (because my father's labeling continued into my adulthood, and became an explanation/response to my raising other issues he didn't want to confront), but my best guess at this point is that my anger/tantrums at that age arose from some combination of normal sibling rivalry, the struggles of an introvert trying to adjust to longer and longer school/activity days, reaction to family tensions over the seriousness of my mother's illness (my father was definitely in denial about that; whether she was, I'm not sure), and the frustrations of a generally good/obliging child at being unable to keep an even temper in the face of all of the above. Interestingly, the temper problems mostly disappeared around the time of my mother's death (probably some combination of the switch from unacknowledged fears/tensions to an acknowledged difficult situation, since I deal better with the latter and increasing maturity; when my temper did flare during my teenage years and beyond, the trigger was often people in authority suggesting that I'd failed to fulfill expectations -- often ones that had, at least to my perception, been unspoken up to that moment).

    In more recent years, as I wrote above, the trigger has mostly been people and institutions failing to do things that they quite explicitly promised to do, and didn't, especially if that was followed by denying that my expectation was reasonable, and/or denying that the consequences to me were real/significant. I've mostly responded by expecting less and less, which is healthy in a way (we can't control others, and especially not whole complex systems made up of others), but it can be taken to an extreme (which probably looks like depression/the passivity that results when someone feels that everything important to them is in someone else's control, and they can't do anything about anything). I don't think I'm there, because I am aware that many things are in my control, and try to focus on making changes/progress in those areas (hence my participation in this group). At the same time, I still think anger -- in an individual or in a society, or a subset thereof -- can be a useful thing, an indicator that there really is something wrong, either with how others are treating us or with what we are expecting of others. The tricky part, I think, is telling the difference. But starting with identifying the expectations, and the assumptions behind those expectations, that gave rise to the anger strikes me as a good place to start. Either I realize that all or some of my expectations and assumptions were unreasonable, in which case I can work on those, or I realize that they were perfectly reasonable, in which case I need to work on changing and/or getting out of the system that violated my perfectly reasonable expectations (or, failing that, at least trusting it less/giving it less of my loyalty and time, and looking out for myself as much as possible).

    1. Oh, and finally, a book recommendation: I like Harriet Goldhor Lerner's _The Dance of Anger_ (though it took me a long time to read it, because my father gave it to me, on the recommendation of a colleague, who may or may not, come to think of it, have had a somewhat subversive intent, because he thought I needed to read it. Of course I resisted, and then once I finally did read it, on the recommendation of a friend and a therapist we shared, and began quoting passages back to him that I thought explained our interactions, he dismissed it as "feminist bullshit," or something along those lines, which was fairly strong for him, since he didn't usually curse, and was at least mildly supportive of my feminism, but he was -- yes -- angry and frustrated at his gift being used to question his own patterns of interaction). It's been a while since I read it, but I'm pretty sure I'd still recommend it, and her other books. They're mostly about families and other personal relationships, but a lot of family systems theory has some applicability to work relationships, perhaps especially in academia, where the same people often work closely with each other for decades.

    2. And finally,

      Last week's goal:
      --come up with session goals

      Accomplished: came up with goals (today, but it's done)

      This week's goal (fortunately already accomplished, since it's Thursday, but I'm hoping to get some more done tomorrow):

      --get some work done in the garden

      Obviously, I'm starting small. Next week will bring a slightly longer list.

    3. Actually, let's add one more item to the goals list:

      --get some work done in the garden
      --visit the farmer's market