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Self Assessment Instrument on Self-Destructive Responses to Anger

I engage in the following self-destructive responses, which increase in frequency based on my level of anger. I need to rate each response by circling the degree to which it is true for me.

  • 1 = never true for me

  • 2 = rarely true for me

  • 3 = sometimes true for me

  • 4 = often true for me

  • 5 = almost always true for me

1  2  3   4  5  (  1)    overuse of alcohol

1  2  3   4  5  (  2)    overuse of nonprescription drugs

1  2  3   4  5  (  3)    overuse of prescription drugs

1  2  3   4  5  (  4)    shoplifting

1  2  3   4  5  (  5)    petty theft from my employer

1  2  3   4  5  (  6)    illegal acts of revenge on my enemies

1  2  3   4  5  (  7)    compulsive gambling

1  2  3   4  5  (  8)    compulsive overeating or binging

1  2  3   4  5  (  9)    binging and purging

1  2  3   4  5  ( 10)   anorexia

1  2  3   4  5  ( 11)   compulsive exercising

1  2  3   4  5  ( 12)   compulsive shopping

1  2  3   4  5  ( 13)   overuse of credit cards

1  2  3   4  5  ( 14)   compulsive drive to acquire material goods

1  2  3   4  5  ( 15)   putting myself down in public

1  2  3   4  5  ( 16)   setting myself up for failure

1  2  3   4  5  ( 17)   unwillingness to play the political survival game on the job

1  2  3   4  5  ( 18)   ignoring authority directives

1  2  3   4  5  ( 19)   direct disobedience of authority directives

1  2  3   4  5  ( 20)   insubordination on the job

1  2  3   4  5  ( 21)   arriving late to work or school

1  2  3   4  5  ( 22)   excessive absenteeism

1  2  3   4  5  ( 23)   playing hooky or skipping required work and/or functions

1  2  3   4  5  ( 24)   ignoring personal hygiene

1  2  3   4  5  ( 25)   dressing in such a way as to hide my beauty or sexuality

1  2  3   4  5  ( 26)   jumping to negative assumptions about motives when people show an interest in me

1  2  3   4  5  ( 27)   feeling like a loser even when I wasn't

1  2  3   4  5  ( 28)   ignoring the "yes'' messages in my life

1  2  3   4  5  ( 29)   workaholism

1  2  3   4  5  ( 30)   compulsive need for recognition or approval

1  2  3   4  5  ( 31)   need for perfection

1  2  3   4  5  ( 32)   compulsive need to look good

1  2  3   4  5  ( 33)   fear of taking a risk

1  2  3   4  5  ( 34)   unwilling to take a stand

1  2  3   4  5  ( 35)   keeping silent; not letting others know how I feel

1  2  3   4  5  ( 36)   compulsive sexual acting out

1  2  3   4  5  ( 37)   excessive masturbation

1  2  3   4  5  ( 38)   participation in aberrant sexual practices

1  2  3   4  5  ( 39)   self-pity parties

1  2  3   4  5  ( 40)   constant focusing on how awful my life has turned out

1  2  3   4  5  ( 41)   inability to find my "pony'' in anything, i.e., chronic pessimism

1  2  3   4  5  ( 42)   arguments or fights with people

1  2  3   4  5  ( 43)   complaining

1  2  3   4  5  ( 44)   holding a grudge; the desire for revenge

1  2  3   4  5  ( 45)   having a chip on my shoulder

1  2  3   4  5  ( 46)   being overly sensitive to the remarks of others

1  2  3   4  5  ( 47)   excessive cleanliness or tidiness

1  2  3   4  5  ( 48)   chronic nagging

1  2  3   4  5  ( 49)   exaggerated task oriented behavior rather than people oriented

1  2  3   4  5  ( 50)   never giving people a chance to be my support

A Self Assessment Instrument on Self-Destructive Responses to Anger - Part 2

I engage in the following self-destructive responses, which increase in frequency based on my level of anger. I need to rate each response by circling the degree to which it is true for me.

  • 1 = never true for me

  • 2 = rarely true for me

  • 3 = sometimes true for me

  • 4 = often true for me

  • 5 = almost always true for me

1  2  3   4  5  ( 51)   being a loner

1  2  3   4  5  ( 52)   playing it safe when I am with people

1  2  3   4  5  ( 53)   avoiding any chance of rejection

1  2  3   4  5  ( 54)   rejecting others before they reject me

1  2  3   4  5  ( 55)   excessive need for excitement

1  2  3   4  5  ( 56)   ``management by crisis'' approach to life

1  2  3   4  5  ( 57)   setting up situations to ensure a constant state of crisis

1  2  3   4  5  ( 58)   need for the adrenalin ``rush'' I get when solving ``big'' problems

1  2  3   4  5  ( 59)   lack of time management skills

1  2  3   4  5  ( 60)   procrastination

1  2  3   4  5  ( 61)   lack of preventive orientation

1  2  3   4  5  ( 62)   holding onto denial of my problems

1  2  3   4  5  ( 63)   unwillingness for change to occur

1  2  3   4  5  ( 64)   lack of honesty about who I am and how I feel

1  2  3   4  5  ( 65)   preferring to lie than the hard work of being honest

1  2  3   4  5  ( 66)   unwillingness to trust anyone

1  2  3   4  5  ( 67)   close minded to new ideas

1  2  3   4  5  ( 68)   obstinate holding on to "the way it was always done'' or 'the way it was''

1  2  3   4  5  ( 69)   daydreaming or escaping into fantasy

1  2  3   4  5  ( 70)   diverting attention from the issues at hand that need to be dealt with

1  2  3   4  5  ( 71)   wearing masks to hide my feelings

1  2  3   4  5  ( 72)   ignoring what's good for me and what I need

1  2  3   4  5  ( 73)   not applying myself on the job, at home, or in my personal life

1  2  3   4  5  ( 74)   giving others the power to intimidate me

1  2  3   4  5  ( 75)   unwilling to defend my rights assertively

1  2  3   4  5  ( 76)   excessive TV watching

1  2  3   4  5  ( 77)   excessive sleeping or napping

1  2  3   4  5  ( 78)   excessive involvement in time demanding activities, activities that help me avoid the realities of life

1  2  3   4  5  ( 79)   being irresponsible with my life

1  2  3   4  5  ( 80)   yoyo dieting (losing and quickly regaining weight)

1  2  3   4  5  ( 81)   smoking (legal and/or illegal substances)

1  2  3   4  5  ( 82)   eating unbalanced meals

1  2  3   4  5  ( 83)   not caring for my health

1  2  3   4  5  ( 84)   not wearing seat belts

1  2  3   4  5  ( 85)   driving carelessly

1  2  3   4  5  ( 86)   driving over the speed limit

1  2  3   4  5  ( 87)   engaging in risky or dangerous activities

1  2  3   4  5  ( 88)   having suicidal thoughts

1  2  3   4  5  ( 89)   acting on suicidal impulses

1  2  3   4  5  ( 90)   ignoring the warning signs or symptoms of an illness and not getting proper medical attention

1  2  3   4  5  ( 91)   inflicting injury and pain on myself

1  2  3   4  5  ( 92)   encouraging or allowing others to abuse me physically, emotionally, verbally, or sexually

1  2  3   4  5  ( 93)   not defending myself in the face of a violent attack

1  2  3   4  5  ( 94)   lying about my skills or competence in order to get ahead

1  2  3   4  5  ( 95)   ignoring my feelings in a relationship

1  2  3   4  5  ( 96)   sacrificing myself for the sake of others

1  2  3   4  5  ( 97)   allowing others to take advantage of me

1  2  3   4  5  ( 98)   putting others first, myself last

1  2  3   4  5  ( 99)   allowing myself to be the victim

1  2  3   4  5  (100)  not working on my self-growth and self-esteem enhancement program for personal recovery and healing

What causes me to act self-destructively?

Reasons for my self-destructive behavior include two main areas: holding anger in and inappropriately expressing it.

When I hold my anger in instead of expressing it in a healthy way, I end up acting in self-destructive ways because I:

  • experience depression

  • become pessimistic

  • feel resentment

  • want to get revenge

  • end up with a chip on my shoulder

  • hold grudges

  • wear masks to hide my feelings

  • feel bitter and disappointed

  • feel powerless to get what I need

  • feel like giving up

When I act out my anger in rage or other impulsive ways, I end up acting in self-destructive ways because I feel:

  • guilty for my rage

  • remorse for hurting others

  • embarrassed by my behavior

  • disappointed in myself

  • like a loser or a failure

  • ignored and unwanted

  • repentant but un-forgiven for my actions

  • afraid to let my anger out again

  • like I should be punished in some way

  • that my life is not worth living

What are typical characteristics of a self-destructive response to anger?

When I have acted in a self-destructive way regarding anger it is:

  • almost always at a subconscious level; I'm unaware of the self-destructive nature of my behavior.

  • defeating my personal growth

  • a means of sabotaging my growth

  • often not clearly connected with the object(s) of my anger

  • something I would usually deny as a response to my anger

  • a behavior of mine about which I would rather lie than face honestly

  • often at the root of my resistance to mature change and growth

  • something I hold onto; I can't let go of it easily

  • based on my irrational thinking and belief system

  • often in direct opposition to the values I profess to uphold

  • a paradox that is hard for me to explain

  • a habit that has developed over time and is resistant to change

  • a behavior I saw in my parents and other members of my family of origin

  • often the behavior that ultimately led me to seek out professional help

  • something that reduces my self-esteem

What irrational thinking leads to my self-destructive anger responses?

  • I am a loser, a failure.

  • No matter what I do things will never change.

  • This behavior has nothing to do with the way I handle anger.

  • A little self-pity is just what the doctor ordered.

  • Being a little self-indulgent is healthy. Anyway it's just this one time.

  • My life is already a wreck; how could this hurt.

  • No one will ever like me, want me, or love me for myself.

  • Everyone is out to get me; I have to accept this fact.

  • No matter what I do it will never be "good'' enough.

  • I can't deal with that problem; I'm too ashamed to fact it.

  • It's better to stuff my anger; it's cosmetic and clean.

  • Don't bring up a problem from the past if it hurts too much to face it.

  • I've gone this long without dealing with it, so let sleeping dogs lie.

  • I'd rather stay to myself than be hurt again.

  • I have to do it all on my own or it won't be fully corrected.

  • Unless I can do it perfectly I won't do it at all.

  • I don't need people to help me with my problems.

  • It's better not to be too analytical with my own behavior; why create "new'' problems for myself.

  • What others call self-destructive, I refer to as "having fun.''

  • Everyone needs a little excess in life; we're only human.

  • Live life to the fullest and party hearty; life is too short not to enjoy it.

  • The only way to have fun is to let it all hang out.

  • No matter what I try, I can't stop those behaviors.

  • This behavior is what makes me unique, why change?

  • My behavior isn't "slow suicide,'' it's just variations on a life-style.

  • How else are you supposed to "blow off'' steam?

  • This behavior is painless, victimless, and doesn't cost a cent.

  • It's not like I murder people with my behavior.

What are the negative consequences of engaging in self-destructive anger responses?

When I resort to a self-destructive response to anger, I:

  • get stuck in my efforts to change and grow.

  • experience more pain and suffering.

  • find that my growth is diminished or lost.

  • find myself going backward rather than progressing in life.

  • feel irresponsible, flippant, and careless.

  • get confused by the differences between my beliefs and my behavior.

  • remain both mentally and physically ill.

  • am prone to a greater risk for panic attacks or other stress-induced illnesses.

  • find the direction of my life out of focus, with nothing is in place.

  • give power to people, places, and things.

  • resort to addictive or obsessive behavior.

  • revert to the old scripts, the old ways of dealing with anger in my family of origin.

  • find my anger does not dissipate.

Things I can do to rid myself of self-destructive responses to anger?

First:  Identify each specific behavior, attitude, or feeling that is self-destructive.

Second: Try to identify the anger at the root of each self-destructive response.

Third: Define the anger at the root of each self-destructive response by listing in my journal:

  • the persons involved:

  • the events involved:

  • why it angers me:

  • how it affects me both then and now:

  • why this anger has so much power over me now:

  • what resentment, revenge, hatred, or rage is involved:

  • how I originally handled this anger:

  • why I haven't dealt completely with this anger yet:

  • what irrational thinking causes me to act this way:

  • what healthy responses to this anger could I substitute:

Fourth: Perform anger work-outs on each issue until I am able to let go of the anger, forgive those involved, and forget the events.

Fifth: Begin to extinguish each self-destructive behavior by:

  • asking my spouse, significant other, close family member, or close friend to help me stop this behavior.

  • asking for care and concern from the members of my support network.

  • joining a Twelve Step Program or some other peer-support self-help group addressed to the specific self-destructive issues with which you are dealing

Sixth: Develop a new set of behavior traits to replace the self-destructive responses to anger, including:           

  • the use of assertive "I feel'' statements with people as soon as I feel anger starting.

  • the use of health oriented activities for anxiety, tension, and stress release, like physical exercise or progressive muscle relaxation

  • the use of an internal monitoring system to trigger an alarm when I slip into self-destructive behavior.

  • use of self-esteem enhancing behavior like self-affirmation, positive visual imagery, and self-hypnosis.

Steps to overcoming self-destructive responses to anger

Step 1:  I need to identify each self-destructive behavior I use as a response to anger. To do this I will rate each of the one hundred behavior traits listed in A Self Assessment Instrument on Self-Destructive Responses to Anger as to how they impact my life.

Step 2: For every behavior to which I've given a rating of 3 or higher, I will use the steps outlined in Actions I can do to rid myself of self-destructive responses to anger?.

Step 3: Once I've completed Actions I can do to rid myself of self-destructive responses to anger? for each self-destructive behavior, I need to do a self-inventory to see if I've accomplished my goal.

Step 4: If after my self-inventory I find I'm still acting in self-destructive ways then I need to return to Step 1, and begin again.

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