Day 309: Theories about DOA (Dread of Anger)

On Day 260, I wrote a post wondering why I get so friggin’ anxious about people getting angry at me.

Read that post, please, so I don’t have to repeat myself.

Thank you!

Something in this post, already, reminds me of one of the many ridiculous things that feed into my dread of anger.

If somebody writes me an e-mail and asks me to do something, using the word “please,” I can interpret THAT as conveying annoyance.

Isn’t that absurd?

Now, to defend my absurdity, it is true that interpreting email is difficult, because important cues are missing.  Like tone of voice and facial expressions.

At this point in my post, I am consulting my old friend, Google Images, typing in “emotions chart”. And this is the first thing that came up:



You know, I was hoping that the Google Images Buffet would offer up the emotions/facial expressions chart I used with my son, about 15 years ago.  But, I don’t see it anywhere. I guess the above (which I found at Momma’s Time) will do.

Google Images also offered up some charts using actual people (which I don’t remember seeing when my son was a baby).



I couldn’t find a chart with actual people, this morning, that labeled the feelings, but thanks to, for the image above.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh,yes. How difficult it can be to interpret the emotions in email.

I guess that is why emoticons were invented, huh?  They help us interpret people’s feelings during communications that lack certain important human signals.  Like voice tone and facial expression.

Sometimes, when I’m writing, I think about my favorite authors from the 18th and 19th century, like Jane Austen, Henry Fielding,  Charles Dickens, and George Eliot.

They didn’t need emoticons to convey complex human emotions. Why do we?

Well, I guess I know the answer to that.

They were friggin’ geniuses, people!

Also, perhaps they had more time on their hands than we do, today.  (I just wrote THAT sentence because I’m pressed for time, and I’m not sure I’m conveying the emotions I would like, in this blog post.)

Oh, my goodness. I have digressed so far away from my original topic, how can I find my way back? Perhaps, like Hansel and Gretel, I have left a trail of breadcrumbs that I can follow.



Of course, that path was eaten by the birds and they got lost in the woods.

However, I think I can find my way back, just fine.

Here’s what I want to say, before I conclude this blog post:

  • Emotions can be difficult to read.
  • When I write a post that has a lot of digressions and evokes fairy tales, that’s probably a signal that I’m writing about something that is very old, in me.
  • No matter how I developed my dread of others’ anger (or displeasure), I can choose, as an adult, to let go of it.

Which I do, right now!

Thanks to Hansel and Gretel, story-tellers everywhere, people who show and read emotions, and to you — of course — for visiting today.



*  Thanks to Lisa Loves Linguistics, for that image.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Day 309: Theories about DOA (Dread of Anger)

  1. You make me 🙂 . I’m so grateful you do! And if I knew how to insert emoticoms into Comment boxes I would but you’ll just have to trust me on this one… You are amazing! And you make me 🙂 — I said it again, I know. But I wanted to ensure I got my point across!

  2. I have NEVER been able to get past anger in other people. It is something I intensely fear. And even though all the psychology advice is to ‘let go’ of it, ‘don’t absorb it’, ‘don’t let THEM make YOU angry’ etc etc…. None of this works.
    So when you find an answer to this problem, please let me know.
    (Yes you are correct. I have inserted the word ‘please’ which conveys annoyance. that is because I am annoyed at THEM – the angry people – not at YOU)
    have a great day 🙂

    • I am very pleased with this comment, Elizabeth. And I will definitely let you know if I find the answer. Thank you, as always, for reading and commenting.

  3. I dealt with this quite a bit when I was promoted to my current job– I exchange a fair amount of tense or firm emails and am the victim of passive aggressive email attacks quite frequently (please do be sure to copy half the organization, awesome). I’ve had to work on figuring out the balance of not sounding annoyed or demanding while also not sounding like someone who can be ignored or taken advantage of. It’s always a fine line.

    • It IS a fine line, Aussa. And I just wanted to let you know how you sound here, to me: strong, insightful, passionate, caring, and smart smart smart. And in your blog posts? All of the above, plus so hilarious and not-to-be-denied that I’m just grateful grateful grateful that we “met” here.

  4. Haha, aw thanks Ann! I love your use of words in triplicate– I think I learned the name of that literary device in some college course about The Illiad but that was an evening class and one that I had a habit of sneaking yummy adult beverages into so it has completely escaped my mind.

    • I am going to investigate the name of that triplicate thingy. I read the Iliad in college and studied literary devices, but don’t remember that!

      • It’s also possible I made that up (see reference to adult beverages during class) but I’m pretty sure it’s a thing!

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