Narratives of Anger, Fear and Sadness

Emotions are spiritual resources that lie ready to be awakened by perceptions of a sequence of events going on in the environment. They are complex responses that, once experienced, can be written into a pattern of feelings combined with thinking and behaving that we call moods. Stories have moods. Repeated input from similar experiences will result in a neurologically based narrative of causes, beliefs, physiological reactions, feelings, facial expressions, actions, and consequences. There are a range of painful narratives, such as anger, sadness, and fear, and pleasurable stories, like joy and love. We will discover some of the elementary material of the tales of pain in this blog.

An angry story can be written in one of the following ways. Something, usually another person, is perceived as interfering with the author’s execution of plans or attainment of goals by reducing their power, violating their expectations, or frustrating/interrupting goal-directed activities. Or the person perceives another as harming him or someone else in some way by inflicting physical or psychological pain. The most important component of all anger narratives is that the angry person makes the judgment that the frustration, interruption, power reversal, or harm is unfair or unjust.

If one were to try to convey fear, say in a novel or a film, or in our own imagination, one would want to communicate the threat of harm or death, if possible, in an unfamiliar or unpredictable environment and in a situation in which the hero is vulnerable or lacking in control. The script portrays the potential victim’s jitteriness and tendency to imagine disaster. Outcomes of the patterns of fearful thinking, feeling and behaving narratives are typically sequences of fight, flight or freeze.

If fear accounts begin with a description of events as potentially painful to the self in the future, narratives of sadness include perceptions that the harm has already happened in the past and may be permanent. The sad person has experienced an undesirable outcome, often the same experience that the fearful person dreads – the death of a loved one, loss of a relationship, or social rejection. Unlike fear where there is fleeting hope of a positive outcome, sadness is discovering that one is probably powerless, helpless, or impotent to change the past circumstances.

The primary colors are frequently used as metaphors for these painful narratives. Red = anger, yellow = fear, and blue = sad. However, most colors are a complex mixture of these primary pigments. So purple is a combination of red and blue, orange is red and yellow, and green is yellow and blue. And so are the shades of emotional pain. For example, the trauma of abuse will probably be remembered as both a fearful and an angry narrative. These stories of pain can continue to be disturbing and difficult to deconstruct and rewrite. Discovering the narratives of anger, fear and sadness and their nuanced memories require a commitment to honest self-talk about what they mean and hopefully, choosing beneficial outcome patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Please do not try to forget them using alcohol or drugs.