Does Anger Come From Shame and Fear?

I was in an online discussion, and a woman with the Morale Officer personality temperament said: “I know that your anger comes from shame and fear”

This is not the first time I have heard this theory that anger results from shame and fear. And it always comes from a person that has the Morale Officer personality type, or a person that was trained in psychology by a Morale Officer.

[adsense float=’left’]Why do Morale Officer’s believe this, when there is lots of contrary evidence to negate the validity of the theory? Let me give you a simple example of where anger is not a result of “shame.”

In the sport of baseball, sometimes the pitcher intentionally throws the baseball at the batter. The reason could be anything, but most likely it is in retribution for one of his teammates getting hurt.

Look at this from the batter’s viewpoint. All of a sudden, a 85 mph fastball is coming at his head. He doesn’t like it, and he gets angry. Many times his anger is so great, that he rushes the pitching mound and tries to punch the pitcher.

Does the batter’s anger arise from “shame?”

Absolutely not.

He has a sudden panic attack from seeing the fastball coming at him. But he has no shame, because he personally didn’t do anything wrong.

The person that I was conversing with put it this way to describe a person that was angry with her:

“I know the other person (an in-law) suffers from shame and fear because I’m very familiar with that family’s emotional dynamics. If they make a mistake they react (strongly) with embarrassment, anger and blame shifting to protect themselves against the overwhelming shame of being seen to be at fault in any way, and to ward off the expected punishment. Pre-emptive defense, really.”

Basically, what this Morale Officer was doing was projecting feelings and theories onto the other person. And the theories have to fit with the Morale Officer world-view.

The World-View of the Morale Officer

The world-view of the Morale Officer is that they are “people menders.” They feel an instinctive urge to help others in their time of need. Basically this is the job of this personality type in the human army. We do need these people to get us back into the fight.

What are the tools of the Morale Officer? They really only have two tools to mend people with. They instill courage, and they brush aside any negative thoughts that the hurt person might be feeling. I’m sure you’ve interacted with Morale Officers, and you’ve heard them say a million times things like:

  • “You can do this.”
  • “It wasn’t your fault.”

Basically, these tools can only be used on the emotions of  “shame” and “fear.” Incidentally, these also encompass things like “self-esteem” issues. You’ll notice that Morale Officers are constantly talking about self-esteem problems.

Did you get that? They have only two tools at their disposal to help mend people, that is courage and forgiveness. So that means they see the world problems as being caused by only two different things: shame and fear.

Everything else, like feelings of anger or contempt, are products in one way or another of either shame or fear.

How do you see the world?

Before we take apart the world-view of the Morale Officers too much, you should know that you see the world from your own perspective.

Let me give you an example. As a person with the Logistical Personality type, I see the world’s problems as being a result of “values.” And I can easily justify to myself and to others, that it is an interaction with values that cause emotions. Let me explain…

Everyone bases their life around their values. They believe that their values cause success. And therefore, they base their behavior on those guiding values. Just read any self-help book on success, and really it is just a book about the author’s set of values that guides their behavior.

That leads to this logical conclusion: It is the interaction with those values that trigger emotions.

When a value is threatened, “fear” is triggered.
 When a value is actually attacked, “anger” is triggered.
 When a person realizes they aren’t defending their values, “shame” is triggered.
 When a value is honored, “happiness” is triggered.
 When someone else doesn’t value the same thing you do, “contempt” is triggered.

Here is a simple example to see how emotions are triggered because of values: “I value my children.”

[adsense float=’left’]When they get sick, (which is a threat to their well being), fear is triggered in me.
 If you attack them, I WILL get angry. 
If I feel I’m not taking care of them, shame is triggered in me. 
If you honor my children, happiness is triggered in me.
 If you don’t like my children, I will have contempt for you.

I’m pretty confident that “values” better explains anger than “fear and shame.”

But the Morale Officer was not going to believe this. Why? Because she doesn’t have a tool to fix “values.” She only had tools to fix “fear” and “shame” (and self-esteem). In other words, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

The same goes for the other two personality types too:

Strategists world view revolves around “goals.” And they feel that emotions come from people’s perceptions and the definitions that they use.

The Warriors‘ world view revolves around: “positioning”


This entry was posted in NF Personality, NT Personality, personal values, Self Esteem, SJ Personality, SP Personality, Values of People. Bookmark the permalink.

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