Understanding Anger with Bronwyn Schweigerdt, LFMT

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Understanding Anger with Bronwyn Schweigerdt, LFMT
Hey everyone! In this episode of The Matt Feret Show, I interview Bronwyn Schweigerdt, a licensed psychotherapist and anger expert. Bronwyn has over a decade of experience helping individuals with mental health struggles develop a healthier relationship with anger. We discuss the role of anger in relationships, the impact of suppressed anger on mental health, and the importance of reframing anger more positively. We also share personal anecdotes about how anger has impacted our lives personally.
Understanding Anger with Bronwyn Schweigerdt, LFMT

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“To me, anger is a symptom. It’s not the root problem. The root problem is a relational problem that needs to be addressed.”

“We are only responsible, at the end of the day, for our own feelings.”


Understanding Anger with Bronwyn Schweigerdt, LFMT

Selected Link from the Episode:

Host’s Links:
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My Written Works on Amazon: www.amazon.com/stores/Matt-Feret/author/B09FM3L4WW

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Guest’s Links:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bronwyn-schweigerdt-3124857/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bronwyn.schweigerdt/

Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/bronwyn-schweigerdt-lompoc-ca/1080547

Angry at the Right Things: https://angryattherightthings.podbean.com/

Show Notes:

1:09 - Introduction
5:15 - Anger and Childhood
8:58 - Anger and Adulthood
17:23 - Addressing anger at parents
21:01 - Navigating anger in a marriage
24:22 - Recognizing and accepting anger

Full Show Transcript:

Announcer (00:01):
This episode of The Matt Feret Show is brought to you by the BrickhouseAgency.com. Brickhouse is a boutique independent health insurance agency that focuses on finding the right Medicare coverage for folks across the country. Matt's wife, Nikki, is the heart behind Brickhouse. She's great at making confusing things clear and is passionate about helping people find a Medicare insurance policy that suits their individual needs. To schedule a free one-on-one appointment with Nikki or a member of her team, head on over to brickhouse agency.com or simply call (844-844-6565), and someone will help you schedule a phone call or a Zoom meeting. The consultation is free because the insurance companies pay Brickhouse, not you. There's never any pressure or obligation to enroll. Your clearer, simpler Medicare journey is just a call or click away. BrickhouseAgency.com. Not affiliated with or endorsed by the government or federal Medicare program. Contacting Brickhouse Agency LLC will direct you to a licensed insurance agent.
Matt Feret (01:09):
Hello everyone. This is Matt Feret, author of Prepare for Medicare and Prepare for Social Security Insider's Guidebooks and online course training series. Welcome to another episode of The Matt Feret Show, where I interview insiders and experts to help light a path to successful living in midlife retirement and beyond. Bronwyn, welcome to the show.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (01:31):
Thank you.
Matt Feret (01:32):
Tell everybody what you do, how long you've been doing it, and how you help people.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (01:38):
I am a licensed psychotherapist. I'm also a pastor and podcaster. I am also an anger expert and that means relationships. So that's kind of my area of expertise. I've been doing it for this second act of my life for about 10 years. Before that, I was doing a lot of counseling, but not as a licensed therapist, so I just decided to go back to school in my forties and become a licensed therapist instead of an unlicensed therapist. I won't go into that rabbit hole right now.
Matt Feret (02:14):
I was going to say you're giving a lot of advice and then went, oh gosh, let me go get licensed and certified.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (02:21):
Well, I was doing nutrition, and so when you start fidgeting with people's eating habits, you're bringing up a lot of emotions and a lot of baggage and you end up doing more therapy, but you don't know what you're doing if you're not trained.
Matt Feret (02:38):
That makes a lot of sense. I have some friends that do life coaching and career transition coaching, and they all say the same thing. It ends up being some sort of therapy, whether or not you intend to it or not.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (02:53):
Kind of everything ends up being some sort of therapy if you go deep enough. But yes, like any kind of change. Yes.
Matt Feret (03:00):
And so you specifically help people with anger.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (03:06):
I mean, that's kind of where I've landed as an expert, I would say, because I feel like that's where most people are least informed and most actually misinformed. Anger comes from relationships, and it is most prominent in relationships where we feel like someone has a responsibility towards us where we feel like we should trust them. So our parents, our loved ones, people in our life, we can get angry at someone who cuts us off on the freeway, but it's not the same kind of anger. We don't really have a big expectation on that person. So we feel kind of entitled to the anger at the time. We can get angry at the person who cuts us off and we're fine with it. But the people we love when they don't live up to our expectations, kind of implicit expectations when they don't deliver, when they fail us, we do feel angry, but we don't feel entitled to feel angry.
We feel afraid of our own anger because that might end in their emotional abandonment of us, the rejection of us, their anger back at us. That's scary to display that anger. Maybe we were taught growing up that it's not okay to be angry, that we're just supposed to forgive and forget and move on, and that's not really possible for humans. So the anger's there and we're not allowed to channel it in a healthy way by being assertive, like saying, "Hey, please don't talk like that to me." If we can't do that, if we can't have that assertive speech and that boundary, if that's not allowed and we're not entitled to do that, we do have the anger, but it just stays in our body and it's what I call repressed anger, and that creates depression and anxiety and mania and psychosis and all those things.
Matt Feret (05:15):
So maybe I'm trying to figure out, so obviously I bet you've had this a lot before. I'm sitting here thinking about the word anger and my anger towards other people or other things in my life, probably like everybody else is listening to or watching as well. So what's the best way to approach this? Is it by age or stage? So maybe do we start with childhood perhaps? Is it when you're in childhood, does it start that early or is it really more around later? I would assume maybe?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (05:46):
Well, our relationship to anger is what we learn in childhood, and we carry that relationship to anger with us throughout all of our relationships rest of our life, unless we consciously examine our relationship with anger, and that takes reflection and introspection and a pause and kind of an objective look at ourselves, and not everyone can pull that off. That's hard to do. Not all therapists are good at that. Honestly, I became a therapist myself because I became very depressed and I really needed a good therapist. And all the therapists I went to, even though I was barely functioning at the time, I kept thinking, I know I could do a better job than these guys. So even a lot of therapists can betray us and not help us because they don't understand the dynamics of what's going on. So we learn our relationship to anger though in childhood.
So if we're taught it's bad, it's sinful, we're going to go to hell. Or if we learn it implicitly by watching dad rage and maybe be violent with his words or violent with his behavior, we learn implicitly anger, bad anger, dangerous, stay away, no anger. But those are both extreme responses. All humans get angry. And when you think about it, of course we're going to be angry a lot because anger happens whenever the real deviates from the ideal, which is about 23 hours a day. If we're honest, the real very little aligns with the ideal. And so we're going to be angry, we're going to be frustrated, we're going to feel let down by people. That's like a normal human phenomenon on planet earth. So it's not bad, it's not evil, it's not dangerous, it's not wicked to be angry. And I think the first step towards health is just knowing it's okay to be angry.
We don't need to manage anger. So again, getting back to, well, the professionals teach you to manage anger. I hate that word. I hate the term manage anger because that implies that it's problematic. And it can be problematic. Of course, anger can be problematic, again, if we don't channel in a healthy way. But I see anger as a light on the dashboard of our car saying, "Hey, check the engine. Something's wrong." So what if we saw anger as a sign that something's wrong in our lives, something's really amiss and needs to be rectified. So let's take a look at what relationship we're feeling in our lives is creating this anger where we need a boundary, where we need assertiveness. We don't manage the dashboard of our car by just ignoring it or managing it and thinking it's a bad.
Matt Feret (08:58):
I am going to get away from childhood for a second, but how would I, as an adult, how do I recognize whether or not I had a healthy or unhealthy attitude towards anger myself? Do I look back to the childhood or what my mom and dad did for example or didn't do? And then how do I know if I've got a healthy attitude towards anger?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (09:19):
Well, you don't need to look very far. You look at how you interact with anger on a day-to-day basis now. So some people can only access the real legitimate, angry feelings when they get drunk. We've all seen that. We all know that that happens. What if that person learned it's okay to be angry in the present and use their words in a healthy, safe way? So again, that's not going to work with everyone because if I'm not a safe, if you, Matt, have a problem with me and you're working with a therapist, and therapist is helping you use your words, communicate your problem with me directly. But if I'm not a safe person for you, when you tell me, Bronwyn, I'm really frustrated because every time we go out, you do this. If I'm not open to hearing what you have to say, I might gaslight you, I might defend myself, I might make you out to be the problem and in my defense. And so I'm not a safe person for you to communicate your frustration with in words. Not everyone is a safe person, but if we can find a safe person who can say, yeah, Matt, that's not okay, that's not okay. Your anger is valid and legitimate, and you can have a boundary with Bronwyn. Even if Bronwyn doesn't like the boundary, you can go ahead and have that boundary. It's not okay that she's refusing to hear this. Right. So yeah, just look at how you're relating to anger today with the people in your life.
Matt Feret (11:03):
You mentioned that a little road rage incident, right? Somebody cut you off in traffic and then, or you've, something didn't go your way and you got angry. Is there a difference between, and if so, how do I recognize this between annoyance, true anger? I mean, I think if you hear someone yelling at the top of their lungs, natural reaction is, Ooh, they're really angry. Or they're taking some sort of in their car, right? They're cutting you off, they're flipping you the bird. I mean, those are, we go, ah, they're very angry, or they have an anger problem. What other things are markers out there that someone's got an anger issue, bottling it up inside for a month or two and then letting it explode or burying it? What are those signs of having an how do I know if I have an anger problem?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (11:54):
Yeah, that's a great question. So yeah, you're saying the obvious ones are the people who do intentionally cut you off or give you the bird on the freeway. It's easy to say, oh, he has an anger problem, but how do we know for the rest of us? And I would say, do you have a depression problem? Do you have an eating problem or relationship with food? Do you have a pornography problem? Do you have anything that's compulsive or addictive in your life, or are you struggling with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, mania? All of those things are really indicators of an underlying anger problem. Again, suppressed anger. Hoarding is a big one as well, but there's a lot.
Matt Feret (12:35):
Can we take one of those and unpack that a bit? Let's take hoarding the last one. You said, if I see, I mean levels of hoarding, right? There's the on TV show type hoarding, but then there are other ones as well. What's the link between hoarding and anger?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (13:00):
Yeah. Well, yeah, let me think through that. I see more hoarding linked to shame then than anger per se.
Matt Feret (13:13):
But they're definitely, and shame and anger are related. Related. Yeah, I was sorry. I think I said the same thing over you, which is, and shame and anger are related.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (13:22):
What I think when you're asking about hoarding, I think, yes. So I think the shame that I see when I look at hoarding is shame of that person's legitimate anger.
Matt Feret (13:42):
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (13:43):
Does that make sense? They're very angry and they feel, I think the people I've seen who do hoarding are very angry and they feel like they're not allowed or entitled to feel the anger at the true source. And so they feel shame. And I see hoarding as kind of manifestation of that.
Matt Feret (14:04):
So in hoarding is keeping items and tokens of times past. It's keeping things of little to no value, but somehow having this compulsion to not collect because that would assume you're collecting something like baseball cards, but it's just keeping stuff close and keeping things around for one day I might use it or I can't throw it away because it reminds me of X. And you're saying that you've seen that in a shame way, that they're ashamed of the wording or they have shame there that they have to surround themselves with physical things?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (14:38):
I don't think the shame is of anything in the present. I think they have anger from something in the past and they have shame about that anger, and that's what we're seeing when we see hoarding. So another common one is a relationship with food, whether we're using food to self-medicate overly or I see also depriving ourselves with food is a relationship to food that embodies anger. It's kind of taking out the anger on ourselves, and that's what we do. That's the thing with suppressed anger. It's stuck in our body. We're not the true source of that anger, but we don't feel entitled to direct it at the true source or even entitled to feel the anger. And so it's stuck in us and it turns in on us. So we're kind of now taking out the anger on ourselves unintentionally.
Matt Feret (15:40):
So it's anger turns into some sort of degree of self-loathing then
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (15:46):
Shame, self-hatred. Yes.
Matt Feret (15:48):
Does this add up over time or does it start and that's the way, since if you were raised or saw anger and how to handle anger as a kid or in your family unit or even as a younger adult, you've processed it, dealt with it or not dealt with it, does this kind of back up against a dam and then finally breaks, or is there no breakage and does this happen over a lifetime or does it? I've been around people who would let it build up and then just one day
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (16:22):
They exploded.
Matt Feret (16:23):
They explode, and then sometimes that's a release, and then sometimes like, oh God, when's it going to happen again? Are those the ways people handle it? Is it a buildup or is it episodic? That's a good question. Yeah, this person's angry now something happens and then it goes away, but then it'll happen again tomorrow or again next week or again. Are there different types of that anger and that release or that handling or not handling it well?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (16:51):
Yeah, that's a really good question. I think there are a lot of people who just explode seemingly, randomly, and I would say they're triggered, but usually who they're exploding at is not the true source of the anger. And that's scary. That's really scary. Oftentimes it's children who really are not at all the true source of the anger, and it's really, really unfair to the children.
Matt Feret (17:23):
What about parents? Parents and anger? I don’t know, it's one of these common colloquialisms. Every parent always screws up their kids. They just don't, which way until later. Is there a relationship between your parents, not only just how you were raised, but into adulthood that you've got? How do you recognize if you've got anger around your parents or some sort of resentment around that?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (17:54):
Well, I have never found a human who doesn't have some level of resentment at their parents because, and who wouldn't? We're all human, of course, our parent, of course, if we're honest, if we can be honest and we can know that it's okay to feel feelings. Feelings aren't good or bad or right or wrong, they're involuntary. We can't help them. They're not the equivalent of our behaviors. We can judge our behaviors. We can have responsibility for our behaviors, but feelings, they're just feelings. So if we can have that kind of attitude and relationship to our feelings and to our anger, I think we'd all say we're resentful at our parents because they do fail us because we're human. And I know I have failed my daughter and she lets me know that she's 19, and she definitely lets me know that. And I say, you're right. I'm sorry.
Yeah, we're resentful with our parents. And our parents might never hear us out. They might never say, you're right, I'm sorry. They might not do that. They might not be willing to do that. But we can still have boundaries with our parents. We can still say, I feel resentful and nothing's changed and this is still going on even though I'm an adult now, and therefore I'm going to have a boundary around this. I'm going to not share as much with you because I feel like you tell everyone and their dog, and that's not okay. So I'm going to have a boundary. We don't need to tell them we're having a boundary. We can just have the boundary.
Matt Feret (19:39):
In a situation like that, how do you know whether or not you being the angry 19-year-old is being angry at mom for something and it's really, I don't know. I'm going to use the word fault, which is probably, it's not a good word, but how come? Maybe if the anger's misplaced and really, I don't know, shouldn't be angry at mom for that. It wasn't that big of a deal. You shouldn't be angry. Or is that just not a thing? If you're angry, you're angry and there's no one's fault. It's just a human emotion.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (20:15):
Yeah. I don't really like the word should around feelings, especially around anger. We hear that a lot. You shouldn't be angry. Yeah, why not? Why can't I be angry? It doesn't mean mom's evil. It doesn't mean mom was a horrible mom. It just means she's human. All of us just like I'm human, just like you're human. And she made some mistakes. And it's not about covering our mistakes and pretending to be perfect. It's about saying, you know what? Yeah, I did make some mistakes, and it's hard to hear that, but I don't need to pretend I'm perfect, and I know I'm okay. I'm allowed to be human, and so I'm going to be human with you now.
Matt Feret (21:01):
Thank you. What do you see or hear in your practice or in your travels, the relationship or anger in relationships, anger in partner, husband, spouse, what is the role that anger plays and what's a healthy way to handle this or even identify it? The role of being a couple or being a spouse?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (21:31):
Thank you for asking. That's a great question. So I've been married just a few days over 29 years now, and marriage is hard. And what would make it the hardest would be to pretend like we don't get angry at each other. That would just make it deathly impossible. So let's not pretend. Let's learn how to do anger. Well, let's learn how to be human. Let's learn how to be okay with being human for each other. So I'm still on the learning curve with that, but I found humor is really helpful. I like sarcasm. I'm a big fan of sarcasm. Not in a mean way, but kind of just like, oh, well, it looks like now's not a good time to have this conversation because I see you're checking your computer again, just kind of like a little funny resentment being expressed, and that works with my husband. It might not work with everyone, but I think humor is really imperative. I really do. And I need to have a sense of humor about me. Of course, going to fail him. Of course, I'm going to make mistakes.
Matt Feret (22:47):
What if I think my spouse or partner has an anger issue? How would I know that other than how he yells a lot and screams and scares me and outward displays of this? Or he keeps everything bottled up inside and his stress levels are off the charts and he grumbles and he's depressed, not in a great mood. How do I recognize that in someone I love?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (23:18):
Well, I don't like the term anger problem because, or even when we hear, oh, he's an angry person. When I hear he's an angry person, I say, well, is he a breathing person? We're all breathing people and we all have anger. So I don't really see it as a problem, but I would say it sounds like his relationship to anger is one where he either rages and takes it out at something that's not really the true source or he withholds it in his body. So I like talking more about our relationship to anger, and that can look different in different circumstances with different people. We're way kinder to complete strangers than we are to our own families. So we're able to somehow act like we're not angry with other people, and we don't do that with our families. So we have a relationship to anger or that might change with the person we're with.
Matt Feret (24:22):
And how do I recognize if I think I might have an issue with anger or an unhealthy relationship with anger?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (24:32):
Yeah, so I would say look at if you are bottling things in, do you allow yourself to start with, are you allowing yourself to feel like it's okay to feel angry right now? Or it's okay to feel resentful even with someone that you love. Are you okay to admit that? Does that make you feel bad or guilty?
Matt Feret (25:02):
That's looking inwardly. Are there things in my outward behavior that would maybe indicate that I might have an unhealthy relationship to anger?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (25:16):
So that would be more of the addictive activities or substances or compulsive behaviors? Well, I think a lot of us have a lot of anger at ourselves, like real anger towards ourselves. I think a lot of us betray ourselves, trying to feel responsible for other people's feelings, trying to not make other people angry, trying to please other people, like we call those pleasers. There's a lot of pleasers. The people who seek out therapy, majority of them are pleasers. The people who do not seek out therapy are not the pleasers. So a lot of us though, when we're trying to manage other people's feelings, because we feel responsible for other people's feelings, we betray ourselves. And we know that at some level, we know that at an intuitive kind of gut level, and we carry around a lot of anger towards ourselves.
Matt Feret (26:21):
So when you move through life and you age, I guess there are, everyone deals in generalities a lot of times. Well, the teen years are tough, right? In your late teens and twenties, you're trying to make money, trying to have a career. You're trying to, what's that old movie, that bad movie, the failure to launch movie. You don't want a failure to launch, but sometimes you get come home every once in a while, and then you move into some sort of job or vocation or career and perhaps marriage, family, divorce. You go through these potential things and then everybody kind of says, oh, the golden years when you retire, everything will be x. And gosh, ever since dad or mom stopped working, they've been a different person because they're finally able to do what they want to do.
Unaddressed anger, I'm sure is a big thing all the way through life, but does it also follow? I think we've also seen, I've personally seen older adults and I've interacted with them and I go, gosh, that guy's really angry. Just kind of think of older folks as being a bit more mature and have better perspective and maybe more compassionate and maybe nicer, but that's not always the case. What about, is it an unaddressed anger or is it something about the way our brain evolves our relationship with the world and the people around us? That gives everybody the sense that, well, we've heard the right little old, nice lady. Well, nobody ever says little old mean lady on the porch. It's a little nice lady. Is there a time in an age that anger subsides or it doesn't?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (28:06):
Oh, I wish anger phased out over our lifetimes, but I see the opposite, where we get bitter, more bitter. Again, I'm going to say it comes back to a conscious choice to pause, to open our eyes to ourselves, reflecting on ourselves, introspection. We hear a lot about meditation these days. I'm not a big fan of meditation because meditation is about clearing our minds. I don't think humans need to clear their minds. I think they need to make space in their minds for reflecting on their own feelings and behaviors, their own actions, and the things that fuel those actions that we call introspection, pondering. I think we need to create contemplation. We need to make space for that. And hopefully as we age, we can do that and we can come to a place where we say, you know what? I've kind of really made a lot of mistakes with my own kids, and I'm going to be okay with being human.
I'm going to be okay with admitting I'm not perfect. I'm going to be okay with myself, and I have betrayed myself, and I'm going to forgive myself and I'm going to do better now. And I'm going to admit to my own adult children, Hey, you know what? I wasn't raised where it was okay to be human. I was raised in an environment where I had to be perfect and create some kind of perfect persona, and I don't want to do that anymore. I'm going to start being real and authentic, and it's painful. I want you to know, but I do owe you an apology, and I want to earn back your trust, and I want to create an authentic relationship with you because I'm starting to have an authentic relationship with me.
Matt Feret (30:05):
I would imagine that takes quite a bit of work for people to get there, especially the older and more successful or seasoned they are. Is it harder the older people get, or is it harder than the younger areas?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (30:19):
I'm not sure it's really as much about age as kind of the environment we were shaped in. I mean, I will say with younger people, I'm in my fifties with younger people. I do love that they can talk about having mental illness so freely and it's not stigmatized anymore. I love that. I wish my father who's in his eighties had that. I love that there's letting go of some of these stigmas and people are being really more authentic in general. Not everyone, but there's definitely a movement towards that, which I wish everyone had. But yeah, so I don't think it's so much the age as it really what it is. I think what it really boils down to is humility. And sometimes we confuse humility with humiliation. Sometimes we say, oh my God, if I admitted and if I reflected and if I engaged in introspection and really looked at myself, it would kill me and I'd be humiliated and it would just wipe me out. And what people need to know is no, no, it won't. Humility is not humiliation. It will not annihilate you. It'll refine you, it'll make you into renew you and regenerate you at any age. And humility is painful, but it's not annihilation.
Matt Feret (31:53):
You know, made mention of the stigma attached to therapy. And you're exactly right. There was one. And to a certain degree, there still is one. And as you were saying that, I was thinking of that, sorry. It's an Adam Sandler movie from the early two thousands. It's called Anger Management, and he was sentenced, I think, I mean, it's been 20 some odd years since I saw it, but I think it was basically he had court ordered anger management thing, which is punitive in nature. So even in the last 20 years, people are thinking of anger management or anger therapy as some sort of punitive piece. But you're right, in terms of seeking mental health treatment and counseling, especially during, and even post covid, right? There's silver lining to that in that people are reaching out and seeking things and taking stock and reaching out for that. And what stigmas around the anger piece? Are there different stigmas around these specific anger piece compared to just regular therapy, or is there just an awareness problem?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (32:59):
Yeah, I think the anger piece is still very much stigmatized. So the anger management unfortunately still happens. And again, to me, anger is a symptom. It's not the root problem. The root problem is a relational problem that needs to be addressed. And if all we're doing is focusing on the symptom, I mean, that's what, I'm sorry, but that's what psychiatry really does. Or even medicine today. It doesn't get to the root problem of what's causing the dysfunction. It manages symptoms, and that makes a lot of money and people like that. It's just real quick. You don't have to change your lifestyle. You don't have to do any introspection. You can just take a pill. It doesn't work.
Matt Feret (33:51):
Yeah, it's got to be a combination, right?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (33:55):
But I do want to share my own personal stories. So going back to when I first moved towards becoming a therapist, I felt into a very severe depression. And looking back, and I talk about this on my podcast just now looking back. So this was like 13 years ago. I now see that my depressive episode, it was very severe. I now see that it was absolutely my own suppressed anger from what was going on in my life and in my relationships. I absolutely see that. And now I see every depressive episode I've had in my life, however long or short, has all been suppressed anger. And if someone had come around to me and said, Hey, Bronwyn, that's actually not okay that your supervisor is treating you like that, and you can have a boundary, and you are entitled to be angry about that. And you can just say, Hey, I'm going to leave. If I'm treated like this, I'm going to give you an ultimatum. If I had someone kind of just do that for me, I wouldn't have suffered a very severe depression for several years. Actually.
Matt Feret (35:13):
You said that. And as probably a lot of people are thinking about that, who am I angry at? I mean, I know it's hard to say, but when you said supervisor or boss, I can think of a few right now. As soon as you said that I went to think and I could think of two people in my career that have, if they were walking around the other side of the street, I might cross over and either do something or say something. And that's, I'm sure, suppressed anger at that individual because there were things that aggrieved me or that offended me or that they did that were unkind and just downright mean. Does that anger, we've been talking about family and upbringing, but there's other people in your life besides the random person who flips you the bird on the interstate that have a very big piece of your life that are not family, and that's the people you work with.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (36:11):
Yes. And it's interesting that you said these were bosses or supervisors because that's a betrayal. So that's more than just anger. That's you're feeling betrayed because they're in a position ideally where they're supposed to advocate for your best interest and do right by you. And so that was a betrayal of your trust, really. And that's where I find the anger lies for the most part, with all of us. It's feeling betrayed by people who are supposed to be trustworthy.
Matt Feret (36:46):
And I would say also, again, if I'm getting personal here, I would say also that changed my interactions with every future boss. It's transactional. I can think of one boss, the two that it was she boss of a boss, but she was very approachable, and I'm not much of a hugger, but she would bring it in and give a hug and give that kind of familial sense to it. And then, yeah, you're right. Betrayed me. And you know what? Even after that, I don't hug people at work. People will come into conferences or come in and say, oh, hi, how are you? And give the kind of butt out, shoulder forward hug, and I stick my hand out to shake my hands. And that's lasted, yeah, since, gosh, the very early two thousands, late nineties. So yeah, you just burns something in my memory that's still there.
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (37:46):
Well, that makes complete sense. And I'm a big, so when people say I have trust issues, I say, yay, I'm so glad you have trust issues because everyone should have trust issues. Not everyone is a trustworthy person, and people need to earn our trust, and we need to really always be ensuring that people are earning our trust. However, I will say on the flip side of that, Matt, that what your response is really common, and that's not a tragic thing in this case, what you're relaying to me right now. But it can be tragic in that where one person betrays us now we start to kind of project that onto everyone else, and that can be tragic for that person. I always call it letting that first betrayer win. Because if someone's betrayed us and we want to move forward, and now we're projecting that betrayal on everyone and we're losing out in the long run.
We're not allowing ourselves to trust anyone. We're letting the betrayer win. And so we have to be really cautious. We have to really have a mindset like, well, I was betrayed. What did I learn from that? I learned that I need to have a litmus test for other people in the future, but if they pass the litmus test, I can trust them until they betray me, and I will let them know, and I will be forthright about it this time. I'm not going to override it. I'm not going to pretend I'm going to use my words and I'm going to not betray myself in the process.
Matt Feret (39:31):
And that can be very hard to do. I'd imagine not only with a loved one or a spouse or an authority figure, right? For child to parent. That's an authority figure. And then of course, the real authority figures are bosses at work that can be really difficult to do. How do you muster up the courage, especially when in the boss's situation, they've got a handle over your purse strings or your wallet?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (39:59):
Yeah, I mean, it would look different depending on the relationship and on this situation, but we can't betray ourselves. I think the bottom line. So again, to have a boundary with someone, they don't need to know that we are intending to have a boundary with them. They just experienced that boundary. But I think the bottom line, another bottom line is that we're not responsible for other people's feelings. We're only responsible for our own feelings. A lot of us were taught as children that we're responsible to keep the peace, to make everyone happy to be pleasers. And that's actually not possible. It's actually not humanly possible to be responsible for anyone else's feelings, and we will die trying, but we're only responsible at the end of the day for our own feelings.
Matt Feret (40:53):
What questions about this topic did I not ask that I should have?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (40:58):
I think you've done a really comprehensive job. I just would want people to know about my podcast. It's angry at the right things, and they can go there to learn more.
Matt Feret (41:10):
I love it. Anger at the right things. I'll obviously put the link on the show page, but yeah, definitely go check it out. I'm going to go check it out after this and take a listen. Awesome. Well, thank you very much for your time. Did any final parting words or anything else before we call it a wrap?
Bronwyn Schweigerdt (41:32):
No. Thank though for having me. Thank you,
Matt Feret (41:34):
Mark. Thanks so much for being on
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