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wed: music and emotional processing posted: Wed 2017-07-19 08:21:32 tags: healing
Funded a checking account at a really amazing credit union. Not the nearby one. What do you do when you need cash? They're a member of an extensive ATM network. Deposit a check? Mobile deposit is a thing, but their ATMs also accept deposits. Need hands-on/face-to-face service? Visit a CO-OP branch, they're not quite as convenient as ubiquitous big commercial bank branches but they're near enough.

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I've been on an electro-swing kick lately, and since my car CD player finally went mute, I've been mostly off my industrial-hardcore-EDM habit.

rising up like the flames of a phoenix
raising my fist and prepare for the remix

I'd heard of gabber back in 2002, but wasn't until 2006-2007ish I discovered whole "internet radio" sites (e.g. Toxic Sickness Radio) dedicated to gabber and related genres - happy hardcore, industrial hardcore, hardcore techno, terrorcore, frenchcore, speedcore etc. I would certainly have listened to a wider range, if more DJs had managed to capture the energy of this corner of the musical universe without leaning on raps with naughty words.

Naughty words or not, music has tremendous power to evoke emotion, and the emotions that je ne sais quoi energy evokes is predominantly dark: angry, edgy, predatory, rebellious etc. Not that this taste was at all new for me - I was digging on angry Black Sabbath (e.g. War Pigs) and Pink Floyd (much of The Wall) from junior high on, and added angry Dead Kennedys, angry Body Count, angry Ministry, angry RATM, etc. along the way.

The core ACoA literature proposes a signature tendency for us to exhibit addiction to emotions. The first rule of Fight Club is the same as the first rule of Witnessing Abusive Parent Fights Club: don't talk about (witnessing) Fight Club. Subjected countless times to situations where fear or anger are natural and healthy responses, but denied refuge or validation, we bury it and develop other channels to discharge the ever-bubbling internal pressure of that ... toxic ... sickness

So what does that mean, to be "addicted" to an emotion or emotions? Similar to how sobriety feels unpleasant and abnormal to the substance addict, the "emotion addict" feels like something's off or missing if they're not experiencing their familiar foundation of fear, or perhaps it's anger, or shame. From formative experience where emotions were misattributed, invalidated, demonized or tabooed, we may not even recognize or correctly identify what we're feeling.

I remember an early session with Dawn when I mentioned I listen to a lot of angry music. I didn't pick up on her nonverbal cues at the time, but now I realize: her body language was screaming "this is particularly significant". I shrugged it off as just a quirky personal preference. Of course I did; I didn't have a healthy model for processing anger and addressing its provocations from a foundation of dignity and calm strength. Do I need "anger management training"? Not formally, no. It was enough to learn in general how to process emotions, respect my intuition, recognize and refuse claim-jumps on my autonomy, and call out manipulation tactics e.g. emotional blackmail when I encounter them.

Here's a chicken-and-egg question: do people listen to angry music and develop the angry habit, or is it more that people bagged with anger issues gravitate to angry music? Why would Sabbath's "War Pigs" resonate with me at 11 or 12 years old - well, even in the absence of my parents' marital sickness, probably because my cool big sisters listened to it alongside non-angry stuff like Zep and Jimi and Zappa. It wasn't all angry music, all the time. A taste, but not the predominant taste. Same way I discovered a taste for DK: Mike liked it, its anger was leavened with intelligence and humor, I already loved underground-ish work because of Dr. Demento's weekly midnight radio show and DK was kind of like that but distilled and magnified.

But ultimately, yeah I think it did become an unconscious habit for me to get unsettled with anger (whether fresh but unprocessable, or old but randomly reminded), and turn to angry music for catharsis. In 2006-2007, I had a lot to be legit angry about: The Bad Job unilaterally altering our agreement; my roommates perpetually drunk and/or stoned with all the low standards (in housekeeping, behavior, and guests) that implies. No wonder I withdrew as much as possible and sought out Toxic Sickness Radio, with DJs mixing artists like "Angerfist", "Unexist", "Disciples of Annihilation" etc.