Anger is Destructive when Expressed on Social Media

Below is a Twitter stream regarding the expression of anger and its consequences. Two of our best advocates are warning that “letting it all hang out” on social media may be counter productive.

Kate Nicholson – @speakingabtpain – Mar 2019

More people in #pain who are being tapered down or off of medication are reaching out & speaking of suicide.

I am sympathetic to the difficulty of losing access to pain medicine, but I am not a mental health professional. Some helpful thoughts from @StefanKertesz follow:  

Stefan Kertesz – @StefanKertesz – Mar 2019

1/This is for EVERYONE who advocates in the pain/ #opioid sphere: anyone feeling under severe threat will be tempted to attack back, naming individuals (doctors or others) from afar. Resist & investigate this urge before you act. Speaking badly about another causes unexpected harm.

2/Righteous anger is sometimes necessary to protect people who are subject to harm (think early HIV crisis). But that anger can also reverberate to harm others in ways we don’t anticipate. It can be toxic to the person who speaks in anger. I looked for an ethical tradition…

3/What I found is not about anger, but about a body of Jewish thought on speaking “bad talk” about others (“Lashon Hara”). The problem is partly that one can destroy a person in an instant.

But I would note, it’s also possible to destroy oneself.

4/The problems with “bad talk” include not just falsehoods (i.e. libel) but truths that purport to advance good causes and still cause injury. Minor example: “Sally should have dressed better for the meeting, given who’s coming” –> scorn for Sally, diminished attention

5/When might one “share a negative”?

This says all the following conditions must be met

(a) if you KNOW it’s true;

(b) it’s the ONLY way to protect someone;

(c) your intention is 100% sincere &

(d) sharing cannot cause undue harm to the person.

6/I have no superior wisdom on this.

However, what I try to ask myself is

(a) is my own anger going to contaminate and hinder my desire to be helpful; and

(b) is there a way to help without risking hurting another? 

4 thoughts on “Anger is Destructive when Expressed on Social Media

  1. David Cole

    Very good observation, I’ve let my anger over pain issues control what comes out of my mouth, in doing so I talked bad about a man who has done a lot for the critically ill community. Lucky for me one of my pain patient friends caught it and set me straight. It’s not like anybody really cares what I think, but I don’t want to add on to my pain by saying destructive things about another human being that’s not true.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      How refreshing! Thank you for holding yourself to a higher standard and being aware enough to recognize your own mistakes.

      I really believe that if people were more willing to look at their own flaws as critically as they looked at others’, we’d all be much better off.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. canarensis

    otoh, there sure are people I wish I *could* injure via anger over social media…the lying propagandists who started this whole cycle of sadism, for example. And nope: not gonna feel guilty for such an unworthy thought, tho I once would have.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I’m sorry to see how this opioid issue has ruined your opinion of all things medical. I’m sure you’re not the only one, and I can hardly blame you for being so angry. I can stay calm mainly because I’m still getting my pain medication, but if that ever stops… Look out.

      Liked by 1 person


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