Anger ~ so many of us have issues with it. Theres often too much of it so we explode or rant…..or it makes some of us feel uncomfortable, so we suppress it only to explode over something insignificant at a later date. Whether you or an exploder or a suppressor (or a bit of both!) ~ anger is as necessary to us human beings as breathing.
Anger is one of the most basic human emotions. It is a mental AND physical response to threat, injustice or harm done in the past. Anger can take many different forms, from blinding rage to festering for years. It is different for each of us, which is what makes it a complicated emotion to process ~ as every single person in our lives is going to express their anger in a way that is different to our own. Anger also creates physical changes within our body by increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow to our muscles, blood sugar level and primes the nervous system for action. All of this is perfectly normal and natural.
Anger is not aggression (which is physical action or behaviour exhibited by some when they feel anger). Anger can even be a force for good….think about moral outrage and how much campaigners have achieved throughout history. Anger can cause us to act quickly, in the moment and it can and has saved lives. If we have issues with anger, then along with fear, it is the biggest emotional stumbling block to Spiritual Growth!
But talking about anger now?? In the lead up to Christmas?? YES!!! Now is a GOOD time to highlight both depression (see Sunday’s blog) and anger because unfortunately, the Christmas holidays are a massive trigger for both of those states of being for many. Not everyone has a wonderful family to come home to at Christmas and even those of us who do have lovely families ~ we can still get ratty with each other or blow up over old wounds.
Which is why it felt right to blog about anger today. I was recently given a document about anger by a a very experienced counsellor and despite studying for years and reading many books, I’d never seen it laid out quite as well as this. It explains clearly where our anger is coming from and whether it is healthy or unhealthy. To be honest, I’ve exhibited several forms of the anger listed below in the past. Being made aware of what is healthy and what isn’t has enabled me to catch myself and look inward to see what the real triggers are from the past instead of acting blindly on an old wound or emotion. Its food for thought 😉
CHARACTERISTICS OF ANGER FROM THE PAST
Raw Intensity of Response: the event has triggered in you raw feelings of hurt, rage, shame, betrayal etc. from your past.
Preoccupation with Revenge: you have a strong desire to make the other person feel what they have made you feel..or worse.
A Desire to Hurt: with actions and/or words.
The same angry, indignant or hating thoughts go round and round in your head: you are preoccupied by what happened and can’t seem to let it go and move on. You keep thinking about what you could have said and done.
Negative response to any apologies or attempts by the other person to make amends: this is because you want to punish, not resolve. You are punishing this person for old hurts from people in your past.
Underlying deep sense of hurt: under all the anger or rage, a deep hurt has been triggered from the past eg. not being responded to, rejected, discouraged, being shamed or humiliated, not being understood.
Relief at having a core belief about yourself or others confirmed: eg ‘See, this proves how unlovable I am’, ‘see, this proves that you can’t ever really trust anyone’, ‘see, this proves that everyone is really out to get you.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HEALTHY HERE-AND-NOW ANGER
Focus is on resolving the problem, not on the desire to hurt: ‘we have a problem, a difference of opinion here, so how can we resolve it?’. This is completely different in tone and energy to ‘you are to blame because…..’ or ‘its your fault’
Healthy anger is vibrant, active and soon over: some people call it ‘warm anger’. There is a ‘clean’ feel to it, although it can still be loud and passionate.
Ordinary rather than extreme expressions and notions about the offending other: the offending other person makes yo angry, frustrated, very annoyed, rather than feeling the extremeties of anger from the past (when the other person is evil, bad, an abuser or out to get you).
Little or no vindictiveness or vengeful purpose.
Healthy anger is finite, communicated clearly and effectively and so you can move on.
Rows, conflicts and arguments do not feel like catastrophic events or dangerous events, just a normal part of life.
You don’t stay pre-occupied with the incident long after it has happened. Healthy anger leaves you feeling OK about yourself and the other person.
Whether the anger is from the past or present, healthy or unhealthy, the best thing to do if you feel angry in any situation is to slow things down. Take a deep breath, focus on your body and feel where you are tense and then relax those areas whilst breathing deeply. If you give yourself enough space and time to think, you might be able to control the anger long enough to express it in a healthy way….or recognise that it is inappropriate because it comes from the past, not the present.
Howlite is the most fabulous crystal to use to ease anger. It gives us that breathing space to slow down and think.
With much love