Anger is one of the hardest emotions to come to terms with. It is an emotion that is, for the most part, rejected by society and instilled from very early on, to be avoided or suffer the consequences (rejection, being ‘frozen’ out or receive punishment).
Within the energy of anger is also where your empowerment lies, through attentive observation. When constructively expressed through healthy boundaries, it puts you in touch with your sense of self; it assists you in being able to distinguish with discriminating clarity, which are your own thoughts and feelings and which are someone else’s. And it also gives you motivation, drive and persistence.
Why Dealing with Anger is so Tough
Uncontained anger for over too long period of time, is certainly destructive. It will move between extremes of suppression, and thereby expressing itself as self-reproach, self-doubt, self-criticism and/or self-hate and will impact on one’s sense of self, self-worth and self-esteem.
When anger swings to its opposite extreme it projects itself onto what is wrong with the world and others through blame, fault-finding and self-righteousness.
Both the inward and outward expressions of uncontained anger, tends to lend a negative, even destructive element to the expression of anger. Hence, how we look at and approach anger become negatively tainted and filled with judgment of it, making it harder to observe and come to grips with it.
3 Types of Uncontained Anger; and Creating a Healthy Framework
Each emotion has its rightful place and healthy expression, including anger. When someone is unrighteously hurtful towards you, there’s a need to state your boundaries, or even fight back to protect yourself.
The problem is that when your relationship with anger is unhealthy you will either not react in a stressful or aggressive situation or you will overreact, rendering your response out of proportion to the situation. In both instances, you’re furthering the conflict within yourself.
In the above so far I have gone into the unhealthy relationship with anger you might have developed, and how that acts out or fails to act out.
And I have identified three types or forms of uncontained anger and how it flows into a fragmented form of anger; and these are:
1. Anger that flows inward into self-reproach (related to that are self-hate, issues of self-worth and self-esteem).
2. Anger that flows outward into blame (hate and revenge are attributes of blame)
3. Anger that flows outward into self-righteousness (fault-finding, pride and criticism form part of self-righteousness)
Getting insight into how anger is not working for you is half of the work! It gives you a clear understanding of; the way in which it impacts you.
Finding the Middle Ground; Neither to Suppress nor to React on Anger
As you are aware now that emotion can be expressed both constructively and destructively, I would like to invite you to observe any criticism of anger you might still hold.
If you could you close your eyes for a moment and see where you hold your anger in your body. When you feel where your anger is located and connect with it, see if your thoughts interfere and give it a value judgment of self-reproach, blame or self-righteousness. Slow it down, because it moves rapidly.
Before that energy moves further into memories, thoughts, events and the people it relates to I want you to stop there for a moment. If you can negate that movement that goes into thoughts and bring your attention back to what was before.
The feeling in the body. The anger or sensation of anger. The heat.
The staying with the discomfort of it, and not act on it in any way. Now knowing, how overwhelming emotion disconnects into thoughts through self-reproach, blame or self-righteousness.
And as you sit with yourself observing and holding the anger you can even express and validate it towards yourself by whispering (or verbalizing) ‘I am really really angry’. But maintaining the importance of what YOU feel. Neither letting it implode or explode.
As you feel the emotion of it, you may sense that it comes in mounting waves. It might come with anxiety and/or sadness, and once you have reached a certain height, the emotion subsides and is released.
It is by staying fully with it, while validating and expressing it’s meaning, that you bring containment to it, and are able to process it’s emotional residue.