Anger is chaos on the psyche.
I speak from experience. I have spent far too much time in the prison of anger in my own life and have realized not much good comes out of it.
In fact, it often feeds itself, as if I’ve put on anger-colored glasses that ultimately taint subsequent experiences.
When I am angry, I see injustice, incompetence, betrayal, and indifference everywhere. Everyone is against me. I am a victim of the world.
Do you ever feel like this?
Why Do We Feel Anger
Anger is a secondary emotion. Some other emotion comes first. Present is the feeling of a real or perceived loss.
Loss, or threat of loss, of something precious to you is implicit in the anger.
Perhaps this concept is clearest to comprehend when we are blatantly stolen from. But look at other examples of anger:
- Loss of respect if someone disrespects you
- Loss of the value of your time if an appointment or guest is late
- Loss of hope, relationship, or happiness if someone hurts you
- Loss of trust if you are betrayed
- Loss of justice, life, or innocence in the face of injustice; loss of companionship if a loved one dies, or
- Perceived loss of self value if someone doesn’t want to be with you.
You get the idea. Anger is grief of the loss.
Anger also masks anxiety.
Anger can arise when there is fear of loss and when something precious to you is threatened.
Many times you see this in children who have a tantrum when they are afraid to go someplace.
Most parents assume this is an anger problem, but if the anxiety were addressed, anger would no longer be a problem.
This is also apparent in people who are abusive. When they feel anxious, they perceive they are losing control.
They fall back on entitlement, demanding what they want, criticizing, being physically violent, and controlling someone else to calm their own inner anxiety.
Feeling a victim themselves, they often fail to see how they are effecting others.
Anger and Guilt: The Double Whammy
Most of us seldom allow ourselves to feel angry. And when we do express the emotion, we often take actions we regret later.
Feeling the anger is not the problem, but rather what we do with it.
If anger is expressed, accepted, and what is precious is validated, it would pass quickly without any ill effects or consequences.
However, as it usually happens, when we feel or express anger, self doubt almost immediately takes up residence in our mind and we begin to regret our response.
It is as if we are not allowed to feel, and we judge ourselves as wrong. This feeling of “wrong” connects with every other time in our life when we felt wrong.
And if this feeling occurred often, it can feel overwhelming. Our anger no longer just fits the circumstances, it is heightened by this guilt, and we act and feel worse.
On top of that, we get mad at ourselves for our “overreaction.” We perceive a loss of control. The anger explodes and we are overwhelmed.
Do you know what happens next? We feel like a victim, of circumstance, of the injustice, of another act of thoughtlessness, of invalidation, of betrayal, and of our own inadequacies.
It can affect our very identity (i.e, I am a loser) and all too often does. Each of these multi-layers of self judgment make us feel worse.
Usually, the overall feeling and response of anger comes 80% (or more) from the guilt and only 20% (or less) from the original frustrating incident.
Feeling Without Judgment
Do you want to calm down? Allow and accept your feelings of anger without judgment. Let yourself feel it fully, and then ask yourself what it is you are losing or afraid to lose.
What does it say about what is precious to you?
Just naming it will validate it and help you begin to calm down. Once you know what is important to you, you are in a better position to figure out how to respond.
Love yourself for loving it. Appreciate yourself for appreciating it. You’ll respond prioritizing what you love rather than focusing on guilt or resentment.
You’ll take action that holds that preciousness, rather than taking action out of anger. You’ll feel better faster. I promise.
Over to You –
What do you do with anger? Share your experiences in the comments.
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Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Posted on: June 21st, 2013
Last Updated on: January 4th, 2014