Anger. It is a natural emotion. Yet – unacceptable.
I’ve been told that I am “scary” when I am angry. And when told this, I have wondered, “Well, who the hell is not scary when angry?” I mean, seriously, I have had the anger of mankind upon me in an assorted variety of presentations including, but not limited to, yelling, cursing, stomping, throwing of objects and last, but not least, hitting. And the one characteristic of anger that I think is common in all anger is unpredictability. You never know just how the presentation is going to go. Will you have to wear earplugs or armor?
My daughter and I had a conversation about anger this morning. She said she has been angry a lot or become more aware of her anger as of late. With the holiday season coming to a close, her hectic schedule and being under the gun at work has come to a close. So I assume she has not had the time to replenish her spirit. And like most people, she gives to her job and others more than she gives to herself. From personal experience, I have discovered that this kind of lifestyle leads to pent-up anger.
Society has so many rules that we tuck under our arms, as we go through life. Starting with rule number one: Be nice! I mean, that is the rule we learn at age two. Play nice, be nice, that’s not nice, that was nice. So through the conditioning of approval and disapproval, we learn what is nice and what is not. And throwing our toys in frustration, we found, was not nice. Which then turned to anger, which was even more not nice.
Carrying this as a cornerstone into adulthood, we don’t even have to think about it anymore; it is part of the basis of relationships – getting angry is not “nice.” And it MUST mean that someone did something wrong.
Sadly, most people were not ever taught an alternative or a way to channel this most basic of emotions. So most people stuff their anger, eat their anger, smoke their anger or deny their anger. Anything to keep from realizing that they are “not being nice.”
My daughter and I discussed why the people that are close to us seem to get defensive when we try to vent to them. Her brother said it makes him defensive because she is a bit scary. I told her it is because her loved ones want her to be happy, so they try to fix it, but since they can’t fix it, they then feel responsible for failing her, which leads to becoming defensive. Funny how people can always seem to make it “about them.”
The past year has been about letting go of anger for me. I didn’t really realize how much was in there till I decided to start venting on paper. I just let it flow. It was like a dam had broken. All the frustrations and disappointments of my life and in the people that surround me became real and valid just by becoming letters on a page. I no longer had to deny them, validate them or try to make anyone else fix them. Each time I felt the frustration of anger building inside, I sat down and wrote. As I finished each ranting, I then sent them to an impartial party. Someone I knew who would put them in his vault to use only for my best good. Someone who knew that those emotions just needed somewhere else to go, and that once I was free of them, I could see life from a different view instead of through the haze that anger puts over one’s perception.
Now that I’ve cleaned out the cupboards, I try to deal with things instead of stuffing them to the back behind all the pretty china. And sometimes I will experience something that once would have set me on fire, and realize just how much healing has taken place in my life. I no longer feel like a broken record, going on and on and stuck in that same nasty groove. The music flows much nicer now.
Moreover, I have become more aware that when I feel that anger building, it is time to slow it down, and take some time to sort it out. What do I feel that I am failing at? What do I need to do for myself that I am waiting for someone else to do? What am I expecting from someone else that I, myself, will not do?
Anger, it IS a natural emotion. But rather than it being a stick to punish with (someone else or ourselves), it should be seen as a red flag. Time to stop. Time to evaluate the situation and head a different direction. And inevitably, it will lead to a look inside one’s self. Because if there’s one thing I have realized, no one else can fix your life, you have to do it yourself – and most importantly – for yourself!