Being with anger
Anger seems to be on a pendulum swing for many of us. Either it’s repressed and expressed sideways or it is blurted out continuously. Holding it in is toxic and spraying it all over those around you is too. What do we do with anger when it comes to visit?
Anger is somewhat of an enigma. In its most healthy form it notifies you a limit has been crossed and you feel wronged in some way. It’s a signal to communicate your feeling then it transforms into motivation to find a solution. Additionally, it is referred to as a secondary emotion which suggests there is something deeper being experienced. Primary emotions are vast some include, hurt, sadness, embarrassment, fear, and disgust. Individuals tend to jump to anger because it feels more powerful to express than to be vulnerable and show embarrassment, for instance.
If boundaries are an issue then expressing anger for being wronged gets blurry. If you don’t know what your limits are for yourself or how others treat you then anger gets stuffed. Over the years anger can turn into feeling depressed and resentful as well as manifesting in the body as disease.
Anger like any other emotion just wants to be acknowledged. The best practice is to communicate it as soon as possible to let it flow through you and the situation. It matters less how the other person responds and more that you validated yourself and gave it a voice. Years of unexpressed anger can feel overwhelming. Journaling, physical activity, therapy, and acupuncture are healthy ways to move this old stagnant energy.
Ask yourself how often you worry about being “nice” when you really need to respond in a more authentic manner. It’s okay to disappoint other people. You’re going to anyway. Even if you try to people please it won’t work for long. An apt view comes from the poet John Lydgate who wrote, “You can please some of the people some of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Sounds like a lot of work just to end up with a bunch of stored anger.
Bridgette DeBoer M.A., is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist. She can be reached at 450-6632.