I finally arrived home from work, resolving to myself to stop fuming once I got home. Anger had taken me over that day. It seeped into the soul in the morning and continued to fester throughout the afternoon. I struggled with it, pleaded, and negotiated, but it remained like a stain on a white dress, or a canker on the side of the tree, encompassing me so much that I thought it would never actually go away. Hello, my old friend, Anger. You have arrived again.
Anger is such a powerful emotion. It is all consuming, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. I’m sure we have all heard people say “I couldn’t be in so and so situation because I would lose it and say something I would regret.” Anger causes pain, and not just a sting but a burn that may or not heal properly.
I grew with anger as a prominent presence in my childhood. Because I grew up with a narcissist I was denied my own feelings and my father would discard his pain onto anybody and everybody. Because he did not have a social circle, and my mother had passed away when I was young, I got the brunt of the pain. Anger was an easy surface emotion to feel, as well as an instantaneous and carnal reaction to the situation I was in. I carried it with me, as a shield- almost a protector. No one wanted to be around someone that was angry all the time, at least it was keeping me safe from others in that way. I did not know others were any better than my father.
That anger ate away at me. Very slowly, it began to eat away at my psyche. I used it as a protective blanket, and covered myself from the entire world.
“Holding onto anger is like a grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, you are the only one that gets burned”, the Buddha is quoted as saying. Anger, when over-used or used incorrectly can be more harmful than good. An aggressive personality is defensive mechanism created by a scary external world, one where the individual learns that fighting back is one of the only means of survival. As with everything in life, there is a delicate balance to this emotion. With that being said, it is also a very powerful, telling, motivating, intense, and honest one.
I am not an angry person any more. That quality came and went with the situation that I was in, though I realize that it becomes more engrained in others. Now I use anger in order to alert me to experiences that I am having. Anger is not a bad emotion, but we have to be careful with how we use it, because of it’s incredible power. But, that is not to say the pain of anger is not a signal, an alert, a sign that is trying to tell or teach us something or we are trying to someone else something.
When you feel anger, that means that something got triggered in you. People feel anger in situations when they have been betrayed, lied to, assaulted, and so on. We feel anger when we feel we or loved ones have been wronged. For example, I got angry at someone recently because they answered a question very disrespectfully to me. I was upset at them but mostly I was upset at how I handled that situation by internalizing and taking on that negativity as opposed to setting a boundary to it. Because I wasn’t able to stand up for myself, my mind reacted with anger to tell me that I allowed myself to get hurt and now I have to suffer the consequences. So the question begs: what does the anger want to signal to you, should you act or react? What can you learn from yourself in getting angry? Anger can also set a quick and direct boundary in necessary situations.
Anger can present itself in many different situations. Feeling anger, in many circumstances, is justified. There is no shame in anger, but use it wisely. It has great power to reveal the reality and truths of experiences as well a lot about ourselves and who and how we are. Feel the heat of that coal, but don’t it burn you.
Written by: Anna (Creator of Echo’s Corner)