What is anger to you?
When I hear whispers of anger and I ask to hear more - people usually say: I'm afraid of anger. It's dangerous. I'll lose control. It doesn't do any good. It's destructive. I don't like to feel it. It's ugly. I don't have a right to it. Women aren't supposed to get angry.
We may judge ourselves or others for being angry. It may feel scary and out of control. Hurtful and not helpful. Many of us know reactive anger. We usually want to banish it.
But what if we get curious about our anger?
Anger is an emotion and our emotions are designed to tell us something - they want us to listen. It's an ingenious way to direct us towards our internal experience. So instead of running from it, banishing it, or condemning it....let's get curious about it.
What is our anger trying to tell us?
Like all emotions anger can be primary or secondary
Anger as a secondary emotion is usually covering up for a different emotion. Usually its covering up sadness/hurt, fear, or shame. It's much less vulnerable to let anger out than show tears, or feel that gut slamming hit of shame. More times than not anger rushes up to protect us from tender feelings hiding underneath (usually out of awareness) and can infuse us with a (false sense) of power.
Primary Anger is the Real Deal
Usually this rises if someone crosses a boundary, threatens us, or treats us in a way that is disrespectful or unfair. It's like an alarm system that alerts us. This surge of anger lets us know we need to take action or change something. This energy can generate the courage and determination to stand up for ourselves.
Slow Down and Listen
Either something tender is hidden beneath many layers; or something is going on that is not right. So it's important to pay attention. If we can identify the emotion accurately, it can lead us to our needs; which then can provide clues as to what needs to come next.
Therapy is a place where we slow down and listen. If you'd like help uncovering what lies inside your anger, I'd love to hear from you. Please contact me via phone (503.224.6559) or my contact form.