I began going to a recovery group four years ago to "deal with" my anger. I was embarrassed at my moments of rage. At the shattering of glass against walls. At the constant yelling yelling yelling. What I have discovered through years of peeling back the onion is that I was right to be angry. I just didn't know WHY I was angry. I was hurt and in pain and still expected to walk around as though nothing was wrong. My anger would bubble over at times when I could no longer pretend that everything was fine. That I had never survived any hurts. Now, after putting blame in it's proper place, and now in taking responsibility for my part of the situations I've gone through, only now am I no longer so angry. But without that initial anger, that intense feeling, I don't think I would have taken that road towards self-discovery and to true healing. I think anger is necessary. Just as a fire is needed for seeds to burst forth and a tree to bloom.
I had a LOT of very real reasons to be angry. The problem was I couldn't name the reasons. I stuffed those feelings and did everything I could to control my environment. When I couldn't keep all the plates spinning, I'd lash out at those closest to me for not helping me to keep things in some sort of dysfunctionally perfect order. uuuggghhh... I hate that I was like that!
I know that many people view anger as being out of control, and so do everything in their power to avoid any outbursts that might embarrass them. That's trying to control a very real human reaction because of the concern of what other's might think. I don't mean that we should be allowed to go out and beat someone senseless because they have upset us. I mean, if you are upset or angry with someone, feel the feeling! But stuffing our true feelings is pretty typical for most people. And that's very dangerous to our psyche. We don't want to think we're mean. We don't want to make others uncomfortable. We want people to like us... blah blah blah blah blah...
It was only through hours of prayer and meditation and a lot of group time that I came to understand that I had every right to be angry for things that I had gone through as a child and young adult. I have since "calmed down" now that I have been able to put faces to the feelings of rage. I still have moments where I wish I had a punching bag in the garage, but not like before... not on an hourly or minute-by-minute basis. Now when I'm just so pissed that someone crossed a line with me, rather than trying to control my environment or taking it out on those closest to me, I sit in that anger. And then I write, or run, or take deep breaths... but mostly I sit in it and pray. And sometimes, I even find the strength to go back to the one that crossed my boundary and tell them "That was not cool. You can't do that to me ever again. Have a nice life." If they walk away from me, all the better. Remember, they can warm themselves by my fire, but damned if I'm giving my wood away to anyone who would hurt me ever again!
I've turned a horrible character defect into a positive element in my life. Something shameful into something powerful... yet still so humbling.
So what do you think about anger? Do you allow yourself those moments of just being rightfully pissed off? Or do you control your feelings too well to be enraged when someone has wronged you? Was there a time when anger worked for you, not against you?
Or do you just think I'm some crazy lunatic?