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All About Anger

Updated on February 8, 2012

My Lessons about Anger


“Do not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”

-James Thurber

Anger is a very difficult subject for most people to talk about. We don’t want to deal with anger within ourselves or from other people. All we want is a peaceful, happy life. The “rose-colored glasses” view of the world would be a lot easier than dealing with the reality of the world, sometimes. Even wearing a blindfold, psychologically, would be easier, too. Being blindfolded psychologically is the same thing as being in denial. I know because I lived most of my life that way. It saved me from doing something drastic. It got me through many drastic events in my life. I am not proud of that fact but I know that denying my anger is what got me to the point I am at today. I am learning, day by day, that healing takes a lot of effort, a lot of self-reflection, a lot of determination.

“Denial” stands for “Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying”, which is totally accurate. We lie to ourselves about the true events that are taking place in our life. We lie to ourselves regarding the true character of someone we love. We lie to ourselves about our own true character, our true strength, our true ability, our true worth.

Anger was a very scary concept for me as a child. I didn’t see any outward anger between my Mom and Dad while they were married. After my Mom remarried, she raised five children living in a two-bedroom house. I saw much anger. Not so much between my parents but amongst all my siblings. Yes, I was a part of the yelling and screaming on a daily basis, but I was the one that would be the first to stop fighting and run into my bedroom, crying my eyes out. I couldn’t stand the thought of so much anger from so many people, so much of the time. It made me scared and sick to my stomach and frustrated that I had to grow up in that kind of atmosphere. My crying and running away caused my brothers and sisters to label me a “sissy” and a “chicken” for not standing up for myself. I didn’t care. I did not want to continue to be a part of so much chaos. In my heart, it made me feel bad that they felt that way about me, but I just knew that being angry and fighting all my life was not who I was, nor who I wanted to be.

I came to understand that anger is just “fear out loud”. Fear of events that haven’t happened yet. Fear of not being good enough. Fear that our past will be recycled and repeat again in our future. Fear that we will fail other people as well as ourselves. I also became aware that “fear” stands for “False Expectations Appearing Real” which totally makes sense when you think about it. We fear so many things in our lives that never truly happen. We sabotage ourselves. We are familiar with the events of our past and when those events haven’t been positive, we start expecting the same results from our future choices. It’s all we know. We believe our circumstances control our choices, rather than our choices creating our circumstances. We need to realize that our thoughts create our choices and our choices create our reality. We see around us a reflection of the thoughts we create in our mind. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”(Proverbs 23:7, KJV) How true that is. We become what we believe. We draw into our lives the physical reflections, the events, the circumstances that reflect what we believe about ourselves, about life, about people.

Because of my fear of anger getting out of control, fearing the worst, expecting extreme abuse from anger turning to rage, I learned to shut down and bottle it all up inside. I found out in the early 90’s that I would laugh when I was angry because I didn’t want to deal with the anger I had stuffed deep down. There were many times over my 17-year marriage, however, that I acted out in rage. I would never throw things. I would just scream as loud as I could, crying and sobbing at the same time.

I learned over the years that it is best to express anger through different actions. Screaming in a pillow became a regular habit of mine. I didn’t drink or do drugs or exercise at all and didn’t believe in gambling or shopping addictions so the screaming in my pillow was the only way I could think of, at the time, to get rid of some of that anger. I even believed that crying until I couldn’t cry anymore was a good way to let go of some anger. I used to cry so hard, I would rub my eyelids until they were raw.

It is rather fascinating to me as I look back, that I had shame and guilt for having anger. My life’s journey has taught me that shame-based feelings stem from my very core, my feeling of worth and value as a human being. I felt that if I was angry, I would be hated, looked down upon by others and thought to be a weak, spineless individual. I used to think that God would punish me for being angry. My years have taught me that that idea is totally absurd!

I also came to realize that most of my self-induced guilt is based on the expectations of other people. I used to think that if I got angry, my family and friends would think I failed them. I thought I would be a “bad example” for them to follow and to look up to if I showed any kind of anger. Talk about being a people-pleaser!

The Fullness of Fear

Fear keeps us locked in an illusion of something that is not truly real. F-E-A-R = False Expectations Appearing Real
Fear keeps us locked in an illusion of something that is not truly real. F-E-A-R = False Expectations Appearing Real

Anger is a Legitimate Feeling

It took many years for me to understand that anger is a legitimate feeling. It is not “bad” or “wrong” to feel anger. It is how I act upon it, what actions and feelings I choose about my angry thoughts that will create either positive or negative results in my life. It’s taken me years to keep remembering that since anger is “fear out loud”, I am the only one that can dispel that fear. I am the only one that can choose to sit down, get calm, quiet and reflect on what it is that I am afraid of, what it is at the base of all that fear that causes me to express anger and/or rage. It’s because of this choice that I have remembered that if we “keep doing what we have always done, we will keep getting what we have always had.” That is what has become known as the “insanity cycle.” In other words, when we keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting others to change or circumstances to change, it will never happen. We will just keep getting the same results we have always had because nothing will change unless we make a different choice: a different action, a different thought, a different feeling, a new perspective. Yes, it takes effort and work and prayer and thought and meditation and determination and persistence but it is extremely worth it all if we are to live our highest life.

To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence, you hear the truth and know the solutions.

-Deepak Chopra

“Concentrate on where you want to go, not what you fear.”

-Anthony Robbins



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    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      hey Lene Lynn, Anger is a very common thing which I encounter in everyday life. I came to know from your hub that it is good to express anger in a healthy way and it is normal to get angry. Thank you.

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      Lene Lynn 6 years ago

      Hi Maggie! I am so glad this article was helpful! I wrote an another article called "Acronyms for Awareness, Part I: Fear. It's a four part series but this first one will explain fear a little more. Let your daughter know that there is NOTHING she can't get through. She has gotten through every single tough spot in her life so far and there is nothing that can stop her from getting through her tough spots in the present. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. I would be honored to do what I can. Thank you for reading and for commenting. I appreciate it more than you know! :) God bless you and your daughter...she will be fine, she really will!

    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 6 years ago from UK

      A thought provoking and insightful hub. I have never thought of anger as an expression of fear before but that makes sense. My young teenage daughter gets angry a lot at the moment and now that I think about it,it's always when she's scared of something that these outbursts are happening - usually new experiences, exam stress, worry of failure, etc. I've found this hard to deal with as I'm not an angry person at all so this hub has been really useful to me and I will try to find new ways to deal with this now that I know that her behaviour is mainly stemming from fear. Thanks for sharing your experiences and views on anger.

    • Lene Lynn profile image

      Lene' Lynn St. John 7 years ago from Glendale, AZ

      izettl, thank you so much for the compliment! I am so sorry to hear that you had so much anger from others in your past. I definitely empathize! Please don't believe what the "angry" people say about you being so sensitive. You are just less fearful than they and they are surely seeing in you the part of themselves that they never get to experience - the gentle, acceptimg part! As far as attracting that type, you either have more to experience in living from the real, TRUE part of WHO YOU REALLY ARE or, you might just need to choose a different experience for your life by constantly confirming that you want to draw POSITIVE, EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY people into your life. What we focus on is what we attract...thanks so much for reading my work!

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I am trying to write a hub on this topic, but it's difficult to tackle- you did a great job! Love that quote at the beginning. I'm not sure if we lie to ourselves or just get so embedded in our little world that we begin believing in our own version of normal. I've been in relationships with angry men and once I got out, it was strange to me that I thought that was all normal, until I got away.

      I've been told by angry people in my life I am just too sensitive and I shoudl be able to put up with it, but I've never been like that. My parents weren't angry either and when my mom became a single parent, she got angry at me all the time- I had no brothers and sisters. I am not the angry person in my life, but I seem to attract that type.

      You make good points. I never really looked at anger as fear. This is a great hub!

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      Lene Lynn 7 years ago

      BMG, I wanted to make sure that I had enough explanation that it would make sense to you. I am glad you appreciate it. Does it truly help you?? :)

    • BMG profile image

      BMG 7 years ago from timor laste

      details explanation huh.....i appreciate it....thanks a lot....

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      Lene Lynn 7 years ago

      HI, BMG. I would be more than happy to explain it to the best of my ability! Because anger is "F-E-A-R" out loud and "F-E-A-R" stands for "False Expectations Appearing Real", it means we can sit quietly and take several deep breaths to calm ourselves down. After we are calmer, we can focus on what it is that we are "afraid" of. What caused us to be angry? When we figure that out, one way of helping get rid of the anger is to realize that what we are afraid of is either something that happened in our past (even if it happened earlier today, it is STILL in our "past") OR we may be afraid of something that has NOT happened yet. If we can focus on this very moment, this very second that we are sitting here and breathing deeply, we can go inside ourselves and find the strength to realize that there is NOTHING that can defeat us! Every single event in your life up to this point are all events that you have gotten through already, right? If we choose to, we can visualize the outcome of any event with a POSITIVE outcome, NOT the one we "see" based on the fear of the false expectation of the outcome...we may not totally like the more positive outcome, (for example, if we choose the outcome of leaving someone because they cheated on us), but that outcome is more positive than, say, staying with them as they continue to cheat on us. There is always MORE than just ONE option to every difficulty in life. We all have more than one choice about what to do. If we can just always remember that anger is fear and fear is a false expectation, we can see that if we calm down, focus and get present in the current moment, we will make much wiser choices and we can let go of the anger because it is truly a waste of our physical and mental energy and health. Another thing I always try to remember when I think I might start feeling angry is to ask myself this question: "What does this event and reaction say to me about ME?" That way you can also choose to be the example of WHO YOU TRULY ARE. You can ACT out of a strong, empowered part of yourself and make a positive choice OR you can choose to "REACT" out of the fear and anger you feel. Keep in mind that "react" has the same letters in it as "CREATE" and when you create your reality and your choices, you are doing it from that strong, empowered part of yourself.

      I hope something I have said here helps. I truly hope it does. If you have more questions or need something clarified, please let me know, ok? Much respect to you...Lene' Lynn

    • BMG profile image

      BMG 7 years ago from timor laste

      could you explain how to overcame this anger immediately?