- Mental Health
All About Anger
My Lessons about Anger
ALL ABOUT ANGER AND THE FULLNESS OF FEAR
“Do not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
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
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.
“Concentrate on where you want to go, not what you fear.”