How to deal with your anger?

Are you quick-tempered? Don't answer this question too fast! Most people don't believe to be like that but in fact all human beings experience anger at different degrees, for various reasons and in many ways.

How do you act in the following situations?

  • Someone makes you a promise, commits to doing something but doesn't do it.
  • You lend an object or some money to somebody but he doesn't reimburse you or brings you back a damaged object.
  • Somebody makes fun of you or humiliates you in front of others.
  • Your spouse forgets your birthday.
  • You are convinced to be right whereas someone clings stubbornly to his opinion.

The above mentioned situations involve other people. How do you feel when one of the following circumstances occurs?

  • You forget about something really important.
  • You said yes to someone when you actually would have preferred to say no.
  • You have eaten too much chocolate or abused of some other food or substance.
  • Something you shouldn't have said comes back to haunt you.
  • You want to express something to someone but you can't.
  • You allowed somebody to take advantage of you.

In such situations, most people are angry at themselves but they are more or less aware of it.

Why do we get angry when we prefer being calm?

Each time that anger overwhelms us, we are no longer ourselves. We are unconsciously overcome by an inner wound that results from a painful childhood memory for which the process of forgiveness has not been done or finished.

There are five main inner wounds at the root of anger: betrayal, rejection, abandonment, humiliation and injustice. When these wounds are not healed by true forgiveness, they hurt each time somebody or a situation reawakens them. The more severe and acute the wound is, the more intense the anger flares up.

To believe that our anger is aimed at another person is an illusion. In fact, we are always angry with ourselves. We are upset that we kept a lid on it so long or that we have allowed other people to take advantage of us. When we are centered, we never blame the other and we can express ourselves calmly by putting ourselves in other people's shoes.

At the soul level, we know that we draw people and situation into our lives in order to help us become aware of what still needs to be settled. In fact, not being our true self makes us angry. Being what we truly are is the only way to feel good about ourselves.

Isn't it interesting to notice that we don't all get angry for the same reasons and in the same circumstances? These differences result from the belief system each one of us has developed out of the fear of suffering from our inner wounds. Here are several examples:

  • The perfectionist, who is by far too idealistic, wants everything to be perfect and therefore turns out to be perpetually dissatisfied. He's often angry at himself and is prone to self-criticism. He tries to control his anger as much as possible because anger is synonymous with imperfection. For a perfectionist, anger is the expression of a tense, stressed out and nervous attitude. The self-control he puts himself under is very demanding and harmful to his nervous system.
  • The ambitious type, always on the look out for success, feels angry when time is wasted. They don't allow themselves to lose time and will be angry with themselves if they do so. Moreover they don't tolerate those who make them waste their time and will be angry when it occurs. The ambitious ones will express their anger through impatience and intransigence. However they seldom pay attention to their anger as it would be a waste of their time.
  • Those with a controlling personality will mainly be angry at the people who don't keep their promise and those they deem irresponsible. They do allow their anger to be witnessed because they enjoy showing their strength and power. However, they feel angry with themselves afterwards as they would rather be stronger in order not to be troubled.
  • People with a rigid or inflexible personality are unrivalled at making themselves believe that all is going smoothly, everything is simply marvellous and that they don't feel any anger whatsoever. They prefer acting this way because they think they will avoid suffering. In general, they seem to be on top of things as they look calm and impassive.
  • The anger of an emotional dependent person is mainly aimed at others because they crave attention. They feel anger toward those whom they think should be paying them more attention. Their anger will manifest itself especially through problems or illnesses which will draw others' attention. They like to appear as victims. All diseases ending by "itis" are linked to the emotion of anger. The liver is the organ affected the most by repressed anger.
  • Those who feel rejected easily experience a deep feeling of anger even though they don't show it. They attempt to shun the situation or person by taking refuge in alcohol, drugs or medication.

Anger is an undesirable emotion which creates a blockage in the emotional body, and prevents us from feeling joy, happiness and love. It is the root cause of many physical discomforts and illnesses.

When you are angry:

  1. Take three deep breaths. Exhale longer than it takes to inhale.
  2. Then - and most importantly - give yourself the right to be angry. Accept the idea that some of your inner wounds are not settled yet and that by accepting your anger; you will start to heal them.

These two first steps will enable you to center yourself.

  • Acknowledge that you are mainly angry with yourself.

When your anger involves another person...

  • Admit to the other person how angry you are at yourself. Making accusation against the person is not the best way to proceed.
  • Don't hold it against yourself; you'll would only make matters worst. It's perfectly normal for any human being to react when someone brushes up against a wound, whether physical or psychological.
  • I also recommend using the mirror technique with the person involved since it's the best way to get to know yourself better and therefore develop more awareness. Write down what you accuse that person of being (what he is and not what he has done) and then see if you happen to be like that yourself sometimes. The purpose of this exercise is not to make you feel guilty but to help you see why you are like that sometimes. This will enable you to develop compassion for yourself and others.
  • Afterwards, go a step further and see when in your past you accused one of your parents of the very same thing. Generally speaking, you have blamed the parent of the same sex as the person you got angry at. This process should help you have more compassion towards that parent.

The best thing consists in doing this inner work as soon as possible. If you wait, if you repress your anger, the wound within you will only get worst and expressing it will only get harder with time.

When you are confronted with somebody else's anger:

  1. Take three deep breaths.
  2. Calmly but firmly say that you have no intention of talking to a person who's beside himself. It's best to wait until he or she pulls himself together. When this other person is ready, you will gladly take the time to listen to them.

It is in your own best interest to acknowledge and express your anger if your goal consists in experiencing it less and less. You will stop wasting your energy to fuel your anger and will use it instead to create a life filled with peace and harmony.

Lise Bourbeau

Learn to be happy

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