The one emotion I have struggled with most in my life is anger. Other emotions can be triggered such as sadness and it hurts to not be embraced in that feeling too and then naturally I can feel anger which I am realising now I have to temper with the understanding that not everyone is that comfortable with sadness, nor connected to their own.
On that subject, because the anniversary of Jonathan (my ex husband) leaving me is in about two weeks time I did some prayer and meditation to send him love today but also to express the hurt I felt that at the time I needed him to support me in undergoing my unresolved grief process. In the end he could not do that and got angry and left me.
I cried about it today and then felt deeper forgiveness. I don’t want to keep holding resentment or anger in my body because as a breast cancer sufferer I know that can be toxic. As a cancer survivor I believe the best protection in regard to my health is knowing how to deal in a healthy way with my emotions and most especially disappointment or upset at how the world at times treat vulnerable or sensitive or traumatised people.
It was good in therapy to be able to open up the deep pit of need I had to cover over after my father died in the mid 1980s which saw me take myself off to the other side of a the world and turn to the warmth of scotch whiskey to deal with all the feelings I could not articulate or allow myself to have. Sadly over there I got into a relationship with someone who abandoned me on the back of my previous boyfriend leaving me after my father died as I feel he didn’t want to have to deal with a sad, mixed up girlfriend.
But I also see how Simon struggled to understand the way I reacted, lashed out or pushed him away at times. I remember we used to write in each other’s diaries and he said to me that he felt me trying to open to love but fearing getting my fingers burned. How true? The fear is that if I ever love another man he will leave just as my father did and that self fulfilling prophecy has happened about 6 or 7 times now which is why I am on pretty shaky ground with Scott right now.
Grief and anger and fear can be so interconnected. Many of us fear anger as we never saw it expressed in a ‘clean’ healthy assertive way. Many of us had to substitute other emotions. Many of us were not allowed to have our anger with parents, we may have had to shut it down or sublimate it some way but sadly no emotions ever go away, they are deeply interconnected with our soul, spirit and life force and so they need to be understood and channelled appropriately if we don’t wish to fall foul of them. Some of us may feel anger instead of grief at times or anger instead of fear.
I have been blessed along this path to get some brilliant resources and books on anger. The ones that have helped me most are the following :
The Anger Solution, by John Lee
Facing the Fire, by John Lee
Honour Your Anger : How Transforming Your Anger Style can Change Your Life, by Beverly Engel
But in the end therapy and understanding my own reaction patterns and how well I can hold with my hurt and pain and frustration in order to understand them and then get necessary validation and find healthy ways to speak about it has also been important. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s books How To Fight and Anger, Buddhist Advice for Cooling the Flames have also helped me. He reminds us that when anger makes us suffer we can go to the person and tell them so and ask if there can be a solution. The narcissists in our life will blow us off usually (in my experience) but those who are healthy and willing to own their part will never make us feel bad for trying to address that which makes us angry or hurts us.
Ultimately the way we are triggered influences the way angry reactions can be sparked for many of us and that is the essence of what John Lee deals with in is book on the anger solution. Once we get an idea of the trigger and how we feel wounded or hurt we can do some inner processing to see what is going down and how necessary an angry response is. In some situations we may be better to disengage and practice self love and self care, seeing what would be the most effective way of dealing with the upset.
Taking care of ourselves and our own feelings is important as is understanding those who hurt us due to a lack of sensitivity which may not be all their fault but down to a lack of deeper insight or emotional intelligence within them. As Astrologer Liz Greene often says. “The only time two hearts beat as one is inside the womb.” To expect complete understanding from another person of our inner world and triggers may at times be a huge ask.