How to Work with Anger

What do most people think is the worst, most shameful emotion in our culture? ANGER!!
Most of us got the message from our Christian upbringings as well as a general cultural lack of understanding that anger is BAD.
We got sent to our rooms for being angry, we were told we better change our attitude immediately and basically, that we should just “cut it out” because there’s no good thing about being angry.
I hate to tell you this .. but what most people believe, once again, actually isn’t true at all.
The only actual problem with anger is that NO ONE TAUGHT US how to relate to it or how to work with it.
What we did learn about anger, is that we had to repress it, block it, avoid it, shame ourselves and others for it.

As an energy worker and intuitive bodyworker, there are some important things I wish people knew about anger. One is that if you block it, avoid it or repress it, you might not think that it’s there, but it still IS. I find repressed anger in people’s bodies all the time. The body and energy field ARE our unconscious (until made conscious) and just because we shut it out doesn’t mean it’s not fully alive in our systems, waiting to be helped and heard. We are spirit experiencing life through animal bodies with limbic systems that include a full range of responses and reactions. We still hold all of the reactions that toddlers experience in our bodies, it’s just that the expression of these reactions have been reasoned and conditioned out of us. So, we need to learn to work with this limbic system response and find ways to honor it instead of shaming it. Working with our anger in an empowering way begins with understanding its nature. Anger, like all parts of us, is part of our nature and just like nature, there is nothing to judge- material to experience, relate with and grow with.

So what is anger? We are all animals, which means that Anger is information that is purely fire energy. It’s an activation of energy that says one of two things: A need is not getting met -or- a boundary was crossed. If I’m not getting the love that I feel like I need, I might get angry. If someone speaks disrespectfully to me, I also might get angry. The difference between healthy ways to work with anger and unhealthy ways of working with anger are when we use it as information to create positive change vs. identifying with it, creating a victim story with it, and therefore, creating no positive change. The key to working with any emotion is expanding our awareness, making warm contact with it, and then noticing what its intelligence is, what it needs, and how we can help it. Then, that emotion becomes information you can be in relationship with- it’s like touching life itself with a golden touch, and creating magic where it seemed there was only darkness.

As with all life experience, it is immensely important to experience our sensations and reactions with curiosity. Curiosity allows us to learn from an expanded awareness, where we are a present and directly interacting with our experience instead of having IT happen to us. When we have curiosity and expanded awareness, we can notice the intelligence of our anger and what is has to teach us. Like all emotion, anger has a message for us, and it’s important to notice how the reaction of anger serves a purpose or whether it’s response is ultimately, futile. The gift of anger is the energy of FIRE and TRANSFORMATION. Anger is an emotion that tells us a change is needed, and if we don’t blame or shame, and instead notice its intelligence and what it wants to tell us, we can use it for good. If I feel fire energy about a part of myself that feels disempowered, I can bring empowerment to that part. If someone crossed a boundary, I can communicate what I need, and therefore, strengthen or re-route our relationship so that I have better relationships in my life. If I am upset with the darkness I see in the world, I can use that fire energy to create positive change in the world. Anger that lies untransmuted, however, is harmful, as it’s fire will create illness within the body and heart until it is welcomed and helped, like you’d help a little child, in getting it’s innocent needs met.

Here’s an example of what happens when we help the emotion of anger evolve. Consider someone who grew up with an abusive father. Chances are, that person is going to hold on to the emotion of anger for a very long time, maybe even a lifetime. When they were a little kid, they probably felt pretty helpless and powerless. This powerlessness felt overwhelming, and so, anger became a way of rejecting the experience they were having and emotionally fighting off their father’s behavior by building a wall. For a little kid, this is the best coping strategy they had to control their experience and to create some sense of power. Had they been given the love they needed and protection from their father’s anger, this emotion would have been able to return back to a state of health and a sense of safety and well-being. However, in most cases this doesn’t happen, and that emotion becomes stuck because as children, we don’t have the resources of love, support, or skills that we needed in order to know how to cope with the experience. The problem is, that in order to hold on to anger, we continuously hurt ourselves by reacting to something that is no longer present. When the angry part is not given what it originally needed (love, support, caring presence, protection) it will remain somewhere in your mind and body waiting for the time when someone can help it heal. And the only person that can really do that is you:) In this case, the stuck emotion, which once may have felt like our demon, has the opportunity to be liberated. When this happens, our demon becomes our angel. We find ways to bring love, protection, acceptance, freedom, empowerment and liberation to a part of ourselves that felt incredibly hurt. The gift of this is that we get to experience a greater love, safety, empowerment and support than we ever had experienced before. And this feels AMAZING. We regain a part of ourselves that was once lost, only this time, it’s more amazing that anything we had experienced!

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Written by Rebecca Mara
Rebecca Mara is an intuitive coach, energy healer, and somato-emotional bodyworker.