Relationship to AngerMar 28, 2022
Anger is quite often quoted to me as the most difficult emotion for people to experience.
When we are children the energy and expression of anger is more often than not met with disdain, even forms of healthy aggression we can be conditioned to shut down and move into states of collapse, fawn or freeze instead.
When we express aggression and are met with some form of shaming by a larger more powerful being whom our survival relies on, part of our survival strategy is to then orphan our anger. We dissociate from this part of ourselves in order to maintain some kind of healthy relational attachment.
We may learn by their response that when anger is present love is withdrawn. Our relationship to anger then becomes one of resistance and our anger itself becomes associated with threat.
This can create layers of internal struggle along with unconscious self hatred and shame for having these emotions, which are actually in truth a very natural and healthy part of development.
Unfortunately when this happens we set the stage for a pattern that can play out for the rest of our lives, our no may no longer mean no, we may fear to use our voice, we may continuously allow our boundaries to be crossed, we may end up in abusive relationships and unable to leave or become a people pleaser and have a deep seeded fear of conflict which potentially can all be rooted in a fear of anger.
A healthy strategy for an adult to take toward a child’s anger is redirection. When a child experiences aggression and hits, kicks, punches or becomes verbally abusive.
Rather than making them wrong, shaming them, sending them to their room we can assist them in redirecting the anger to a pillow or cushion, or stomp our feet on the ground and growl.
If the child is old enough we can explain to them the anger you feel is ok and we can feel it together, though we cannot hurt other people when we are angry.
This way the child learns to channel the anger, he or she learns that feeling anger is ok and that it does not necessarily have to be acted out toward another. For a child this can help them to discern between behaviour and self, and help to create a healthy relationship to the energetic quality of their anger which is in essence their power, will and autonomy.
The anger is then integrated. As adults if our relationship to anger is a healthy one we can harness that energy to create positive change in the world, we can channel it and use it rather than struggle against it.
A kind of “Holy and Sacred Outrage” can be consciously directed and experienced to take a position to stand up for what is right.
Often what happens when our anger has been disowned it can show up as “rage outbursts”. This is when the pressure in the system gets overloaded. The energy in our system is so dense, so overloaded that it explodes and completely hijacks our consciousness.
This can be experienced as blackout rage, or even more subtle forms of plotting and premeditated acts of violence. My personal conclusion is that the suppression of anger and rage resulting in violent outbursts is the cause for much of the terrible acts we see in the world. Eg. School shootings, family and domestic violence, murder, violent assaults etc.
When we have spent a lifetime habitually and unconsciously avoiding and shutting down anger the energy does not integrate into the system, not only does this create personality traits that are based in trauma but it also can potentially create physical issues.
Chronic pain, high blood pressure, gut issues and other serious forms of disease can all be caused by the stress created in the nervous system by repressing the emotion.
The trapped energy can be experienced as densities in the felt sense of the subtle body, hence why in the work we do we work directly with these contracted sensations.
Often when anger is released we can experience tingling or heat all over, a sense of vitality and power can be felt coursing through our body as the trapped energy is unlocked.
This alone can be a liberating experience, perhaps for the first time we have stepped into our true power, we may feel clear and focused with qualities of immovability, stability and presence. We let the beast out of the cage and consciously allow to it have its expression, we realise in truth our presence is a force to be reckoned with.
Anger and rage are such powerful emotions when felt to their core. They are life energy, they are power, they are yang and masculine by nature.
When harnessed they can be a catalyst for great change in one's life and in the collective. When fully embraced and contained they transmute into the power and force of the timeless dimension of life itself, expressing itself in time and space.
See your anger as a doorway rather than an obstacle and learn to consciously experience the energy from a place of contained body based present moment awareness.
Peace & Blessing,
Matt Kay (Co-Creator of Embodied Processing)