Anger is a primal emotion and it stems from being hurt, wounded, or dealt some kind of injustice that was undeserved. You can get angry for a number of reasons and in the world we live in, anger is often justifiable response to the way that many people treat you, or me, or whoever, but if you really think about it, you need sufficient anger in you to prevent others from taking advantage of you, you need to stand up for yourself, and anger can be your tool, as much as it can be your destroyer, and the destroyer of everything.
But you feel anger before you think about it and give it a name and a reason. Anger rises up and fills you. Your heart beats faster, you feel an inner tension, your feel a twisting feeling in the pit of your stomach and a kind of dull throbbing ache next to your heart, you become filled with a kind of bursting rasping energy that wants to break out. Depending on your personality and the circumstances, in the heat of the moment, you either express or suppress this powerful energy and all these physical bodily reactions in various ways. Very few of the ways we express or suppress it are actually beneficial.
People are different and handle anger differently. Some hide it and pretend like nothing happened, they are used to being wounded and not saying and doing anything about it. Some of this type can even hide it from themselves, but some implode sending all those raw feelings and energy inward, they collapse in on themselves… it is a kind of ‘flight’ away from the situation and person. These are both examples of suppressing emotion. Eventually if it is chronically suppressed over a long time it is repressed. Others are more assertive and will express their anger either immediately or later, but they cannot hold that energy inside it has to be released. Some have the ability to express it in a healthy way, they use that energy and channel it back in the direction it came from to correct an unfair situation or right an injustice or resolve a conflict situation, or whatever it is that happened to cause the anger to arise.
Some cannot hold that energy, it arises in them with such force and volcanic fury they experience further cascading waves of physical reactions. The fear response kicks in because there is a perceived threat to the system, stress hormones course through the body. The heart is now galloping, the blood pressure rises, there is nervous energy build up in the body, and then they snap, and hand over the thinking mind to the reactive mind, which is a primal survival mechanism, that is designed to save you from life threatening danger, by generating the conditions for ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ whichever is required for survival. The reactive mind does not have a good connection to normal memory, it is associated with a different kind of memory, a more unconscious deeper rooted primal repository of survival defense and offense mechanisms and strategies. The reactive mind does not have access to the part of the brain which regulates emotions and makes an intelligent assessment of the situation. It is primarily concerned with reacting immediately and forcefully to the situation.
Sometimes such a response is necessary like when we are being attacked by a criminal and our life is actually in danger. Nature has designed our bodily systems perfectly in accordance with the all the needs and requirements. Survival is the very first and primal need, and just because we moved out of the green jungle and into the concrete jungle it doesn’t mean we have transcended all that is animal in us. Far from it. It is still very much a dog eat dog world!
Unfortunately there are many who under very ordinary circumstances, nothing as dangerous and potentially life threatening as being chased and eaten by a lion, or being attacked by a mugger with a knife. Perhaps someone says something that sounds rude to them, or insulting or in some way they perceive it as attacking, and this person very quickly falls into a reactive state, and thinks they are in danger. A person caught in the grip of such a state of anger cannot control the bursting energy of anger and they easily descend into aggression, and rather than seek to correct the unfairness, or find a way to resolve the situation they react but the words and actions erupt from a raw unconscious heavily charged place inside. They are capable of saying and doing terrible, damaging, destructive things to others and to themselves.
In this state the person’s inner sense for right and wrong and for what is socially acceptable is temporarily disabled. Laws can be broken, rights transgressed, but the person does not care, care is no longer a faculty he/she possesses… only raw and primal self-defense, and if it seems necessary… such a one will violently attack, abuse, murder, torture, rape… and draw others into unconscious reactivity.
How would you describe your method of working with anger? Do you express or suppress? Do you implode or explode?
I sometimes get angry but I can put people in their place and resolve things and then move on
It seems that I am often very angry about something or the other with several people but I keep it to myself
I don’t ever get angry. I am quite a calm peaceful person. I don’t allow anything or anyone to upset me.
I snap easily with certain people and then do and say very destructive hurtful things.
Anger is not to blame. You could say you have the right to be angry, but actually it’s more primal than that, it’s a feeling, and so of course you have the right to feel whatever you feel, but only if you are aware of all the influences, conditioning, and patterning or hard wiring of your mind. Memory is a wonderful mysterious faculty we possess, it can be our best friend or our worst enemy. You can remember all kinds of things from a certain age onwards, maybe your earliest memories go back to the age of 5 or 6, and before that a lot happened, which people don’t usually consider important or significant, but actually it is the foundation. And we all know that you cannot build a solid, stable structure on a weak foundation. What you cannot remember or may have forgotten… or repressed… is that some bad things happened along the way, which made you more prone to feeling, or rather, under or over feeling certain emotional states, depending on what traumatic thing may have happened to you and how you worked with that and what it did to you, and what you did with that energy. Because of the way we grow and develop it is always going to be very difficult to know and recognize when our emotional guidance system is malfunctioning. Usually we think that it’s just “my personality… it’s just who I am!”
Are you an angry person?