Giving Anger the Run Around
SSilent Night by Peyton (Marnie) Cram
There’s something to be said about anger. It’s motivating, it feels productive, it feels righteous. The moment its peak is experienced, everything seems to be aligned just right and make sense. Anger is a wonderful fallacy one can hold onto to justify just about anything. Our actions, behaviors, words, beliefs, grudges, and so on. You name it, we can hold onto it. I know I can.
It feels good in the moment and makes us feel powerful. However, we reach a point it becomes destructive. Cancerous. The longer we grasp to it, straining for that righteousness to support our actions and beliefs, the more it tears us apart (whether we are right or not). Have you ever noticed the longer you stay angry, the less people want to be around you? The more you isolate yourself, cutting yourself off from the world because, “Dammit, I’m right!” Feeling out of control of oneself? Building upon itself and getting less joy out of your day. More and more energy is spent towards proving yourself correct…to yourself. The chip on your shoulder and saltiness in your attitude, ever more present.
You see, anger was never meant to be held onto. It was meant for a moment and a last resort. We are pre-wired to experience a whole host of emotions and actions before we experience anger, because our brains are geared towards survival. We freeze, we flight/run/escape, we experience fear, anxiety, shame, grief…all these things before anger. The only time anger makes a presence is when our brains have perceived we’re backed into a corner and fighting back is the only way we’ll survive. For that moment.
I’m not saying anger is bad. It serves its purpose in our life as a basic human emotion. We all have it and we all experience for a variety of reasons. It’s when we’re stuck in its grasps and can’t see past it, that it becomes an issue. There wouldn’t be a widely accepted concept of Anger Management classes, if this weren’t the case. If we get stuck in that rut of anger, we end up training ourselves to respond with anger more readily (this can occur from re-occurrent traumas, continually shamed, in any way consistently “backed into a corner”). We put ourselves at a disadvantage. Between you and me, I know I don’t make the best decisions angry nor see things clearly. I’m not able to take in perspectives, new information, let alone make rational judgements, until I level out. This goes for a wide breadth of people.
Figuring out the roots of your anger can be arduous, but worthwhile. It’s going to require a honest look at yourself and prepping yourself to face the dark corners of your being, looking at the things we may not want to admit nor accept. Now, it doesn’t have to occur all at once (not recommended), but something to keep in mind. It’s a necessary journey of healing and letting go of a cancer metastasizing at your core. So sit down with it. Ask it its name. What it’s trying to communicate. You might find there are things that merely need to be acknowledged or there may be things that need worked through. Do this with a friend, with a therapist, paints, writing. Whatever you may need (that is not destructive).