We’re all familiar with anger. Something happens in our day-to-day life–maybe something involving work, or a relationship, or our health–and we immediately want to push back at it.
We’re emotional and we want to resist the thing that has made us angry. Oftentimes the expression of our anger is aggressive or combative. Or we go the opposite direction and we shut down entirely. But I believe that there’s something underneath anger that most people aren’t in contact with; and that’s fear.
Whatever it is that has triggered us throws us into a state of self-defense. On an emotional level, we shut down, we pull back, we close down our hearts, all in an effort to protect ourselves. By doing so, we lose contact with our vulnerability.
We Used Anger to Respond to Threats, But They Don’t Exist Anymore
This makes sense when you consider that mankind used to walk around surrounded by very serious threats. Whether it was predatory animals or extreme weather, we used anger and aggression to respond to these threats quickly. It’s one of our oldest and most efficient forms of protection.
The problem is that instinctual reaction doesn’t always fit the context of our modern lives. We’ve grown uncomfortable with anger despite it being such a core part of us. We don’t know how to integrate it or process it, so instead we turn it inward.
This is a misconception I see so often in my practice. I talk to so many people who say that anger is bad. And because of this they don’t try to understand their anger in a better way.
If we don’t invite anger in as a tool to work with, we shut it down, suppress it, and inevitably internalize it. With nowhere to put it and no way to healthily express it, the anger is unable to move through us and instead stays trapped inside. Then it isn’t safely contained and it wreaks havoc in our system indefinitely.
How to Develop a Positive Relationship with Anger
The question then is how do we learn how to work with our anger without getting angry? How do we learn how to process it and move it out of our body without being aggressive towards others or hurting ourselves? How do we learn to have a positive relationship with anger and recognize it as a part of our journey?
When we learn how to do this, we return our body to balance and are able to live our lives with our hearts open. This is something we do in the therapeutic realm. We work to normalize the idea of anger and create a space in which you can express it healthily.
Learn to Work with Your Anger in a Healthy Way
This is the work I do with many of my clients, because it is so common.
The ultimate goal is to get down to the root of what is making them angry, and work with that anger to discover the fear underneath. As a therapist it’s my job to create an environment where my clients are able to get to know their anger, and understand that it isn’t a bad or dangerous thing.
It is an energy current that needs to be expressed. It’s quite powerful to watch the release happen, when the anger has been moved through the body and what’s left is open hearted vulnerability.
What they usually find is a desire to feel safe, to feel included, and to feel loved. And that they’ve spent their whole lives thinking it was impossible. But when you learn how to move the anger through your body, and learn how to acknowledge the fear underneath, you will discover that it’s very possible to live a meaningful life with an open heart.
If you’re ready to start this process of getting to know your anger in a safe way, sign up for a free introductory session with me. There’s no cost. It’s just to see if we’re a good fit for working together.