Archive for January 25th, 2012
A good question. Certainly anger is not a comfortable feeling to have. It may be a slow smouldering feeling burning us up inside, or perhaps a fierce boiling feeling ready to overflow into words and actions at any moment.
Actually the feeling of anger is very simply the reaction inside us to something someone has done or said or an event that has occurred.
When do you feel angry?
I feel angry when someone has let me down, lied to me or ignored me. Beneath that is a need in me to be valued which has not been met.
Sometimes I feel angry over an injustice and that spurs me on to do something about it, if I can.
There is nothing morally wrong about feeling anger at something, but most of us would agree that it would be wrong of me to hit my husband, because I was angry with him. What we do with our anger is so important.
Feelings of anger may not last, but we can develop an attitude of anger, which is not actually an emotional thing. It’s when we hold on to our anger, offence and resentment, nursing it and feeding it, so it grows. Bitterness can follow on and hardness of heart, an unwillingness to forgive and a desire to hurt someone and make them pay. That sort of anger can be very destructive – it tends to distort our view of reality, making it even harder for us to forgive and heal a relationship.
We can become more and more focused on the injury, the injustice or hurt. It draws all our focus onto our hurt, onto the issue. We no longer see the other person’s point of view. We withdraw into ourselves, trying to punish them, even by our coldness. It kills relationships.
Some people never realise the damage until their loved one dies. Have you come across people in this situation? Something happened to cause anger and disagreement and the situation was never dealt with properly. Over the years the hurt and bitterness grows. Death brings them face to face with a different set of values. Suddenly it’s too late to put things right and the hurt doesn’t seem as important as it once was. Their eyes blinded by anger and unforgiveness are finally opened to what they really lost.
We all have different ways of handling anger that we’ve learnt as we grew up. Some of us can’t handle it, we let it pour out of us like molten metal, burning everything in range.
We may hold it in, smolder and become more and more resentful, or we may boil over quickly and it’s all gone.
The trouble is if we boil over, the damage may be done before we’ve calmed down. Words can be said that cannot be easily forgotten.
Anger often makes us lose sight of others’ needs totally and focus only on our own hurt. It’s amazing what a keen sense of justice and injustice we have when we’re the injured party.
Perhaps something between the two is better. If we can hold on to our angry words long enough to think rationally about things, then we may manage to make some decisions about what to do with our anger. Anger can be expressed calmly. It can be expressed in a way that doesn’t seek to destroy another person. It can be used to push us into sorting a problem out with someone else rather than just brushing it under the carpet. The hurt behind the anger may be very real. We may need to talk about it, either with our partner or with someone we can trust. If you talk with your partner, try and remember they may not have intended hurting you and may regret it.
Forgiveness is an important step – making a decision not to demand revenge. It’s hard to do this if we have a sense that someone is “getting away with something”. We may need to remember some of our own past mistakes and what it meant to us to be forgiven. It takes a lot of courage to face up to mistakes and to own up to them. One never knows what reception one may get. Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.
We may need to say sorry to our loved one for holding onto the anger and being unforgiving. It may also help to recognise how we were hurt. Perhaps we were expecting too much of our partner; perhaps we were too easily offended or too sensitive.
Some good advice I’ve heard at a wedding was never to let the sun go down on a quarrel or anger. It is always possible to start the healing process by saying sorry for hurtful words. A good nights sleep and time to reflect may bring some wisdom on how to sort things out further. Using conflict constructively to sort out problems and resolve issues can really strengthen a relationship.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )