Friday, September 25, 2009


I sometimes have an anger problem. A friend recently asked me if I noticed that people who are in pain are often angry. Well DUH.

Lots of psychologists will tell you anger is a sign of something else. While I agree sometimes that's very true, I think there's plenty of legitimate times for anger to show its face.

I get angry that I have to work on my past. I didn't hurt anyone, but I am the one who has to sort out my feelings and grieve my losses. There's no "childhood trauma" insurance to pay 80 percent of my claim.

I've always thought it was a sign something has gone wrong. It seems to go hand in hand with physical or emotional pain. I feel it when my needs are left unmet. And it doesn't seem to matter if it's me or someone else who isn't providing what I need.

I get snippy when I forget to eat or eat only sugary bad for me foods. Sleep deprivation makes me loopy and hostile too.

My anger problem tends to abuse me first. Yes, I sometimes lash out at my kind and generous husband. Often with cause, but my response goes behind the offense. He knows, loves and trusts me and usually just gives me a minute to realize my crappy behavior and apologize.

Use your anger. Letting it fester makes a bigger problem. Use it as a road map to the disturbance in your inner peace. Embrace it not as a thing to perpetuate but as a signpost. Find the potholes and work on THEM. Make them a priorty in your life.

Try this when you feel the anger coming on:

1. Let it be real. We have feelings for a reason, honor them.

2. Express them in a safe way. Write them down in a journal, on a piece of paper or talk into a recording. Keep it private until you decide what to do about the feelings.

3. Challenge what you express. If you write that you hate someone, is that true or are you angry at them for breaking your prized china?

4. Only after you've challenged yourself, decide what to do about the anger. Take some time for this step. Be clear with yourself and others. For instance you might want to request that whoever broke your china replace the item. Consider that even irreplaceable objects can be replaced with a new sentiment. No, it wont be the "same," but it might be enough for you to find resolution.

5. Finally, repeat these steps as needed until you get to the place where you know why you are angry, what it is about and how you will react to it. Now let it go. That is not to say forget, but get to the place where anger leads to purposeful action.

Life gets better when we're free to express all of our emotions in a safe healthy way.

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