Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Under the Anger

Possibly one of the most important lessons I ever learned came from my mom. So, it must be true! And it goes something like this:

Anger is not just anger. It's a secondary emotion... 
and there's usually something hiding underneath it.

And 99 times out of 100, I've found that to be true.

Anger is sometimes a natural defense against pain.  We snatch it up without thinking because it's easier to be angry than it is to confront the confusion or the fear or the hurt or the sadness that lies underneath. It's easier to lash out at someone and attack them back than to tell them that they hurt us. Anger allows us to be the attacker...  Sharing a hurt puts us in the position of possibly being attacked once again.

We aren't wrong for feeling anger. I think that it can come naturally... but I think, too, that it's a choice to allow it to stay. Holding anger up as a shield in a moment of panic is a defense. Wielding the anger like a sword, once that moment of panic has subsided...  that's a decision.  It's a decision both to be an attacker... and to be an avoider.

Once the anger has passed... once it's been played out and lashed out through...  the emotions that brought it up are still there. You still have to deal with the hurt or the jealousy or the fear. It didn't go anywhere... you just heaped more conflict on top of it.

"Anger doesn't solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything."  And usually... "everything" includes you. Because the more you allow anger, and it's often hate and bitterness that follows it, to take hold of your heart, the less love there is left in you to enjoy the present.

When you're angry, when you feel that take hold of you... look underneath it.  What lies there?  Deal with that. Confront that.

Healing lies on the other side of it...

1 comment:

  1. I learned the secondary emotion thingy somewhere along the way as well, maybe from you? But as true as I know it is it's so hard to remember in that moment of anger. I think it takes discipline to not react when we are angry because it is so easy to do.

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