Sunday, February 20, 2011


I'm not good at being angry. I would prefer sadness or fear or any other emotion instead of cold-blooded rage. I get stalled out when I experience anger, because I usually rush through it to a more comfortable emotion, and don't give it the reins to move at its own pace and finish what is going on. I think I fear what anger can do, because I only tend to observe it destroying people and situations, but it is part of the human spectrum, and I don't want to shy away from it anymore.

Learning to experience my own anger without censoring or explaining it is unbelievably hard for me. I shut it down, and squeeze it out through tears instead, but as I learned in a group counselling class many years ago, anger is not the same as sadness, and should not be treated the same way. I understand that in my brain, but not in my heart where I think the lesson needs to play itself out.

Anger has a specific job to accomplish if we will release our death grip on it and let it go. It brings those sharp feelings from the dark into the light, and offers the benefits of a summer storm if we don't halt it midway through. We can't stay there, and we aren't meant to, but it's like a red flag alerting us to something we might not be aware of otherwise. We've all seen repressed anger in action, and often I've wished the person would let loose and let me have it, instead of working so hard to suppress those emotions, but then when it's my turn I end up doing exactly the same thing.

What do I fear so much about anger? Is it not being accepted if I say something unacceptable while I'm angry? Is it worry that I'll go out of control and not be able to reign myself in? Those with perfectionistic tendencies fear a loss of control over anything else, and this may be at the root of my panic in this area. It's another reason I don't drink to be tipsy or drunk (growing up with an alcoholic father ties in there too, but losing control and embarrassing myself is a huge factor as well).

I've worked so hard to exorcise my perfectionism, but perhaps now I need to look at what is underneath of it, and what contributes to the facade I've tried to create of order and calm, when there is often this anger churning in the dark waters deep below. I don't let anyone see these things, myself included, and coming to terms with this emotion is a big part of my ability to move through this dark place and emerge into the light.

I think I'm rapidly approaching the place where I would rather look at the scary stuff than remain stuck. It's critical to my development as a person to let go of these areas which have held power over me for far too long. I want to own myself, and that includes looking one by one at the claws which reach out from my childhood to drag me down. We all have these areas, even in the most blissful childhoods, and my childhood was not of the Norman Rockwell postcard variety.

Doing some work on ourselves moves us forward, but it also serves to show us how far we have yet to go. It's okay to feel trepidation as we uncover these mossy rocks and see what is festering in the mud of our souls. There is no shortage of garbage there, and all I can do is turn them over one by one, and bravely face and experience what I find there, and keep walking my individual path toward growth. I want to be in the light, and that requires looking at what lurks in the darkness.

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