The Purpose of Anger

in Features

I have been sojourning into the murky, painful world of anger recently.  Healthy anger and unhealthy anger.

We all have anger issues. It is part of the human condition and in its healthy form it is an essential tool for survival. But it is perceived in society as dirty, something to be ashamed of and that needs to be hidden from polite society. 

There is a whole lot of anger in the world at the moment… generated by the fear that surrounds us. Fear of change, fear of the unknown and the fear of knowing that we can no longer trust those who are supposed to be taking care of us. 

I have become aware of having anger directed at me, quite cruelly, from people who I love and who love me and this is tricky. This, not least of all, in relation to my recent journey with my brother who died in March. Not everyone can deal with such a situation, the loss and pain are too great and even those of us who have the resources to do so will struggle and either express anger or invite it in from another source to do it for us. I am sure many of you can relate to this. What we cannot see or express in ourselves we will unconsciously find expression of in someone else… it is called projection or reflection. 

So, I have been reflecting. And this has led me to understanding the Fear… Anger…Sadness cycle and how it comes full circle. 

What comes first? I think anger. Anger at not being held by the primary caregiver. Not being safe to express Anger. Or even being encouraged to express anger and then being beaten down for doing so. 

Then comes Fear. Fear of expressing (healing) Anger. There are consequences – which means that there are consequences to being me.

And then the Sadness of being dismissed which can start off as an emotional refuge but recycles back to Anger.

Fear harnesses the ‘ways’ that Anger was suppressed. These become the tools of the ego, diligently employed to keep (me) ‘safe’.

These tools, specific to the individual, are familiar, known and therefore perfect for keeping ‘me’ suppressed. Bound in Fear for daring to be who I am. The danger of daring to be authentic.

Eventually, however, it is most likely that rebellion will take place within and seek to find a way to express itself. This often happens by way of reinforcing the suppression. The Fear becomes twofold …. On the one hand is the fight to express one’s authenticity (I AM real, I DO exist) and on the other hand, to reinforce exactly the opposite in order to ‘stay safe’. 

Fear can become paralysis or it can become rage. Anger will resurface, it can’t not, but it will resurface in one of these two ways. Rage or Paralysis. Play dead or become a killer. 

Rage is an unhealthy and potentially dangerous form of Anger. It is uncontrolled Anger. The original Anger is healthy, Rage is not. 

Rage is all encompassing in its moment. It is an out-of-control monster which can, and does, rule peoples’ lives and the lives of their families, spouses, and loved ones. And no one knows when it is going to dive in, or what it will react to.  

Rage does not represent anyone’s authenticity because there is nothing authentic about Rage. The underlying Anger is deeply and truly authentic but by the time it has arrived at Rage, so much damage has been done that it is simply destructive, throwing the beautiful, perfect baby out with the bathwater. 

Rage does indeed have a purpose, but then so does breaking things, smashing things, punching, even murder. Rage is not an emotion, it is an action .. a re-action to suppressed anger. It has a genuine, powerful origin but it is a profoundly and dangerously unhealthy reaction which grows into an addictive habit. It is a Soul way of reclaiming its birthright, of reclaiming its power but it is a lost way of doing so. A lost and damaging way of doing so. And, as with all addictions, the outcome of each engagement is shame and self-loathing. And then the endless rhetoric of self-justification under the guidance of the victim within, produced and directed by the ego – the Inner Narcissist. 

Most of us have heard the term ‘rageaholic’. So, I ask, what is the difference between a rageaholic and an alcoholic? Neither of these behaviours (that is they are) are of the person. Of the glorious, amazing being behind them. They are human reactions to being dismissed, to not being acknowledged, to being told that you do not count, you do not matter, that you are not special, that you are not good enough. The ‘you’ in your ‘youness’ has been dismissed.

Behaviour management has its place in recovery. It can be used to do just that, manage behaviour, but the reality is that it is a repressive technique. It not only goes no way towards healing the underlying damage, neither does it respect the individual, never mind the soul. In fact, behaviour management serves to ‘normalise’ the individual into what society can tolerate while sweeping authenticity under the proverbial carpet. We can employ different behaviour management modalities healthily and effectively, but only when we understand that they are ‘savlon’ therapies, valuable to keep the underlying issue from suppurating, while we undertake repairing the root cause and leaving it where it belongs – either vapourised or in the past.

Meanwhile, remember that you are enough… you are a divine being on a remarkable journey. 

Kate Mchardy  MA(Hons)  PGCE MSPH. 

Spiritual coach, teacher and healer.

The University of Light Group • +44 7712889534

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