Where do our angry responses originate? Our eruptions are an outflow of what we’re already carrying inside ourselves. We’ve each formed habits of trying to manage our reality when we’re pushed out of shape, and these patterns which we typically used formed around our early experiences. The feelings we had when there was a power imbalance when we were little are still with us, and are part of our identity. So when something comes up that doesn’t sit well with us, we will follow our usual tendency of either withdrawing or moving towards the situation.
How do we move from the place that we are now to where we’d like to be? On this road of relearning life-giving ways with our anger it doesn’t help just to imagine being in a different space. For just thinking positively doesn’t mean we’ve done the necessary work and made the transition. Imagining ourselves responding in a life-giving way when our buttons are pressed may give us good feelings but these are fake as we haven’t really shifted. Instead, this ‘mind-trip’ to point B will disempower us more and will distract us from actually getting down to doing the difficult road work of creating new pathways in ourselves.
So how do we make this new road? In order to move along this path, we will have to start clearing the debris it’s littered with, smoothing the road ahead. The terrain in which we’ll work will have different challenges. There’ll be soft, swampy marshy areas within us that will need to be filled in and firmed up. We will need to look where we collapse and need reinforcing and need the encouraging, supportive relationships of those who see and know us to be there where our peers and parents couldn’t be. There will be rocks that obstruct our way where we experienced hardness from others we depended on and were not allowed to be ourselves. We may have become hard and intransigent because of these experiences. These areas seem jammed and immoveable but are places where we are being invited to grow. With slow persistent work, the rock breaks and becomes a very strong part of us. Then we will experience our power returning to us.
All this intentional work is to be able to move with more ease and fulfillment with our anger and to discover that it actually an amazing gift. Along this path we may be surprised when we find support from others who aren’t our chosen kind, people whom God sends us to teach us new things to do and to reinforce areas we’ve always battled with. When we get stuck and don’t know how to go forward, we will need courage to persist, to take risks – maybe just one step at a time. We will be creating new pathways to life.
Anger Books from Sergio’s Shelf: