Our society put so much more emphasis on the so called “positive” emotions like happiness, joy, excitement, but stay away from emotions on the other side of the spectrum like anger, sadness, fear, and frustration. Anger is probably one of the most harshly judged emotions in our society. We do not give each other enough space and permission to have a complete experience with it. When I said“a complete experience,” I meant somatically, physiologically, verbally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Why do we avoid anger? Should we though?
We want to stay away from anger because it is so big, explosive, and in your face when it shows up. It creates discomfort, anxiety, and fear in us. Our whole body freezes up and our brain shuts down. However, anger can be one of the most useful emotions that shines a new light on the situation and our loved ones. It can help us see the undiscovered parts of ourselves and give us the opportunity to grow and expand as individuals and partners.
Another picture of Anger:
My partner James has been having a really rough time with our cat, Fred, because Fred has been urinating around the house. James has tried so many different methods to address the problem ranging from putting Fred on Prozac to working with an animal therapist. Last night James caught Fred urinating in the house again, and James was FURIOUS!
James and I spent some time talking about his anger, AND I am so grateful that we had that dialogue, because here's what I learned:
- Shame – James felt ashamed of himself for yelling at Fred.
- Fear – James was scared what might happen to Fred if he lets him go outside.
- Guilt – James feels a lot of guilt, because he was afraid of what might happen if he lets Fred go outside.
- Powerlessness – James felt like there was nothing he could do. He felt stuck and defeated by the situation. He felt powerless about helping Fred.
James’ anger helped us get to know each other more and be there for each other. I appreciated James' courage for sharing his experience with me. I thanked his anger for bringing us closer. It deepens our intimacy!
What Can Anger Teach Us?
Anger can guide us to more self–awareness and understanding of our loved ones. It appears to be scary because we never spend time with it. It becomes more manageable when we learn how to use it to our advantage.
Anger can help us see the hidden parts of our partners and loved ones, and those are often the parts that we want to see, and the parts that nourish and deepen mutual understanding, respect, and intimacy. Anger is a great roadmap that can guide us to gain more self–awareness and learn about others. Anger is one of the most misunderstood and unfairly treated emotions because of its outward representation.
Anger appears to be scary but it is full of information and compassion. Anger can be a powerful tool in deepening the intimacy and the connection in a relationship when partners give each other the permission and the space for anger. We can only see beyond what anger appears to be when we can ground ourselves and use our curiosity to lean into it. When anger can be seen and explored, that’s when anger becomes calmer because now it has a voice and its story has been heard.
If you are able to feel anger when you are threatened or when someone treats you unjustly, and if circumstances allow you to express yourself assertively, your anger will yield to a calm self-assurance. Likewise, if you’re not ashamed to feel anxious when you perceive danger, chances are that you will take whatever steps are necessary to protect yourself, thereby demonstrating just how courageous you can be.
Anger & Compassion
Thanks to my wonderful friend, Joshua Krembs, who is an amazing Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) at Osteopathic Integrative Medicine (OIM) in Denver, I found the following quote about Anger because of Joshua’s introducing me to David Whyte’s work,
“ANGER is the deepest form of compassion, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt.
Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for.
What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when we are overwhelmed by its accompanying vulnerability, when it reaches the lost surface of our mind or our body’s incapacity to hold it, or when it touches the limits of our understanding.
What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or our mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.”
What’s your experience with your anger?
Can I help you with concrete skills to manage your anger so you can live a life of more connection and intimacy?
Please share to help more people have connected relationships and satisfying sex lives.