I spent many years of my life in strict, fundamentalist church groups where we were taught that anger is a sin. As a result of this teaching, people began to fear their own anger. They would numb it and suppress it and try all sorts of shenanigans to get rid of it or at the very least just pretend that it wasn’t there.
But here’s the problem with this perspective…
Repressed anger can actually make you emotionally and physically ill. Repressing painful emotions is often what drives people repeatedly towards addictive and compulsive behaviors. repressing emotional pain instead of creating connection even lies behind many cases of binge eating and bulimia. Pain researchers like John Sarno MD, have even found that repressed anger can lie at the root of some chronic conditions.
Naturally, we don’t have any trouble expressing positive emotions like happiness, love, or joy, but we often feel uncomfortable if we allow others to see our anger, fear, or discouragement. Somehow we think that these emotions make us weak or inadequate. We label these emotions as bad.
But did you know there’s really no such thing as a BAD emotion. Emotions are neutral and a natural part of being human. Every human will experience anxiety, sadness, fear, anger and a large variety of emotions we have erroneously labeled as negative.
Anger is a healthy and normal emotion. If you learn to welcome it, even embrace it, it has much to teach you.
There are two main reasons that you get angry:
- Your boundaries have been violated.
- You have an underlying, hidden anxiety.
Whether YOU externally have healthy boundaries or not, your mind does. When you are treated poorly, disrespected, put in danger, threatened – it is natural, normal and healthy for you to get angry. The mind uses anger to motivate you to take action to protect yourself either emotionally or physically. And we experience this anger not just when we are threatened, but also when someone we love is treated poorly. The anger we feel in such situations is not bad, it’s what we choose to do with that anger that determines whether the ultimate result will be healthy – or not. We can choose to assert our boundaries, command respect, and fight for our safety. Or we can choose to respond by inflicting emotional wounds or harming another person. The anger itself was not wrong, it was the response.
When your responses to your anger are unhealthy, you will react with violence (physical or psychological), to inflict harm on the other person. This often happens when an individual is psychologically triggered by something from the past that is not healed.
Have you ever gotten extremely angry and then, in retrospect you realize that you were disproportionately angry given the circumstances? If that happens, you can be sure that you are being triggered by some unhealed wounds from your past. You’re not responsible for the things that happened to you in the past, but you are responsible to heal those wounds, so you will not hurt other people because of your pain.
Hurt people, hurt people. Remember that.
So if you find yourself in a situation where your boundaries have been clearly violated, The resulting anger is rising up from your subconscious mind to get you to TAKE ACTION.
- Speak up for yourself.
- Remove toxic and disrespectful people from your life.
- Tell someone how their behavior is hurting you.
- Remove yourself from the situation.
But you may also feel angry because of underlying, hidden anxiety. The expression of anger makes us feel empowered and strong. Feelings of anxiety and fear can make us feel weak and helpless. It’s easy to see why one would choose anger over anxiety.
In addition, it is less culturally acceptable for men to admit and express feelings of fear and anxiety. This is why men will often choose anger as a coping mechanism when they are feeling afraid. Fear makes both men and women feel vulnerable and weak. It’s much easier to get angry and we feel much better about ourselves when doing so. This will often occur subconsciously, with the individual having no real understanding about the anxiety that underlies the anger they are feeling.
- If you are angry because your child is misbehaving in the grocery store, the underlying anxiety might be the fear of what other people are thinking of you.
- If you are angry because your boyfriend came home late again, the underlying anxiety could be a fear that he no longer cares for you and might be seeing someone else.
- If you’re angry because the traffic is moving too slow, perhaps your worried that you won’t get enough done today, because you believe you’re worth is tied to your productivity. You worry that you are inadequate.
The key to overcoming anger issues is to first identify the source of your anger. If your anger is a result of boundary violations, you need to take action to protect yourself by putting boundaries in place and holding to them.
On the other hand, if your anger is resulting from underlying anxiety, finding and neutralizing the source of that anxiety is the first step to creating lasting peace. We do not get anxious without cause. Something in your past created that anxiety that is now troubling you. Finding the root cause and neutralizing your underline anxiety in the subconscious mind is the key to lasting freedom. At the root of every anxious thought you will find a subset of disempowering beliefs that are deeply rooted in the subconscious mind, creating a perpetuating cycle of anxiety.
If you are struggling to establish and maintain healthy boundaries, or you suspect there may be an underlying anxiety driving your anger, transformational hypnotherapy can help. Transformational hypnosis is about locating and eliminating past wounds and subconscious beliefs that are the driving force behind your anger. It’s also about changing harmful beliefs into empowering beliefs.
There is nothing more powerful than working directly with your subconscious mind to create lasting change! If you would like to find out if transformational hypnosis is right for you, feel free to schedule a no cost 20 minute consultation.