Anger comes knocking. We all get stung by its prickly spines now and then. And ours is justified, no? I was right, he was wrong, damn it!
Funny thing about that emotion too—you can just think of a situation that made you angry and start to feel the heat rising in your body. Because anger is a visceral emotion.
Just this morning I was writing a pivotal passage in my new wine novel, where the depths of betrayal became apparent to the protagonist. You know—the crux of the matter, which we like to deny and cover over with pretty pink ribbons of justification. So and so really didn’t mean that . . . It’s taken Guinevere (no, this isn’t a midlevel story! LOL) ¾ of the novel to finally feel it, to let open that box of Pandora’s she’d held so tightly closed.
And what happens to her is what happens to all of us—all hell breaks loose.
Because anger is like that. The energy produced is simply mind-boggling. Mt. Vesuvius has nothing on the human emotion of rage!
And I have to laugh at myself. Writing it, I felt the intense emotional outburst. Felt it into my solar plexus, just as Gwyn did. And it wasn’t even my own anger! But feel it I did.
The thing is, we can’t gloss over anger with platitudes. We can’t tell ourselves we’re ‘so spiritual’ that it shouldn’t bother us. That sort of airy-fairy thinking will dip us right into neurosis. We can’t justify the other person or event’s actions by false forgiveness (we simply cannot forgive someone while in the throes of white-hot anger). To do so is to lie to ourselves.
Which always reaps more pain.
The only way out is as with all human emotions, in two parts—to feel them. That sucky thing we never want to do. And then to express them.
One of my favorite old books (and where is my copy when I need it? LOL) is Right Use of Will. Unlike so many of the “spiritual” books in vogue these days, it pulls no punches. Not an easy read, this text is serious about healing and spiritual awakening. And it’s truly not for the faint of heart. Just reading it triggers those, shall we say, less-than-stellar emotions? You know, the ones you like to stuff. Anger being primary among them.
But in essence, it teaches how to successfully get through it.
It says feel your rage and express it. My way when truly caught in the throes of anger (thank god I live in the country!) is to go shake my fist at the sky and scream. Don’t have to go to that extreme very often these days. But I know the tool is right and ready if I need it.
Doing so produces the most cathartic experience. It channels that anger right out of you. Gestalt therapy is much the same, although I’ve not gone through that. But it teaches similar practice. It’s in essence experiential, focused in the here and now, and forces one to feel.
Because stuffed anger—as with any emotion—makes you literally sick. And who has time for that?
My anger pretty quickly dissipated this morning. Because, well, although it came from within me and I did my RUW exercise (sans screaming), this belongs to Gwyn. We just found it this morning. We’ll see what she does with it tomorrow!
So, how do you deal with anger?