by Joanne Deaker @reconnectme_nz
Anger is shamed, minimized and portrayed as a ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ emotion in our culture. In my childhood, I was never allowed to be angry, it was shutdown. I never saw my mother angry but I did witness many frighteningly, explosive outbursts of anger in my father. As a parent myself, a similar pattern occurred in my household and it’s only been quite recently that I’ve learned to sit with my fear of other’s (particularly male’s) anger and to even be aware and allow my own anger without minimizing it or worse still, suppressing it, as I’d done in childhood.
I now realize that anger serves an important purpose and it is pretty well always justified. It’s what’s done with it that is sometimes inappropriate, and that’s where it gets its bad rap particularly on TV and in the media, where it’s almost always associated with violence.
So what might be the meaning behind anger?
We’re doing something we really do not want to do (or we’re not doing something we do want to do)… in other words we’re violating our own boundary
OR our needs aren’t being met in some way or other.
How might we appropriately channel anger?
Creating space to sit with and process our anger without harming ourselves or others is key.
Expressing the anger through art creation, sound, movement and/or journaling (especially free writing) is helpful.
Breathwork to self soothe and calm the nervous system down if we’re feeling dysregulated.
When the anger has passed (it usually passes quickly) revisiting the boundary that was violated (or in some cases what boundary needs to be created) and then (if appropriate) expressing to whoever else was involved, what the unmet need or boundary violation was.
Were you taught to suppress anger in childhood too?