Anger – Final
All cultures render certain things taboo. Some are fun and exciting to break – to do that which is prohibited. Conversations about anger, and God forbid, acknowledging our own anger, are not. We flinch at the thought. So too, we think we are re
lieved in having our culture’s support for denying our anger. This relief is a false one. I remind you that those declaring and maintaining something as taboo do so under the pretext of protecting us from ourselves – or doing it for our own good.
Social control, following another’s lead, going along with the system, believing little of ourselves, and staying malleable to religious, commercial and political interests are the purposes of those who establish subjects as taboo. I invite you to see this perspective as apolitical. I have no political motive. Rather, the issue is love: love of self, of others, of creative expression, and for the mystery of our existence, and for life itself.
The primary consequence of conforming to our culture’s prohibitions regarding taboo subjects is that we distance ourselves from our sovereignty. In this we are saying no to life, no to the Mystery, and no to our growth, healing and awakening. We are saying no to our strength, power, creativity and the rapture of being alive.
In this, my last incursion into the subject of anger, I invite us to let go of the smallness of our upbringings, educations and experiences. I invite us to let go of our fears, our self-diminishing injunctions of others, and our own ego’s internal self-nemesis: the self-critic who works for the taboo makers. I invite each of us to remember that most forms of anger are but a language for saying no to our own lives. Time to let that language go. Time to let go of the maps issued by our culture.
This year, 2012, marks a transition of developmental stages for our universe, solar system, planet and us. A new phase has begun. In this new phase we will learn to reorient and transform our unconscious self-sabotaging bent: We will be supportive of ourselves rather than self-diminishing. We will look and find guidance and direction within. Each of us will sort what is taboo and what is not for ourselves. We need no more look to the outside for what is right for us personally, individually. Each of us will sort internally how to grow, heal, become and creatively express ourselves.
Regarding anger: I offer the following relevant bulleted points as additional distinctions in anger’s morass. Appended to the end of this post is a brief summary of Hellinger’s model.
• Children approach relief from their grief by expressing anger. Adults who have yet to learn to grieve do this too. Anger is a false substitute for crying deeply. Although politically incorrect, there is an incalculably important and beneficial energetic reorganization and clearing that occurs when we give ourselves over to crying deeply, as the feeling arises. Crying moves and clears stuck, or would be stuck energies. Although there are countless reasons prompting us to cry, there is a generalization women know, that few men do: Often a woman cries when she is angry. A man does not typically. His tears, if he gives himself over to them, are generally tears of grief.
• Expressing anger at times is simply the result of habit. The issues have been cleared yet we have forgotten this and express anger.
• There are angers which are natural characteristics of certain people: They are energetic rather than personality borne. These are of the same character as Hellinger’s seventh type. These types of angers too are a beneficial without emotion or malice. They further our ability of act in accord with the giving of our unique gifts, of pushing back without attack, of taking life-affirming actions for ourselves and others. For example, there are those of us who carry anger regarding the injustices ensuing from cruelty:
Remember Mother Teresa, Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela. The fidelity of these luminaries to their nature and character continues serving to serve us.
So too, remember the three women who share the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Leymah Gbowee, a social worker and peace campaigner from the same country; and, Tawakkul Karman, an activist and journalist from Yemen. These women pushed back without attack and against injustice, sexual violence and repression. The force and agency of their beneficial anger is serving us all.
Our new era teachers and writers will be those who look within themselves, and assist others to do the same. We are moving beyond the finding of answers and solutions from the outside.
• What do you need to leg go of so you can look within for solutions? For direction?
• What do you need to do to access a proper guidance system within yourself?
Summary of Hellinger’s model:
1. Anger in response to an attack or an injustice against you that is constructive and enabling
• makes you strong
• enables you to take action
• enables you to defend and assert yourself with appropriate anger and rage;
• asserting yourself energetically and effectively
• anger is goal directed; to the point and dissolves when goal is achieved
2. Anger as a substitute for an action you could have or ought to have accepted or taken, asked
for or demanded from another
• instead of asserting yourself and taking what you needed you become angry with those from
whom you ought to have taken, asked/demanded from
• this anger is a substitute for action; it results from inaction
• it has a paralyzing and weakening effect and often lasts a long time
3. Anger as a substitute for love – functions similarly to anger as a substitute for action
• instead of expressing your love – you get angry at the one you love
• cause – childhood interruption of movement with mother or father
• its intensity increases through repetition
4. Anger as a defense against your guilt for having wronged someone
• it is a defense against the consequence of your actions – and – you make the other person
responsible for your own guilt
• a substitute for action
• enables you to remain inactive
• paralyzes you and make you weak
5. Anger as a substitute for indebtedness and compensation owed another
• when someone gives you so much and you cannot repay the debt
• when you get too much that is good, you become angry with the giver defending yourself
against the obligation to compensate them
5a – Blame
• functions as a substitute for taking or accepting your indebtedness, thanking and acting with gratitude
• paralyzes and leaves one empty
5b – Depression
• substitute for taking action, accepting, thanking and giving gratitude
5c – Sadness
• Expressed as a long lasting sadness after a separation, particularly if you still owed acceptance and gratitude to one no longer present, or if you failed to acknowledge your own guilt and its consequences to someone who has died or left
6. Anger that is assumed and “taken on” or taking over the anger of another
when someone in a family or group suppresses anger, another member of the group (the weakest)
subsequently becomes angry for no apparent reason
6a – Family
• a child takes on the suppressed anger that one parent has towards the other, the
child becomes angry at that parent in the other parent’s stead
6b – Group
• unexpressed anger toward a superior is often expressed towards the weakest person
in the group
6c – Target
• often the weakest member of a family or group becomes the target for unexpressed
anger of another member within the family or group
• suppressed anger toward spouse is directed toward child
• wife’s suppressed anger toward husband is expressed by the daughter – not toward daughter’s
father – but toward the daughter’s husband
• there is a particular specific quality to the anger and rage that those who have taken on the
anger of another feel and express; it is a proud, righteous and indignant anger – but it is not their
own; they remain ineffective and weak
• people victimized by those expressing the assumed anger also feel strong in their righteous
indignation but remain weak – their suffering is pointless
7. Anger that is virtuous and beneficial
• this aggression is pure strength
• strong, wakeful, centered, assertive and appropriately directed it is enlightened and courageous – capable of facing up to powerful adversaries
• it is without emotion
• you are capable of harming others when necessary but you are not angry with the people you harm
• it is the fruit of long discipline and practice but comes easily to anyone capable of it