Here are three insights into anger (plus a bonus insight) that will really help you identify where your anger is coming from and how we can work with it as men.
1. You’re probably not angry for the reason you think you are
It often seems like we’re angry at the people, places, and things around us—when really we’re angry at the past. There’s a way in which our frustrations remind us of something that happened in the past—but we associate it with the situation. It’s not effective.
We need to learn how to compost our anger and heal the past.
2. You can heal the past in the present
This is the secret to trauma work—and it works with anger as well. It involves finding a way into that original violation. It may not have happened recently, but at some point in the past, a boundary of yours was crossed. At the earlier stage in your life, you may not have known how to deal with it.
The first step of the healing process involves learning how to relive that moment and actively push the energy outwards. What you’re doing is reestablishing your boundary and teaching your body that you can be made safe.
By making yourself safe in the past, you make yourself safe for all future triggers of that holographic experience. It’s a powerful realization when you can control your own closure.
3. Anger and anxiety are connected
Understanding the connection between anxiety and anger is crucial to the insight around conquering anger. It doesn’t matter where we enter into the loop, it will spiral. Whether we start out angry or anxious, recognizing how to identify the situation will arm us with the ability to defuse it all together.
Let’s say we start off with anxiety—we need to recognize that we have a short fuse. Having a short fuse leads to anger. But, when we feel angry, the subtext is that we’re out of control because we don’t know how to handle the situation. More sensation takes us back to that place of anxiety because things aren’t improving—and so the loop continues.
It can be hard to identify whether we’re angry or anxious because the physiological symptoms are the same: rapid heart rate, tightening of the chest, clenching muscle, and rushes of heat. We need to recognize that until we intervene and learn to recognize that loop, we won’t be able to progress. The point is to recognize that we have become at the mercy of a process that is essentially a reenactment of our chaos.
It’s not easy to become in control, but what we can do, is slowly teach the body that it’s ok. This is essentially the process of self-parenting and healing trauma.
4. (Bonus) Don’t completely chase away the anger
A lot of guys hear that they have anger issues and need to learn how to turn it off. But, even if we heal all of our trauma, some of us just have a fire—and that’s ok. The problem is when we make it everybody else’s problem.
We don’t need to waste time trying to put out the fire, we just need to learn how to take the fire out of the room. For some of us, that’s the best we can hope for.
It’s actually the way that we can learn to use our fire in service of things that are worth getting angry about—rather than losing sovereignty with our emotions.