What’s below your anger?
Anger is merely a surface emotion of a much bigger issue, so we’ll explore the emotions attached to it and get to the root of it so you can begin healing. Think of it as the uncovering phase of your anger. It’s important to note that if you can’t acknowledge your anger and let it out in an appropriate way, it’s much more difficult to do this. Try journaling your grievances, writing what you think you’re owed and if this would make you feel better. Don’t worry about being fair, this is part of larger context, but just allow yourself to feel free with what you write and keep it to yourself.
Below anger is usually shame. It’s not uncommon to feel some embarassment about something we did or something that happened to us, especially when it involves a lack of fairness. For example, people get fired or broken up with, but any outcome is always a combination of factors. What happened to you where you felt there was unfairness? In what ways? Do you feel ashamed about anything in particular in that situation or as a result?
The next layer is dwelling and obsessive thinking, which is a big time and energy drainer. It takes a lot out of energy to be angry and put specific focus onto things. When we’re hurt, we like to envision what we could’ve done differently or replay exactly what happened to us over and over searching for an answer. What hurts do you think about and how often are they coming up?
People also sometimes tend compare themselves to who hurt them. If we’re hurt, it’s a natural response to imagine the offender as having a better life than us, like the other person is walking around living their best life. Who’s someone that you spend time dwelling about? What do you imagine their life to be like?
Traumas can tend to vary in degree, but they all lead to some change that we need to acknowledge. Sexual abuse can lead to one no longer being a virgin, but our defense mechanisms might keep us in denial. Sometimes we just suffer a permanent injury and there’s nothing we can do about it other than embrace it. If we don’t embrace it, we can have another side effect, which is a pessimistic view of life. We might have had a view that the world was a safe place, then we learn the world isn’t fair, so we can see the entire world as full of self interested, self serving, people where everything is unsafe. Before any traumas or unfairness you wrote about, did you see the world differently and how do you see it now?
Once you know the underlying emotions of your anger, this doesn’t solve any problems of injustice and it’s not to create a feeling of misery. The idea is to open you up to the possibility of forgiveness training. This isn’t something you do for the offender, it’s something you do for you, but has a positive effect on those around you. Nothing says you have to reconcile relationships by forgiving if they’re unsafe for you either.
Drop me a line if you want to dig further into your grievances and work toward forgiveness.