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Managing Anger: The Inner Bonding Anger ProcessBy Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
Most people have learned to either repress their anger or dump it on others, which is blaming anger, which can result in violence, child abuse, and spousal abuse. This article discusses the difference between outrage and blaming anger. It goes into the causes of blaming anger and teaches the three-step Anger Process for learning from and releasing anger in harmless ways.
There are two kinds of anger:
2. Blaming anger
Outrage is the anger that comes from a loving Adult who is outraged at injustice, such as seeing someone is hurting a child, an animal, the environment, and so on. It is the kind of anger that moves us to take loving action for ourselves and others.
This kind of anger is very important. It focuses us and mobilizes us into taking necessary action. This is not the anger of a victim. Rather, it is the anger that comes from a place of personal power.
Blaming anger comes from the wounded part of us and is a form of control. Many people become addicted to anger as a way of avoiding more painful feelings. I have found that under all anger are feelings of helplessness and loneliness.(Click here to learn more about helplessness and loneliness) These are such difficult feelings to feel that we often resort to anger - as well as other addictions - to avoid these feelings. In fact, many people will do almost anything to avoid these feelings.
Anger, then, is often a cover-up feeling - a feeling that is covering an even more difficult feeling. Anger becomes addictive when it works to control others and cover over our feelings of loneliness and helplessness.
The intent of blaming anger expressed toward others is to intimidate them into doing what you want them to do or believing what you want them to believe. When we are operating from our wounded self, we often just want what we want and may not think about the effects our behavior has on others. When we believe we are right about something, we may believe that we have the right to impose our view on others and intimidate them into behaving the way we want them to behave.
Blaming anger is often our reaction to fear, and comes from feeling like a victim. When our fears of being hurt, rejected, abandoned, smothered and controlled are triggered, we may protect against these fears by getting angry at whomever is activating them. Our hope is that the other person will stop doing the threatening thing.
Since helplessness is such a difficult feeling to feel, feeling helpless over another often activates our desire to be in control. Yet, the reality is that we are helpless over what others choose to do and how they feel about us. When we don't accept the truth of our helplessness over others, then we may continue to attempt to control them with our anger.
Sometimes we get angry in the hopes that the other person will see how hurt we are by his or her behavior and change, or at least apologize and feel compassion for us. The problem is that often the other person feels hurt or threatened by our anger and instead of caring about us, goes into his or her own reactive behavior - anger, withdrawal, or resistance. Our blaming anger can set into motion a negative circle of behavior that ends with both people feeling awful.
People who use blaming anger as a form of control often feel justified in getting angry. "Don't I have a right to get angry if someone hurts me or disrespects me?" The problem is that the anger itself is hurtful and disrespectful, like fighting fire with fire which may backfire! The question is not whether or not you have a right to be angry. The question is, is getting angry serving you well? Is it really getting you what you want? Is anger at someone else really the very best way of taking care of yourself? Your wounded self may say "Yes! I feel much better when I get my anger out." That may be true for the moment - addictions always feel good in the moment, which is why they become addictions. But does your angry behavior enhance your self-esteem, your feelings of self-worth, your inner sense of safety and security? Often the opposite is true: angry behavior may increase feelings of shame and insecurity. When we behave in unloving ways towards others, we cannot help but end up feeling unlovable.
Whenever we get angry at another because he or she hurt us, we are making that person responsible for our feelings. We are being a victim, blaming the other for our hurt and anger. There is no loving Adult taking responsibility for our own feelings and behavior - there is just a wounded child acting out.
Managing Blaming Anger
Blaming anger gradually subsides as we learn to take loving care of ourselves, and to manage the feelings that lie under the anger.. The less we feel like a victim, the less angry we are. The more we develop our loving Adult and create inner safety and self worth, the more secure we feel. The more inwardly secure we feel, the less reactive we are to rejection and engulfment or the threat of it.
Anger is not truly managed when we just try to change our behavior. We need to change our intent. As long as your intent is to control and not be controlled, you may resort to anger when your fears of loss of self and loss of other are activated. Until your deeper intent is to be a loving human being, starting with yourself, you may continue to resort to anger when threatened.
We use an Anger Process to move out of being angry at others and feeling like a victim and into personal responsiblity.
The Anger Process
The Anger Process is part of Step Two of Inner Bonding. It is a powerful way to release anger that may be in the way of being open to learning. It is a three-part process.
Releasing your anger will work only when your intent in releasing it is to learn about what you do that causes your angry feelings. If you just want to use your anger to blame, control and justify your position, you will stay stuck in your anger, stuck with a closed heart. This three-part anger process moves you out of victim-mode and into open-heartedness.
1. Imagine that the person you are angry at is sitting in front of you. Let your wounded child yell at him or her, saying in detail everything you wish you could say. Unleash your anger, pain and resentment until you have nothing more to say. You can scream and cry, pound a pillow, roll up a towel and beat the bed. (The reason you don't tell the person directly is because this kind of cathartic, no-holds-barred "anger dump" would be abusive to them.)
2. Now ask yourself who this person reminds you of in your past--your mother or father, a grandparent, a sibling? (It may be the same person. That is, you may be mad at your father now, and he is acting just like he did when you were little.) Now let your wounded child yell at the person from the past as thoroughly and energetically as in part one.
3. Finally, come back into the present and let your wounded child do the same thing with you expressing your wounded child's anger, pain and resentment toward you for your part in the situation or for treating yourself the way the people in parts one and two treated you. This brings the problem home to personal responsibility, opening the door to exploring your own behavior.
Anger at another person is generally a projection of your wounded child's anger at you for not taking loving care of yourself. Recognizing your anger at others as a projection can move you into an intent to learn.
People who consistently practice Inner Bonding find themselves feeling less angry. As they develop their loving Adult, they find that they no longer take others' behavior personally, even when someone is angry or disapproving. As they learn to take responsibility for their own feelings, they stop blaming others for their difficult feelings. As they learn to define their own worth through their connection with Spirit, they are no longer so reactive to others' disapproval.
Anger management is not merely a skill to be learned. It is the natural outcome of developing a loving Adult through the practice of Inner Bonding.
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