We have good reasons to be angry. People donít understand us. People don't do what we expect them to do. They do things we don't want them to do. We don't like some qualities of ourselves. We may have been abused. We are addicts, and we have been abused, and we may have abused other people. We don't get the attention we think belongs to us. The world treats us unfairly. The world treats other people unfairly.
Other people have good reasons to be angry. We donít treat them the way they think they deserve. We do things that they donít like. They may need to protect their boundaries against us, and they are good when they do so. They may defend their wounded self in ways they can, and they are good when they do so. They may not like the new us when we change and own our power and true self. We change the system, in which they are a part, and they have to find a new participation in it. They might try to increase their efforts to control us, and they might use anger to preserve the old system. We might have good reasons to be angry if someone around us began to chance, and we would have to find new ways to live with them.
Anger is a powerful feeling, and a good one. It tells us that something important to us is being violated. It tells us that something important is being done, or not being done. When we are angry, we can do things we would not be able to do without anger. It sets us in motion, and it sets other people in motion. It can also freeze us or other people. When someone is angry, we may respond with anger or with fear. When we are angry, other people may respond with anger or with fear. They may also respond with understanding, validate our anger and understand us. If they feel themselves safe, they can listen to our anger without feeling themselves threatened. If we feel ourselves safe, we can respond with healing love when someone is angry at something we have done or not done, or at anything else. However, if they have hidden agendas they are afraid to reveal, an honest response usually provokes only additional anger. Healing love understands also this, and it communicates acceptance without participating in dysfunctional systems, and without trying to read the minds of other people.
If we donít respect our anger, and allow it to take control of ourselves, anger can be a dangerous and destructive feeling. Uncontrolled anger prevents us from understanding the situations properly. We will see only one good solution, and often a destructive one. We donít want to listen to the voices of other people. We do not want to understand them. We may express our anger in uncontrolled ways, and afterwards we usually feel regret or resentment.
We need our anger. So do others. We may need anger to protect ourselves. When we move from denial towards acceptance, our road often goes through anger. When we finally acknowledge the losses we had, we may feel anger, and rightly so. We may finally grasp how we have lived our life, and we may be angry at ourselves. Other people may need to go through anger, and we let them find their ways. If we would not acknowledge their anger as real and good, we might prevent them from reaching their next step Ė acceptance. It is also our next step. We will face anger in ourselves and in others, and we respect it. We accept it as an essential element of healing. When we begin to heal, we will become more aware of ourselves, and of our anger. However, anger is not our destination. It is an important stage of recognizing losses, and if we do not allow ourselves to be angry, we will block our healing. If we do not allow other people to be angry, we will block their healing Ė or at least our part in it.
There is nothing to be afraid of in anger. It is just a feeling, and as real and as good as any other feeling. Sometimes it may take control of our behavior, but it is not because of the anger. Any other feeling can control us in the same way as anger. It controls us if we are not aware of the fact that we are feeling anger, which is merely a feeling whose purpose is to inform us that something essential is in danger. We have to feel the feeling, but we also have to listen to it. When we become more aware of our feelings, we will learn to stop and ask "What is so important to me that I feel anger?". We will become humble in front of our anger, but in order to do so, we have to allow ourselves to feel and release it. If we try to deny it, it will control us and make us resentful. We will not learn the essential message that anger wanted to communicate. Anger needs to be acknowledged. Anger needs to be felt. When we have felt it, it has gone away and we feel ourselves peaceful again. Then we can begin to reflect on the issues we were angry at, and we will learn something about our values, needs or expectations. We can do so only when we accept our anger as good.
When people communicate anger towards us, they are not angry at us. They are angry because something important to them is in danger. They are afraid that they will lose something important, or they may have lost something important. We may participate in the loss, or they may merely vent their anger at us. They may feel themselves threatened and they may use anger to defend themselves. They might experience a regression they are not aware of. When we realize this, we can let them feel their anger, but we can do so only when we are not afraid of anger. We can tolerate their anger and deal with it constructively only when we feel ourselves safe. We do not feel ourselves safe if we experience regression, or if we feel that their anger is a threat to our existence. Once we become healed and let go of the regressions anger sets us in, we will be strong in facing the anger of others, and we will be able to help them to work through it. We will learn to respect anger as a means of our true self to communicate something to ourselves, and we will learn to listen to it. We will learn to see the issues behind anger, and not merely the anger itself.
We are addicts, and much anger and resentment is stored within us. We feel anger towards ourselves, and towards our weakness to break free. We feel resentment towards our addiction and towards our endless search for relief, which is the only thing that made it possible for us to continue living. We are angry at our own life, and sometimes we are aware of it. We have much more anger than that. When we get in touch with the circumstances that set us on our path, we will find our hidden anger. We will acknowledge the injustice and shaming that we received. In doing so, we will feel it. We will feel the feelings that injustice and lack of acceptance gave rise to Ė we will finally feel what we felt, but what we were not allowed to feel then. We will feel anger. In doing so we validate the child we were, and his reality. We will validate his intuition, and we will learn that he was right. We will find peace, but only if we are willing to work through our anger. It is going to be fun. It is going to be frightening, but above all it is going to freeing.
I was not an angry man. At least I thought so. Occasionally I lost my temper, but not often. At times I broke something. At times I went for a hard walk, or raged in traffic. When I felt anger, it took a strong hold on me. Often I was able to control myself, and only clench my fists, but at times I raged. For me, anger meant to be out of control Ė an undesired state of being. When I compared myself with other people, I was a calm person, and truly so.
When I began to read the texts of Robert Burney, I noticed word "anger" but it did not mean much to me. I read Robertís material for many months, and I still read it. After some months, my eyes began to pause at every "anger". I began to think of it and of its possible importance. Once, when I was reading, I felt like an electric shock. For a fraction of a second, my every cell was loaded with energy, and a cold shudder ran along my back. It was there, for sure Ė and there was a lot of it. I wanted to find it. In boring meetings I began to list all words of anger that I knew. I began to draw pictures of bombs, skulls, guns and all kinds of things that had something to do with anger. I changed the colors of the screen of my PC to fiery ones. I knew I was on the right track, but not much happened. Anyway, I was preparing myself to acknowledge something I had denied for a long time.
I tried music, but what I had was not powerful enough. A coworker borrowed me half a dozen CDs of terror and rage music, and it was what I needed. I spent many nights listening to it, and the anger emerged. It was a wonderful experience. The anger was real, and it came from a deep place within me. Yet I was in full control of it all the time. I could feel fierce rage in one moment, while in the next moment I could decide to stop feeling it, and it was gone. One night is an extremely striking memory: I went for a ride in my car, while eight speakers and a subwoofer were thrusting terror music in the air with a significant number of watts. The driver's seat was shaking, and I felt myself like a pilot in World War II. Cars approached me out of the darkness, and in my imagination I pulled the triggers of my machine guns. The cars exploded and fell down from the street in huge balls of flames. I shouted and roared with rage and sheer satisfaction. After half an hour or so, I was extremely peaceful. I replaced the terror music with Albinoniís Adagio and flew back over the smoking ruins. Anger had gone away, and deep serenity had replaced it. I listened to the terror music for a month or two. Now I only occasionally listen to it, and it does not mean that much to me anymore.
After I initially found my anger, I have been able to feel it in 'normal' circumstances. What I found especially interesting, is the fact that the anger never was uncontrollable. Every time I felt I am in full control of it, and it gave me trust and courage to surrender to it completely. I think that in the earlier cases when I experienced uncontrolled anger, it was due to regressions I was not aware of. The situations triggered it without my permission. When I approached my anger without regression, I called it into existence, and I was in full control. I really enjoyed every such situation, and after every time I felt myself more peaceful and serene. My wife and my friend have had similar experiences.
My initial anger did not have any clear target. I merely vented away much of the pressure within myself, and I felt deeper serenity after each venting. When I left the terror music behind, I knew what anger is, and I began to feel resentment towards the issues of life I had gone through. At times I was furious towards my mama and the alcoholic men who battered me. These were the times when I acknowledged the wrongs I had experienced. After admitting the wrongs, I was able to forgive them. We can not forgive if there is nothing to be forgiven. Only when we admit that we have experienced wrongdoing, we have something to forgive. We can forgive based on our intellect, and our intellect has forgiven, but if our feelings have not experienced the wrongdoings, our feelings can not participate in the forgiveness. I was able to forgive and let go of the painful events of my childhood on a deep level.
As the hidden anger and resentment have gone, I am able to feel compassion towards my mother, and I was able to love my dad for a short time before he died. My dad and I had many compassionate discussions, and both of us wept with forgiveness. I loved my dad, and when he died, I wrote Man Whose Son I Am. I am proud to be his son, and I am proud of my mother. As my mother is getting older, her defenses begin to break down, and we have cried together. I was able to understand the hardness she went through. Her childhood was not happy. She was a child of war, and a child of much inattention. She was sick for a long time, and she had to discontinue her studies. I appreciate her endurance.
I have never lost my temper since releasing my hidden anger. I have been angry many times, and it has been enjoyable. I have used anger to protect my boundaries in constructive ways, although still much remains for me to learn in communicating it effectively and constructively. It has become my servant. I have also understood that other people need to be angry, and they have right to be angry. They need it, and so do I. When I feel anger, it is due to the present moment, and it does not contain extra loads of resentments from history. There may be times when I find more hidden anger in myself, but I would be delighted to do so, since it would only deepen my peace.
Another event that bears joyful memories is related to my nightmares of being a human bogey (chapter 2). I spent a weekend with three friends in a cottage in the middle of forests. After a cheerful lunch the three other people decided to take a nap, while I went for a walk. As I wandered in the forest, I found myself in the middle of a small harvested area. Somehow it occurred to me to start yelling and hurling stones and pieces of wood in the surrounding forest. I roared and shouted to the bogeys hiding in the forest: "Come on and fight! I'll show you! Come on and fight like a man!" For a half an hour or so, I raged, shouted, and made a lot of noise, at the same time enjoying and having fun. I guess it was the final goodbye to the nightmare. As I think of the nightmares now, I grin. The memory has gone to rest and it has become joyful. I also grin and feel joy when I remember how I made a lot of noise in the silent forest. If anyone saw me, he must have thought I was crazy. At least nobody appeared there. I would have stayed far away had I seen someone behaving in the woods like I did - but I enjoyed.
With evident anger I mean anger whose origin we know. It may be caused by something in the present situation, or by regression we are aware of. In such awareness there is a tremendous freedom to choose how to react to the feeling of anger. One can recognize it, validate it, and choose to react with anger or with any other response. One can also decide to be angry even when the feelings do not require it. We can use anger to protect our boundaries, to be assertive, or to validate the anger of another person. Unless we feel ourselves safe, we can not validate the anger of other people. In such cases our responsibility is to take care of ourselves. We may have to detach, or we may simply say: "I am afraid of your anger. Let me be in peace". If we can be assertive, we can protect our boundaries. If we are too weak or too scary, we do what we can. Anyway, the best we can do for ourselves is to reflect on the situation afterwards. Anger of other people may trigger regressions in us, and we are thankful for every regression. We can learn much about ourselves through them. The more we heal, the more at rest we are when facing anger. We learn to know ourselves, our true inner self, and he is always assertive in such ways that do not harm others or us.
At times we may repress our fear of anger, or we respond with destructive anger. Sometimes we may have to increase our efforts to control ourselves, in order to take care of ourselves. Our goal is openness, honesty, and spontaneity. We may occasionally need to take few steps backward in order to continue our journey. We will see the Signs of Awakening to Power of Love, but they emerge slowly. Anger may have controlled us, and we may not think of it as a pleasant feeling, but it is. When anger is freed from its extra freight of history, it is an enjoyable experience. When our inner child is free to speak, he speaks with assertiveness, and with love. We will be delighted to listen to him, and we will enjoy every situation life leads us into. The anger of our inner child is never destructive, but always constructive and healing. Our inner child wants to belong, and his anger is assertiveness of belonging and unification. When he speaks assertively, our concept of anger will be turned upside down, and we will enjoy feeling anger.
My wife is dealing with her anger, and sometimes she expresses it to me as if I was the target of her anger. Some time ago we drove to meet our friends, and she vented some of her anger to me. At first I felt a rage rising within me. Within a few seconds I recognized that I am feeling anger. At the same time I recognized that my wife is venting her anger at me, and she needs to let it out. I felt love towards my wife and I decided to help her to let go of her anger. I was still aware of my anger, but I was also aware of other feelings and of the needs of my wife. It was a beautiful experience to feel my anger, to recognize it and to validate it, and to know that it was just one of the feelings I was feeling then. It merely existed within me in peace. I responded to my wife understandingly, and within a few minutes she was telling the story behind her anger. Thinking back of this event makes me feel much respect towards the beauty of healed human personality. I felt anger, I respected it, but I felt much more love and desire to build the life of my wife. In fact, I was happy, at peace and I enjoyed the moment.
Anger is a powerful feeling, and one of the most difficult ones to validate. Sometimes it can be validated with compassionate understanding. At times it may good to validate it with anger. An honest communication includes communication of feelings. In order for a person to be understood, also the feelings must be understood. Two people striving for understanding and validation will find the ways if they respect anger as a real and good feeling. The worst we can do when someone is angry, is to say: "You should not feel that way. Look how much good you have". I weep when I see parents trying to make their children forget their anger by directing their concentration to other issues. When we strive towards assertive love, when we respect and validate anger as a noble feeling, we can be sure we are on the right way. Anger is real, and its purpose is to inform us that our child within has something urgent to say. Anger points at something we should listen to, in ourselves and in others. Validated anger is never unsafe, but invalidated anger can be fatal.
A couple of months ago we had to visit a location that was unknown to us, and I searched for it in the map of a telephone catalog. I still don't know what in my pursuit irritated my wife, but she said with an angry voice: "You can not find it in that way. Let me show you how to find it". I said loudly: "You have no right to say me that. I know how I can find it, and I am doing it systematically". She understood that I do it in my way, and she told me that she respected me for protecting my boundaries. My annoyance disappeared at once when she said so. Her anger disappeared at once when she heard my response. The situation launched a lengthy discussion, and we laughed a lot.
Being assertive means communicating assertiveness. Last summer, during our summer vacation, we decided to rent a boat in a city where we going to. I had reserved the boat by telephone some weeks before our vacation. The day before we arrived to the city, it was hit by a storm that destroyed a part of the pier, and the boat was unreachable by foot. As I went to the reception of the hotel and said that I would like to obtain the boat, the receptionist said: "I am sorry, but we can not reach the boat before the pier is fixed". I said: "It is only one pier that is broken. You can move the boat to another pier for us". The discussion continued for a while, and it became evident that the receptionist had no intention to arrange the boat for us. I decided to communicate anger as a part of owning my place in the world. I shouted, and in less than one minute everything was arranged. I even got extra fuel to compensate my trouble. I also noticed how the receptionist respected me more after I owned my place.
The more I heal, the less irritation I experience. The unfortunate events of life do not raise anger in me, but curiosity, disappointment or sorrow instead. If my car breaks down, it may engender a feeling of sorrow because of the extra money I have to invest in it. It does not compel me to feel anger. Other people have significantly less power to make me angry. I begin to understand that there are countless reasons why people do or don't do something. Their behavior does not irritate me nearly as much as it used to. Instead, it reveals something about their life, their values and their wounds. They do as they do, and occasionally I have to raise my voice to prevent them from harming me. At other times I may have to detach. As long as they do not undermine our life, it is best to turn the other cheek. Only love and acceptance can produce love. Hatred and resentment do not produce love. Sometimes anger is a part of love, but only when its intention is not to harm, but to heal.
We will find anger that is enjoyable. Every attribute of our inner child is an attribute of beauty, of love and of freedom. He is assertive, loving and spontaneous. Out of the unfortunate efforts of our false self to belong, we have learned a concept of anger that is destructive. As we learn to listen to the magnificent assertiveness of our inner child, we become more spontaneous, since we begin to trust his love towards everyone and everything. We will find anger that we don't have to be afraid of, and anger that we don't have to control. Our inner child may choose other reactions than anger, but in doing so he also feels and validates his anger. It is completely different from the controlling that our false self is used to - it is guidance in freedom and out of love. We will find loving anger, and in it we find peace, happiness and joy.
Out of Pain