In my twenties and thirties, anger was my weapon of choice. Growing up with an alcoholic father and a people-pleasing mother, I soon realized that being angry prevented others from taking advantage of me. Anger helped me feel powerful, strong, and in control.
I stormed through life, defending and protecting myself against every threat, insult, and should that came my way.
- When a family member told me how to live my life, I rebelled. Anger was my ally.
- When my father ordered me around, I disobeyed. Anger was my ally.
- When a friend hurt me, I turned away. Anger was my ally.
My mother was an innocent, naive soul. Her sweetness, unfortunately, encouraged a lot of people to order her around — and she willingly did their bidding. She couldn’t stand up to any of them. She couldn’t stand up to my father.
So I made the decision rather early in life that no one would treat me that way. Anger became my best friend.
Being angry stopped others in their tracks. They didn’t have the courage to make demands, or be rude to me. And that gave me even more incentive to walk through life, guarded and defended.
But, here’s the thing. I didn’t like being angry. It didn’t feel good in my body or mind.
What do I know now that I didn’t know back then? Anger kept me safe. It protected me. But it was a false sense of protection. And yet, I needed anger to walk with me through that season of life. Until I learned that receiving anger’s message and learning to be undefended is the real deal.
If you struggle with anger, don’t beat yourself up even more. Anger is a necessary emotion — but we must learn how to listen to it, heed its message, and allow the energy to move through us.
How is anger useful, you ask.
It is anger that lets us know a boundary is being violated.
Those who won’t let themselves feel the emotion of anger:
* stay in unhealthy relationships
* are more prone to abuse: physical, mental, verbal, and emotional
* don’t know how to take care of themselves
* take care of everyone else in their lives
* allow others to get away with all kinds of demands
No emotion is negative. Every emotion has a purpose in our lives. The problem is, we don’t know how to listen to it and work with its messages.
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