We all get angry at times. Anger is an emotion that is necessary. When our individuality is threatened in some way it is human nature to become angry. Whether it’s a physical or an emotional attack, anger will arise when we are being threatened. We will either fight back physically or verbally, but sometimes we will withdraw inwardly until we feel it’s safe.
How many times are we confronted by people who control our feelings by judgment, manipulation or criticism? This may anger us. But if we learn to look below the surface, we will find the real cause of what angers us.
When our emotions are overlooked and we feel invalidated, it can weaken our ability to express ourselves; we get frozen in the sting of disregard. Learning to manage our feelings when this happens requires balancing our inner feelings with the external situation. In order to balance our inner feelings, it is important to be honest about our emotional state and what we are feeling about ourselves. For instance, how does it affect you when someone close to you overthrows or negates your feelings by telling you that you shouldn’t feel a certain way or that what you said wasn’t important? Or how do you feel when someone continually points a finger with ‘you’ statements?
When our feelings are repeatedly disregarded, we can get caught up in blaming or belittling ourselves, negating what we truly want, or just plain swallowing our pride. It’s important to remember that the problem may not be that you have trouble learning to manage your emotions but, rather, that the other person has an unhealthy need to control, manipulate, and gain the upper hand. In that case, it may require that you distance yourself from him or her a bit or learn to navigate around his or her incrimination. It certainly does not feel good to continuously sense that you are being put down, defeated, or emotionally hurt by a parent, spouse, or other loved one.
So, begin to recognize what you are feeling so you can decide how to proceed. The goal is to feel the feeling and then proceed by gathering your pride. When anger gets triggered, you can ask yourself, “What feelings about myself are activated?” Do I feel disregarded, useless, unsafe, negated, rejected, abandoned, or lonely? These are our core issues that will get triggered over and over again.
Self-inquiry requires that you be aware and honest with yourself. Catch yourself as you are withdrawing. Commit to inner validation of your emotions without blaming yourself. And when you do withdraw, pay attention to the part of you that needs safety, nurturing or support. Remember, even though, as children, we learned to distrust, deny, withhold, or doubt our feelings, feelings are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad–they just are. Everyone has feelings, and our feelings are worthy of our attention.