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You have a right to be angry.

There are things that have happened to you that should not have happened. There are things that are going on in the world that are wrong. Injustice brings about anger and that is a natural part of the human experience.

Anger is a misused emotion and because of that, we are afraid of it.

Anger comes out in all the wrong ways if you don’t deal with it correctly, and that is a scary thing.

I used to express my anger in fits of rage and violence. I had a right to be angry. But I didn’t know how to deal with my anger so it came out the wrong way.

I wasn’t able to direct my anger at the source of the injustice so it was misplaced on the innocent.

The baby that wouldn’t stop crying.

The man taking his time getting through the intersection.

The lady with a big stack of coupons at the grocery store.

My anger wasn’t wrong but the target was.

I realized at some point that anger was causing problems in my life that I didn’t want to have. So I stuffed that anger. And it actually helped with some of the problems. I stopped directing anger at misplaced outward targets and that brought more peace to my family.

I thought that was the end of that, but I was wrong. You see, what happened is that after a certain time, the stuffed anger starts to rot and poison the inside of its host. I thought the anger was gone, but I had only driven it underground.

So about 8 years after I thought I had stopped being angry, the poisonous emotion inside had its way with me. Over that time it had not weakened and died. It had grown stronger and more virulent, waiting in hibernation for just the right moment to reappear.

This is deep. The anger that still lived in me sprung to disastrous new life when I had an experience that to my subsconsious was similar to the original trauma where the anger was born. I’ll explain.

My parents abandoned me when I was 16. This left an indelible mark. I was right to be angry at this injustice but never realized that was the emotion I felt.

When I was in my mid-forties, my oldest daughter abruptly moved out during a time when I was heavily focused on building and repairing my relationship with her. There was no malice involved in her decision. It was simply a passage of maturity. It was time for her to leap fully into adulthood and independence.

But my subconcious interpreted that as abandonment. The trauma in me was viciously triggered in a way that I had no understanding of. And the anger monster sprung to new life, more powerful than ever before.

At a time in my life when I had been experiencing growth and functioning better than I ever had, something came over me and I changed. I was crushed by my daughter’s departure and our relationship was broken because I didn’t understand.

I withdrew from the outside world. I disconnected all my friendships. I stopped talking to the neighbors. Except for that time I screamed at Sharon next door because her dog got loose and trapped my cat under the car. I screamed at her. I ran off all my kids’ friends. I hid in my room whenever someone came to the door.

Day after day I was at home with my negative and defeating thoughts. I stopped doing things that I loved. I sold my guitars and my sound equipment and my beautiful treasured handcarved African djembe drum. I stopped singing and writing songs. I couldn’t write.

I didn’t know what was happening to me and it took years for me to recover from that experience. Something that a mature and healthy mother would have cried about for a couple of weeks and then moved on, totally crushed me to the point that I couldn’t speak of it.

Most of this suffering was because of my undealt with anger. This is the result of “stuffing it”, something we are told to do by society, by our families and friends.

Are you angry? You have a right to be.

Don’t stuff it and don’t misplace it.

Whatever it is that happened to you, express the anger and release it. Tell the truth. Write it all down in a letter that you don’t intend to send. Speak it out in the presence of a trusted friend or group. Say everything. Get mad. Yell and scream and hit things (not people). I like a child’s plastic bat on pillows. Cry. Get it all out of you.

Cleanse yourself. Because that anger, if it stays inside, is poison that burns and scars even more than the original trauma.

Ephesians 4:26-27: Be angry, but don’t sin — don’t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger; otherwise you leave room for the Adversary.

 

 

Written by Tina Gasperson

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