Releasing Anger As A Stage of Healing
- Judy Dragon -
Quote for reflection: Anger is a necessary stage in the healing process….The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Is Anger is an important emotion?
Is it possible to acknowledge that anger is an important emotion?
How do you deal with your anger?
Do you allow it a place to be without making yourself wrong or bad?
Do you know how to process anger without projecting it on others?
If you do know, are you able to express yourself so you’re heard without making another bad or wrong?
Emotions as navigational tools
Working with anger can be a deep process or cathartic experience. It’s something that I feel I’ve given a great deal of supportive and caring attention to personally as well as helping others process through.
All our emotions are really navigational tools allowing us to experience what is present for us if we listen rather than make the emotion negative or wrong.
And this is where the understanding of non-dualistic spirituality comes into play. Everything can be assessed non-critically through All-that-IS, which is Love, the Divine energy that runs through everything.
We can learn not to harshly judge what we feel or what happened to us in polarizing or dualistic ways– good or bad, negative or positive, right or wrong. Black and white thinking limits our experience in what is learned from the emotion or expression which are gems of awareness and growth
There is a gray zone. The only thing that is absolute is that everything is part of this Unconditional Love.
Directions before proceeding
What would happen if there were no red lights or stop signs at intersections? Would everyone stop and look in all directions before proceeding? I doubt it unless it was taught at young age by a child’s parent, guardian or who was responsible for the child.
That is what is so true about experiencing and regulating emotions. There needs to be a slowing down to look around and within, to understand what is going on when it comes to ‘heavier’ emotions like anger.
Taking a pause, a few breaths, a drop into our body, is so essential in order to know how to navigate what is really happening. Otherwise, situations of disagreement or differences can easily escalate into reactivity or triggers where we use the emotion of anger to hurt others by projection or internalize it towards ourselves. We lose the present moment as the past overtakes us.
Anger as an identity piece
Anger had been a predominant feeling most of my life. It was my default. It covered over the very vulnerable grief, pain, and injustice that I had felt which seemed weak, ineffectual and unprotected. It was also projected onto me as an identity piece…”You’re such an angry person.”
Yet, the anger felt strong…powerful. It emotionally held me together like a thick binding glue. It allowed me to feel that I existed and had boundaries when my reality seemed shattered. I knew, for sure, that I was some kind of human that could feel deeply connected to my anger even though I was treated and abused in ways that objectified me as less than this.
Eventually, I had to learn to separate the feeling from who I really am.
When one is abused as a child, coping mechanisms are established to survive and need to be worked on as an adult so new skill sets are available. Emotional regulation is the crux for social interactions and individual peace of mind and body. Working with the processing the anger can be so sacred.
Very Transformational Story
I have a dear friend and client who I’ve worked with for almost 40 years. We have gone through so many experiences both together and in our individual lives that we’ve shared with each other. She suggested and then gave me permission to share this very transformational story that we both experienced together.
After she graduated a Masters program, she came to me in wanting to work on issues around being successful. She is a very kind and caring person who has worked on her issues for years. Yet she has been unable to allow certain feelings to be present, particularly in the presence of someone else including an array of therapists.
There was a great lack of safety growing up, fears of abandonment and rejection. She needed ‘to be needed’ to feel she belonged or connected to others. She felt that everyone else’s feelings came first while a part of her hid inside holding herself back, playing it small.
This revealing led us to one of her professors whose actions reminded her of her father, a father who she both adored and hated. She felt the professor, similar to her father, was sucking on her energy emotionally. It was always about their needs coming first, thus minimizing what her needs were and disconnecting from herself if she wasn’t responsive to the others.
As she was sharing and going down the digging ‘rabbit hole’, she stopped. Immediately she informed me that an intense rage was stewing. She stood up, walked into my hallway, closed all the doors to the adjoining rooms, anchored herself in the middle of the space and asked me to stand back.
I gently edged to the end of the hallway. She didn’t want any neighbors or people who might pass along my private road to hear what was coming next.
She stood erect, closed her eyes, took several deep breaths way into her belly and let them out until sounds emerged. She moved her arms as if pushing energy away from her, pushing back against an ancient wall that she could now, somehow, move.
She then pointed her index finger on one hand outward, stretching her arm, and bringing up and out a deep guttural expression of “No!” She moved around in every direction screaming “No” and “Stay back”.
Then the sound of “Ra” emerged…like a lion’s roar, curling her lips as she yelled it.
“Ra, Ra, Ra!”
She let it rattle in her throat before it fully released. Then she turned around to the four directions and let out a literal ROAR [Release Of Anger & Resentment] as if making sure that each area could feel the intensity marked as a lioness’ cry.
This continued for at least 15 minutes as she screamed in an altered state. I cautiously said that the time was running over.
She insisted with firm, directed and anchored reply, “Don’t stop me! I’m almost done.”
She wanted the purge to complete itself as she intuitively knew it would. She was saying her ‘No’s in respect to the energy of the release.
A few more deep Ra’s emerged and then a slowing down of her breaths as she re-centered herself among the four walls of my hallway. I opened the door to the healing room, and she walked in and sat down.
“I’ve never done that before…let that anger up like that in front of anyone…never…in all my years!”
I thanked her for trusting me to witness this amazing energy release. She continued to sit for a few minutes just being with the shift back to this moment with me sitting across from her.
“It was an altered state.”
“Yea, I know.” I knew also that she didn’t do anything to hurt herself or lose sense of the limits of the walls as a boundary for her. She had sub-consciously and spontaneously set it up this way. It was all safely contained.
A week later, she reported that she had released four pounds, not something she had expected nor was this a conscious goal for the session. It was something that she had felt stuck around for awhile. It shed as a result of releasing the anger and taking back her power. She also felt that she had a more congruent and direct sense of her boundaries, and was able to set those limits with others during the ensuing week.
The potency and sacredness of the release of anger is a force that can be reckoned with when safety is created–a sacred container–and the courage and deep strength it takes to really let go.
Consider giving yourself the opportunity to let your ‘emotional river’ release, especially when and where it can feel seen and supported.
Private sessions can be scheduled by contacting me or the other team members of our non-profit, The Moving Beyond Trauma Project, at: https://themovingbeyondtraumaproject.org/team
Helpful Creator’s teachings/downloads
I know what it feels like to, how to, when to, that it’s safe,that it’s possible, that I can, I do (or I am/am able to be/can):
- Know the sacredness of all my feelings including anger
- Pause to recognize what is going on with my emotions
- Navigate with my emotions
- Understand the importance of all my feelings as a way to navigate in my life.
- Reckon with my anger in a healthy way
- Be open to identifying my feelings/anger
- Feel safe to identifying my feelings/anger
- Live without identifying as my feelings/anger
- Have the right to experience all my feelings.
- Allow my anger a safe place to release
- Release anger in a safe space where I pace myself
- Release anger without projecting it onto another
- Be aware of my needs to be able to emotionally regulate myself
- Feel safe to allow another person I trust to witness and hold sacred the release of my anger.
- Feel safe of being emotionally vulnerable with the release of my anger with someone I trust