October 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm #43116tulips8Participant
I feel angry at least once a day. Like — blinding, seeing red, out for blood, angry. I don’t know how to manage it or not let it interfere with my work and my relationships. In the middle of the day, I can simply remember something that someone said or did, and it will come back. I’ve noticed that in relationships, it is extreme. It doesn’t matter who I am with, there is always a point where I feel upset to the point of no return. I recently started therapy, and she said that I have turned all sadness into anger so that I’ll have energy and not feel ‘stuck’ in depression. I’m going to work with my therapist, but in the mean time, does anyone have any advice? It’s sort of ruining my life.October 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm #43139Alexey SunlyParticipantOctober 3, 2013 at 7:51 am #43162MattParticipant
I’m sorry for the suffering you’re experiencing. It is never fun to be consumed by anger, and to have it happening regularly must be very trying on your heart. Don’t despair, there is always a path to joy. A few things came to heart as I read your words.
The first is Buddha taught that anger is a highly corrosive emotion. It pains the body to go through flares of anger, and often leads us into a cycling state of anger. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche described this as “negative negativity” or painful emotions that become so powerful they seem justified. For instance, perhaps it would seem just that you are angry that a person punched you in the face. Buddha taught that the anger is an unnecessary component, a second arrow. There is the pain in the face, and then almost as if you were struck again, the pain of anger.
To remedy this, we can take a few steps to calm the mind, smooth it out, become more peaceful. Consistently doing a metta meditation practice (YouTube “Sharon metta meditation” if you’re interested) is the best method I know of, but any self nurturing activities can help. Go on a walk in nature, take a bath, follow your hobbies, create some art…. actions which help your body be reminded that you care for it, that you love it. Find the beauty that is in and around you, then let yourself open up to that beauty.
Then we can begin to see that the people who wronged us are spinning with their own cycles, caught in their own web of suffering. The actions which lead the puncher to punch, for instance, are painful for them… much like you are caught in a web of anger, they are caught in a web of aggression. The punch is only a small moment in time, but the aggression and anger that happen last far longer than the bruising. From this understanding, we can find forgiveness. We forgive others for their trespassing because we know that leads us to be free. Its not about them, its about us being able to move on, heal the emotional wound of the second arrow. So we accept that all people do dumb things, and forgive our abusers for doing dumb things. Then, as we remember the “angry moments” with a new light, it fuels our sense of love and freedom, because the memory becomes one of genuine triumph. Namaste.
MattOctober 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm #43225Jenn-ayParticipant
I was you two years ago, angry, like so angry I couldn’t see straight, it seethed out all over myself and my relationships. My anger journey — I stewed, I brewed over small and big slights, I people-pleased myself into resentment all with a smile on my face. If people were mad at me, whether I thought they were right or wrong, I apologized first instead of standing up for myself, because the crazy thing was I was terrified of anger, mine or others’.
I started seeing a therapist at that time, and took some time and their tools to unpack it, and just like your therapist said to you, my anger covered up my sadness. We did lots of exercises, I unloaded a lot of the hurt I had felt for decades and started to learn to make better choices for myself. One of them was learning to love myself and not punish myself for my feelings. I told my therapist, it was like I was going through an anger detox. Anger can be a defensive mechanism, but it can also be addictive. There is power in it, like you said, it can keep you alive. My anger kept me alive for a long time. But it takes a toll on you, sometiimes a heavy one.
I am learning to forgive the past, accept people and myself as we are, and feel my feelings in healthy ways, but not hang onto them (feelings are not without merit, they are just signs for us to pay attention and ask why; what is this triggering in me; and what am I going to do about it, and can I handle the consequences for myself and others for acting on this feeling).October 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm #43328tulips8Participant
Thank you for your responses. I read them carefully and I am considering your words, which mean so much. I hope to be able to experience and validate my own feelings so they don’t lead to this anymore. I have tried a few things in the past week — counting when angry, choosing words more intentionally, and removing myself from people and situations that I feel uncomfortable with. This seems to be a good start, and I’m going to try and continue on that path.
Peace to all of you as well.October 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm #43388RosieParticipant
Tulips, you are already on your way. the fact that your anger bothers you is actually a good thing. I too have suffered similarly and have been working on it for years literally. It’s definitely a work in progress and you’ve got some great advice up there. I know at least one person with similar issues who likely will never decide to do something about it like you and I have both done. I just wanted to pipe in to tell you “Bravo!” for wanting to do something about it.October 8, 2013 at 5:16 am #43418Anders HasselstrømParticipant
You have made a big step in the right direction by starting therapy. Most people don’t admit something is wrong and blame it on other people instead. I support Rosie in this discussion – thumps up for working with your issues.
In the mean time, try and see if you can find yourself in the difficult times. Next time you feel a rage coming up I suggest you find a quiet spot. Sit down and try to meditate for 5 or 10 minutes. Find your positive energy in the situation. Listen to Matt’s advice and start learning some of the techniques.
Wish you all the best,