Part 1- Personal story.
I do and I do not want to be expansive. I can feel the true longing for growth and freedom, and I can also feel the other part that is attached to being stuck, angry, and frustrated.
I dial up that part that is attached to the frustration and ask it- Why? It replies- I am coping mechanism against feeling the anger that arose when you were hurt. Since I don't know how to confront in a healthy direct manner, I turn my anger back in on myself where it becomes a distortion of positive aggression.
I tell myself that I feel angry because my emotions go nowhere and nothing changes- but that's not true. The anger does go somewhere, it goes in. Anger gnarled on itself becomes depression and frustration and despair.
What may happen if I don’t turn my anger inward? A cloudy surge of fear says: “Better into me that out into the world. Because I can take it.” The anger gets mixed with pride “I am the one who is big enough to absorb all the anger” and this gives me a slight sensation of being better than. After this false sense of pride, however, is a quick slipping into victimization and despair that feels like a deep fiery burn in my stomach lining- coupled with a compacted heaviness in my gut. Swallowing my anger burns me and promotes resentments while the shame and despondency of denying my heart and my truth weighs like an unprocessable brick.
So, this is one pattern.
Here are others:
-A loud sullen silence that sucks the air out of the room.
-Armoring and posturing to prevent personal contact.
-Spite arrows, sharpened and hurled.
-Smiling while storing away hurts to be used in a later attack.
Anger is a natural emotion. It is important. We need it and we all have it. And like all emotions it is healthiest when it is moving. It arises, is able to have expression and then releases. However, because we have so few examples of healthy aggression in our society we tend to either express it harmfully, or not express it at all.
To keep anger locked into the personality requires constant proof and vigilant scanning for perceived provocations. It requires collecting injustices and keeping them close. We want justification of our already existing anger and granted it is not hard to find. “The world is not fair. People are terrible. I will be hurt.” We see only this. Physically when a muscle is in a constant state of tension, it becomes weak and unavailable to engage when needed. So becomes our positive aggression when it is constantly trapped into fixed anger. Unable to move so also unable to work in its healthy positive capacity.
PART 2- Mask, Lower Self, Higher Self. Questioning through a Core Energetics viewpoint.
Here we look at anger through the lens of three different energetic layers, as defined in Core Energetics, a somatic and energetic form of counseling and spiritual growth..
Mask- surface, who we think we should be. A closed energy current that houses confusion, judgement, victimization, blame. The mask covers both the lower and higher self.
Lower self-the raw, hurt, intense feeling under the mask. Defenses. Fear, Pride, Self serving will. The lower self avoids tender feelings,and it separates and divides.
Higher self- vulnerable, connected, soft deep feelings of all kinds. Unites. Divine attributes of love, serenity, power. Authentic and whole. Self beyond self. All one.
Ask yourself; what aspect of my consciousness is my anger serving?
Is the anger serving the mask, the lower self, or the higher self?
Is it being used to judge (mask)? To divide and harm (lower self)? To Protect (higher self)?
Now what if your anger is living at the level of mask? Of judgement, blame, victimization. Are you hiding it while devising socially acceptable ways to express? Are you nice and loving on the surface, while you internalize anger and collect resentments? Does your anger show up as judgments and blame? As “Bitchiness”? Is it everyone else's fault? Are you better than? The quality here is going to be denser, rigid, circular, opaque, potentially with little daggers and throwing stars (energetically.) This will activate a defense from the same layer of consciousness-mask. It becomes that argument that is always the same and never moves. Penetrating the mask requires owning up to your real, potentially imperfect, feelings.
Expressing the lower self- The lower self is real, it is strong, and it is in a much more intimate partnership with our higher self than our mask is. That is why having the courage to face and acknowledge the truth of your own fear, self-will, and pride brings you the ability to transform it in a way that denying it never can. The voice of your lower self anger might be like- “I want to hurt someone who hurt me. I want to control others, I want to make someone else feel bad for the way I feel bad.” Or it may just be a strong feeling. This is where screaming and hitting a pillow can be very useful in moving the bound energy. The lower self has a straightforward reactive defensive. It may seem simplistic or childish, but it has a clear root to the original hurt, in a way the mask never does. Expressing the lower self in some kind of therapeutic container is enlightening and necessary for growth, while acting it out in your life upon others or yourself is traumatic for them and for you.
Anger in the higher self takes the form of protection, of positive aggression. This is vastly different than using it with the intent to attack, hurt, or harm. It is a higher self action to protect yourself and others, to protect your heart, your time, your energy, your resources, your body, your loved ones, the earth, those vulnerable and unable to protect themselves. If we are out of touch with our intuition and our heart- if we did not get a good model of self-care, self-responsibility, and the special kind of love that is protective love- we may be challenged to truly connect with higher self protector. Aligning your intention towards it will help.
Where does the line from righteous anger blur into lower self anger and mask? Keep asking yourself, what is the intention here? Am I feeling and expressing something that is deep and grounded and TRUE for me? Am I honoring myself-or am I compromising my own integrity by practicing the same behaviour that hurt me? Do I want to make someone pay for how they hurt me? If that is true, which is natural, really explore and own that WITHOUT acting it out on someone else. Practice the strength of your NO, HERE IS MY LINE without the counterattack of I WILL GET YOU. So have your anger and the strength of your personal moral compass too.
Ask yourself if you are one hundred percent identified with the anger? Or can you observe it a bit, while still allowing feeling. Shame is often a response to our anger, and feeling ashamed we vow, sometimes unconsciously, to never feel angry again. Or, in a slight variation, to never be around whatever person, place or thing we believe provokes our anger. We isolate. We confuse feeling the emotion with the reaction to it. We fix the anger in our body where, in an attempt to restore natural movement, it festers, causes pain, illness. Listening to that part of the body is the first step in healing.
So- exposing the mask, facing the lower self which involves painful acknowledgments of the attachment to our defenses and what they have cost us, and centering in our higher self vulnerability, serenity, strength, and love is the path to collective and personal evolution.
PART 3-Invoking a vision of the future
Who keeps the crystal of glass so transparent that when true positive aggression arises, it fills the reflection full and rich and strong? Who expresses the emotions with clarity so anger can provide its service, to clear and clean, to burn away toxic debris, to protect, to instigate change, to serve the truth-the very flame itself? Where anger rings like a clear bell-untainted by the secret desire to hurt, harm and retaliate? To honor it as it expands and then let it move and fall.
Not one of us here on earth, I imagine, do this perfectly. Perfection itself is a distortion- a lie, that prevents us from following the messier alignment of moment to moment truth. There are so many challenging examples of both expressing and repressing anger. And like anything we will practice and make many many mistakes on our way. Learn to make amends. Learn to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
To connect with your higher self aggression- Feel the fierce protector of your heart. Feel it and honor it. Anger arises out of a hurt. What if you told the pain itself, the one underneath the anger, that it did not have to hush up and not have needs. What if you feel the burning fire of self-love and protective love. Let it come to the forefront. Would you let that small child inside of you silently take abuse? Perhaps that happened, and that is ok because that was required of you in that time. Maybe even for survival. Draw that child to your mind again and wrap your protector around them. Whisper to that small you- “I got you, I got you, I got you.” You are important, you matter, you are loved.
Anger is a crucial aspect to change. We can say-NO- I literally cannot betray my own heart anymore. And when it is aligned with our real, not false, needs- then it will not interfere with the real needs of anyone else.
Here is my personal current mantra around anger: I embrace my imperfect anger, doing my best to feel, to be in my knowing, to be honest. Is my anger in positive aggression, negative expression, or a swirl of both? Is it hiding under a mask? What hurt is it connected to? Can I love that hurt? I will be messy and imperfect. I will have to apologize sometimes. But what I won’t do is collect my pains in a basket of resentment that guarantees the bitter pill of the end of connection. I will have the courage to confront, and to listen, to accept responsibility. I will have the courage to be vulnerable, to be alive.