A Pilgrim’s Progress: Finding What’s Under the Anger

 I received numerous responses last week from those who related to my blog about anger. It seems there are many who are dealing with the same issues, and just as many who are not, because they don’t know how.

I’ve continued to look at the issue of repressed anger and have brought continuous presence to the emotion. In doing this, I’ve noticed some interesting things about the healing process, one of which is how to move from suffering over what’s present, to accepting it without judgment and letting it be.

One eye-opener this past week has been to see how easy it is to fuel my emotions with my story. I’m aware that dealing with anger isn’t about telling and re-telling the story; rather, it’s about giving up my attachment to the story. The story is just what happened; it’s he said, she said, he did, she did, and yada-yada-yada. Who said or did what, isn’t really important. What does matter is which nerve did it strike?

Which brings me to my second eye-opener. Uncovered emotions are similar to what happens when we have a toothache. The pain is not about the surface of the tooth; instead, it’s about what’s going on at the level of the root and nerve. The pain comes from what’s underneath, not from what’s seen.

With this in mind, I set out to look under the anger and expose the root, and this is what I found. What hooks me and activates my anger and deep pain is what’s hooked me all of my life. The basis for my anger is fear of rejection. I’m not really afraid of the anger, I’m afraid of what’s underneath it, which is the god-awful feeling of being rejected one more time.

I find it hard to deal with anger, because I don’t know how to deal with rejection. I’ve had a lifelong struggle with self-esteem, while living with the pain of rejection.

Image from: maadicommunitychurch.com

This is a huge issue for me, because I’ve been rejected most of my life. Somehow I never seemed to measure up, nor could I find a way to live so others could see that I really was a worthwhile being.  I have to wonder what makes humans think we are in charge of quality control of others, and we have the right to reject people as not being quite good enough.

As I think back on most of the things in my life that have ignited my anger, it’s always been about hitting my rejection button. To not be trusted, to not be believed, and to be ostracized and ignored, all slam into my open, sore, oozing wound of rejection.

That’s the nerve that’s being hit, that’s the root that is suffering a slow death. I’m overwhelmed with what I’m seeing and at this point don’t know what to do with it except keep being present to it, breathing into it, and not fighting what is there.

I’m giving up the story because I know it’s only the catalyst that has brought me to my truth. It’s like the toothache is the catalyst that brings us to the dentist so the disease can be uncovered and dealt with. Every time I replay or retell the story, I’m increasing the suffering and holding back the healing.

My anger is not an enemy that needs to be sought after and destroyed, it’s a friend that has knocked on my door with the gift of insight and healing. How to heal the pain of rejection is too big for me to know in one sitting. All I do know is that I need to look at it when it rises up before me, give it space to be as I allow myself to feel the pain , and quit pushing it away so I don’t have to feel it. 

I’ve spent my life running from having to feel this hurt, and I’m done running. I’m standing at the edge with this stuff, and I’m choosing to lean into it. I have a feeling that this sleeping giant has presented me with the gift of a lifetime, and I’m sitting quietly pulling off the wrapping paper and slowly opening the box so I can see it all, smell it, taste it, feel it, and embrace it.

Thank you for letting me share my journey with you. I’ll keep you posted on this pilgrim’s progress.

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About brendamarroy

blogger, and author
This entry was posted in Awareness, Consciousness, Family, Feelings, Healing, inspirational, self-acceptance, spiritual and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A Pilgrim’s Progress: Finding What’s Under the Anger

  1. Pingback: Velvet Rage « Little Red Shoes

  2. Betsy says:

    As you travel along your life as a writer, rejection will become part of your daily life. People reject our work, which is about as personal as it gets, because they don’t like what we write, how we write it. Others reject our work because it’s raining and their slush piles are too big for one more manuscript. Each rejection toughens us. We whimper, curse, cry–anything that releases the fear of rejection inside. Then, we put fingers on keyboard and continue writing. Your blog is proof what is valuable and well written. Don’t stop.

    • brendamarroy says:

      Thanks Betsy. I get a lot of rejection in my Massaging Insoles business also, but it doesn’t bother me because I know they’re not rejecting me..they’re just not ready for the experience. I’ve gotten a few rejections on articles I’ve submitted and those don’t hit me on a personal level either. I take it that they’re just not interested in what my article is about. Of course, I haven’t submitted my book yet, and that may be another story because that is composed of well over a year of work.

      Rejection on a personal level by family or close friends is another story. But, I’m doing okay, because I see the gift it is bringing into my life. I find it utterly amazing that I can pay attention to this stuff, be accepting of what’s there, and love and nurture myself through it. Right now, my intention is to let it do its work and keep bringing me back to my core.

      Meanwhile, I will keep putting my fingers to the keyboard. Thank you for your nurturing and loving comment.

  3. Recogniizing your fear and facing it head on is a big task but it looks like you’re ready and willing to do battle with it. My prayers are with you… Diane

    • brendamarroy says:

      Thank you Diane. Actually, I don’t feel like I’m going to do battle with the beast…rather, I feel I need to consciously accept what is, be with it as I experience what it feels like in my body and soul, and just let it heal in its own space.
      Making it wrong would not be wise, that’s why it has been repressed, because I was taught it was wrong. The further down the path I go, the more interesting the journey becomes.
      I appreciate your kind thoughts.

  4. Rejection has always been my issue, too. Of course, I know I’m not alone, rejection was part of my childhood, as it has been for many. It’s very upsetting and I carried this lousy low self-esteem into adulthood. The anger from the rejection (spot on with your reasoning), rage really, became so chronic that I didn’t know it was THERE until I started Anger Management classes. There I really understood how chronic the feelings were, and you’re right, leaning into them, accepting them, just being present with them, is how to beat them. I found out that when I battled anger, it consumed me. By accepting my angry feelings, I am liberated from them, they no longer have power over me. Very good post, look forward to the next.

    • brendamarroy says:

      Thank you for your comment. Isn’t it wonderful how we connect with others on the path so we can share our pain and joy? Putting an end to suffering is a lifelong challenge, and being mindful of all of life is the only way I know to do it. Anger is so powerful and is such a great teacher, if we can only be conscious enough to be present to it. I appreciate you sharing a part of your journey.

  5. Beautifully written… thank you! I can relate to much of your sharing and appreciate the depth to which you are able to look at yourself and your emotions. This is a practice that I am attempting to get better at as well. Thank you for the insight! You’ve made my life a little bit easier! Lots of love, Jason

    • brendamarroy says:

      I’m honored by your kind words, Jason. I want you to know that your life is a little bit easier because you are willing to practice being mindful to life. It’s always a pleasure to meet fellow travellers on this path that we have been called to walk. Love to you too.

  6. jakesprinter says:

    Great story Brenda ,Thanks for sharing your thoughts
    for me fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger and anger leads to suffering
    I learn it from Master Yoda he,he Happy Easter Brenda 🙂

  7. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    I enjoy following your toughts
    they so often mirror mine
    and I am standing looking at what, how, when and why
    your words affect me…
    the mirror is coming in clearer these days..
    not so many shadows behond me
    they are standing next to me…
    where I can accept them
    one by one…
    i appreciate your stark honesty….
    Take care….
    )0(
    maryrose

    • brendamarroy says:

      Hi maryrose,
      I love your words. I believe for many of us the mirror is coming in clearer these days and the shadows are next to us instead of behind us. That’s the beauty of this incredible journey…we get to see that which had been hidden.
      Thank you for reading my blog and for your thoughtful and honest comment.

  8. rococonnor says:

    Rejection is a painful state to be in, whatever the reason. Those of us who’ve had really bumpy starts, have a lot of painful states to neutralise. You’re so doing the right thing, ending the cycles of pain in yourself, and changing your future. Your post went straight to my heart, I really do know what you describe and it’s one of the reasons I meditate and blog – to change it by sharing it. Keep breathing, and thanks so much for a great post. I look forward to more posts. 🙂

    • brendamarroy says:

      rococonnor,
      Thank you for your heartfelt comment. Rejection is painful, which is why most of us run from it. It’s a huge feeling that can be overwhelming. Thanks to meditating, mindfulness, and a heart that hungers and thirsts for wholeness, I’m finding my way to a wellness. Being aware of the power of stepping back and taking a few deep breaths has been a life changer for me. I read your blog and it looks like we’re on the same journey. Looking forward to reading more from you also.

  9. Midnight rambler... says:

    Fabulous post, Brenda. Thx for sharing. I’m experiencing terrible anger right now also. I don’t think the root cause for me is rejection but I love your analogy about giving up the story to find your own truth. I’ve been trying to suppress the anger as childhood root belief is a bad & negative thing. The adult knows this is not true so I’m endeavouring to let go of the story & let the anger be what it is & not run from it so I can grow & move on. Much love to you x

    • brendamarroy says:

      Hi Michele,
      I hear what you’re saying about letting go of the things we’ve been taught, along with giving up the story. I’m learning that the story can be so big it eclipses the truth that is underneath it all. I believe all who long for wholeness and truth, are on the journey to discovering what we need to see. I sense your longing and I’m delighted to meet all fellow travellers on this path. Thank you for your loving and supportive comment.

  10. Roseann T. Kriebel says:

    Not only is it a gift from your SELF to yourself, but you are touching so many hearts with your writing, Brenda.

  11. gigoid says:

    You have made excellent progress down that road to serenity within yourself, and finding the root cause is undoubtedly the jumping off point for your journey. I am reminded of a line from the Baghavad Gita, where Krishna says to Arjuna, “All anger arises from obstructed desire.” Hence, the key to understanding and controlling anger in ourselves becomes a matter of choice; one learns to chang what is desired, to remove the desire removes the root cause of the anger…. in your case, you have already discovered your obstructed desire, to wit: acceptance by others. Letting go of that need will indeed lead you to the journey’s best destination, peace in your center…. very well written, insightful and honest… well done….

    • brendamarroy says:

      Gigoid,
      I love your insight and sensitivity. Thank you for sharing from the Baghavad Gita. Those words make sense to me. And yes, a need for acceptance can be huge and it is something I missed as a child and have spent most of my life trying to get. But, ah, the huge gift of seeing it clearly and being able to make peace with it. Accepting my need for acceptance has been a big step and has impacted me.

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