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.
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.