I don’t know if any of you have noticed lately, but my posts have been a bit more fiery, a bit more intense, and let’s face it, a bit more angry. I noticed it as well, but didn’t really think much of it. Until my therapist yesterday, ever so gently, suggested that I might be a bit more angry than usual. And that it might be because I’ve entered into the anger stage of grief, since I’ve been managing the pain and sadness of my recent breakup for several months now. As soon as she said that, I felt a strong YES within, and this felt very validating. She had noticed that I was just saying things with a bit more disgust. And this had been different than how she had seen me normally share things with her. So, yeah, in case you’ve noticed it as well, I think this is what’s happening folks. And guess what? I think it’s great!
ANGER GETS A BAD RAP
Okay, let me start by saying that in no way is anger acceptable when it comes to hurting or harming others in any way. Abuse in any form, whether it’s emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual, is unacceptable, always. And unchecked anger can be really frightening to experience, as both the receiver and the giver. Please know that I’m not talking about this kind of anger when referring to it at any time throughout this post.
It’s tricky because anger gets a bad rap for a good reason, as I’ve mentioned above. And at the same time, we as humans can often go in the other direction, to counter all the negativity surrounding our anger. And completely avoid and repress our anger, for fear of how others might view us. Women especially, have been VILIFIED for their anger, repeatedly, and consistently, throughout the history of time. And yet, men have been taught that anger is actually one of the only safe and socially acceptable forms of expressing emotions. How terrible, for both genders?!
Read my related article, “The World Is Petrified Of Strong Females.”
One gender isn’t allowed to even FEEL angry, let alone express it. And the other gender is never allowed to feel or express anything BUT anger. As always, we need to work our way towards a balance. Because fundamentally, anger is a very human and natural emotion. It’s part of our makeup and part of the human experience. And without it, we are missing a super significant part of any healing process. Not to mention the fact that it’s an incredibly necessary emotion, even and especially when it comes to everyday issues.
Listen to my related podcast episode, “Bringing Goddess Awareness To The Male Wounds Of Toxic Masculinity.”
WHY ANGER IS GOOD
Anger is an integral part of our power center. If you believe in chakra work, which I do, you will know that all of our self-worth, assertiveness, individuality, boundaries, and strength of character, comes from our solar plexus chakra. And it is here where anger can really be harnessed and channeled for good, if we make the effort.
Read my related, and most popular article with search engines, “Solar Plexus Chakra Healing.”
Anger in its simplest incarnation, might look something like this:
MY CO-WORKER SNAPPED AT ME OVER A SMALL MISTAKE I MADE AND THEN WALKED AWAY. I FELT ANGRY ABOUT THIS TREATMENT. SO, ONCE MY EMOTIONS COOLED DOWN, I WENT TO CONFRONT THEM. DURING OUR CONVERSATION, I TOLD THEM THAT I’M HUMAN AND I MAKE MISTAKES JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, AND THEIR RUDENESS WAS UNCALLED FOR. AND I ASKED THEM TO PLEASE NEVER TALK TO ME LIKE THAT AGAIN, BECAUSE IT WAS UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNDESERVED.
This is an example of a kind of everyday incident that could happen to any of us. And in this case, the person who received the rude behavior, used their anger to stand up for themselves, and set a clear boundary. Without their anger, they may have continued receiving needless and unfair abuse.
YOU GOTTA KNOW HOW TO MANAGE ANGER
However, note that this person took the time to calm down first. And they approached their co-worker in an intimate setting, speaking professionally, and directly. An intense reaction in the moment of initial rudeness, might have actually escalated the argument in an unhelpful way. Although, some people prefer to deal with certain issues the moment they happen. For me personally, I’m always so shocked and hurt by rude behavior, that I often need a few moments to gather my thoughts before I can confront the situation. Either approach can be really effective if done the right way.
There is also absolutely a time and place to express unbridled rage. Screaming at the top of your lungs while alone in the car is an amazing way to deal with anger. And throwing rocks into water or into a forest full of trees is also amazing (as long as you don’t murder any critters while doing so!).
I’ve been thinking about the last few weeks, and making sure that I haven’t hurt anyone’s feelings or lashed out unfairly. And I think I can honestly say that I have not (I hope!). Because most of my anger kind of boils up to the surface, seemingly of out of nowhere, and yet I always know it’s there. And typically, when I recognize it, I instantly begin thinking about how best to deal with it.
For instance, I was super annoyed by some strangers on my walking trail. And rather than lash out at them (I’ll admit, I was mildly cold to them in a moment), I video chatted with my friend about it. I chose her because I knew that she would most likely have felt the same way in a similar situation, and would have totally understood my annoyance. So, she did indeed validate my feelings, and I got to vent about it with her and move on. Rather than be crazy angry to some strangers who didn’t really deserve it.
THE ANGER STAGE OF GRIEF
One of the main reasons why I felt kind of relieved after my therapist had named my pain, is because to me, this felt like progress. After the breakup, I was in so much pain, I couldn’t really go a day without crying. For weeks and weeks.
Read a post I wrote right after my breakup about how surviving my days were close to unbearable, “I Welcome The Comforting Nights And Dread My Awake Time.”
And my therapist agreed that sometimes experiencing anger can feel better than sadness. It feels like a relief. I also believe that anger is kind of just a mask for sadness, and that of course, there is deep grief underneath my anger. However, at least this anger stage of grief feels more like something is moving. And it seems like I’m doing something with these awfully painful emotions. It kind of feels like I’m getting somewhere, even if I’m actually going in circles.
I actually think it really is progress. Because I wasn’t in this place even just a few months ago. So, the fact that I’m in kind of a new phase of emotions, helps me to know that I am in fact healing. I’m perhaps not as stuck as I feel. And this is just one part of it.
GRIEF IS SO POWERFUL, SOMETIMES WE CAN’T EVEN FEEL IT
After my breakup, I was grasping for anything to make sense of it all. And I discovered this podcast episode from Insights At The Edge called “Finding Meaning In Our Grief.” Which I highly recommend for anyone going through any form of grief. And in this episode, I recall that the guest had a much broader view of the stages of grief. And that the classic 5 Stages Of Grief–denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance–are a bit limiting. Meaning, there are so many more stages of grief than these popular five, and that we need to be able to feel like we can honor all of them.
For me, I think my anger just kinda creeped up on me. And I didn’t even realize it, until I realized it. Once the hysterical sobbing stage ended, and life became a bit more manageable, I kinda fooled myself into thinking I was fine. I’m all better, and things can go back to normal now! And of course I am feeling much better. But, I still cry in the shower, or on the couch, or while making dinner. So, I’m not over it. It fucking hurts. But, at least with this anger stage of grief, it makes me a feel a bit less powerless.
And this is another reason why I think anger is so helpful. Because it can really aid us on our path to forgiveness. Which, in all honestly, I just threw up in my mouth a bit, thinking about forgiving my ex. And yet, I’ve already been through this beautiful process with my mother, and anger was a HUGELY important component.
Read about my process of forgiveness with my mother, “4 Steps To Forgiveness.”
Anyway, I feel a bit convoluted over how I broke down the topic of this article. And I’m not sure I really did the anger stage of grief its justice. But, it’s weird, I also think being scatter-brained and foggy is another stage of grief. So, I’mma give myself a pass on this one, and hope that this is coherent enough for you, my beloved readers, to absorb and get something out of.
Thank you always for reading and supporting, and please let me know your thoughts!
How do you feel about anger as an emotion? Do you have healthy ways to express it or do you struggle with this? Have you ever gone through the anger stage of grief at any time in your life? And did you find that it helped you on your healing journey? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! xo
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Featured photo by Philipp Pilz on Unsplash
Head butting photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
Fire photo by Nathan Lindahl on Unsplash