Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Anger Thoughts - pt 2

Such a wonderfully powerful tool, even when not in actual use!

I was at my bi-annual workshop back in October when the subject of anger came up again. This is an oft occurring theme among us, even, maybe especially, those who suffer from lack thereof.

Repression is the word of the day.

One of the participants made a statement to the effect that anger was never seen as a good thing. From the typical, if there is such a thing, female’s perspective anger should be quelled and bottled at all costs being the ugly that it is.

I’m not sure I agreed with either his statement, or the so-called ugliness of anger. Nevertheless, as is customary in these workshops, I respected his opinion and internalized it for myself, with the above caveat and I made a placeholder to revisit the opinion.

A few hours later I was working on my issues with the group a cornerstone of which is anger, as usual. Now one must understand that I’m a bona fide expert on anger, under all its forms and notions, and especially using it for a given purpose. But also, I’m no slouch at bottling it up, corking it solidly as it were. I’m really good at seething too.

So here I am, in a quandary about my emotional content, being angry, also as usual. Bill, my therapist’s method usually goes into one of two parallel directions: let the anger speak – what does it have to say? And the other is to take exception to a cushion and just scream.

Both are methods to work the anger out in a controlled manner, and un-injurious at that. The idea is to let it out so that other emotions and materials can come out from beneath the anger, in essence come out of hiding into the light.

The process is one I know well. So once again, in the spirit of the workshop, I handed the reigns over to Bill and the Group.

Usually, most of the upfront discovery work is done with Bill, one on one. Sometimes someone from the group will jump in with some heartfelt perspective and help move things along.

After the first phase of discovery is done, there’s usually some emotions related work to be done, sometimes it’s acceptance, maybe forgiveness, other times it’s new insight, the list goes on. The work is as varied as there are individuals. There are some canned methods which are almost always effective too. Bill does run a good workshop.

In this case though, the discovery portion, read anger, was interrupted by one of the members. Can anyone guess who that was?

As if on cue, and to prove my comrade's statement, a lovely but somewhat misguided woman jumps in and says words to the effect that: anger is toxic and that I should just delete it!

Oh wow.

This was a perfect, absolutely perfect escape hatch for me. I knew I was being coy, but the things I knew were coming up were going to be very painful for me. And here was a group member offering feedback that I should nuke the very anger that I was conjuring up to make way for that deeper emotion.

How quickly I shut down is a matter of record for the ages. Saying that I shut down the anger within mere seconds is actually allotting a lot of time. I’m thinking fraction of a second maybe.

Remember, I’m an expert with anger now aren’t I?

My lovely lady was very well pleased. And who am I to refuse a lady.

Bill was shaking his head, almost dejected.

My best mate just had his head down and smiled knowingly, if sadly – he knew exactly what had just happened.

I did remain with the process, but the moment was lost. My emotional content was safely protected, locked away, beneath the now bottled up anger which wasn’t going anywhere. A siege.

Her feedback was spot on, but her timing really sucked.

Had she afforded this feedback but fifteen minutes later, the real issue I was trying to work out would have been out in the light. So her feedback would have been correct inasmuch as anger would have finished serving its purpose.

And heck, I’m not even angry that I blew 250$ worth of therapy that day.

However the lesson I carry away is that even if it is scary, one must let anger work itself out, or “speak”, otherwise, one just keeps hiding behind this most potent of tools.

Mustn’t be careless and careening all over with it, but by god, let it speak.


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