My Terrible Temper
Have I mentioned that I have a terrible temper? Well, I do. And that temper gets let out when I do feel angry – not frustrated, or upset, or irritated – so I work hard not to go there.
The only times I truly feel anger (even rage) are when I get triggered into flashbacks or fight/flight/freeze/faint responses. And then, it’s often one or more alters who feels this anger and shares the memories with us. We all work together cope with the anger safely now. No one wants to lash out or take this anger out on undeserving people in the outside world.
Only the outside world?
Sometimes it feels that way. The anger inside me/us is deep, old, and strong. Much of it is directed at people who are not part of our lives anymore. But before they departed our lives, these predators convinced the majority of us that we need to be angry with ourselves and not them. Even now, many of the alters in our system still believe this and turn the anger inwards.
Feeling the Energy Change Around Me
When you or someone around you is angry, do you feel the energy or environment change around you? Does your stomach start to hurt or your head suddenly ache? Do you feel scared of the anger? Does it change your mood? Can you feel the anger intensify as an argument escalates? Can you feel the anger die down as people calm down and try to talk it out using different tones?
That is what I experience every time I feel angry or someone around me feels angry. Why? Not sure, but here is my reasoning. **Here again I feel the need to remind guests that this is only my opinion (the AlterXpressions System) and not that of anyone else.**
Anger is an emotion. Emotion is charged energy. Energy spreads out once it’s released into the atmosphere. And because anger scares me, I tend to reject or deny or avoid it. I would look for an escape when the anger is around, but not directed at me. I would try to avoid confrontations so that I don’t experience the trembling, sick, shaky, confusing, negative feelings afterwards. That never worked though.
Instead, the avoidance, rejection, and denial seemed to attract more and more angry feelings, negative energy, confrontations, explosions of anger from myself etc. into my world. Got to the point where I was afraid to be around anyone in case the anger spilled out of me or someone else around me.
- Learning (as an adult) that feelings are real and that expressing one’s feelings is a natural, healthy part of being human.
- Understanding what emotions are and how our mind uses the information they provide to help us stay safe & make connections with others.
- Finding caring individuals who understand the language/experience of trauma and are willing to help victims/survivors teach themselves coping techniques for overwhelming feelings (aka Dialectical Behavioral Therapy).
- Learning other coping techniques to help understand how feelings/emotions affect thoughts & behavior (aka Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) so that patterns can change for the better.
- Understanding that energy can be changed
- Feelings eventually go away
- there are many other techniques to help accept the feelings instead of denying them.
- aka meditation, grounding, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Hypnosis Therapy, Somatic Therapy, and the list goes on.
Once I stopped rejecting the anger and started accepting it, the anger felt less intense each time. My temper stopped getting the better of me. And I stopped attracting so much anger and negativity into my life.
Another Use for Grounding
Every anniversary and holiday I struggle with overwhelming feelings and anger. They make the time off feel stressful because my usual coping strategies and techniques are necessary but not sufficient.
**While I understand many of you may feel skeptical about reading books like this, please do try to keep an open mind. Many of the ideas and information on this website and blog come from alternative healing and alternative thought resources.**
And then I went to my favorite new age book store last Sunday and found a book called “The Reluctant Empath”. The authors are two practicing shamans who tell the story of a young man who struggles with being extra sensitive to his environment. The authors discuss coping strategies & grounding techniques for dealing with the energy and feelings the boy used growing up.
Two things stood out from the first 4-5 chapters:
- These people were not telling me I need to shield myself from the negative or the positive feelings & energy as the only effective way to cope
- These people were telling me that there is an alternative that works better BUT
- It’s counter-intutitive
- It takes a lot of practice
- It means facing fears
What is the alternative?
Grounding out the feelings – yes a grounding coping strategy
Now, I’m not going to be the best at explaining this concept right now. To be honest, I’m still learning how to use it. But here is my take on their grounding technique:
Our minds & bodies are conduits for energy. Energy helps our heart beat, blood flow, brain work, etc. as it flows through us. Why not use that flow to move external energy in, through, and out of ourselves instead of letting it get stuck in our bodies?
Their technique resonated with me because I use something similar to cope with negative feelings and tolerate overwhelming feelings. My version of this is the visualization technique discussed here
I used to think my problem was with expressing angry feelings. Now I understand that the issue is with acknowledging and accepting these angry feelings. By facing my fears around anger and acknowledging anger instead of rejecting it, I am changing the way I think and feel about the emotion and myself. I can accept myself and the anger inside me now.
By acknowledging the anger as part of me, I am learning how to face and cope with some of the scariest parts of my past so that my recovery can continue moving towards true self-acceptance and a thriving life.
Thanks for reading