When I first started this blog, I was so angry all the time. All I felt was an anger so deep and strong that nothing else, not even fear or shame, got through all the way.
Any other emotion I felt was temporary and overshadowed by anger. That scared me. And it made me angry. I was caught in a loop of my own design. A seething volcano set over a bottomless pit of anger. Or a black hole I’d never get out of.
Transformation – making friends with and utilizing anger for positive goals
One of the first posts I ever wrote was about feeling like the Hulk all the time. In the first Avengers (and yes i am a fan girl), Dr. Banner said his secret for containing the Hulk was to always be angry. That phrase resonated deeply, so I tried to stop rejecting or running from the anger.
Over time, my anger calmed down. We became tentative friends, and all parts of me learned to pay attention when the anger started to rise. Feeling “Hulk anger” as we sometimes called it meant one or more of us were triggered and feeling unsafe. Or someone was triggered and experiencing flashbacks to similar situations and reacting to the past instead of the present.
Either way, being mindful about our angry feelings taught us how to cope with feeling and experiencing anger better. We became more aware of potential triggers and found ways to stop the anger from being triggered. If we did feel angry, Distress Tolerance from DBT helped a lot too. Eventually, the anger settled down and other feelings emerged more often. It was growth, change, and small steps towards anger management that allowed everyone in the system to learn coping strategies for other feelings and triggers too.
Seasons passed. Holidays passed. Anger stopped appearing all the time. Shame took its place and often enticed anger to make an appearance too. Combined, the deadly duo almost always compelled one or more of us to act or react in a negative way. Separating them is a topic for another post.
Then one day, we managed to separate present anger from past anger. Another time, we separated the anger from the shame or guilt. Small successes. At work, we managed to stop the trigger in the middle of an episode; separate past from present; and apologize to the other person as part of the reparation. Big success there. Then a stumble back to Shame territory. And more work separating feelings from triggers brought more small successes and insight.
Present Day – what happened to the pit? It’s dry
A couple weekends ago, my alters and I were practicing a meditation to help let go of unwanted feelings. It was part Buddhist compassion or loving kindness meditation and part spiritual visualization meditation. None of us expected to stay more than an hour. But we lost track of time in our safe space. Hours passed with us lying down on the comfy bed.
In our mind, all 88 of us were safe and protected inside our transparent bubble. Surrounding us was an epic storm of feelings and emotions. We had to let the feelings inside the bubble, settle down, and then exit through the energy recycler. Not easy to do when some of those emotions felt like pure, negative evil. But we persisted.
In the end, the bottomless pit of anger dried up.
So did the other pits – despair, guilt, and pain. The grief and shame pits are still muddy\; we have more work to do with those feelings.
The lesson: hard work pays off.
An Experiment & Other Posts About Anger
If you noticed, this post is slightly different in format compared to others. I/we are expermenting and putting into practice newly acquired skills from work to try improving reader experience.
We’re also trying not to reinvent the wheel so to speak. After going through the archives, we realized that there are over 300 posts written over 4 years. Our following is not big, and that’s okay. It’s exactly right for now and may change later.
But for this post, and some future ones, we’re going to add links to related posts in the content and a short list of others you might be interested in at the end. These posts did not get a lot of views, but they show evolving perspectives about anger.
If you feel like commenting, please do. If not, thanks for visiting.
As always, thanks for reading.