In my experience there are two main categories of people who come and look for help; those who are often and disproportionately angry and those who are afraid of getting angry. Mostly I see people that have considerable suppressed anger.
In many cultures, spiritualities and even therapeutic circles, anger is viewed as a damaging and negative emotion.
Anger, aggression, is a life affirming positive force and has strong healing properties.
Anger is a natural and spontaneous response to stop situations and people who threaten and injure our body, our freedom, our integrity and self-respect. Anger is the body’s organic need to move the energy out and to take actions to safeguard and express who we are and how we feel. Anger tells us what is important and what and who we care about. Without aggression, in its literal meaning of “moving towards”, there would be no satisfaction of ours vital needs, no discoveries of all our resources, no expression of our capabilities. Love needs aggression.
Anger and fear are in antithesis, when there’s anger, there’s no fear.
In fear we block the flow of anger, the energy is reversed inward is pulled back towards the centre, the outward impulse and movement is immobilised and paralysed. Fear uses the same amount of energy as anger, with the difference that fear is the worst feeling we can host in the body: it restrains cripples who we are and what we can give. How can we be free if we are trapped in fear? How often are we afraid of confrontation and then dislike ourselves?
In the face of assaults, injustices, humiliations, if we have to block out the spontaneous response, we end up feeling self-hatred, impotent and helpless victims.
But if we suppress anger, we don’t make it disappear. The emotional secretion comes out through poisonous resentment and bitterness, self-righteousness and superiority, continuous criticism, cold silent hatred or by submitting and violating others who are weaker and vulnerable.
If we dissociate from the bodily reality, anger remains in the body in the form of tensions.
We can’t “talk” the feeling out of the body, it has to be experienced and released through the physical movement of the body to fully sense self-assurance and strength.
People, who explode at any opportunity for any minor issues, need to take deep breaths and go to the feelings below the superficial and destructive outbursts, feel the impotence and the pain. They need to increase their sensitivity and compassion for human faultiness and use all that energy in creative directions.
People who are frightened, deadened, need a safe therapeutic environment, to express the anger at who caused the injuries and the traumas. They need to relinquish the withheld response and feel the power of the confrontation. We can be angry with people we care about, if we need to affirm our feelings, our space, our identity, so we are able to reach out again and re-establish the positive bond.
Anger, focused aggression, brings heat, energy and empowerment; it is the vital pulsatory movement that ignites the body. It is the burning flame that increases the aliveness and keeps the commitment to being ourselves.
If we cut off anger and natural aggression we smother and lose the fire, the passion.
How much fire is in my belly? How tall is the flame?