‘Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.’
– Mark Twain
From my previous post Faith and Anger: Anger is One Letter away from Danger, I provide thoughts and insights I’ve learned on the subject of presenting the topic of anger and experiential knowledge from my own encounters of wrestling with the emotion anger. I shared this past weekend with my friend mentioned in my last post Faith & Appreciation in a Transition, I realized I was expressing my own anger about circumstances related to my transition without acknowledging the hurt. Her patient, persistent inquiry, ‘How are you doing,’ when we would talk and it allowed me to come to the realization and breakthrough i was saying I was angry, but not acknowledging the hurt. I consider her an angel sent from God to aid me in my recovery during my own transition.
In the parent seminars I co-facilitate for The National Family Resiliency Center I share with parents experiencing the transition, on the subject of anger, ‘We say we are angry, because it feels more empowering to say we are angry. We avoid saying we are hurt, because it suggests, or implies vulnerability, or weakness, but at times we are weak and vulnerable. Anger masquerades the hurt and we remain hurt/angry longer, because we fail to acknowledge the hurt.’ I also add, ‘God forbid someone we know gets hit by a bus, when we visit them in the hospital, we would not have to ask if it hurt. It would be physically and visually evident that it hurt. However, some us in our transitions are encountering circumstances that are like being hit by a bus, but we are not acknowledging it.’
Anger masks other emotions. Most times I am not angry because I am angry. I am angry because I feel betrayed. I am angry because I feel misunderstood. I am angry because I feel neglected, violated, disappointed, threatened. Time and experience has taught me that I am better able to cope with and manage my moments of anger when I am successful in acknowledging why I feel the way I feel and what I feel. Journaling since 2003 and now blogging has enabled me to better identify the why and what of what I feel.
I have also learned that I have not yet learned to cope with what I am encountering until I am able/willing to talk about it and that process is different for everyone, because the intensity of one’s grief determines how one chooses to cope. Have you ever felt a weight so difficult you didn’t even feel like praying about it. In the garden of Gethsemane, it is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s gospel accounts that the disciples were exhausted from sorrow and failed to watch and pray as Jesus admonished them.
I believe my breakthrough was part the inquiry of a friend, journaling, prayer, time, and a soul’s yearning to get to the ‘better place,’ along with God’s grace (His word and His Spirit) sprinkled in for good measure to ensure I would get there! It also didn’t hurt to have the accountability of teaching on the subject as a consistent reminder to my inner being about my own soul’s progress through the process of grief. Anger may masquerade, but grace uncovers when a soul is open to healing, recovery, and resiliency.
May God bless you and help you to unmask anger and identify the true feelings of grief associated with your transition to help you heal, recover, and encounter resiliency.