Anger is not necessarily a negative emotion it can empower us to make changes in our lives and the lives of others – all acts against injustice are fuelled by a sense of anger. If we think of all those who have changed our society and world e.g. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, they challenged corruption and injustice, and have done so out of deep feelings of righteous anger at what they have seen and experienced.
Anger is a Secondary Emotion:
Anger is not the first emotion you feel:
A good example of this is from Wuthering Heights:
“ I am trying to see how to pay Hindley back. I don’t care how long I wait – if only I can do it at last. I hope he won’t die before I get to him.”
“For shame Heathcliffe it is for God to punish wicked people we should learn to forgive.”
“No, God won’t have the satisfaction I should have. I only wish I knew the best way – let me alone and I will plan it out for while I am thinking of that I don’t feel the pain.”
(Source: “Wuthering Heights” By Emily Bronte Published: 1847)
With anger there is always another emotion underneath.
Anger is a secondary emotion – a more basic emotion always lies underneath.
This is pain in some shape or form often:
• Unmet needs or expectations
• Violation of boundaries
• Being asked to live out of a false sense of self
Think of a recent time you have been angry.
Can you root a recent time of feeling angry in any of these expressions of pain?
If you can, try and take it back even further – does this remind you of any situations, people or frequent feelings from your past?
This will help you feel empowered over your feelings and help you to have insight into what is really going on for you.