I may have written about this before as it is an issue that pops up frequently for me.
How can I be angry when I’ve been programmed to believe my anger is wrong and shameful and should be hidden? I feel so guilty for my anger, I feel utterly responsible. Overly responsible.
Experiencing Anger as a Child and Teen.
My parents couldn’t cope with my sister and I being angry when we were kids. It was a surefire way of getting shouted at and potentially sent to our rooms, or left in whatever outdoor place we were currently visiting. Fear of abandonment definitely is a block to me expressing my anger healthily and experiencing it as a normal human emotion that it is safe to feel.
We were brought up in a strict Christian environment, both at home and school, and anger was seen as ingratitude and unholy. So this is what became programmed into my trusting childhood psyche. As a child you don’t question, you believe whatever is fed to your mind by adults.
We were never supported or shown how to deal with such a strong emotion, and my own adult experience of anger has been that of a raging toddler in a few isolated incidents. My anger can be intensely fire-y and scares me.
We were always made to apologize even if we had been justified in our anger. This was a pattern that occurred all through childhood and my teenage years.
I wasn’t an angry teenager at all, but I think that’s because I learnt to hide it, and generally expressed it by going to my room and silently balling my eyes out. I felt so ashamed and worthless and the anger became directed at myself and developed into a deep hatred of myself and my (perceived) lack of control over my emotions.
My Present Anger & Binge Eating Recovery
Right this second I feel anger for something the sweetest, gentlest, most kind and caring person has done. It would seem a somewhat small thing to others, but to me it is a big deal and I have to remember to support myself in that.
I’m scared of hurting this person’s feelings and of being abandoned by them.
I have a right to be angry.
It is safe to own my anger and really feel it.
There is nothing wrong or sinister about my anger, it is safe and I am in control of it.
Learning to allow myself to feel unpleasant feelings is something I’m working on and has been a key aspect of my counselling for binge eating.
Instead of stuffing these emotions down with food, I’m writing about them.
In fact my mind hasn’t even turned to food this morning in order to stuff the emotions down, which is a huge improvement for me.
I feel a small sense of achievement for that.
Doreen Virtue: Emotional Expression Through Creativity
Doreen Virtue is an author and spiritual teacher/healer who I truly admire and believe in. She writes about God, but more specifically about angels who she teaches are God’s messengers and helpers. They accept and love us unconditionally and are very much wish to help us, but can only do so if we ask.
She is somebody who has really helped to change my view of God as an all powerful, fearful judge of right and wrong, to one of an unconditionally loving God, who showers us with blessings and wants us to be happy and fulfilled.
She talks in her The Courage to Be Creative of how experience of our emotions and their expression is natural and healthy. In fact she dedicates a whole chapter to The Courage to Feel Your Feelings. She talks about how suppressing these feelings can cause us to be creatively blocked and how creativity “offers us a healthy and lasting outlet for understanding, expressing, and healing emotional pain.”
So here I am doing just that.
For somebody I admire as a spiritual teacher to talk about feeling and expressing emotion, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is quite freeing for me. Taught the opposite at an early age, I’m starting to believe that I am completely loved and loveable for the person I am, as a human being, anger included. We all are.