Women, Anger & Power

Women, Anger & Power

I am sharing this from a presentation I gave. Now I am making it available openly to empower women. Women are the ones speaking up and saying no to the abuse they have tolerated for so long. Reading this material and actually doing the practices, will assist women in setting healthy boundaries and experiencing more fulfillment in their lives. It will help make the families in this world more sane and healthy.

Our Society is Emotionally Retarded!

Society, many religious and spiritual traditions discourage healthy anger expressions as well as many of the other emotions including positive ones!  Women are more naturally gifted with emotional intelligence and therefore often at an advantage to spiritually awaken since closer to Source since they are closer to their feelings.

Irresponsible Anger is Scary

Violence- emotionally, verbally, intellectually, physically, sexually

Causes harm, impaired or destroyed relationships, physical damage, criminal behavior

Shades of Red

  • Anger is a “hot” emotion; it is emotional FIRE and like fire often needs containment to not cause damage.
  • Irritation, displeasure, annoyance, aggravation, frustration, indignation, anger, outrage, livid, rage, fury, wrath etc.

Repressed Anger- Get is out!

  • Stored anger is a result of previous anger not fully experienced.Often it is from childhood when it wasn’t safe to express it and the child didn’t have proper or sufficient bresources to cope with it. Stored anger is toxic to the body.
  • May be associated with depression, rashes, acne, cold sores,acute inflammation in body or joints,acid reflux, gastric ulcers, heartburn, indigestion, inflamed eyes etc.
  • Often associated with judgment, impatience, criticism, intolerance,excessive perfectionist tendencies.
  • Often stored in liver, gallbladder, intestines, genitals, shoulders, jaw. Can be anywhere in body.
  • Dangerous anger/violence is usually stored rage that gets triggered by current circumstances and “hitchhikes” on current reaction.
  • Unhealthy men have learned to use anger to control women. They escalate their anger in stages using just enough to get what they want.  Undeveloped women do this also. 

Real Time Anger

     Current anger is a message that something isn’t quite right- usually a violation has occurred, a boundary has been crossed.  The level of anger is appropriate to the situation.

The transmutation of anger into response-ability doesn’t take place when you choose to use meditation in an escapist way, pretend that everything is fine, or play the forgiveness game.

The Gifts of Responsible Anger

  • Makes us whole- We are designed to feel the full range of emotions just as a rainbow is made of many colors including RED.
  • More energy- lots of energy is stored in anger and TONS of energy being used to keep it buried or at bay that comes back into your system when anger allowed to be felt.
  • Energy to protect the self physically, emotionally, intellectually, energetically etc.
  • Energy to set boundaries or enforce them.
  • Respect- Our demonstration of our self-respect by setting and enforcing boundaries teaches others we value ourselves and often leads to them respecting us more.
  • Fosters true intimacy- not sharing honestly creates barriers between people that build up over time.
  • People value people who are emotionally responsible. Men adore women who can communicate responsibly.
  • People can’t manipulate you with threats of anger when you have healed it in yourself.
  • You will attract healthier people to you as you transform your stored anger.
  • Ability to feel anger and respond in healthy manner in the moment
  • A more peaceful family, workplace and society.
  • Often is step depressed people need to take to move out of depressive states.
  • Direct and clear communications re: anger are better received than “sideways” anger expressions or passive-aggressive behavior.
  • Makes our lives more productive, effective, peaceful, colorful, flavorful, passionate, ALIVE!!!

Inquiries About Our Conditioning

Most effective if you do this exercise in writing.

  • What judgments do I carry about anger?
  • Who taught me my primary lessons about anger?
  • How did my caregivers react when I was angry as a child?Teen?
  • What age did I fully shut down my anger if I did that?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable am I with my anger and expression of anger?
  • What do I see as the gifts of anger?
  • Am I open to being in my power to a greater level?
  • What less than ideal strategies do I use to try to control other people’s anger for my comfort?
  • Who do I know who is a good role model for demonstrating heathly relationship with anger?

Our Relationship to Our Anger

  • First, work towards owning it more fully.Whether you choose to share it with others or not it is helpful to be honest with yourself about what is true for you.
  • If you are not sure if have suppressed anger ask your family members, friends, co-workers etc.
  • What did I thinkthat created this emotion? Event/Thought/Emotion
  • Be careful not to confuse thoughts with emotions which is very common and can impede effective communication.

Template:  When such and such happened or I heard him, her say ____________  I thought, I interpreted it, I made the meaning     ______________        and I felt   ___________.

  • Where do I feel it in my body?
  • What is my anger trying to tell me?
  • Am I willing to feel it more fully?
  • Am I able in this moment to feel it completely?
  • How would I like to be with my anger right now?
  • Are there feelings underneath my anger? Hurt? Fear? Sadness? Shame? Guilt?
  • Is there a belief I am powerless and/or helpless now? (Often this clues us to the victim child or may be situational as in someone is dying).
  • Is there something I need to express to someone?
  • Am I willing to express it?
  • Do I need support to express it? If so, what support do I need?Am I willing to ask for it?
  • Is there something I need to do? Is refraining from action the best course?
  • Am I angry with myself for something I did or omitted to do?

Communicating Anger Responsibly to Another

  • Anger can be “hot” and relational if expressed responsibly. (Susan Campbell, PhD, “Getting Real”. Rage can be expressed responsibly in the moment if you have ability to contain it. If contained the person will feel safe.
  • When we don’t share our truth with people we are no longer in full relationship with them. Most important is to be intimate with ourselves.
  • Don’t “leak” anger directly to others. Talk to other’s to calm down and get clarity but consider discussing it directly with person who triggered it for resolution.
  • If stored anger is triggered consider using words such as, “When you said that old anger got triggered in me” or “when you did that a button in me was pushed”.
  • Only express to safe people you trust. There are situations, such as work etc., where it may not be appropriate to share your feelings directly.
  • Contemplate if “I don’t want to hurt them or they can’t handle it” is an excuse you use to avoid communicating with someone.
  • Example of event/thought/emotion communication: When you interrupted me while I was speaking I made the meaning you thought what I was saying wasn’t important and I feel angry.  (Stop speaking, allow pause and see if other desires to speak)
  • If afraid of sharing anger can open with- “I want to share something with you and I have fear about expressing it.  I fear you won’t receive it well.   Are you willing to hear it?  Is this a good time to discuss this?”  “If this isn’t a good time when can we get together to discuss this?”
  • If very upset consider taking a time out. “I am very upset and need to be with myself.  I will be back when I am calmer”. (Communicates care and connection, not abandoning other).
  • Don’t minimize by saying, “I’m a little angry”. Consider saying, “I am angry”,

“I feel angry”, “I felt angry” (irritated, frustrated, aggravated etc.)  “Anger is in me” or “anger was in me”, “I feel rage in this moment” or “I felt rage”.

  • Take full responsibility- work to end blaming.Avoid the common expression “you made me angry” or “when you did that/said that it made me angry”.  It is your anger, own your reaction.
  • Allow your feeling to express in your tone of voice.

Dyad Work to Increase Power

What am I most angry about?

What is my level of fear in admitting, experiencing or feeling my anger 0 to 10?  _______

What is my level of anger currently in my body? 0-10  (0=no anger) to (ten = intense rage)?  _______

Where do I feel the anger in my body?  What color is it?  Texture?  Size? Shape? Density?

What is my anger telling me or trying to tell me?

Am I angry with myself?  If yes, what did I do or not do that I am angry about?

Is there something I need to do or communicate to someone?

What is the next step I need to take to be more responsible with my anger?

Am I willing to do that now?  If no, what is my resistance?

Additional ideas?  Comments?

Possibilities for Releasing Anger

  • Pound on bed, couch or cushion
  • Scream if appropriate to situation you are in.
  • Scream underwater, into a pillow or in a car (but not while driving).
  • Break things you don’t mind destroying, chop wood, clean the house, get a piece of red meat and tear it to shreds!
  • See a therapist comfortable with anger
  • Go to a workshop where anger is welcomed or encouraged.
  • Share it with someone you trust.
  • Remember resentments are like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.
  • Write/Journal unedited. Use dominant and then non-dominant hand writing.
  • Paint or other creative art
  • Breathe
  • Pause
  • Meditate if anger is mild and going into anger and not escaping or transcending it.

Decreasing Excessive Fire in the Body

Ideals to Strive Toward/Progress Not Perfection

  • The ultimate ideal is to fully feel your feelings in the moment.We abandon ourselves when we abandon our emotions.
  • Have your thoughts, emotions and actions be congruent.

Resources

Not all therapists, clergy or spiritual teachers are competent to help you with anger!   Ask them how they dealt with their own rage and notice their response! You want someone who has worked through their own rage and is at peace with yours for them to be helpful.

 

 

 

Advertisements

How to be deeply honest

How to be deeply honest

“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” – Thomas Paine

“Most of us feel that others will not tolerate emotional honesty. We … defend our dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others; and having rationalized our phoniness into nobility, we settle for superficial relationships.” Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? – John Powell.

What is deep honesty? Ability to communicate our thoughts, perceptions, feelings, body sensations, needs, etc. in a straightforwardand respectful way.

Why aren’t we honest more frequently? Reasons include believing, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most of us did not learn functional relationship and communication skills. Irresponsibly delivered “honesty” has often led, in the past, to negative outcomes.

Pre-Requisites for Deep Honesty

Know Thyself. Desire to be aware of, and in touch with our thoughts, judgments, interpretations, emotions, perceptions, body sensations, values, etc. and a willingness to reveal and share what we are experiencing with others. We obviously can’t be honest with others when we are not in touch with our inner selves.

Addictive behaviors, which are rampant in modern Western culture, serve to help people disconnect from their emotional baggage sometimes referred to as the “pain body.” Leaving addictive behavior behind if often challenging since the unresolved pain and traumas are bound to surface. The path of personal growth is working towards acceptance and tolerance for all our thoughts and feelings including jealousy, anger, rage, terror, toxic shame and also the positive emotions of happiness, joy, love etc. If you are not in touch with your feelings/body consider therapy including Somatic Therapy.

Bravery. It takes courage to face our fears of being honest and learn to console our frightened selves, which is often a younger aspect of ourselves. Honesty requires vulnerability, the ability to tolerate disagreement/conflict, a willingness to listen and learn more functional relationship/communication skills, let go of the “right/wrong dynamic” (ego) and choose instead intimacy and authenticity. Many of us learn to substitute being “nice” with being “real”. We work towards becoming more comfortable with the unknown, trusting Life and others, and letting go of the attachment to outcome.

Share with safe people. It is a part of self-care to share our deepest selves only with safe people- those we trust to accept and honor our inner truth without judgment. though they may also have their own emotional reactions. Be aware that some people use “not feeling safe” (feeling fear) as an excuse to not be vulnerable; get feedback from friends/mentors/therapists/wise ones. As we become more skillful, we often are surprised that we can say almost anything without others reacting poorly. We also learn we do not need to share everything in our minds/hearts.

Know the “Dangers of Dishonesty”.

  • Living an inauthentic life or illusory life
  • Disconnection with self, others, Higher Power.
  • Fuels addictive behaviors leading to holding resentments, emotional constipation, a relentless quest for love, and even physical harm.
  • Denies us the possibility of ever feeling truly loved for who we are. How can I trust that anyone really loves me when I haven’t shown them who I really am?

Know the “Gifts of Honesty”.

  • Path to and the result of self-actualization.
  • Leads us to deeper connection with our authentic selves resulting in greater intimacy and integrity with self, emotional intelligence, empathy and sense of wholeness.
  • Generates connection, satisfaction, intimacy, depth, affection, genuineness in our relationships.
  • Can lead to more tenderness, a richer experience of life, peace, joy, love, respect, sexual pleasure
  • Weeds out people who aren’t open to authenticity.
  • We eventually learn we are loved for who we are.

Know honest communications are short and simple.

Do your own inner work first. Avoid impulsivity. It can take significant writing/processing with mentors/friends/therapist to get clear what to say or not to say. As you gain skill and experience you may get to the place where you can maintain being emotionally responsible “under fire” but this is a long-term goal.

Remember that “honesty without tact is cruelty.” Being brutally honest is a character defect that alienates others. Ask:

  • Is this any of my business?
  • Am I being sensitive?
  • Am I being kind?
  • Is what I am saying true? Is it my deepest truth?
  • Is it necessary I share this?

Check your motivation. Is your intent to relate or control? When your goal is to relate, you are most interested in revealing your true feelings, learning how the other feels, and connecting heart-to-heart. When your intent is to control, you are most interested in getting things to turn out a certain way – avoiding conflict, getting the person to like you, being seen as knowledgeable or helpful, etc. (From “Truth in Dating: Finding Love by Getting Real” by Susan M. Campbell, Ph.D.)

Accept that relationships can get messy. The person you are being honest with may get defensive, upset or counter-argue but that doesn’t mean the conversation’s over. Interactions between human beings are less messy when we are straightforward.

Guidelines for Honesty

Warming Up. When we have strong feelings, fears or shame about being revealing, we can venture into the scary waters with vulnerable and intimate lead-ins that tend to createcuriosity, interest, support and lay the groundwork for you to wade in deeper. Some examples are: “I’m taking a risk by telling you the truth,” allows for complete honesty without sugarcoating, but it lets the person you’re being honest with know you’re coming from a place of vulnerability. “I am scared to tell you this. I am afraid you will not listen to me and you will react.” “I want to share something with you but I have a lot of shame telling me not to”. “I want you to know that I am sharing this with you because you are important to me and I don’t wish to harbor a resentment”.

Distinguish facts/data from interpretations. It is essential that we learn to distinguish facts or the raw data from interpretations, which are the meanings our minds make up or the story we create about the facts. Our minds do this at the speed of light so it takes training to separate them. The facts are what you would see if watching a video playback of the situation. “You walked into the room and left in two minutes” are the facts if the other person remembers it the same way. Our interpretation may have been, “You don’t like me.” State the facts or data clearly and concisely. “I lent you $100 with our agreement you would pay me back in one week and it is now 5 weeks later.” “You are not trustworthy” is one possible meaning our minds may have created about the facts. Share the data, you thought/thoughts/interpretations (my mind made the meaning), judgments/emotions, feelings, body sensations.

Don’t confuse thoughts/concepts with emotions. Betrayed is a concept or “false feeling” and not a primary emotion. How did you feel when you interpreted or your mind made the meaning of the data/facts that you were betrayed? Other common concepts that people often try to pass as feelings are “abandoned” and “rejected”. We don’t feel rejected; something happened that we interpreted as rejection. Ask yourself what you felt when you thought you were rejected, abandoned, betrayed. Additionally, people often say they felt “uncomfortable”. You might inquire what emotions are they uncomfortable with? What is under the discomfort? Stick with the primary emotions- fear, anxiety, sad, hurt, happy, angry, frustrated, distrust, disappointed, grief, shame, etc. If you have mixed feelings, expressing them all can add depth to your communication.

Use extreme caution sharing judgments. Expressing judgments generally triggers defensiveness in the other. If you choose to share a judgment preface it with, “I made the judgment that ________.” This can help you move past the judgment into a deeper conversation that is more intimate and connecting.

Use “I” statements. “I think you are a jerk,” is not the most responsible “I “statement. It is an improvement compared with,“You are a jerk,” because you are now owning your judgment of the person.

Hang on to yourself. Many people, especially from dysfunctional homes, dissociate or abandon their inner reality when stressed and check out of their  emotional, intellectual and even physical bodies. Work to stay in touch with yourself and if you notice you have checked out, bring yourself gently back to the present moment; consider sharing “I have dissociated, can you please repeat that?”, if in a conversation. Work to stay connected with your feelings and not repress them.  Give yourself permission to feel a wide range of emotions. We are complex beings that often feel a combination of conflicting and ambivalent feelings.

Hang in with the other. Be willing to stay connected (relational) and in the process with the other/s. Avoid dumping your honesty and disengaging. If you’re going to be honest with someone, come prepared to express yourself and then to listen to their experience of the situation. These conversations can be a back and forth process as the conversation meanders down to deeper levels.

Go for mediation if necessary.

 

Resources

 The Center for Non-Violent Communication.  https://www.cnvc.org

Susan Campbell, PhD. Honesty expert, relationship counseling & honesty salons. Tools & Tips for honest relating in love and work. Author of “Getting Real” and “Truth in Dating: Finding love by getting real.”  Lives in Sebastapol. http://www.susancampbell.com