Have you ever been triggered by something your partner said or did and lashed out at him? I’m not proud to admit that I have and so have many of my coaching clients. It’s important to have compassion and forgiveness for yourself if this shows up for you. As humans, we are releasing a lot of injustice which can show up in us as anger. There are many facets to anger. Some people say that depression is anger turned inward over time. Others say that underneath anger is a deep disappointment or sadness that hasn’t been expressed. And others say that anger is a gift to tell us what needs to change.
Some people, especially in the spiritual communities say we shouldn’t have anger or be angry. We’ve been told that if we’re evolved enough, we always feel love and act from love. While it is always good to act from love, it may not always be possible. I’ve seen the most loving people not act in a loving way when in the heat of the moment. I believe we are here to feel every emotion as much as I dislike feeling the unpleasant ones. Maybe we expressed anger as a child and were told by a parent it was wrong or we were made fun of for throwing a tantrum. This may have lead to us thinking something was wrong with us for feeling angry thus unconsciously pushing us to hold it in.
Repressing anger over time, whether for fear of not being accepted or loved, will build and needs to be released. Holding anger inside of our bodies wreaks havoc on our systems and can lead to serious illness. Been there. Done that. Simply taking a deep breath and exploding the breath out is helpful, but if there’s something underneath that needs to be addressed, it could easily build to a boiling point once again.
While anger is an important clue that something isn’t okay with us, unleashing it on our love, whether consciously or not, could put our partner on the defensive and can lead to things being said that could hurt our partner. If you’ve ever exploded on your love, you might have feelings of shame or regret about how you treated your partner. You may feel badly for not dealing with the emotion first and figuring out what it is that’s causing it. Even though you may regret lashing out, it could also clue our partner in on what’s important to us or what is not okay with us.
One client said to me, “I wish I didn’t have to escalate to that level in order for my husband to hear me.” I’ve been in marriages where I felt the same way. We ask for what we need and our partner either doesn’t hear us or doesn’t honor what we need or simply can’t provide that for us. As humans, when we need something and can’t have it, it makes us angry. What if we could allow the anger to be there for a few moments and listen to it as our teacher? What if we could sit with this emotion and have a conversation with ourselves around why it’s there?
As a teacher of Reiki Masters, I participate in the monthly assignments with my students as I am a high integrity facilitator who actively seeks to grow. We’re all in this together. I think it takes a big set of balls, (courage, if I’m being proper) to do this work. It takes an even bigger set of balls, (I’m not a proper gal) to share my personal experiences with you. If it will help someone who’s going through this same human experience, I’m ok with you seeing my flaws.
One of the recent assignments was to spend a month observing and learning about anger in us. I knew something big might show up this time around this as I am a collective consciousness healer and I feel the anger inside of me that’s my own, but also of others on the planet. This assignment has helped me evolve over the twelve years I’ve been chipping away at it. I am no longer that angry, hot headed girl who unleashes her anger out on men. I had pushed away a really good man in my thirties that way and vowed not to be that person anymore.
Women have a long history of being hurt by men, and it is time to heal so that we don’t allow it to ruin our chances at having long lasting, fulfilling relationships. My friend and I were reflecting on this thing about romantic relationships. They aren’t what we thought they would be. We thought that they would be two people coming together to love each other. That’s only part of it. When two people come together in relationships, they agree to learn and grow from one another as a human. I knew this assignment would reveal to me what I needed to move to the next level in this being human thing.
While I haven’t been overtly bursting out in anger each time, I do feel it arise in my body when something triggers me in my current situation. Upon reflecting on when it shows up for me, I found out it was based on previous relationships where I felt hurt, disrespected or taken advantage of. What we’re angry about could be an interpretation of what our partner is doing based on any unhealed wounds that need our attention. We think our partner is doing something based on what that would mean if we had done that. When one of my healer friends was in a bout of anger, she stated, “I’m taking responsibility for my own wounding. How could he possibly say or do something that caused me to get upset? If he touches my wounds it doesn’t mean he put them there. He brings back so many, so easily!” That is, unless he is blatantly trying to hurt your or disrespect you. There’s a difference between these two types of people. The one who does it on purpose is an unhealthy or wounded man.
A couple of situations were presented to me to help me with this challenge. The first was where I had many expectations around how my partner and I would spend our nights together. Because he is a private man, I will not go into all of the details of how it went down. The theme was around making plans, arrival times and social time without each other. This last one I will expand on next week when I talk about feeling abandoned by our partner.
I have learned in my training at Understandmen.com, that unvoiced expectations can lead to disappointment. We think we shouldn’t have to voice what we expect. They should just know. Both partners may have this belief. Communicating what is important to know is a relationship life saver. Another thing I’ve learned is that men don’t always understand the need that women have for details, like times or places, due to caveman’s nature of concealing information during the hunting days where you needed to be camouflaged. Some details are left out because they see them as insignificant. What’s important to one person may not be important to the other. Unless we ask for what we need, there’s disappointment.
There’s a lot more to this, but I hope you get the gist. I also read a quote about healthy couples that said, “Ideally couples need three lives: one for him, one for her, and one for them together.” It’s a sense of freedom that each partner needs on different levels and maybe we need a little mystery in the relationship where we don’t need all the details and can loosen the grip with our partner as needed.
The first outburst was one that seemed to erupt out of me like fire from an outraged dragon. Have you ever wished you cold hold back the tidal wave that’s going to crash? That’s what it felt like. It wasn’t pretty. What I realized after the fact is that underneath it was a need that I had in this new relationship that wasn’t being met. I had been making things up in my mind about why it was so instead of asking for it. Unless we’ve spoken to our partner about these things, they have no clue and it can come by surprise when we’re angry in the moment that we’re upset. Lashing out at our partner can also put them on the defensive as a reaction to feeling attacked out out of nowhere. While I’m not proud of how I handled myself the first time it happened, we worked through it. I vowed to myself to handle this anger in a different way should it arise again. It did in the days that followed. It was sooner than I had expected, but spirit knows when I’m ready to evolve.
This second time I was presented with another situation where those same anger emotions were quick to rise in me. Being committed to handling it differently, I turned to a trusted friend to help me through instead of acting out of anger. She helped me first by understanding why I would feel the way I was and then started asking me what I need in order to not be upset about this part of our lives? In that moment I realized that I had a picture in my mind about how our lives would be once I arrived in Michigan. I never voiced this expectation that what I wanted, he wanted. It started out the way I pictured, butt then changed about a month ago. When the reality of what it was didn’t match up to the picture, I felt sadness and disappointment over the fact that it wasn’t so. I was able to cry, which released a lot of the tension. Relationships have humans in them and humans are always changing.
I had realized that my sweetheart was going without his own needs being met and was trying to have them met by changing the way we spent our time. While I didn’t like his newly appearing needs, I wanted him to have them met as I want him to be happy. I let him know that night and asked for what I needed around the situation. He’s been doing a great job providing what I need.
After that conversation, a THIRD situation revealed itself a week later. Clearly the Universe was providing huge opportunities for growth and healing here. It has been an opportunity to step up to the plate and become an even better communicator. Because I had released the disappointment and hurt that was fueling the anger, it wasn’t trying to explode the moment I was triggered. Keeping in mind that people aren’t perfect, I took a breath and let my love know that I wished he would have let me know his plan for the evening so I wasn’t waiting for him to have dinner. He apologized and has been in communication with me around his arrival time and I’ve asked for more information as needed. Because of these situations where anger was my teacher, we were able to make adjustments that worked for us both and are in a place where we’re getting what we need. Let me be clear. While I don’t like having to go through these things, I’m committed to us both being happy and getting what we need in the relationship.