Most people are goofy about anger. We may have learned somewhere that it is inappropriate to be angry at all. If you grew up in the church, or grew up within certain ethnic groups – Asian, for example, or many of the northern European lines from which I hail – or if you grew up female – what you learned about anger was possibly even more maladaptive. For many of us, our personalities were formed in part around what we learned badly about anger.
There’s good reason for this. Many of us have experienced disastrous results from the expression of our own anger or because of other people’s anger in the context of family violence, the consequences of which I don’t need to detail here.
But, there is a difference between anger and aggression, and many assume that they are the same. I would like to present an alternative point of view.
I (following psychologist Neil Clark Warren) suggest that anger is a God given capacity and is an innate response to hurt, frustration and fear. I would further like to suggest – and perhaps this seems paradoxical – that harnessing the energy of anger is the key to honest, authentic, and intimate relationships.
I heard a pastor liken anger to manure. It stinks and it’s a waste product. It’s incredibly messy and requires a strategy for handling. But, when used skillfully, and when appropriately spread around a field, it promotes the healthy growth and ecological balance of an ecosystem.
Love your comments on the positive aspects of anger. How true!
It’s a shame that anger gets such a bad rap.
My boyfriend and I just broke up after daitng for 6 months. I know it’s not the end of the world, but sometimes it feels like it!!!! It wasn’t a bad relationship. We didn’t sin sexually. We didn’t have lots of fights. We just figured out that we weren’t compatiable long term. Our lives were going to 2 different places.How do you handle break ups?
I applaud your maturity in recognizing that you were not compatible long term. Begin to focus on yourself, your life, your friends and family, and remember the lyrics to an old Santana song: “We all know it’s better, yesterday’s past, so let’s all start to live for the one that’s going to last.”