Turn Your Anger into Your Superpower in 2019
Understanding Anger and Harnessing its Power to Benefit Your Life
It is difficult not to conclude that anger has been an issue for all humans. I have witnessed anger ruin people’s lives. This is true with domestic and sexual violence, as well as with the pain from loss. I have witnessed anger from childhood traumas, assaults, and abandonment turn into uncontrollable rage as the child gains the freedom of adulthood. Improper disposal of anger can destroy people’s lives and relationships. What made us do these things? My thought progression began: I am angry. My anger is the problem. (I was so wrong).
Is Anger Really the Problem?
Short answer: No
Mentally, a person reverts to anger in an effort to avoid pain or danger of some sort. There are numerous accounts of people, while in use of their anger, destroying their lives. Many of these people will even say, “I didn’t mean to do that”, as in ruin the mood, relationship, and often an opportunity. Anger was so destructive in my life that I thought it must be bad and decided to attempt its removal and that became the goal. But, was anger really my problem? I asked myself that same question and the answer was no. Anger was not my problem. I concluded this after thinking…WE ALL HAVE ANGER. If it is the problem then I can solve that problem by removing the anger. So, why is it that everyone has anger? If everyone has anger then there must be a need or purpose for the anger. If there is a need for the anger then removing the anger may cause a difficulty or leave me vulnerable in other areas. In an effort to understand anger I began with the definition.
What is Anger?
[Cambridge Dictionary] defines anger as
The feeling people get when something unfair, painful, or bad happens
[Oxford Dictionary] defines anger as
A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility
In the Psychology of Anger Article, Harry Mills Ph.D [Wheeler Clinic]
Anger is described as a natural response to pain in one form or another. (Physical or Emotional)
What is the Purpose for Anger?
Used as a protective mechanism to cover up fear, hurt, or sadness.
When the decision is made to take action to immediately stop the threatening behavior of another outside force, anger becomes the predominant feeling behavioral, cognitively, and physiologically.
How Does Your Body Detect Anger?
- a roughly almond-shaped mass of grey matter inside each cerebral hemisphere involved with the experiencing of emotions
- part of the brain responsible for detecting fear and preparing for emergency events.
- How does the amygdala affect emotions?
- It is a part of the limbic system of the brain, which is involved with other emotions and stimuli. The amygdala is a processing center that is hooked up to receive incoming messages from our senses and our internal organs. It is highly involved with different emotional responses. Amygdalae are essential to feeling certain emotions and…to perceiving them in other people.
- The amygdala is so important to the detection of one emotion in particular (anger), a scientific study on a woman with focal bilateral lesions on her amygdala concluded that the human amygdala plays a pivotal role in triggering a state of fear. According to the study titled, The Human Amygdala and the Induction and Experience of Fear by Justin S. Feinstein, the patient repeatedly demonstrated an absence of overt fear manifestations and an overall impoverished experience of fear. She displayed other emotions except the fear was gone. To determine the extent of the absence of fear, the study attempted to induce fear in a variety of ways – from an exotic pet store to a haunted house – and the subject never displayed a fear response.
The interesting thing about this study is that the crippling response to fear that we experience comes from having triggered our amygdala and is a great aide in our survival. The woman has been in dangerous situations and because of her inability to experience fear continues to do so. While living without fear will allow a person to advance in many ways that fear stifles us, living without fear has its drawbacks by increasing the difficulty one may find in keeping themself safe from dangers that face humans daily. Click here to read the study. Most/if not all creatures have gifts or a set of assets to serve as defense mechanisms to preserve the life of or demand fair treatment. Anger is one of ours. Anger not only keeps us safe but it allows us to petition for and enforce our fair treatment as it is our inalienable right to be alive, and to be safe, and it is perfectly correct to defend ourselves in the face of danger or even mistreatment.
- The Importance of Anger
- One of the most powerful emotions.
The emotion of anger can provide energy to right wrongs and change things for the good.
- One of the most powerful emotions.
There is a vigilant feeling settling over me as I take these words in, both grateful and relieved to come into the light of understanding. There is a very healthy and necessary purpose for our anger. What a relief to know, those that would do you harm would love, and have been loving, to pretend that your anger is incorrect or misplaced. They would rather ignore the wrong being done to you and quiet you about it and tell you that the anger that fester inside has no place. This is quite unfortunate for people who have a reservoir of anger built up from generations of unfair treatment, fear, and pain. Quieting this anger is not a logical solution and once we understand that, we can begin to make the changes to finally take the misplaced energy of anger and put it to good use in our lives as an advantage.
A Story About Anger
As a child, I recall a surge of anger ensuing moments feeling inaudible. Finding a release was the next challenge. The release came in the form of self-inflicted pain(scratches). In my mind that process seemed to be the safest way to release the anger. Thinking back on it now i realized that I experienced anger during the times when I felt I was not being heard. It made me angry. I began to feel conscious of these feelings and discovered a part of my programming. I also had the opportunity to experience how the world responds to my programming. It was called an “attitude!”
I was in elementary school waiting for the bus. I could have been about 7 or 8 years old. The bus showed up late and, of course, the driver had her own hardships that morning which had absolutely nothing to do with me but I became a reflection of her energy. I could feel the anxiety and frustration before she arrived and as soon as I got on to the bus she said, “this is not the bus stop!” It was like this tug of war that went on about where the stop was. This was one of the stops that my bus driver decided to change independently of public education instruction and I lived closer to this particular stop so today was just not the day.
I remember thinking, why are you worried about this stop when you’re this late? Of course, I didn’t verbalize my thought but I did reply with my attitude. “This is my stop, I’m not going to the next stop.” All of this was under my breath as I walked past her but this was my first “talking back” aloud. I must say I was hooked because honestly, at this point, I was already over adults refusing to acknowledge their fault, especially to a child. My bus driver was just another example of that favorite human past time of blaming the seemingly weaker person for your own faults. For me is was like justice!
Naturally, my response being so combative and unwilling to accept the blame for her responsibility angered her. I was satisfied. I knew then that these little quick-witted responses must have validity because this adult began to threaten to kick me off the bus. Imagine my surprise hearing these words especially when I think back to the bus conduct of the other students. Before I knew it, I began to use my attitude as a weapon to force others to realize their error as it pertained to me, with various levels of indignation. My anger progressed from there and always found a way to be justified because it was a result of indignation (favorite word, now you know why).
The Dangers of Anger
At the time that anger is being felt, what is actually happening is your body is curating the release of stress hormones into your bloodstream. Adrenaline & noradrenaline help control the heart rate and blood pressure as it is raised during the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which constricts the blood vessels and raise blood pressure. This serves to increase the amount of energy readily available to quickly and efficiently provide protection for the perceived danger. When we get angry and our heart rate is increased, our cortisol actually decreases, and the left hemisphere of the brain becomes more stimulated. Of course, the process is a lot more complex and we will go into more detail in another article.
The danger of anger is the improper use of it. Anger is like our panic button and people who constantly revert to anger as a coping mechanism have also allowed the hormones produced during anger to constantly be in circulation in their blood system, which can lead to increased risk of heart disease.
The anger was evolved for short-term use to save us from immediate harm. It is not for us to hold on to or harness, as these raised levels of stress hormones in our blood stream corrode organs and eventually lead to heart disease.
- Accept and undo what has been done to you.
- Rewrite the stories of your pain so that they become beneficial to you.
- Remind yourself of your trials and tribulations only to underline your adaptation and the strength you have gained as a result.
- Do not concern yourself with the workings of others as this will ultimately have no bearing on your life.
- Understand that anger is for your protection. If there is no need for protection, then the anger is misplaced.
- Create a checklist for your anger and to ensure that this particular emotional response is necessary in any given situation.
- Use your anger for good.
- During the times when you feel anger, take that powerful energy and use it to make your life better.
- Exercise or work intensely towards a goal so that your precious energy remains in your possession as a phenomenal body.
- Understand the raw power that the emotional response of anger gives you access to.
- Then, make a conscious decision to transmute that raw power into whichever area of your life you choose.
- Energy cannot be created or destroyed.
- Use this knowledge and this energy to your advantage and let it become your hidden superpower.