July 20, 2012

What Do You Do When You’re Angry? ~ Deborah Lange

Ignore the first sign of anger at your own peril.

Do you explode when you are angry? Do you deny being angry when someone tells you to stop being angry? Or, do tell yourself and others you aren’t angry while you are actually seething with anger?

Some of us were taught to suppress our anger and others to let it out, but very few of us have learned to understand that anger is our friend.

It is an amazing emotion that is screaming out in our bodies to teach us something—when anger is present, this usually means that we are ignoring something or tolerating something that is not serving us.

If we can learn to notice the first signs of anger, we can give ourselves what we need to heal the source of our anger.

Healing the source enables us to be more of who we are born to be:  joyful, happy and at peace.

Covering up, suppressing or letting it all out unconsciously hurts us as much as it hurts others.

Not speaking up for your true self or allowing yourself to be disrespected, judged or controlled can lead to anger and/or other emotions such as frustration.

These emotions can be repressed and lead to a dulling of our spirit—or they can be expressed as anger in an outrage of vindictive words or actions. Neither of these ways are loving towards ourselves or others.

If we can listen to the first sign of anger’s call, we can then choose to take responsibility for ourselves and take loving actions to heal the sadness underneath the anger.

When we choose loving actions, the anger is transformed and we freely express our true, authentic, loving nature.

I was coaching a client, Roland, who was working with a group of people in extremely challenging conditions.

Roland had facilitated a group session that had gone extremely well. Roland had, however, made an example of how two of the group leaders had chosen to reconcile their differences. Whilst this was extremely effective for the group, he did not have the permission of the people he referenced to use them as an example, because the situation had arisen in the present moment.

One leader, Bob, could see how useful this was; the other leader, John, took offense. However, John did not speak to Roland about the feelings that arose, nor did he reflect and take responsibility for understanding his reaction. The “offense” lay brewing and turned into anger and judgment against Roland.

John finally called Roland in.

“Ronald, last week every time I saw you speaking with Bob, I thought the two of you were both colluding against me. I think I am probably making up this story but I do not like the two of you working together. You are also making lots of suggestions for the ways we could do things and I don’t want you to. I am the leader and I will make the decisions with my co-leader, Bob. If I want your suggestions, I will ask for them. Is there anything you want to say?”

Roland said, “Well, I am glad you said you are probably making up this story of Bob and I colluding against you. As you know, Bob and I are friends and we have not worked with each other for a long time; we have lots to catch up on. Of course we are not colluding against you. As for the suggestions, I do not expect you to act on them—I am merely offering ideas.”

“That is all,” John said.

Roland was dismissed.

Roland told me he had wanted to tell John that he was threatened of someone else being successful and projecting this onto him. However, he did not say this because Bob had requested that Roland not speak up, in order to avoid rocking the boat any further. They had two more weeks to work together and Bob felt it was best to smooth things over.

Roland thought he could let his feelings go, even though he felt that John was being controlling, judgmental, and disrespectful. Roland continued to do what was expected in his role.

He told me that as the days passed there were many times when the group was talking about a project and he felt inhibited to speak. He was controlling himself to meet John’s demands. He said he could feel his anger rising.

John now seemed to think he could continue to control Roland—to bully, to dominate and to be autocratic.

Roland felt there was nothing he could do right.

His body started to seethe inside. He began wondering if he should speak out or not after all.

I coached him to listen to his feelings. He said he felt sad and angry due to being controlled, dominated, judged inaccurately, blamed for something he did not do and then punished. He then felt his energy for contributing diminishing and he started to feel small.

I asked him what he needed to do for himself to restore his authentic self. He said he needed to let John know the consequences of his behaviour towards him. I coached Ronald how to talk to John and share the effect his words and directives had on him—without placing blame on John.

Ronald initiated a conversation with John.

“John, I felt crushed the other day when you spoke to me. I felt punished. I felt like I had to take responsibility for the assumptions and feelings that arose in you when I was facilitating a very successful session. This does not work for me. I have been controlling myself since you told me not to contribute. I am giving you back responsibility for the feelings and thoughts that emerged in you.“

To Roland’s surprise John apologized.

He said, “Yes, I thought after our conversation that I was blaming you, but I did not realize this would impact you. I guess I needed to let you know what insight I had gained. Thanks for letting me know how you were impacted.”

Roland was at peace with himself again. He had given himself a voice. He had been treated with respect, and he did not have to place the blame on John.

Roland realized that if he had spoken his truth rather than protecting himself and Bob in the first place, he would not have spent days being uncomfortable.

However, he also acknowledged himself for having the courage to take responsibility for his feelings—Roland learned to listen to the call of anger.

Whenever there is anger, there is always a great lesson to learn!


My journey has taken me down many paths—on each path I have deepened my own wisdom and my ability to guide others to find their truth and give themselves the courage and the freedom to live a life that makes them come fully alive! I have been a teacher, a high flying consultant, a housewife, a mother, a caretaker for my dying Mother, a mosaic artist, a facilitator, a gardener, a researcher, an investor, a roadie for an Irish harpist, a coach and more. Now as I grow into eldership, I am sowing the seeds I have gathered of truth and wisdom so that I may help others on their journey, while I grow into my new role as author. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn—or send me an email at [email protected].


Editor:  April Dawn Ricchuito

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