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November 2, 2021

Anger is a Trauma Response.

The Belief Behind the Thought, Behind the Feeling, Behind the Action

What is the true belief that creates the thoughts and feelings we are having, which motivate our words or actions?

I find that when I have anger toward someone, the true meaning behind my anger is not always self-evident.

As an example, my wife and I were on a long walk where we chatted about various topics. I suddenly remembered I wanted to tell her something about an article I had just read. I started to talk about it, but before I could get a whole sentence out, I was interrupted by a car that didn’t stop when we had entered the crosswalk.

A few minutes later, I started again, and she interrupted me when she noticed something nearby that she wanted me to see.

Then the third time I tried to bring up the topic, I chuckled a little bit to myself at how I was going to give it one more shot. Once again, she interrupted me when she wanted to show me something else. I was sure that she knew I was trying to tell her something when she interrupted, but then afterward didn’t ask me about what I was saying.

It was at this point that my negative core belief that I was not important to others was triggered. After all, she had not only interrupted me twice, but she didn’t even care enough to ask me what I was trying to say.

I could feel the anger rising in me, but I decided to ignore it and believe that she had no intent around the interruptions. I was going to wait and try again after we stepped into a local coffee shop to warm up and get a chai tea.

After we ordered and sat down with our food, she started smiling at me and staring. I asked her what she was smiling about, and she just kept doing it without saying a word. I then became paranoid and started to look around—was my zipper down, did I have something on my face, what? I could feel the confusion, anxiety, and anger building in me. It was then that the previous anger returned and brought with it all of the thoughts I had just decided to ignore.

I then looked down at my donut and saw that there was a bite taken out of it. At first I didn’t even think that she had done it, but thought it was served to me that way. I then felt more angry and embarrassed that I had a trick played on me by someone I didn’t even know, and somehow my wife knew this and was laughing at me. Then I looked at her and realized it was she who had bitten into the donut. She giggled at me and told me it was her and how she had concealed her trick on me with the napkin. It was then that I felt a strange combination of relief and anger at her and I decided to say nothing. I held back the anger.

She knew right away I was upset and she tried to engage with me, but I deflected and talked about something else. I was attempting to defuse my anger because I knew she wasn’t trying to intentionally hurt me. I understood that she was being playful. I didn’t want to subject her to my anger because I knew she wasn’t the true cause.

I thought that maybe the interruptions were the universe’s way of telling me I shouldn’t talk about the topic I had in mind.

I decided to engage with her and explain about the topic I wanted to talk about, being interrupted, and how I was confused by the whole donut incident. My intent at that moment was to reflect upon my own feelings, why I felt the way I did, and why they were coming up again. I thought that perhaps the universe was again showing me what needed to be healed and that I should talk with her about it.

I find it interesting that what I present to the world, when it comes to my emotions, can have a source in a completely different place than what I might think. My anger is connected to my younger years when I was tricked by certain people who I trusted, but they wanted to make a fool of me. The anger was connected to a negative core belief that I am not important to anyone. This was just another situation where I jumped to the belief and thought that someone was tricking, making fun of, and trying to embarrass me.

My belief did not even come close to the real truth of the situation, and I let it control me.

I attempted to explain all of this to her, and I was impressed that she seemed to be willing to dive into the topic. We chatted for some time, I shared the donut, we drank our chai tea, and then we left to walk the rest of the way home. The walk was good and felt balanced and healthy and I was happy. It wasn’t until we got home that the whole thing dissolved into a big emotional mess.

I started talking about the beliefs and thoughts behind my feelings. I talked about how I use anger as a “shield” feeling, when the real reason isn’t even anger at all. It is the deep-seated negative core beliefs I have. I asked her if she understood what I was saying and if she had any feelings like that.

In that moment, I could sense that there was a huge dam of pressure on her mind. When she started to talk, it was like witnessing the proverbial dam breaking—first by springing a leak, and then piece by piece, the whole dam thing just burst open. She started to cry and talk about a myriad of topics that all ran together and I couldn’t make sense of them.

Just as flood waters affect everything in its path, she was grabbing onto any and all reasons behind her own built up frustrations and anger. It didn’t matter what got in the way. It was scary, and at the same time, I could tell it was therapeutic for her too.

I reflected on everything that I said and witnessed and how my own actions played a part in how we both felt. I know that my own self-absorbed thoughts were directly related to blocking me from seeing that she was in pain long before the interruptions and the coffee shop. I realized that she was repeatedly trying to connect with me by sharing something interesting she had seen and by being playful.

Fear of expressing my own anger is also a part of the cause. I never really witnessed anger being expressed in a healthy way when I was growing up. I had witnessed anger being suppressed and avoidance being used as a successful tactic to keep the peace. I had learned to be a people pleaser by listening and staying out of the way. I thought this was my role in my family, and I had no idea what would happen if I didn’t fulfill this belief.

The universe was indeed showing me what needed to be healed and what needed to be revealed. My negative core belief that I am not important to anyone needs healing. This is at the source of my inability to believe the true intentions of those who are trying their best to love me as I am. These beliefs can also block the signals others are sending to me, telling me what they need.

What false beliefs do you have that affect your thoughts, that create your feelings about yourself, that cause suffering in your life?

 

 

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